As explained in the first part of the topic, Islam has spread much more quickly compared to other religions all over the world. The traits of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) were introduced as one of the reasons. Here, the effect of the scientific and social interactions with the rest of the world throughout the Islam's history is discussed.
As an introduction, it is good to know that Islam has adopted two types of regulations; confirmed rules and established ones. The Islamic approach regarding the confirmed rules -the regulations which existed before and were conserved or revised if needed- is one of the keys to the development and permanence of Islam. And, this will be the focus of this article.
The Islamic approach to the habits and rules that were common in the pre-Islamic era was that it neither opposed them totally nor accepted them entirely. In some cases, Islam has affirmed and preserved some rules. That was when those rules or customs were not in contradiction to the social order and the living facilities of humans or in case of the righteous customs and traditions that existed before the emergence of Islam; e.g., some of the rules on making contracts.
However, some of the useful regulations required to be revised and this was accomplished by adding some conditions. On the contrary, some customs and routines were opposed and removed due to the bugs and disadvantages or because they were manipulated or misused for personal benefits; e.g., usury (Riba) .
The rules conserved by Islam, such as those about the ownership and property, are called confirmed rules. On the other hand, the rules instituted by the Islamic jurisprudence which never existed before are called established rules . This demonstrates that Islam has always been in constant interaction with the world, and the positive aspects of human societies are considered. Hence, the message of Islam and its framework have not been far from what people are familiar. This consequently has made it easier to accept Islam.
Islam has urged everyone to seek knowledge. The first verse of the Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) enjoined reading which is the key to knowledge: “Read in the Name of your Lord who created” (96:1). Literacy and having knowledge are so important in Islam that Quran equals illiteracy to being in darkness. According to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), seeking knowledge is obligatory (Wajib) for every Muslim and God loves those who seek knowledge .
Learning and seeking knowledge have been emphasized such that Muslims have been encouraged even to travel in order to learn things. Imam Ali (AS) recommended traveling to acquire privilege and named gaining knowledge as one of the achievements of traveling . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised seeking knowledge even if for that purpose one should go to the lands far away .
The Holy Quran also addresses the believers as those who are not affected by the wrong behaviors of others since they have been guided. So, the believers can peacefully learn from the positive aspects of others. Another proof of the attention paid to knowledge in Islam is that Muslims used to release the prisoners of wars who taught literacy to a certain number of Muslims. All these emphases and recommendations have urged Muslims to travel to gain knowledge. As a result, Muslims who traveled to other places and countries were practically the messengers of Islam there, which, in consequence, accelerated the spread of Islam.
The actual advances all over the world are the outcomes of the efforts that various nations and civilizations have made in the course of time, among which are the Islamic civilizations . Muslims in different countries, like Spain and Italy, have always been in interaction with other people; therefore, they could transfer the Islamic civilization and culture to others and also receive from them. As an instance, in the battle of the Trench (Khandaq), Salman Farsi proposed to dig a trench around Medina.
This was a tested strategy in Persia, and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) accepted it. Many of the important Arabic resources and books were translated into European languages, some of which were later on taught and used as references in scientific centers in non-Muslim countries. The bonds between Muslims and Christians through marriage [i] and social relationships were of other means to expose non-Muslims to Islam . All these factors have helped the quick spread of Islam.
From what has been discussed, we can see that the Islamic approach of making regulations under the form of confirmed rules, the encouragement to obtain knowledge and literacy, and cultural exchanges with the rest of the world played significant roles in attracting many savants and people to the religion of Islam.
[i] This kind of marriage named Interreligious marriage is permitted in Islam under the certain conditions.
United Nations General Assembly in the 18th article of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”
Also in the 19th article of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights freedom of expression is defined as follows: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” 
In this text, I would like to explore this article and find out to what extent it is right or wrong according to the Islamic viewpoint toward freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights puts freedom of thought and freedom of belief alongside each other. While there is a major difference between these two.
