Signs of Allah’s Honor to Man
Respecting Freedom of Individual
Islam forbids the enslavement of the free people and it instituted efforts towards the freeing of salves. As an institution, slavery represented a vast economic power at the advent of Islam.
Islam introduced a system to put an end to slavery by narrowing down the doors of enslaving and widening the gates of liberation.
Islam, meanwhile, enjoins kindness to slaves while waiting for their emancipation.
Respecting Freedom of Possession and Disposal of Wealth
So long as this is within the bounds of Shari'a (Islamic law), it is enjoined for the common good of all.
Respecting Freedom of Opinion
This is done to avoid forcing anyone to embrace Islam against his own free will and to give him the opportunity to voice out his opinion through whomsoever he chooses to represent him. In judicial issues and the processes involved, he should be encouraged to do that while enjoining good, and eschewing the undesirable acts in a noble way which does not stir unrest nor escalate a problem.
Respecting Human Intellect
This is practiced with the aim of urging the human beings to put their intellect to use to benefit from the universe, which has been dispensed to them in order to strengthen their faith, to make their life conditions comfortable, and to rebuke blind imitation which is devoid of thought. There are many references in the Qur’ān to intellect. Likewise, providing evidence and substantiating claims are also mentioned numerous times:
“Say, ‘Produce your evidence, if you are telling the truth.” (Qur’ān, 2:111)
What is not witnessed by the five senses or sound intellect is not acceptable, nor is any proof based on assumed premises which are not based on clear-cut proofs.
Allah the Most High says,
“Do not follow blindly what you do not know to be true; ears, eyes, and hearts will all be questioned about.” (Qur’ān, 17:36)
He also says,
“They have no knowledge to base this on. They merely follow guesswork and guesswork is of no value against the Truth.” (Qur’ān, 53:28)
Again, He says,
“When it is said to them, ‘Come to what Allah has sent down, and to the Messenger,’ they say, ‘What we inherited from our forefathers is good enough for us,’ even though their forefathers knew nothing and were not guided.” (Qur’ān, 5:104)
Equality among People
This is demonstrated in the form of rights and obligations, since all people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust. Allah indicates to people that He weighs them not by their parentage, lineage, descent or rank in life, but by the image their hearts reflect, as stated in the Glorious Qur’ān:
“People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another. In Allah’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him.” (Qur’ān, 49:13)
In this connection, racial, linguistic, color, and other differences should not be taken as a basis for any discrimination. In this way, Islam has prohibited the Muslim from harming, in any possible way, those who have not embraced Islam, as long as they are peaceful. On the contrary, Islam permits interaction with them, and enjoins faithfulness and sincerity towards them.
Allah the Most High says,
“Allah does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith or driven you out of your homes. Allah loves the just.”
It is recorded in the prophetic hadith: “Indeed, whomsoever oppresses anyone of the People of the Book or despises him, or burdens him beyond his scope or take anything from him unwillingly, I will dispute against him on the Day of Resurrection.”
Allah the Most High says in connection with equity before the law:
“You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to Allah, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, Allah can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly. If you distort or neglect justice, Allah is fully aware of what you do.” (Qur’ān, 4:135)
The position of the Prophet, peace be upon him, on implementing the legal punishment of theft on a woman of a noble family is well known, as is his refusal to accept intercession for her. He swore that nobody would escape from the law, even if the accused were Fatimah, his own daughter. (Hadith by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim)
What did Islam do to save the human mind, soul and property?
People get accustomed to deeming that acts of worship are closer to the affairs of the unseen than to the circle of logic. Nevertheless, I do not think so. I am not called to prayers by drum beats or alarm tunes, but by the voice of my mind! When I finish my prayers, I will only be rewarded for what I have comprehended and reasoned therefrom.
The religion I embraced was based on a mental miracle that tells me that Allah is One in the earth and the heavens because:
“If there had been in the heavens or earth any gods but Him, both the heavens and earth would be in ruins: Allah, Lord of the Throne, is far above the things they say.” (21: 22)
The Qur’ān abounds with hundreds of verses that speak about the mind, its functions, and the correct methods for it to draw inferences and to be free from the illusions and uncertainties!
In one of my papers, I have counted sixteen verses that praise ‘people endowed with intellects’ and consider them the real people! Is a human being anything without mind?
