man and responsibility [Electronic resources] نسخه متنی

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man and responsibility [Electronic resources] - نسخه متنی


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In the name of Allah, the
Beneficent, the Merciful.

The Holy Our'an speaks about man, as
a being who has both sacredness and holiness on this land through
addressing him as a person who has both dignity and great

Allah, the Almighty says:

"Surely We have honoured the
children of Adam, and carried them on land and sea...".

Holy Qur'an (17:70)

Man is distinguished from other
beings owing to his wisdom, will and being a vicegerent, who holds
responsibility and deserves such distinction. He is referred to through
revelation and upon whom the word of Allah, the Merciful is revealed. His
value and respect compared with other creatures indicates great honour and
trust bestowed upon him. Such responsibility remarks that his position is
raised through giving him more importance and esteem. Indeed, man is not
considered neither a neglected being nor a worthless one in life due to
his possessing of wisdom, will and the ability and who takes his will and
his capability to make a choice and take a decision. Therefore, he is
responsible for his deeds and behaviour accordingly.

Allah, the Exalted says:

"And if Allah wills He would
certainly make you a single nation, but He causes to err whom He wills and
guides whom He wills; and most certainly you will be questioned as to what
you did."[1]

Holy Qur'an (16:93)

Islam fixes two responsibilities upon
man: individual and collective ones. Concerning individual responsibility,
he is responsible far his own self , thus Allah, the Mast High, addresses

"Nay! man is evidence against
himself. Though he puts forth his excuses."

Holy Qur'an (75:14-15)

This verse refers to man's being
responsible before Allah far his speech, behaviour, and deeds and will be
judged by Him on the Resurrection Day the Day of Justice and

All these are in order to make his
relation with his Lard directly and also to judge himself before his Lord.
He is made to feel his shortcomings and responsibilities. As such,
negative attitudes should be corrected spontaneously and without any force
lest he loses his self-sensibility and feeling of responsibility which
leads him to lose his self-motivation and self-respect. Later on it can
lead to losing his value as a wise and distinguished man, who then needs
farce to make him carry out his obligations and avoid what is

Allah, the Almighty says:

"And those who give w hat they
give (in alms) while their hearts are full of fear t hat to their Lord
they must return. These hasten to do good things and they are foremost in
(attaining) them. And We do not lay on any soul a burden except to the
extent of its ability, and with Us is a book which speaks the truth, and
they s hall not be dealt with unjustly."

Holy Qur'an (23:60-62)

"He who does not judge him/
herself daily is not from us, if one does a good deed, Allah will increase
it while if he does an evil deed, Allah forgives him."[2]

Islam wants to bring up the power of
conscience in man's soul in precedence of the power of state and to
develop the virtue of personal responsibility; to became a guardian to
judge oneself and know that one is responsible an the Resurrection Day far
what Allah has granted. Everyone is responsible for the property he owns.
And from where did he gain it and how did he use it? Man is also
responsible far the knowledge he acquires and the capabilities to which it
is applied before Allah and how they are employed. Did he use them far his
own personal benefit or far the general benefit of society? Did he exploit
them far corrupt and destructive practices, and for boosting only himself
and his worldly interests? Man is responsible far his mentality and
intelligence which Allah gave him and how they are put to use. And if they
were misdirected in deviated ways, deceiving others or corrected in the
way of guidance and edification of soul and its reformation.

He is also responsible for the
strength that Allah gave him and to what purpose did it gain. Was it spent
in wasteful disobedience and being aggressive? Or was it used towards
goodness and following the right way? Man is also responsible for the
power, position and social rank which Allah gave him and whether they were
misused for suppression, creating terrorism, and seeking predominance to
obtain personal gain over others? Or was it constructively put to use for
social development in the way of Allah, the Almighty?

Consequently, man will be questioned
for the tongue which Allah gave him and how did he use its talents. Did he
use it for uttering the word of goodness, reformation and benefitting
social progress? Or did he use it for cheating, backbiting, lying, and
insulting others?

Similarly, he will be questioned for
the. eyes which Allah gave him and for what purpose were they put. Did he
use them for reading knowledgeable books and respecting Allah's greatness?
Or did he use them for looking at what Allah has forbidden and

He will also be questioned on Allah's
gift of ears and was the sense of hearing used only for listening to
gossip, empty words, indecency and wasteful entertainment? Or were they
directed at hearing the word of guidance, educative and fruitful

Allah, the Almighty says:

"...surely the hearing and the
sight and the heart, all of these, s hall be questioned about that."

Holy Qur'an (17:36)

"He utters not a word but there is
by him a watcher at hand."

Holy Qur'an (50:18)

"And stop them, for they will be

Holy Qur'an (37:24)

"He cannot be questioned
concerning what He does and they shall be questioned."

Holy Qur'an (21:23)

People will be questioned for
everything they do whether it be small or great:

"...what a book is this! it does
not omit a small one nor a great one, but numbers them (all);..."

Holy Qur'an (18:49)

Islam legislates individual
responsibility before Allah and also individual responsibility before the
Islamic state, run according to Islamic laws. Such a state is given the
right of governing and organizing the affairs of society, promulgating law
to safeguard the interests of the Muslim communities, the welfare of
humanity and its progress. It is also given the right for issuing orders
and judgements. So, man is also responsible for these before Allah, the
Most High.

Allah, the Almighty says:

"O you who believe! obey Allah and
obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you;..."

Holy Qur'an (4:59)

As man is responsible before the
legislative state, which has the right of governing over him, it has the
right of presenting him before court and punishing him in the case of
violating its laws and regulations.

