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.
According to what has been said in the first part of this article, the income one earns is either Halal (gained through lawful ways), which can be freely spent, or Haram (gained through foul means), or sometimes of doubtful origins (mixed up of both Haram and Halal), which must be seriously avoided. Now you might wonder what some of the precise examples of unlawful earning are in today’s world.
Translated as usury, Riba refers to unfair, exploitative interests made in business. The unjust interest gained from the repayment of a loan or the simultaneous exchange of unequal commodities are the two common examples of usury. “There is the principle of the relationship between one's efforts and the amassing of wealth and the importance of participating in the risk of losing one's wealth as well as increasing it in any economic transaction. That is why Riba or interest is forbidden in Islamic Law”  [i].
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said: “The worst unlawful earning is the income a governor gains through bribery” . When some people bribe to gain what they want easily, the others who avoid giving bribes for any reason will face many difficulties to obtain what they are entitled to. Also, the bribe receivers will not fulfill what they are required to do by law unless they are bribed.
So, if bribery spreads among people, especially government officials, in a society, it will definitely lead to an increase of corruption within the community [ii].
One of the great sins in Islam is cheating in selling things, which could be of two kinds; selling something at a higher price than its real value, especially when there is a shortage of that product in the market, and also selling short measures to consumers [iii]. The loss of public trust and financial corruption are among the most devastating results of this sin.
There are also other examples for selling short measures, one of the most common of which happens in offices when employees are not conscientious enough to fulfill their job commitments and responsibilities. So, the income they earn is Haram.
Any income one gains through the role she/he has in producing, distributing, or consuming alcoholic beverages and also drug is considered Haram:
“They ask you about wine and gambling. Say, "In them is a great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit…"” (2:219)
Muslims believe there is no harming nor reciprocating harm in Islam. So, they seriously avoid anything that inflicts harm upon them or their fellow brothers.
Based on the verse above, the money one earns through gambling is Haram, too[iv].
That is because Islam highly recommends earning the livelihood through productive jobs and encourages hard work and striving to earn money rather than becoming wealthy or losing all one’s money overnight.
The income one may earn by singing or playing a song which is typical of or suitable for frivolous gatherings, and carouses are also unlawful (Haram) [v].
“Indeed those who want indecency to spread among the faithful—there is a painful punishment for them in the world and the Hereafter, and Allah knows, and you do not know” (24:19)
There are numerous instances of indecency in the world we are living today, from the provocative pictures of countless celebrities anyone can find in media, on the internet, etc. to the films that encourage immorality, and to sexual exploitation of women and so forth and so on. In fact, Islam has been sent to spread and complement the best of morality .
Therefore, the income earned through any attempt to spread any immorality or indecency in the society is certainly Haram.
Magic and fortune telling are believed to be destructive in the Islamic teachings, since according to the Quran: “Your omen is with Allah” (27:47), so, we should not put our trust in anyone except Him. Islam considers magic an act of devil and a great sin which has to be avoided [vi].
What has been mentioned above are among the most common examples of unlawful income. There are other instances as well which you can ask a proficient Islamic jurist or scholar about. On top of that, human’s common sense and reason can indicate what is exactly unlawful (Haram) and should be avoided.
This article is to give you some hints so that you become more cautious about your income in order to lead a decent and virtuous life.
[i] “Those who exact usury will not stand but like one deranged by the Devil’s touch. That is because they say, ‘Trade is just like usury.’ While Allah has allowed trade and forbidden usury” (2:275).
[ii] “Do not eat up your wealth among yourselves wrongfully, nor proffer it to the judges in order to eat up a part of the people’s wealth sinfully, while you know [that it is immoral to do so]” (2:188).
[iii] “‘O my people! Observe fully the measure and the balance, with justice, and do not cheat the people of their goods, and do not act wickedly on the earth, causing corruption’” (11:85).
[iv] “O you who have faith! Indeed wine, gambling, idols, and the divining arrows are abominations of Satan’s doing, so avoid them, so that you may be felicitous” (5:90).
[v] “Among the people is he who buys diversionary talk that he may lead [people] astray from Allah’s way without any knowledge, and he takes it in derision. For such there is a humiliating punishment” (31:6).
[vi] “…and Solomon was not faithless but it was the devils who were faithless—teaching the people magic and what was sent down to the two angels at Babylon, ... They would learn that which would harm them and bring them no benefit; though they certainly knew that anyone who buys it has no share in the Hereafter. Surely, evil is that for which they sold their souls, had they known!” (2:102).
