Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Our Values and Guiding Principles

Our Values and Guiding Principles

There are a number of basic principles and moral values that govern our dealings with other nations. These were set forth fourteen centuries ago by the messenger of Islam, Muhammad. This was before human rights organizations existed and before there was a United Nations with its international charters.

Let us look at some of these:

1. The human being is inherently a sacred creation. It is forbidden to transgress against any human being, irrespective of color, ethnicity, or religion. The Qur'ân says: "We have honored the descendants of Adam." [17:70]

2. It is forbidden to kill a human soul unjustly. Killing a single person is to God as heinous as killing all of humanity, just as saving a single person from death is as weighty as saving the lives of all humanity. The Qur'ân says: "If anyone killed a person except as recompense for murder or spreading havoc in the land, then it would be as if he killed all of humanity. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the lives of all humanity." [5:32]

3. It is forbidden to impose a religious faith upon a person. The Qur'ân says: "There is no compulsion in religion." [2:256] A person will not even be considered a Muslim if he or she accepted Islam under duress.

4. The message of Islam asserts that human relationships must be established on the highest moral standards. Muhammad said: "I was only sent to perfect good conduct."

The Qur'ân says: "We sent aforetime our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the scripture and the balance so the people could establish justice. And We sent down iron wherein is mighty power and many benefits for mankind." [57:25]

We read in another place in the Qur'ân: "God does not restrain you with regard to those who do not fight you on account of your faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them, for God loves those who are just." [60:8]

5. All the resources of the Earth were created for humanity. The Qur'ân addresses this when it says: "It is He who has created for you all that is on the Earth." [2:29]

These resources were only created for human beings to benefit from them within the limits of justice and for the betterment of humanity. Therefore, spoiling the environment, spreading havoc on Earth, perpetrating violence against weaker nations and fighting to wrest from them their wealth and the fruits of their prosperity, is conduct that is reviled by God. In the Qur'ân we read: "When he turns his back, his aim is to spread mischief throughout the Earth and destroy crops and cattle, but Allah does not love mischief." [2:205] and: "Do not make mischief in the Earth after it has been set in order." [7: 56]

6. Responsibility for a crime rests solely upon the perpetrator of that crime. No one may be punished for the crimes of another. The Qur'ân says: "No bearer of burdens must bear the burdens of another." [35:18]

7. Justice for all people is their inalienable right. Oppressing them is forbidden, irrespective of their religion, color, or ethnicity. The Qur'ân states: "And whenever you speak, speak justly, even if a close relative is concerned." [6: 152]

8. Dialogue and invitation must be done in the best possible manner. The Qur'ân says: "Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good preaching and argue with them in the best manner" [16:125]

We believe in these principles, as our religion commands us to. They are the teachings of Muhammad. They agree to some extent with some of the principles that the American intellectuals put forth in their paper. We see that this agreement gives us a good platform for discussion that can bring about good for all of mankind.