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Human Dignity is Inviolable!

“We do not bow to this mundane world, Our trust and reliance are in Allah.” – Bâkî

“Allah has made man a dignified, honorable, respectable, and noble being,” says the Almighty in His sacred book. It is incumbent upon humans to protect this dignity, honor, respect, and nobility bestowed upon them by God, even at the cost of their lives.

I understand the insensitivity of the Middle Eastern people, particularly those molded in Turkey, towards understanding, interpreting, and protecting human dignity, even if they are from conservative families and religious backgrounds. No matter what religion and religious values say, the indoctrination power of the state has enslaved many people’s beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors. In Turkish, there is a saying, “As seen in Figure A!”

Look at Figure A, the current state of Turkey. How can we not see people selling their honor for worldly gains? But not everyone is like this. Nor should they be.

You might ask what lies at the core of my understanding. Let me quote the first three articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey:

“Article 1 – Turkey is a Republic.

Article 2 – The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular, and social state governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk, and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the preamble.

Article 3 – The Turkish state, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity. Its language is Turkish. Its flag, described in the relevant law, is composed of a white crescent and a star on a red background.”

Now, let me quote the first three articles of the German constitution:

“Article 1 – Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.

Article 2 – Accordingly, the German people acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world.

Article 3 – The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary as directly applicable law.”

That’s it! Despite our religious values, the relentless propaganda power of the state, from kindergarten to the grave, has made us prioritize the state, making us forget our own selves, including our honor, dignity, and individuality. But as I mentioned earlier, not everyone is like this. Nor should they be.

Yes, we must always protect human dignity. At the same time, we should show the same sensitivity in protecting the honor and dignity of others. We should not insult anyone. We should avoid making excessive statements. We should not speak without thinking.

No matter how young the person we are addressing, we should not forget that they are human. We should not consider ourselves superior just because of our administrative position.

Those in power should not continue their habitual practices just because they have not been objected to for such reasons until now. If they do not value their own honor, they should not act carelessly, forgetting that others might not think the same way.

Dignity is the most important factor that reminds a person of their humanity. Nothing else can replace it. A human is a human. As İbrahim Sayar says in one of his poems, “Human is the essence of humanity.”

Humans are not property, nor are they possessions. Remove dignity from human life, and what remains is nothing but a pile of flesh and bones. In fact, the post-modern world commodifies humans. Racism, terrorism, discrimination, colonialism, torture, cruelty, and injustices – even technology and technical advancements – accelerate the commodification of humans. If we, as humans, do not act sensitively to protect our dignity, we contribute to this acceleration. Therefore, we need to hit the brakes and remind ourselves of our humanity above all.

Let me approach the matter from another angle.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “People are like the teeth of a comb.” He added, “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab.” And he concluded with a very striking sentence: “The most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.”

The sense of responsibility is manifested in one’s words and actions. That’s why we are obliged to take utmost care in our words and actions in human relations.

Look at our holy book, the Qur’an… “Allah has indeed heard the words of the woman who pleads with you concerning her husband.” This is stated in the first verse of the chapter of Mujadila.

The Qur’an points out the mistake of turning away from a blind man seeking the Prophet’s attention while he is busy pleasing the nobles of Mecca. “Do not give to the needy with reluctance and a scornful face,” the Qur’an advises.

What’s common in these events?

Put yourself in the place of that woman, that blind man, and those needy people, and then read these verses. What would you think? I would say; Allah protected our dignity, honor, respect, and nobility. It is the value we give to our own honor that trivializes it.

Enough said. Many have been killed by a few words in human history. If you ask who dies, it depends on the nature of the words and to whom they are addressed. Either the speaker dies, or the spoken to.

My final word; whether man or woman, child or adult, Muslim or Christian, Arab or Turk, blacksmith or coalman, whoever speaks words that injure human dignity is dishonorable.

Let this be sufficient for those who understand…

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Dr. Ahmet Kurucan is a an author and scholar focusing on Islamic Studies and Law.


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