Speech in the Al Isra’ wal Mi’raj Asy Syarif Cel­e­bra­tions 1440H /​2019: The Value of Human

The keynote speech for the fifth Dan­dara Cul­tural Forum titled “The Value of Human” was deliv­ered by Sumuwwul Amir Hashem Ad-​Dandarawi, chair­man of the Dan­dara Cul­tural Cen­ter. He cov­ered on the value of human from the Dan­drawi per­spec­tive. His speech was as follows:

When a per­son is apply­ing for a job, he will be sub­jected to an eval­u­a­tion by the peo­ple in charge of the role based on his or her edu­ca­tion, work­ing expe­ri­ence and a per­sonal interview.

In another con­text, when a per­son lives with his par­ents in a build­ing sit­u­ated on a street in a city or in a house within a res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood in a vil­lage, he will also be eval­u­ated by his neigh­bours in deter­min­ing how much he is wel­comed and accepted by his surrounding.

In the third con­text, when a per­son is per­form­ing his occu­pa­tion in the pub­lic or pri­vate field, he will also be eval­u­ated by his col­leagues in the work envi­ron­ment to deter­mine his place, sta­tus and rela­tion­ship with him.

In short, every­one will always be a sub­ject of eval­u­a­tion from his human envi­ron­ment in all aspects of life: edu­ca­tion, work, fam­ily and social.

As a soci­ety model that con­cerns about human reform, we are drawn to learn about the cri­te­ria on which peo­ple depended on to eval­u­ate each other.

We find that we are cur­rently fac­ing social envi­ron­ments which deploy var­i­ous and inter­con­nected scales in judg­ing a per­son as deserv­ing of appre­ci­a­tion and recognition.

There are some peo­ple who would mea­sure every other per­son through the stan­dards of their reli­gion and taqwa, while some oth­ers may weigh every other per­son through the vast­ness of his cul­ture and slick conversation.

Some peo­ple value good char­ac­ter and raise the per­son who pos­sess this qual­ity above oth­ers. They will strive to be close to them and secure com­pan­ion­ship and may even give their trust for eco­nomic and finan­cial dealings.

As for the vast major­ity of peo­ple — who are the masses — do not value a human being, do not give any con­sid­er­a­tion in terms of his social stature, make space for him in any occa­sion or strive to get close to him, unless he is rich, vir­tu­ous, famous, occu­pies a promi­nent posi­tion or has a grip at the edge of power to autho­rize a solu­tion or a contract.

Sadly, this major­ity of peo­ple would flee from the fig­ure whom they were enticed to, due to wealth, sta­tus, fame or author­ity once the fig­ure loses what he used to own. They will then leech around any other fig­ure that could poten­tially help them attain those tem­po­rary gains.

Based on the fact that the major­ity of the peo­ple amongst our soci­eties eval­u­ate peo­ple through what they own instead of what they stand for, we are demanded to reflect about this issue and ask three questions:

Who con­trols the value of the human being, is it the per­son him­self or society?

What are the real sources for the human value?

How do we change the “eval­u­a­tion cul­ture” that pre­vails in our soci­eties and are often revolved around exter­nal and volatile stan­dards which never last?

In the con­text of answer­ing the first ques­tion through the Dan­darawi per­spec­tive, we say that it is the man him­self who deter­mines his own worth and the mea­sure of his social sta­tus. How­ever, when deter­min­ing these, it can­not be done through words, a claim, assump­tion, feel­ing, by means of coer­cion and impo­si­tion or by exclu­sion from soci­ety. Rather, it should be firmly estab­lished through knowledge.

How­ever, the role of soci­ety in this eval­u­a­tion process is not mar­ginal, because they are the ones who deal with the per­son, observe his work and pass a judge­ment on his value.

If a human being lives in a soci­ety of jus­tice where authen­tic human val­ues pre­dom­i­nate, it is he who is able to con­trol his own worth and leaves the eval­u­a­tion to the soci­ety to say what they observe.

How­ever, if the soci­ety is unjust and dom­i­nated by mate­r­ial inter­ests and exter­nal mea­sure­ments, the equa­tion will be reversed and the soci­ety becomes an accom­plice in cre­at­ing the human worth — which often leads young peo­ple to the brink of despair due to the pos­si­bil­ity of not being able to dis­tin­guish and estab­lish them­selves if they do not pos­sess any value in the eyes of the peo­ple of the community.

The answer to the sec­ond ques­tion con­cern­ing the sources of human value: It is a cog­ni­tive ques­tion which gives us the task of draw­ing a lin­ear map that pro­vides the per­son with the nec­es­sary knowl­edge to attain his self-​worth and social sta­tus. From the Dan­darawi per­spec­tive, this cog­ni­tive map con­sists of 4 steps:

The first step

Build­ing the human essence: The build­ing of the self is the cor­ner­stone on which the value of the human being increases.

Once the human being is able to achieve the peak of effec­tive­ness for the prac­tices of his human com­po­nents — as effec­tive as pos­si­ble, flex them to inter­act with his sur­round­ings in order to estab­lish peace and secu­rity, then — it is with­out a doubt — the first step that obliges another per­son to be fair in view­ing him with approval and recognition.

