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Human Dignity in Islam

  • Date Submitted: 05/02/2012 01:01 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 49.6 
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Mohammad Hashim Kamali

Human Dignity in Islam*
This article explores human dignity through a reading of the Qur‟an and hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), the two most authoritative and widely venerated sources of Islam. It is presented in four sections, beginning with a review of the textual evidence on human dignity, to be followed by a similar review of God-man relationship, then also a discussion as to how the Qur‟an guides and depicts as to how the humans should relate to one another while observant of each other‟s dignity. The discussion proceeds to examine the juristic positions of the leading schools of Islamic law on the subject, and ends with a conclusion that underscores the effects of these guidelines on the realities of Muslim life. I begin, however, with a note on the meaning of dignity and its implications on basic rights and duties, the two major components of justice in the Islamic tradition that evidently serve to provide a more substantive basis of commitment to human dignity. To discriminate against a person in terms of race and religion, before the law and before the courts of justice naturally compromises the human dignity of its victim. Dignity would similarly have little meaning when a person is subjected to acts of oppression and injustice without cause or when deprived of due process of justice. Dignity is a composite concept that can embrace a variety of objective values and those which may be relative and subjective in the context of particular legal and cultural traditions. The values that dignity subsumes are also liable to change with new developments in science and technology as well as the mobility and interaction of peoples and cultures. Broadly speaking, from a legal perspective, human dignity connotes inviolability of the human person, recognition of a set of rights and obligations and guarantee of safe conduct by others, including the society and state. It has also implications on a global scale as to whether the world...

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