For this reason, Islam stresses the need to refine the mind, enlarge its horizons and increase its brilliance with the types of sciences and experiences. The mental ages of people may diminish or increase according to the benefit they get from experience and learning.
In reality, nations may achieve progress or get retardation by their respective amount of science and their ability to turn it into a fruitful civilization. The right mind is the one that is capable of understanding the signs of Allah in the universe as well as His verses in the Qur’ān. As for mental retardation, it is a curtain that falls on the foresight and the eyes so that they do not unearth a secret or support an element of truth. Allah the Almighty says,
“Have these people not travelled through the land with hearts to understand and ears to hear? It is not people’s eyes that are blind, but the hearts set within their breasts.” (22: 46)
The mentally-retarded nations are like children who have not reached puberty in that they are placed in the custody of the adults until they become fully mature! The backward nations might naturally have hated this degrading status! However, it is Allah's universal norms that impose themselves, willingly or unwillingly for us.
Having seen some worshippers who, despite being of tall stature, are of short-sight, I felt disappointed because those worshipers brought disgrace upon their religion; and they perhaps harmed it while they had wanted to benefit it. In acting with such behavior, they are like the silly bear which killed its owner while it wanted to remove a fly away from him.
The mind is being refined during the successive stages of study. It is also refined by maintaining the integrity of the senses, and the well-being of the body. It can be preserved by showing contempt to alcohol, drugs and intoxicants that undermine one’s consciousness and dignity. It is first and foremost preserved by seeking guidance and deriving light from Allah!
In this respect, the Qur’ān and the Sunnah abound with many instructions that are too long to be mentioned here.
Leaving the preservation of the mind aside, let’s move to the preservation of the soul. Respect for all humanity seems to be presented in the respect for the individual soul. Allah says,
“On that account, We decreed to the Children of Israel that if anyone kills a person – unless in retribution for murder or spreading corruption in the land – it is as if he killed all humankind; meanwhile, if anyone saves a life it is as if he saved the lives of all humankind. Our messengers came to them with clear signs, but many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” (5: 32)
Islam came to make the human soul holier than the honorable Kaaba and the holy months. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “Allah has made your blood, i.e. soul, your property and your honor as sacred as this day of yours in this town of yours, in this month of yours”. He then said, “Have I conveyed Allah's Message?” The people answered him saying, “Yes, you have indeed.” The Prophet added, “Woe on you! Do not revert to disbelief by your cutting the necks of each other.”
Abdullah ibn Omar looked at the Kaaba and said, “How honorable is you! How delectable is your smell! How great and sacred is your sanctity! Nevertheless, the believer’s sanctity is greater than yours in the sight of Allah. His blood, property and honor are sacred!
Belief requires that a believer must not be a source of frightening or intimidation to others. One of the all-encompassing statements of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, is that “faith prevents assassination. A believer should not assassinate”. Like shackles that tie one’s hands so that he cannot harm others, faith keeps a believer so shackled that he would not assault others. A believer is so honorable that he does not hurt others.
Some of the Prophetic ḥadīths stress that “killing a believer is more grievous before Allah than the extinction of the whole world” and that “if the inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth all took part in shedding the blood of a believer, Allah would cast them all in the Hell Fire.”
Islam considers that preserving life necessitates that one should take care of one's health, promote causes of one’s well-being, and care for one’s senses, body and body parts. A body capable of performing its duties and fulfilling its various responsibilities is one of the greatest blessings!
One of the prayers of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is “O Allah! Let us enjoy our hearing, our sight and our power as long as You keep us alive and make this also to our heirs”. This supplication shows that the Prophet prays to Allah for keeping these faculties, namely hearing, sight, and power, intact as long as our souls remain in our bodies. He also prays that our children inherit us after we die and not the other way round. He does not like that these faculties collapse while we are still alive.
Part of preserving life is to prevent diseases, and take medicine. Once the Caliph Omar refused to travel to a plague-infected land, some people said to him, “Do you try to escape Allah's destiny?” He said, “We escape from the destiny of a certain place to that of another place”!
The Emir of the Believers, Omar, was inflicted with a year of drought. The statement of Omar was utilized by a religiously well-versed man who derived from it a maxim to the effect that ‘the real man is the one who partially overcomes Allah's destiny by choosing another destiny of Allah’.
