– What makes us human? We heard this over and over again,
“if you want to serve God, serve humanity.” Let us try
to reflect on this line of thought.
– We are born with a heart of compassion which reacts in
accordance to our feelings and our heart and mind defines how we deal with fellow humans beings. Whether you agree or not, but compassion, love,
affection, and care are the innate qualities in us that defines our humanity.
The Holy Qur’an says in Chapter 16 verse 90,
“Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing
of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and
He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion;
He admonishes you that you may be mindful.”
Based on this verse of the Holy Qur’an, Islam then put much emphasis
on serving our fellow human beings, however this service is not limited by providing
merely food and shelter to others. It is inappropriate to
think that we are serving mankind as a whole by simply spending
a huge amount in charity, where most of us think this way.
If we define the different stages of service, we may find the following:
1. service to Allah (SWT);
2. service to family;
3. service to humanity and one’s country.
Once we give our acceptance of the oneness of Allah,
we are expected to obey Him in a way that He has prescribed to us.
This is the stage where man fulfills all the mandatory acts like prayers,
Hajj, and paying of Zakat and assistance to our religious scholars.
It is the stage where man develops the bondage between himself and Allah directly.
Then we have the service to our family by providing their needs and security.
Then we have service to humanity which we may need to define further.
But the main question is, in what way should the fellow human beings be served,
so that the service could be termed as service to Allah as a whole? A religious scholar said that:
“Serving people is fine and we should serve them. But if we provide them with
food and clothes alone, we would be treating them like animals,
especially if we suppose no higher values exist for them.” Definitely, mere provision
of food and shelter does not fulfill the purpose. There has to be an
additional form of service. Every Muslim is expected to render his
duties towards the society in which he lives.
The actual service to human beings lies in treating them as human beings first.
We can fulfill our responsibility of serving mankind by educating the people,
laying more emphasis on Islamic education, arranging educational and awareness
campaigns about Islam, helping the people – especially the youth – understand
the true meaning behind the message brought by the Prophet (SAW) and his
households and descendants. We must encourage them to spread this knowledge and
we become ambassadors of our religion to our fellow human beings.
We are expected to treat our fellow beings with love and honesty,
to respect them and always be available to them whenever they are in need,
whatever may be the kind of their need.
The Prophet (SAW) has said: “Allah has made seven rights obligatory
upon a believer towards another believer:
1. To respect him
2. To love him
3. To share his property with him
4. To consider it prohibited to backbite about him
5. To visit him when he is sick
6. To escort his funeral procession
7. To say nothing but good about him after his death.”
– This I believe is what the mainstream Muslim majority believes and practices.
We have so many problems of the world alread, we must surely know how to be
part of the solution of the problems of humanity. And this is very much similar to the principle and value of the Ateneo way as “men and women for others”.