Murtaza Mutahhari emphasizes the difference between “thought” and “belief”. He argues that “thought is a potential caused by having intellect” and because every human being has intellect, and the potential to think about different issues, thus they think and “discover some truths about universe according to their talent”.  While he states that “belief might be based on human’s interest towards something” or “it might be based on following other people’s opinion”. But the true belief is “based on thinking”. He believes that most of the people shape their belief based on worldly interests. And there should be thoughtful people among them to guide them in their way of thinking and choices .
So, in his definition of thought and belief, he points out the mistake of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He concludes that people should have freedom of thought. Yet, about freedom of belief, unlike liberalism, Mutahhari states that “freedom is not the ultimate political goal to be respected under any condition”.
The main goal of freedom as he declares is to “reach perfection”. And if one’s belief is against his path towards perfection, then his belief needs an evolution, and should not be left alone to carry on his path towards adversity. 
There are more than 300 verses in the Quran that encourage people to think, such as: “Indeed We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran so that you may exercise your reason.” (12: 2), “[This is] a blessed Book that We have sent down to you, so that they may contemplate its signs, and that those who possess intellect may take admonition.” (38: 29), “Do they not contemplate the Quran, or are there locks on the hearts?” (47: 24).
Freedom of thought is also mentioned in the Quran in choosing the path of life where Allah says: “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.” (2: 256)
This verse clearly shows the importance of freedom of thought in the eyes of God, and the freedom to choose a religion. It is noteworthy that the Quran gives specific guidelines for finding the truth and recognizing wrong and right. As it is stated in the same verse; “So whoever disbelieves in idolatrous and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it.” (2: 256)
Also, Allah introduces His best servants in the Quran as those who listen to different types of opinions without any prejudice, and then follow the opinion that is closest to the righteous way: “…So give good news to My servants, who listen to the word [of Allah] and follow the best [interpretation] of it. They are the ones whom Allah has guided, and it is they who possess intellect.” (39: 17-18)
When Allah encourages people to find their religion based on intellectual thinking, he keeps reminding them at different points about what is beneficial and what is harmful to human growth.
As stated above freedom of thought is encouraged in Islam as long as it does not lead people and society toward diversity. “The objective of speech and expression according to Islam is to build up love, tolerance, social harmony, and understanding among members in order to ensure a peaceful coexistence.” 
So, freedom of thought is permitted in Islam as long as it does not harm the society. There is a fundamental rule in Islam, to which other rulings must not be contrary. A Muslim should neither be harmed nor should he harm anyone else. When thoughts are harmful to people in the society, Islam limits freedom of expressing the thoughts that may create social disorder.
So far we discussed that The Quran invites people to think and choose their religion and belief accordingly freely. There is no force in choosing religion. Yet, freedom of belief and expression is not completely allowed according to that fundamental rule of Islam.
That is, a Muslim should not be harmed and nor harm others. Sometimes, one may not have enough information about a particular issue and as a result is not able to form an educated opinion or belief. Hence, if someone wants to express his/ her opinions that have no scientific or logical foundations, and may bring about doubt in ordinary people’s beliefs, Islam would stand against it and will not allow its expansion. 
- Human rights
- Mutahhari, Murtaza, About Islamic republic, p. 92-3
- Mutahhari, Murtaza, About Islamic republic, p. 97
- Rostami, Mohammad. Andisheh Sadegh, vol. 6
- Bhat AM (2014) Freedom Of Expression From Islamic Perspective. Journal of Media and Communication Studies 6: 69-77.
- Kassem AS (2012) The Concept of Freedom in the Quran. American International Journal of Contemporary Research 2, p. 165-173.
The concept of responsibility in Islam covers all the aspects of human beings and considers different situations one may encounter in his/her life. Islam is not only a religion but also a life plan; a divine plan that addresses all the humans throughout the history of humankind. Since religion, as a plan deals with the daily life of humans, it has illustrated the tasks and responsibilities in Islam of humans.
These duties can be summarized in four items:
The rights that God has over humans;
The rights that one has over himself;
The responsibilities towards other humans;
And, the responsibilities towards other creatures in this world.
These four categories will be discussed under separate topics each considering one responsibility in Islam. Here the focus is on the humans’ responsibility in Islam towards God.
