ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT TO SERVE HUMANITY
Syed E. Hasan, Ph.D., Islamic Research Foundation International: Islam is also described as a natural religion, meaning that it is compatible with human nature.
Allah has created everything, including human beings to obey him and seek his pleasure. Service to humanity is emphasized over and over again in the Quran, and Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) reminded his followers to observe it all the time.
According to a Hadith, anyone who has hurt a human being will have to seek forgiveness from the individual first before he can expect to be forgiven by Allah. This principle has become deeply entrenched in Muslims’ way of life, and it is customary among Muslims to ask forgiveness from people before proceeding on the journey to perform hajj. This tradition reinforces the notion that service to humanity is an absolute requirement for pleasing Allah.
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Humans are Allah’s trustee on the Earth. This trust requires Muslims to care for human life and avoid any action that might harm people, other living beings or the environment.
Verse 56, Chapter 7 of the Quran states: “Nor shall you spread corruption in the Earth after it has been set aright.” Most Islamic scholars consider this verse to be a divine injunction requiring human beings to protect the Earth and not do anything that will destroy the unique ecological balance that allows all kinds of life to flourish.
DIVINE PRESENCE IN THE INDIVIDUAL SOUL
A.M. Bhattacharyya, an active member of the Hindu community: One of the principal tenets of the Hindu belief system is the identity of atman (individual soul) and Brahman (impersonal God). The scriptures of Upanishads have revealed this identity in many wonderful expressions. So, a service to humanity is indeed a service to God.
The popular Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita has explained the true nature of the individual soul, the nature of Brahman and how the identity between the two can be realized in one’s life. By realizing this identity, one comes closest to God and offers him the highest service.
Bhagavad Gita says the atman-Brahman identity is experienced by one who attains the highest spiritual vision by being a yogi (seer) through the practices of yogas (spiritual disciplines) lucidly described in the scripture.
A spiritual aspirant takes the first step to perform all actions and duties to the society in a spirit of service without expecting any material gain. Any humanitarian service without selfish motives performed as a worship of God purifies one’s heart and makes oneself a karma yogi (a follower of the path of action).
With pure heart, tranquil mind and dispassionate spirit, the aspirant follows other paths of yogas, namely, knowledge, devotion and/or meditation to attain the highest spiritual illumination. Having attained the awareness of atman-Brahman identity, a yogi perceives divine presence in all beings and continues to live an enlightened life dedicated to the welfare of all.