Ethics In Islam

Sense Of Duty


            Allaah Almighty has created many kinds of creatures in this museum of the universe. He adorned His creatures with numerous qualities, faculties, feelings, wisdom and various attributes and then sent them to this world. If we consider the existing things of the world we will find that from a particle to mountain, from a mother or ant to an elephant or ostrich, and the living beings, are all different among themselves so far as their feelings, temperament, understanding and faculties, possessing consequential qualities and attributes. The possession of more or less qualities and attributes of understanding, determination and feelings among them, forms the basis for increase and decrease in their responsibility and status. The creature which possesses less feeling and understanding and of lower degree, has also proportionately less responsibility and duty. The creature which has more feelings and understanding is assigned with more responsibility and duty and for that matter he has also a high rank.

            Look at the particles of earth! Those are devoid of all kinds of feelings and understanding. Consequently, those are free from all responsibility or duty. Have a look at vegetation! We find in their growth and development a condition of unintentional feeling. For that reason, with their generation and growth is attached some responsibility or duty based on certain demands of autumn. In animals, we find also the will power working along with the feelings. As such, the animals are entrusted greater responsibility or duty vis-à-vis the particle of earth and vegetation. This phenomenon we observe daily from morn till night.

            But the cause of man is different from all others. When we examine his undertaking and feelings, we see that he has been bestowed with these attributes in perfect order. His will power is also perfect. The result of this perfection in qualities is his complete confinement in responsibilities. He has been bound by obligations, duties and undertakings with no chances of escape. Consequently, his status among all other beings and creations is highest. Man is known as the best of all creatures because of his wisdom, understanding, and other faculties, which in other beings is either much less or not available at all.

            The responsibilities and duties of man increase and decrease in proportion to the increase and decrease in his strength, age, wisdom, understanding etc. An infant has not been made responsible for anything. The Creator has taken on Himself all his responsibilities and fulfills it with the grand surety of;

"We shall provide sustenance for them" (S. 17: 31).

The relative responsibilities He fulfills through the parents and guardians of the infant.

            When this infant arrives at the age of discretion, his strength, feelings and other faculties develop a little and with this increase in age, these qualities also increase. And so the responsibility, with which the infant was so long free, are now entrusted to him. These responsibilities go on increasing in proportion to the development of human faculties. A time comes when the infant is assigned with full fledged duties and responsibilities and then he grows into a man, like others in society. The increase in responsibilities and obligations also increase the preoccupations of man on one hand and raise his status among all other creations rehabilitating the earth, sky, mountains and plains, on the other, through the increase in feelings, sense of responsibility etc. Allaah Almighty says in the Qur'aan.

"We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the mountains;
but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof; but man undertook it;-"
(S. 33: 72).

            The word 'Trust' in the above quoted verse of the Qur'aan has a very wide meaning, and in it the translators and commentators have also included 'sense of responsibility' and obedience to the Commands of Allaah. The second name of the 'sense of responsibility' is the 'sense of duty' - i.e., man's undertaking given to Allaah in Eternity to fulfill and understand all duties entrusted to him, at all times, on all occasions and at all places. This undertaking has been described by Hazrat Muhammad (Sal-lal-laa-hu 'alai-hi wa aa-li-hi wa-sal-lam) in the following words:

"Every one of you is a protector and responsible, and every one of you has to answer for his responsibility."

            This saying of the Prophet clearly means that man has not come to this world simply as a spectator of the events on the theatre of the world but has come as a symbol of character, and brought with him a practical life in this world. During his sojourn here, he has to fulfill his responsibilities and undertakings given to Allaah in Eternity, so that when he is presented before his Creator and Master on Doomsday, his head should not be bowed down with shame and regret. Instead, he should go fully adorned with Divine pleasure, consent, blessings and peace so that he may be welcomed with the words as described by the Qur'aan:

"Peace unto you for that you persevered in patience!" (S. 13: 24).

            If we look all around us and examine whether any one has some rights on us and we owe some responsibilities and duties to others, we will find the answer in affirmative. Certainly, we have many responsibilities to discharge towards which the Kind Prophet drew our attention again and again in the following words:

"Keep up fulfilling the rights of rightfuls."

            The fulfilling of the rights of others, emphatically ordained by the Prophet, depends much on the 'sense of duty.' One who realizes his duty can only discharge his responsibilities, because others rights on us are actually our duties.