Therefore, an Islamic state has the
right to interfere in the individual, social and economic affairs in order
to achieve an equitable society. It also has the right to charge and
restrict man's actions which contradict the general interest. In case of
emergency, it also has the right to prevent the forbidden behaviour and
act against whoever abandons his obligations by forcing him to carry them
out even to the extent if such obligations oppose his personal interests.
An Islamic state has also the right to impose certain duties upon man or
make him work in a special field, to punish him in the case of killing
another, of drinking alcohol, of cheating or manipulating prices and
misleading commercial markets. The individual has no right to behave or do
anything without responsibility. He must feel that he is responsible both
in front of Allah and the legislative state.

Through carrying our
responsibilities, based upon Islamic laws and values which organize
personal duties to regulate behaviour, a society can be established to
keep an equilibrium, where security, social peace and economic welfare are
preserved. Without these responsibilities, life turns into chaos and
anarchy, the role of justice and law disappears, and society becomes a
tyrannical one.

Islam organizes responsibility by
making every one responsible both for himself and others, therefore, a
shepherd is responsible for his flocks, a father for his children and a
governor for his subjects.

Each have their responsibilities
arranged according to their position in society as the Messenger of Allah
(s.a.w.) says:

"All are custodians and are
responsible for their charges".[3]

Imam Ali (a.s.) describes this
responsibility in his letter to Malik al-Ashtar by saying:

", extend to them your
forgiveness and pardon, in the same way as you would like Allah to extend
His forgiveness and pardon to you, because you are over them and your
responsible commander (Imam) is over you while Allah is over him w ho has
appointed you. He (Allah) has sought you to manage their affairs and has
tried you through them..."[4]

Life can not be organized without
responsibility. Imam Ali (a.s.) explains that Muslims on one hand are
responsible before those who take responsibilities, while on the other
hand, they (who take responsibilities) themselves are also responsible
before their leader (Imam) who himself is also responsible before Allah
both for the Muslims and those who take the responsibilities.

In effect, Islam makes an Islamic
state be responsible in front of Muslims, while it gives Muslims the right
to supervise and advise such a state.

Allah, the Most High says:

"And (as for) the believing men
and the believing women, they are guardians of each other; they enjoin
good and forbid evil..."

Holy Qur'an (9:71)

All these directions are made in
order to fulfil responsibility and build both state and society on an
equitable foundation of rights and du ties. Islam considers man to be
responsible fur himself, his actions as well as for others. It prompts
upon him towards reforming society and standing against all kinds of
corruption: moral, political, economic, and social...etc. It compares
society to a ship carrying its passengers in the middle of the sea and in
which all are responsible from protecting it because if something happens
to the ship, all will be drown and destroyed.

As the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)
describes such reciprocal responsibility:

"The example of him who sets the
limits of Allah and then contradicts them is like a people who were
travelling together on a ship. It happened that some of them took the
upper part, while others took the lower part of it. Those who took the
lower part, while seeking for water came near those w ho were above them.
Those who were above, told them: We will not allow you to take water
because you will hurt us. In response to their answer, those w ho below
said: We can make a hole in the bottom of the boat without hurting those
above us. In this case, if they leave them to do w hat they want, all will
perish while if they took their hand (help them) all will be
saved."[5] all will be saved..."[6]

Islam refuses and stands against the
spirit of dependence by making all responsible for the shortcomings in any
action, which has a cooperative mode of necessary obligations. So, in
fulfilling necessary obligation, there is a cooperative duty for which one
is not directly responsible for actions performed by others but which all
have some responsibility and will be questioned for it. Therefore, it is
not permitted for individuals to depend upon others to carry out tasks and
actions which have a cooperative nature, like bidding for what is right
and forbidding what is wrong.

For instance, if it so happens that
some apologize and excuse themselves for being unable to perform certain
functions and stand against corruption and crime, in that case,
responsibility will be directed at those who sit and withdraw themselves,
neglecting their cooperative duty and not participating in safeguarding
Islam as a belief and as a right path for life.

Islam educates man through connecting
him with Allah, the Creator of this existence in order to make him feel
self-responsible and raise within himself the power of inner consciousness
and sensibility.

Allah, the Most High says:

"Nay! I swear by the Day of
Resurrection! Nay! I swear by the Self-Accusing self!"

Holy Qur'an (75: 1-2)

Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) is also
reported to have said:

"Judge yourselves before being
judged by others".[6]

"No foot of a servant (of Allah)
(on the Resurrection Day) will move before being asked about four things:
his years (age) and how he spent them, his youth and how he worn it out,
his wealth and how he earned it and on what he spend it and about his love
towards us, the Ahlul-Bait (the Prophet's Household) ".[7]

Praise be to Allah, Lord
of the worlds.

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1- Allah, the Almighty created man
who possesses will and choice and his guidance or his deviation is made
accordingly to their use. Whoever chooses the way of deviation, is misled.
Whoever chooses the way of guidance, is led towards it. Therefore, divine
guidance and deviation mentioned in this verse is but the punishment or
reward adjusted to accord with to man's choice.

2- Narrated by Imam al-Kadhim, in
al-Wasa'il al-Shi'a, Amili, vol. 11, p.377

3- Bukhari, Sahih
al-Muslim, vol. 2, p.6.

4- Imam Ali (a.s.), Nahj al-Balaghah, compiled
by Dr. Subhi Salih, p.426.

5- Sunnan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Fitan, vol.
4, p.470, Hadith No. 2173.

6- Amili, al-Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol. 11,

7- Sayuti, Ihya' al-Mayyit, Hadith No. 44.

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