15 Nov Building Good Character.Part4
Human beings have been created as social beings, and as such they live in social groups and have formed civilizations. Socializing is one of our basic needs, and social life involves certain expectations between people. When these are disregarded, society breaks down and people can no longer coexist peacefully or work together. The main responsibilities in this category are the preservation of the following inalienable rights:
- Protecting the life of every individual: Every person has the right to life. No one has the right to take another person’s life. According to Islam, one who wrongfully kills a person is as guilty as if they have murdered all of humanity; likewise, one who saves one person’s life is as blessed as if they have saved all of humanity.
- Safeguarding the freedom of all people: God Almighty created every human being free and equal. At the same time, it is certain that this freedom has boundaries. We do not have the prerogative to do anything we want; if we had such freedom this would violate the freedoms of others.
- The consideration of conscience: When a person has a well- functioning conscience, this allows them to differentiate between good and bad. The value of such a conscience can be better understood if one observes outward consequences. A person who engages in incorrect behavior cannot be said to have a functioning conscience. Islam assigns great importance to having a conscience that helps one to be concerned for the happiness and guidance of all humanity.
To this end, it encourages pity towards those who have a faulty conscience, and tries to bring them to the right way. One can never try to control or rule another person’s conscience; this is the province of God alone. Each person will be rewarded or punished for what is in their conscience. However, this does not mean it is wrong to admonish or advise a person who has a bad conscience, if the idea is to help the person.
- Protecting freedom of mind: Any thought or opinion, right or wrong, must be approached in a scholarly manner. This is the only way for a truth to be discovered, and it is also the only way for society to prove the harmfulness of false ideas.
- Protecting the honor and reputation of individuals: In Islam, everyone has the right to maintain their honor and dignity. Any attack against honor or dignity, we have been taught, will be gravely punished. It is for this reason that gossip, slander, ridicule, the cursing of others and saying negative things about others are absolutely forbidden in Islam.
- The preservation of other people’s property: It is also forbidden to usurp the property or possessions of any other person. What is earned by a person belongs strictly to that person. This is essential for the development of a civilized society. It is reasonable and necessary that the individuals who make up a society will have different degrees of wealth, according to their profession and training. In a fair and equitable society all should be grateful for and satisfied with their own portion.