According to Imam Sajjad (AS), the rights that God has over human beings, which are the most important rights over everybody, are to know that we are His servants, to pray Him and not ascribe any partners to Him . This means that we have two main responsibilities in Islam towards God: first, to recognize and believe in God then, practically demonstrate it.
The first thing is to accept the existence of the one true God and to recognize all his divine attributes such as very powerful (Qadir), the provider (Razzaq), generous (Karim), etc.
By knowing these attributes and then believing that they are unique to God, one will be more successful in his duties responsibilities in Islam towards God [i]. For example, knowing that God is the only provider (Razzaq) in the universe, a true Muslim does not worry about livelihood, nor he\she will be greedy for more wealth. He\she knows that if he\she works adequately according to his\her capacities, he\she will be provided with the sustenance that God has reserved for him\her.
Imam Ali (AS) has advised his son Imam Hassan (AS) to recognize God since it is a duty over every human being: “He is One Allah whom we should all recognize and worship” .
Then, Imam (AS) enumerates some of the attributes of God that a Muslim should believe in :
“Nobody is a partner to Him in His Domain”;
“He is Eternal, has always been and shall always be”;
“He existed even before the Universe came into being, but there is no beginning to His Existence”;
“He shall remain when every other thing shall vanish, and there shall be no end to His Existence”;
“His Glory and His Existence is so supreme, pre-eminent, transcendent, incomparable and excellent that it is beyond the grasp of intellects”;
“No one can understand or visualize Him.“ .
To recognize God and to believe in Him deeply in the heart are not enough; one should also say that he\she believes in God; otherwise, no one will be aware of his\her belief if it is not declared. That is why one should pronounce two testimonies (Shahadatain) to become Muslim.
In Surah Fatir, it is said that “To Him ascends good speech” (35:10), which means that the verbal admission to God is appreciated and is surely beneficial. But, it should be accompanied with good deeds and obedience to God to be more valuable: “and righteous work raises it.” (35:10).
Indeed, demonstrating the belief in God in practice is as important as believing in Him. If a child loves his\her parents but ignores their expectations and advice, he\she, in fact, does not respect them and the parents will not believe the his\her claim of having affection for them.
The same happens between a Muslim and God. A Muslim who ignores God’s commands, which are beneficial to him\her, does not truly believe in Him. Otherwise, he\she knew that everything that God has ordered to is to help him\her to live a better life, to improve and to reach the perfection that he\she merits.
According to Imam Ali (AS) , after accepting the facts mentioned above about God, a Muslim’s behavior should be like that of a person who realizes God’s superior status and power. He\she should try to gain His blessing through prayers and obedience, fear His wrath as well as His Punishments and feel him\herself absolutely in need of His help and protection .
In the Quran, it is stated that humans are created to worship God (51:56). Prayer and worship of God are duties over every Muslim as they remind him\her of the his\her creator and the fact that there is a reason to be in this world.
Another practical duty is to obey God’s commands that are mentioned in the Quran or explained in the narrations from prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS). Simply said: to do what is obligatory (Wajib) or advised to (talk pleasantly to others (2:83); to do good to others (16:90); to fast (2:183) and pray (4:103); etc.) and to leave what is Forbidden (Haram) (talking behind back of others (49:12); wasting water and nutrition (7:31))2.
Briefly, there are three main duties over every Muslim about God: to recognize Him, to declare the admission to Him, and to obey and worship Him. Duties of a Muslim towards him\herself and his responsibility in Islam, other people, and other creatures will be discussed in the next parts of the article.
[i] Recognition and belief are two different concepts. The recognition of God means to accept His existence and all His divine attributes, while the belief in God means to have faith in Him.
[ii] The two other categories of acts according to Islamic jurisprudence are: Recommended (Mustahab) acts and Detestable or abominable (Makruh) acts. Recommended (Mustahab) acts are those practices which are not compulsory in Islam, but a believer prefers to do it for God’s satisfaction. Detestable or abominable (Makruh) actions are not subject to punishment, but a believer abstains from them for God’s satisfaction.
- Imam Sajjad (AS), Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq).
- Nahj al balagha, Letter 31.