What Responsibilities Do I Have towards Myself? Part 2

One of the significant aspects of responsibility in Islam is the responsibility towards ourselves and how we treat our bodies and souls. As discussed previously, every Muslim is responsible towards himself.



Since human beings owe their existence to their unique Creature, they should treat themselves as their Creator has commanded. The spiritual responsibilities of a human towards him\herself and some of the duties that one has towards his\her body were discussed in the previous part of this topic. Here, we continue the discussion on the rights of the parts of the body.



The Rights of the Eyes as Your Responsibility in Islam towards Yourself


The eyes are the means of insight and awakening of the heart. Imam Ali (AS) said that a faithful person looks to learn, but a hypocrite looks to amuse [1]. Thus, of the rights of the eyes and one's responsibility in Islam towards them is to lower the gaze from whatever that is unlawful (Haram) and not to look at everything and everywhere around, unless there is a lesson or advice behind [2]. According to Imam Ali (AS), whoever closes the eyes from Haram, his\her heart will be relieved [3].



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The Rights of the Legs


The legs are the means to walk towards the right path and to overtake others in doing good deeds. Hence, of the rights of the legs over one and the responsibility in Islam towards them are not going towards what is unlawful (Haram) or what humiliates him\herself [2].


The Rights of the Hands



Of the rights of the hands are not to do what is unlawful (Haram) with them, otherwise one will be punished in the Hereafter for what has committed by his\her hands, and will be blamed by others in this world; not to prevent the hands from doing what God has commanded to; and, to allow the hands to seek what is beneficial and useful for one [2].


The Rights of the Stomach



Of the rights of the stomach are [2]:


  • To be careful about what you eat (80:24);
  • Not to eat what is unlawful (Haram), neither a little of it nor too much; 
  • Not to consider the stomach as a container and not to overeat while ignoring others who suffer from hunger; “eat and drink, but do not waste” (7:31);
  • To eat moderately even when eating lawful (Halal) foods because eating less is the key to good health [4]; 
  • Not to forget that overeating makes one bored and lazy and stops him\her from doing good deeds. According to Imam Ali (AS), to eat less enlightens the mind [5];
  • To remember that drinking too much will also cause indiscretion and absurdity; 


The Rights of the Private Parts


Of the rights of the private parts are to protect them from what is unlawful (Haram). To do so, one requires lowering the gaze since the eyes affect the heart and mind greatly. Also, one should frequently remember the death and the afterlife. He\she should always have a fear of the divine punishment and ask God to help him\her to protect his\her private parts from sins [2]. 


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The Physical Rights of the Body as the Responsibility in Islam towards Oneself



Every human being is composed of a body and a soul. These two, together, help one to live a natural life. The health of the body is as important as the health of the soul. Devoting everything in life to prepare for the afterlife and depriving oneself of the God’s blessings in this world is blamed in Islam. In Surah Qasas verses 77, Muslims are advised to apply the capabilities and wealth that they have been given to do good deeds and to gain rewards for the afterlife.



But, they should also consider and benefit from the blessings of this world (28:77). Indeed, it is possible to consider both the physical needs as well as spiritual ones simultaneously. Although fulfilling the physical needs is known to be important in Islam, one should keep a balance in life and avoid being luxury-oriented. Otherwise, he\she will always be busy to increase his\her wealth, and this might force him\her to unlawful (Haram) ways of raising money.  


[1] S. al-Harrani “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 212.
[2] Imam Sajjad (AS), Treatise On Rights (Risalat al-Huquq).
[3] “Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim”, T. 9122.
[4] S. al-Harrani “Tuhaf al-Uqul”, p. 172.
[5] “Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim”, T. 8462.
[6] M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 78, p. 321.