Allah paves the way for man who, in turn, should proceed, not retreat. This is the meaning of Allah's saying about Dhu ’l-Qarnayn (the two-horned king),
“Surely, We established him in the earth, and We brought him means to accomplish everything. So, he followed up another means.” (18: 84 – 85)
The soul is an invaluable asset, and has been honored by Islam which has never humiliated it. Rather, it has cherished and upheld it so as to accomplish its mission in life.
Property, which comes after the soul, is the essence of private and public life. No one can dispense without money to feed, dress, and sustain their children and to maintain their dignity. No nation can give up money if it wishes to protect its entity, manage its interests, and keep its sovereignty.
Therefore, we have been ordered to acquire and develop money, and not to make it in the hands of the foolish who do not spend it wisely or benefit from it. Allah says,
“Do not entrust your property to the feeble-minded. Allah has made it a means of support for you.” (4: 5)
Given the special and general effects of money, its owner is asked by Islam to protect it from being extorted by usurpers through various means, including sacrificing his blood for it!
Al-Nasāˀiy reported that Mukhariq ibn Sālim Al-Shaybāniy, a companion, had said: “A man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and said, “ O messenger of Allah, suppose that a man comes to me and wants to take my property, what should I do?” The Prophet answered, “Remind him of Allah.” He said, “What if he pays no heed?” He said, “Seek the help of the Muslims around you against him.” He said, “What if there are no Muslims around me?” He said, “Seek the help of the ruler against him.” He said, “What if the ruler is far away from me?” He said, “Fight to defend your property until you either become one of the martyrs of the Hereafter, or you protect your property.”
Imam Muslim narrated in his authentic book of ḥadīths a similar ḥadīth that confirms this meaning, and judges that those who were killed as a result of trying to protect their property from usurpers are martyrs!!
The reason why we have mentioned this Prophetic ḥadīth is to make Muslims highly appreciate their money and property and know the necessity of fighting to defend it. Do you think that the Legislator ordains to fiercely defending anything trivial? No, no. But for the paramount importance of money in private and public life, fighting for defending it would not have been prescribed.
Earning and defending money means to find and develop its sources. Are the sources of money anything other than actively working through the earth, seeking Allah’s bounty, exploiting its surface, utilizing its subterranean depth, and searching land and sea looking for the provision of Allah deposited therein?
The truth is that money is a terrible weapon that cannot be praised or blamed for its own sake! Nevertheless, it is praiseworthy in the hands of a brave person who defends his rights; and it is blameworthy in the hands of an oppressor who attacks others!! Based on the way it is used, money is a means to heaven or to hellfire. Allah says,
“As for the one who gives, who is mindful of Allah, who testifies to goodness, We shall smooth his way towards ease.) But as for the one who is miserly, who is self-satisfied, who denies goodness, We shall smooth his way towards hardship and his wealth will not help him as he falls.” (92: 5 – 11)
Having seen money being used by the wicked to back debauchery and corruption, some ignorant persons developed a feeling of hatred for money and began to compose long poems satirizing money and praising renouncing it! As a result, some common people maintained the illusion that money is evil in every hand, and that renouncing it is an asset!!
Renouncing money means to be away from means and sources of its acquisition. This has become a mob ideology that spread among the masses. Consequently, Muslims have been observed over some centuries as incapable of mining metals from the ground, or mastering any of the industries of peace or war!
Surprisingly, they used to consider severity as powerful, and the lack of property in this world as enrichment in the Hereafter. They recorded in some books of the Sunnah and mysticism that a patient poor person is better than a grateful rich one!
This ignorance with which the sources of religious culture abound has given rise to an overall collapse of the Muslim world due to the inactivity and idleness of its religious and civil talents. Even the well-off countries managed to develop their resources only through the efforts of some foreigners who helped them get to their riches and extract their treasures!!
Muslims have had their heads shroud in the clouds. If we want to live, we should tear down these clouds and chase the mob that have imposed themselves on the religious culture, despite the fact that they are not fit enough for any religious or worldly affairs.
 Shaikh ‛Aṭiya Ṣaqr, Former Chairman of Al-Azhar Fatwa Committee, “Understanding Islam”, Al-Azhar Center for Translation (ACT), 2017, p. 90.
 Muḩammad El-Ghazāli, “A Hundred Questions on Islam”, Al-Azhar Center for Translation (ACT), 2017, p. 110.