Social responsibility in Islam is understood to mean that the individual members of society work together to fulfill the general needs of society as well as the individual needs of its members and that they work together to protect society from harm. Each member of society is aware not only that he has rights, but also that that he has responsibilities towards others, especially those who are incapable of fulfilling their own needs. These responsibilities entail providing for the needs of these people as well as protecting them from harm. The Scope of Social Responsibility in Islam Muslim society is one that applies the belief system and laws of Islam, as well as the methodology, value system, and codes of behavior that Islam espouses. These are all articulated by the Qur’an and Sunnah and exemplified by the Prophet (peace be upon him), his Companions, and the Rightly Guided Caliphs.
When society adheres to these principles and values, social responsibility becomes a tangible reality, every aspect of which is fulfilled.
This is because Islam pays careful attention to society-building, providing a number of texts and legal injunctions to bring about the society described by Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) when he said: “The believers, in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other, are like a single body; if one limb feels pain, the whole body becomes feverish and restless.”
Therefore, social responsibility in Islam is not based on material interests, even if such interests form an integral part of it. It extends far beyond such concerns to embrace all the needs of society and its members, whether they are material in nature, spiritual, intellectual, or otherwise.
In this way, all the fundamental rights of both the individual and society at large are attended to.
Likewise, social responsibility in Islam is not only with regard to other Muslims; it extends to all of humanity, irrespective of their different beliefs and ways of life. Allah says:
“Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you because of your religion nor drove you out of your homes. Verily Allah loves those who deal justly.”
This mutual responsibility exists because of the honor and dignity of every human being. Allah says:
“And indeed We have honored the descendants of Adam and carried them on land and sea, and We have provided them with all the good things and have preferred them over much of what We have created.”
The Domain of Social Responsibility in Islam
Islam considers social responsibility to be one of its fundamental objectives. It extends to all of humanity, believers and disbelievers alike. Allah says:
“O mankind. We have created you from a male and female and made you nations and tribes so you could come to know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah are the most righteous.”
Social responsibility encompasses everyone by degrees. It starts with the Muslim and his personal sphere of life, extends to his family, then to the society that he lives in, and finally to all the diverse societies that exist on Earth.
RESPONSIBLITY TO ONESELF:
Every person is responsible for himself. He is responsible to keep himself pure, cultivate good manners, reform his faults, do good, and refrain from evil. Allah says:
“By the soul and Him who perfected its proportions; then He showed him what is wrong for him and what is right. Indeed, he who purifies himself succeeds. And indeed, he who corrupts himself fails.”
Likewise, he is responsible to protect himself and to maintain his health. He must provide for himself in a lawful manner. Allah says:
“Seek, with what Allah has bestowed upon you, the Hereafter, and do not forget your share of this world; and do good as Allah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allah does not like the mischief makers.”
A person is forbidden to kill himself, weaken himself, or inflict pain upon himself. Allah has prohibited suicide by saying:
And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever kills himself with an iron blade will continually thrust it into his stomach for eternity in the fire of Hell.”
Likewise, it is prohibited for a person to take things that harm his health or impair his ability to think. Preserving life, reason, and property are among the most important objectives of Islamic Law.
Allah says regarding intoxicants:
“O you who believe, wine, gambling, idolatry, and divination are all an abomination of Satan’s handiwork, so avoid them that perhaps you might be successful. Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with wine and gambling and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you not, then, abstain?”