Duties of man

Duties of man

Duties, which are imposed on human beings, are wide ranging and are of different types, but the most important of them are the following three:

1. Duties of man to God and Prophet

2. Duties of man with regard to himself

3. Duties of man with regard to others.
Duties of man to God and Prophet

Man is logically and according to the law of religion duty-bound to recognize the creator of the universe and his giver of bounties. He thanks Him, worships Him and fulfills the duties He has imposed on him. He recognizes the true prophets, listens to the messages of God and gains through their guidance. Obedience of God and Prophet is in the interest of man only, because it secures for him the success of the world and the hereafter.

Quran says:

يَأَيُّهَا النّاسُ اعْبُدُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِى خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ‏

“O men! serve your Lord Who created you and those before you so that you may guard (against evil).” (2:21)


يَآ أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَلَا تُبْطِلُواْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ‏

“O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle, and do not make your deeds of no effect.” (47:33)


يَأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِى الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ فَإِن تَنَزَعْتُمْ فِى شَىْ‏ءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمِ الْأَخِرِ ذَ لِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً

“O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Apostle, if you believe in Allah and the last day; this is better and very good in the end.” (4:59)

Duties of man with regard to himself

The dearest and the most valuable thing for man is his own self. It is necessary for man to before everything else, be concerned about his own self; that is: he should know what type of a being he is, from where has he come and where he is at present and what is his final destination? What are the causes of perfection and decadence?

Man should recognize his status in the world and be aware of his duties. It is necessary that he must think upon carefully where his real success and well being lies? What are the factors of his misfortune and failures? From where should he take the program of his life and how he should delineate his path?

If man thinks upon all this with full concentration and organizes the program of his life properly, he would make himself successful. If not, he has oppressed himself and cast his valuable self into destruction and what can be a greater loss than this?

The Holy Quran says:

يَآ أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ‏

“O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah, and let every soul consider what it has sent on for the morrow, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Aware of what you do.” (59:18)


قُلِ‏اللَّهَ أَعْبُدُ مُخْلِصاً لَّهُ دِينِى‏ * فَاعْبُدُواْ مَا شِئْتُم مِّن دُونِهِ قُلْ إِنَّ الْخَاسِرِينَ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَ أَهْلِيهِمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَلَا ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ

“Say: Allah (it is Whom) I serve, being sincere to Him in my obedience: Serve then what you like besides Him. Say: The losers surely are those who shall have lost themselves and their families on the day of resurrection; now surely that is the clear loss.” (39:14-15)


وَاتَّقُواْ يَوْماً تُرْجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى‏ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّى‏ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَا كَسَبَتْ وَ هُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ‏

“And guard yourselves against a day in which you shall be returned to Allah; then every soul shall be paid back in full what it has earned and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.” (2:281)


يَآ أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ قُواْ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَاراً وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَ الْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلاَئِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَّا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَآ أَمَرَهُمْ وَ يَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ‏

“O you who believe! save yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is men and stones; over it are angels stern and strong, they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded.” (66:6)


Imam Sajjad (a) said: The right of your self against you is that you employ it in obeying God; then you deliver to your tongue its right, to your hearing its right, to your sight its right, to your hand its right, to your leg its right, to your stomach its right, to your private part its right, and you seek help from God in all that.[107]

Amirul Momineen (a) said: Self is a valuable gem, one who guards it, his rank is exalted and one who considers it unimportant, it takes him to baseness.[108]

He also said: One who has recognized his self; he does not drag it to baseness to the matters, which are destructive.[109]
Duties of man with regard to others

Man lives in society and is needful of the help and support of others. Human beings are compelled to live together and to cooperate with each other in social matters. Each of them has taken over social responsibilities. Human beings should observe the rules and regulations of the society, so that they may have a happy and comfortable life. Morals and social rights have also been framed and compiled in this regard.

Religion of Islam has paid full attention to social morals and has fixed upon each member of the society, mutual rights and advised and emphasized much on their observance.

Individual members of the society, who live in it, are having responsibilities; parents have responsibilities with regard to children and children have with regard to parents; husband and wife, brother and sister, neighbor with regard to his neighbor, teacher and student, scholar and ignorant, healthy and ill, ruler and subjects, officials and laymen, government officials and soldiers, old and young, Muslim youths to Muslims, Muslims with regard to People of the Book and disbelievers; all have mutual responsibilities.[110]

Although responsibilities of man are not fully clarified or limited as above; on the contrary, man is having responsibilities with regard to animals, trees, rivers, atmosphere, environment, earth, mines and forests.

[107] Tohafful Uqool, Pg. 262
[108] Ghurarul Hikam, Pg. 227
[109] Ghurarul Hikam, Pg. 627
[110] Details of all the duties of man cannot be mentioned in this brief chapter; those who are interested may refer to the Holy Quran, books of commentary, traditions and ethics.