Home Quranet Chapter 13 What is the value of a human being?
What is the value of a human being?
Chapter 13

وَآتِ ذَا الْقُرْبَى حَقَّهُ وَالْمِسْكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَلاَ تُبَذِّرْ تَبْذِيراً (سورة الاسراء, آية 26)

And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: But squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift. (Surah 17, Verse 26)

Sharif, a fourth-grader, is the oldest child of a rich family child, whose every request is granted. One day he traveled with his father to Jerusalem to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque. Sharif loves going to Jerusalem, buying in the market and boasting to his friends about his acquisitions. After the prayers, he and his father went into the market. He was struck by the many poor people in torn clothing selling small objects at very low prices. He began to jeer at them and said to his father: "Look what they are doing?" His father replied: "My dear son, we have just been in the mosque and prayed that everyone should have money and happiness. Allah gives to some and to others he does not give. But we must respect those who are in want and not boast of our money and certainly not squander it on trifles. We must spend our money wisely as the Quran says: "And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: But squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift". That same day Sharif decided to respect the poor and help them and to stop squandering money on unimportant items.

Explanation: one of the most beautiful exhortations of the Quran refers to the value of human beings. It says that everyone is of value whether they are rich or poor and all deserve respect and help. This is the essence of the democratic approach of the Quran which preceded Western. Sharif's father is teaching him on the basis of that Quran verse and inculcating in him awareness of the value of humility. Moreover, he is also telling his son that if, in future, he should be impoverished he will still be a valuable human being. It may be hard to be poor but it is no disgrace, he says. Now Sharif understands that it is the individual who is important and not his property or wealth, that the inner essence is more important than the external trappings and that Sharif's value too will endure. What greater confidence could he give him?