The teachings of the Qur’an for building a better society
In this article we want to focus on the Quran verses that not only help to create yourself as a better individual, but shape our interactions with others. Whether we live in the middle of a majority Muslim society or in the West, these Quran verses set-up the methods, purposes, and broader goals of human interaction.
The first verse comes from the beginning of the fifth surah, Al-Ma’idah, and here Allah says:
O the believer, fulfill [all] contracts. (5:1)
The word contract in Arabic (a’qd), refers to every binding relationship created between human beings and not simply commercial transactions. It includes commercial transactions but it is not the only meaning. As Muslims, when we make a promise, we have to follow through with it, no matter how small it may seem to me.
When you promise to help your younger brother/sister with their homework or to help a colleague at work that is a binding which have a spiritual value.
Fulfilling these obligations means that we are responding to the commands of Allah and in process becoming better Muslims.
Although this is a personal commitment, the fulfillment of the promises that we make to others helps building trust within broader society.
Trust brings up friendships and relationships with those who are around us. Trust also make the nature of the Muslim community better. And also improve the overall image of Islam for others seeking to learn more about the Iman.
Learning from Each Other
In Surah 49 we find the verse of Allah’s purpose behind human creation:
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you
peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (49:13)
Our differences in religion, nationality and economic status are all there for us to get to know and learn more from one another. And also for getting help from one another. No person is better than anyone, whether in the sight of Allah, except through the lens of righteousness.
When you see a successful man, look to their achievements as an example to learn from. Try to see how they approach the world and think about issues and adapt your viewpoint accordingly but be careful. The verse does not command us to emulate others entirely. Successful person in this worldly life might be severely lacking in their spiritual life.
Rather, the verse encourages us to observe people around us. Think about what they might be getting wrong and where you could improve when it comes to your journey. At the social level, when faced with problems as a community, look at others to see how they have overcome the same issues. Avoid their missing but take from them the best aspects of their experience.
The Goal of Cooperation
The final verse brings us back to surah Al-Ma’idah and summarizes the goal of human cooperation.
Allah Says: “… And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.” (5:2)
Human interaction, whether between Muslims or non-Muslims, has a set goal: to do the right thing. Developing our societies, helping other people, and building productive and cooperative relationships are divinely ordained.
When it comes to working in our community, look for ways to set aside personal differences and focus on a better goal. In a group work, be the one that brings the group back together to focus on the project at hand.
Provide effective criticism when needed, but don’t over emphasize the faults of others.
Behind the cooperation amongst Muslims in the verse is a personal fear of Allah. What we do together here will have a direct result in the hereafter Life.
The fear of Allah therefore adds the additional element of perseverance. Working together with a group of various people can be difficult. And differences of opinion can easily break a group apart from the right path. Before you jump headfirst into conflict, keep mindful of the presence of Allah in your interactions.
In conclusion, the Quran acts as a blueprint for All Muslim not only in our personal lives, but also in the ways that we interact with others.
Through honesty, learning from the success (and sometimes from failures) of others, we can become not only better individuals but become constructive members of our society. Also reflecting positively on our community and our faith.