            All of us, whether big or small, high or low, important or unimportant, servant or master, staff or officer, beggar or a noble commanding respect and power, poverty-stricken resident of a hut or a wealthy resident of an edifice, are charged with certain responsibilities according to the conditions of time and place concerning man's sense of duty. Discharge of these responsibilities and obligations satisfactorily at the right hour, by sincerely utilizing the God-given faculties and attributes, is the perfection of humanity and the spirit of Islam.

            When the time of worship of Allaah comes, one should leave all his business and work and engage himself in worship because it is our sacred duty, and the aim of the life of man and his loaned existence in this world. For this reason the worldly affairs of man, irrespective of their importance, have no station vis-à-vis religious affairs. Service, obedience and good treatment to parents is that sacred responsibility which ranks second to the worship of Allaah. Bringing up of children, training them and providing them first class education in religion, ethics, economics, trade; commerce; sociology; best service to creatures of Allaah, good relations and treatment with neighbours look after the people in all conditions and treatment of love with them, good behaviour with the fellow-travellers and other people, help to a patient or to an injured person etc. are a few of the important responsibilities of man. These are actually rights of others on us i.e., our duties that we owe to them.

            These acts occupy the status of most liked virtues according to the Command of Allaah and one who discharges them satisfactorily ascends the heights of humanity and attains a position among the protectors of the Trust entrusted by Allaah to man.

            The rights of neighbours occupy a very important rank among the various rights on man. If our neighbour is hungry and we are aware of it, then it is the demand of our sense of duty that we should not sit comfortably unless the neighbour is provided with food and his hunger is satisfied. Our great leader Hazrat Muhammad (Sal-lal-laa-hu 'alai-hi was al-lam) has commanded us:

"That man is not a perfect faithful who fills his belly to the full and his neighbor is hungry."

            Negligence in discharging our duties to neighbours, patients, needy people, widows etc., is a cruelty of great consequence. Such a negligent person is liable to be caught for a serious punishable crime. In a Hadees-i-Qudsi, the Kind Prophet stated that on Doomsday Allaah will enquire:

"O Son of Adam! I was ill; you did not come to enquire about my health and rendered nursing service to Me." The servant will say "How You were ill, You are the Lord of the worlds." Allaah will then say: "In your neighbourhood, My servant was ill (and you remained negligent to that fact). If you had come to his need, you would have earned My Pleasure."

            This shows that any help rendered to any one at any time and place, with a sincere 'sense of duty,' is the best means of securing the Pleasure of Allaah.

            Lack of sense of duty and responsibility and attitude of negligence towards needy persons and poor men who have no voice is cruelty and hard-heartedness of a very serious nature. We must honour our pledge given to Allaah in Eternity and discharge our duties and responsibilities according to the instructions of our great guide and Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Sal-lal-laa-hu 'alai-hi wa sal-lam). In his obedience lies the true sense of duty; and that only can lead us to our goal.

            Sense of duty is not limited to personal walks of life. The whole system of life, including the individual, social and national aspects and their needs is affected by the sense of duty both in the time of peace as well as in the time of emergency. But, in the period of war or emergency, when the existence and honour of nation and homeland is at stake, the feelings of self-respect and sense of duty impose with greater emphasis upon every individual of the country the responsibility to safeguard, protect and maintain the solidarity and honour of the mother country. A true and faithful patriot shall defend his sacred homeland, and sacrifice all his life and property in meeting the call of Jihad in the way of Allaah. He shall not hesitate to offer the pure and pious drops of his blood in obedience to the sacred religious obligations.

            In this connection, it must be remembered that the upholding of the religion of Allaah, defence of sacred, the pious homeland, and maintenance of its solidarity, fight for the freedom of our oppressed and persecuted brothers, security of internal peace and order, guarding of our border etc. are most devoted deeds, which are comparatively superior and better than other worldly deeds before Allaah. The scope of Jihad (War in the way of Allaah) is very wide. In this respect every act or service performed to meet the call of the time and place is the best means for securing the Pleasure of Allaah. To face the enemy by showing a bold front to kill the enemy, to fall a martyr etc. are such noble and honourable deeds in which not only nation feels pride but they are written in golden words. Always such warriors are a source of inspiration for the following generations. The country and people speak with pride of their heroic deeds. In Paradise, these warriors are greatly honoured by the Virgins, who offer their heart and soul for them. The blood of a martyr is acknowledged in the Court of Allaah before it falls on the ground. The martyr commands great honour before most dignified stories of Paradise. A martyr is favoured with the Pleasure and Vision of Allaah. This is a matchless reward.