- S.Hussain Nasr, A Young Muslim’s Guide to Islam, p.58
- al-Jame al-Saqir, vol. 2, p. 45
- Allama al-Hilli, Nahj al-haqq wa kashf al-sidq, p. 495
- Kanz-ol-a’maal, 13th vol. p.151, Hadith #36472
When facing a question like this, you may find a group of people who try to justify that Islam is not a religion of peace. They usually refer to terrorist attacks by pseudo-Muslims and conclude that Islam is not a peaceful religion. Peace in Islam is a value and an ultimate goal of life; may it be personal, social or worldwide.
But let’s see what is Islam’s viewpoint about war and if it approves terrorism.
Before discussing the main topic of this article, we have to understand what peace in Islam means. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, “peace is a state of tranquility or quiet such as:
Freedom from Civil Disturbance
A state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom.
Freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
Harmony in personal relations.” 
Therefore, there are two types of peace defined above; social and individual. Islam not only talks about individual peace, but also all of its rules are based on logic to shape a peaceful society. In this article, we would focus on social aspects of peace in Islam, either within one country or on what goes on between different countries.
Allah emphasizes in the Quran that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) is a mercy towards all human beings: “We did not send you but as a mercy to all the nations” (21: 107). It can be understood from this verse that a worldwide mercy, peace, and tranquility is the goal of sending Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with the religion of Islam.
Imam Ali (AS) in his letter to Malik al-Ashtar (his appointed commander in another country) wrote: “Develop in your heart the feeling of love for your people and let it be the source of kindliness and blessing to them. Do not behave with them like a barbarian, and do not appropriate to yourself that which belongs to them. Remember that the citizens of the state are of two categories. They are either your brethren in religion or your brethren in kind. They are subject to infirmities and liable to commit mistakes.” 
He specifically notes that we should be tolerant of people who have no bad deeds against Muslims and the religion of Islam.
In social relations The Quran defines Muslims as moderate people; “Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the faithless and merciful amongst themselves. “ (48:29)
By referring to the above verse and by going through its interpretations we find out that “Muslims should be harsh on infidels. Who are these infidels? Muslims should not be harsh on anyone who does not believe in Islam. They should behave kindly towards those who are not opposed to them, who do not plot against them, and who do not seek to wipe out their nations - even if they follow other faiths.” While at the same time “Muslims should be harsh on those who fight against Islam and their identity, nationality, country, independence, honor, dignity, traditions, culture, and values.”  Therefore, it is completely rational for Muslims to defend themselves while their values are being attacked, and it has no contradiction with their peaceful nature.
In recent years we have seen different terrorist groups such as Taliban, Al-Qaida or ISIS, who under the name of Islam, have committed terrorist attacks in different countries. They refer to verses of the Quran that are about the holy struggle (Jihad) and use those verses as a permission for their terrorist acts.
However, their interpretations of the verses of the holy struggle (Jihad) are not correct. The fact is that war is prohibited in Islam, and Muslims are not allowed to start a war against other countries for the sake of conquest or even for spreading the religion of Islam. Jihad is allowed for Muslims only if:
They are attacked by other countries, and their lives and properties are at risk.
If other Muslim territories are under attack by oppressive governments.
If other powers attack Muslim territories to annihilate Muslims or their religion.
“In the holy struggle (Jihad), violating or infringing on others' rights is not allowed. Killing other people under baseless pretexts is not part of the holy struggle (jihad). Neither is killing those who are not Muslims. Such acts are not allowed in the holy struggle (Jihad). Not all those who believe in religions other than Islam should be treated with harshness. Rather, only those who are opposed to Islam, your independence and territorial integrity, and Islamic culture, identity, and values should be treated with harshness. If carried out under these conditions, the holy struggle (Jihad) is considered as a divine order and will bring about glory to nations.” 
It is only under these conditions that Muslims are allowed to fight against the oppressors. And even when they are allowed to defend themselves and enter the war, they have to make sure to follow the rules of war. They are not allowed to kill the children or elderly of the infidels, or to poison the cities of the infidels. 
They have to tolerate the refugees, and if they betray them, they will face punishment . Also, they should observe the rights of the captives of war :
“Allah does not forbid you from dealing with kindness and justice with those [polytheists] who did not make war against you on account of religion and did not expel you from your homes. Indeed Allah loves the just. Allah forbids you only regarding those who made war against you on account of religion and expelled you from your homes and supported [the polytheists of Makkah] in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them—it is they who are the wrongdoers.” (60: 8-9)
In conclusion, Islam is a religion of peace for Muslim people and peaceful people. It is not a passive religion to sit and watch all the cruel things that are happening in the world and smile at it. Islam is the life map for those who wish to reach human perfection which is only achieved by obeying all of its rulings. No matter you call it Islam or something else, but every sane human being, by studying The Quran and searching about Islam, will understand that Islamic rules have been designed to make the society a safe place for human growth.