The sec­ond step

Care for the exter­nal aspect of the human: The human essence should always be of pri­or­ity and impor­tance, but it may fall if accom­pa­nied by an appear­ance that goes against the pre­vail­ing norms in the lifestyle of the society.

Hence, a per­son who seeks his human value in his own or pub­lic soci­ety must present his human essence in a man­ner that is accept­able to the peo­ple. Its pil­lar is as fol­lows: clean­li­ness, good appear­ance, beauty of his actions and cour­te­ous words.

The third step

Com­mit­ment to the val­ues of liv­ing together in har­mony: The soci­ety from the per­spec­tive of Islam is plu­ral­is­tic, and may com­bine in one social struc­ture with dif­fer­ences in per­spec­tive, reli­gion, eth­nic­ity and cul­tural roots.

Hence, a per­son may achieve his value in his soci­ety from the power of his abil­ity to pre­serve his human iden­tity and merge with the oth­ers at the same time. The val­ues of shared liv­ing are cen­tered around moral val­ues that obliges hon­esty, trust­wor­thi­ness, mod­esty, courage and also social val­ues that obliges us to be a good neigh­bour, accept dif­fer­ences, being pos­i­tive in social part­ner­ship and respect for one’s belief and thought.

The fourth step

The prac­tice of ben­e­fi­cial works for soci­ety: The work of any man is a neces­sity in the aspects of reli­gion, moral, eco­nomic and social.

A per­son should never look down on his work, how­ever hum­ble and lit­tle the return (salary) is, because every work — whether by skill, pro­fes­sional, admin­is­tra­tive or func­tional — is des­ig­nated to the divi­sion of social works. Life and its neces­si­ties will never come to a full cir­cle with­out its existence.

A person’s views on his work through how he could ben­e­fit his soci­ety instead of mate­r­ial returns will help him appre­ci­ate his work and strives to per­form it with excel­lence. This will con­tribute to the devel­op­ment of his country’s economy.

Thus, the four steps will enable a per­son to man­u­fac­ture his own value and raise the foun­da­tions of his social sta­tus; in his own eyes and in the eyes of the peo­ple of jus­tice and virtue in the society.

This leads us to the third ques­tion on cul­tural change. As part of the response to the require­ments of the third ques­tion, we reflect on the desired cul­tural and social change and its poten­tial. Moti­vated by our sense of social respon­si­bil­i­ties, we say:

Soci­ety is a liv­ing entity whose inter­ac­tions never stop from either pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive change. This social change occurs either in this two forms:

- Reper­cus­sions, such as reac­tions due to wars, crises, tech­no­log­i­cal advances, sci­en­tific inven­tion, open­ness — vol­un­tary or forced — to dif­fer­ent soci­eties of cul­ture, or enter­ing into a new world real­ity that imposes new cir­cum­stances, or

- Con­scious and pur­pose­ful, in which every cit­i­zen who feels the duty of social respon­si­bil­ity is involved. They may come from dif­fer­ent back­grounds. Such as: thinkers, writ­ers, poets, artists, media, lead­ers of groups, assem­blies, reli­gious or civil groups, and many others.

One pro­gram may not gather them all, but they may be united by a com­mon objec­tive that is to strengthen the human sta­tus in soci­ety and to con­sol­i­date its own value away from the mate­ri­al­is­tic values.

In the con­text of con­tribut­ing a share to this social good, we begin with our­selves and those who are con­vinced with our Dan­drawi per­spec­tive. We estab­lish the quad­rant (mea­sur­ing tool) for human eval­u­a­tion, not by look­ing at the adorn­ment of money, sta­tus, fame or posi­tion, but in view of the four criteria:

1– Build­ing himself

2– Improv­ing his appearance

3– His com­mit­ment in the val­ues of liv­ing together in harmony

4– His efforts and endeav­ors in per­form­ing ben­e­fi­cial works

Since the Dan­darawi fam­ily is a model for human in gen­eral and is not an attempt to form an exclu­sive com­mu­nity within the soci­ety, our inter­ac­tion with the gen­eral com­mu­nity in the coun­try — for the sake of human beings — is reflected in our activ­i­ties through­out the year and in our annual con­fer­ences and eco­nomic and cul­tural forums.

We do not view our cul­tural forums as merely a “cul­tural event.” We hope that it will be a “cul­tural plat­form” in which all inter­ested par­ties par­tic­i­pate and that each forum will be a step towards cul­tural change that estab­lishes social secu­rity and dri­ves the human being — male and female, old and young — to work on him­self and to bring him­self to greater heights through his knowl­edge and work.

This speech was addressed by Al-​Amir Hashem ibn Al-​Fadl ibn Al-​Abbas El Dan­darawy, Sumuwwul Amir of the Tribes and Familes of Al Usrah Al Dan­daraweyah and Head of the Inter­na­tional Dan­dara Cul­tural Cen­tres. To under­stand more about the two roles of Rasu­l­ul­lah ‘alaihi Solawat­ul­lah, Al Irt­ibat and Al Usrah Al Dan­daraweyah, please click here to read Trans­la­tion of Al Wat­siqah Al Baidha’ For­ma­tion and Model © 2013

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