            Jihad in the way of Allaah is not only the actual fight in the battlefield and killing of the enemies. Nursing, and the first aid help to the soldiers and war victims, all kinds of medical aid to wounded, giving of drinks of water, supply of foods to warriors, provision of war materials like arms, ammunition, artillery, planes, tanks etc. protection of the family, house and property of the soldiers engaged in fighting, encouraging people of mohaldahs, villages, towns and cities etc. during danger to face the situation; curbing of disruption, chaos, warfare and its sources; protection of the stores of water, food and the supply centres of electric energy, gas etc.; maintenance of peace and tranquility; obedience to ordinances promulgated during emergency period; training of people in civil defence, and following the orders of civil defence authorities and persuading others to follow; guarding through day and night the life, property, honour etc. of the citizens and other similar deeds of public service also come under Jihad in the Way of Allaah. These deeds are virtuous. Whatever such duties are entrusted to anyone it is his bounded obligation to discharge them sincerely to the best of his ability and according to the laid down procedure. These acts certainly form a part of Jihad. Even one who guards the horses of the warriors, grooms them, removes their dung, cleans and sweeps their stable etc. also gets the credit of Jihad in the Way of Allaah. As such the cleaners, repairers and checkers of the war machineries also get the rank equal to those who fight the religious war in the Way of Allaah.

            Escape from the defense of the sacred land of the homeland at the time of an aggression by the enemy, avoiding of participation in Jihad in the Way of Allaah; giving up of any duty or doing of any work considering it low or mean; craving for comfort and rest instead of protecting the borders of the Islamic state; shirking of the duty of fighting with enemy for lack of spirit or disinterestedness; remaining behind in the battlefield for fear of death; fleeing from the battle field to save the life and similar other shameful acts are such serious and possible sins which cannot be forgiven by the nation. Such people are also not forgiven by Allaah and their destination will be Hell where they will be given grievous penalty. The Qur'aan states:

"If any do turn his back to them on such on day - unless it be in a stratagem of
war, or to retreat to a troop (of his own) - he draws on himself: the wrath of
Allaah, and his abode is Hell - an evil refuge (indeed)!"
(S. 8: 16).

            The Verse clearly condemns the flight from the battlefield for saving life and not as a war strategy. Such a man is the target of Allaah's wrath and is thrown in the Hell because he discourages and disheartens his fellow fighters and causes indiscipline in the rank of army. Then the warriors, instead of fighting against the satanic powers seek shelter to protect and save their lives and thus the war in the way of Allaah is turned into a war for selfishness i.e. to save one's own life. No sooner a man is entangled in this devilish conspiracy and snare, he forgets that life and death are in the hands of Allaah and it is definite and certain that death cannot lay its icy hand on any one without His consent, even if he is under constant shower of bullets, bombs, arrows etc. - he will remain safe. But if time has come to leave this world, he is not safe even in guarded palaces, on soft and comfortable cushions or even in well-guarded strong forts. Death will prevail on him without giving him a chance of escape.

            These facts very clearly impress upon man to cultivate the sense of duty if he lacks this attribute. It is the responsibility and duty of man to serve the nation and his fellow-brothers, the country and people, at every time of need whether at the time of danger or peace. He should pledge full support and help the poor, the needy and victims of oppression. Considering these human services as the means for success, he should not hesitate to offer all sacrifices to achieve the noble goal. Allaah Almighty never destroys or overlooks the good deeds of His virtuous servants but rewards them abundantly. He keeps them under His Blessing and Protection. The Qur'aan ordains man to do good deeds as Allaah loves them, in the following Verse:

"But do good, for Allaah loves those who do good." (S. 2: 195).

            Noble persons who do good deeds are a symbol of guidance and an inspiration and source of Divine Blessings for his fellow brothers and the generations which follow.

            One thing that comes out very clear from all that has been mentioned in the above lines is this, that the discharge of duties and responsibilities depends upon the fundamental feeling of the sense of duty. Without this sense man cannot even know what are his responsibilities.

            O Allaah! Favour us with the sense of duty and help us to discharge our duties and responsibilities as commanded by You and include us among Your kind and virtuous servants.






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