Personal Social Responsibility

March 26th, 2013 @   -  No Comments

“There is a big garbage mess in my neighborhood, but nobody cares. Why should I?” Ahmad complained with a sigh.

“We have set up an organization that serves the community, but no one wants to volunteer.” Why?

A mother complained to me once that her daughter is busy volunteering in various activities while she is in dire need of her help at home. “She does not help me with house chores. Is this right?” She asked.

Have you witnessed similar situations? Are you socially responsible? How do we become socially responsible?  When it comes to social responsibility, how do we set our priorities right? Here are few suggestions:

Put your mask on first                                       

The safety instructions before an airplane takeoff says, “In case of emergency…..put your mask on first before attempting to help anyone.” Why?  Because if you pass out, you cannot help anyone else.

This reminds me of an organization that wants to promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and encourage its employees to engage in CSR activities, but its employees are unhappy, its customers constantly complain of bad and late service and its contractors wait for payment on a job for months. Putting our mask on first means becoming aware of how our actions are affecting others.

The same thing applies to us as individuals. If we are not pulling our weight in the workplace, providing bad service to our customers or neglecting our studies, how can we effectively contribute on the social front?

Be of service to your family – The best of you is the best to his nfamily

If you want to make a positive contribution, start at home. The family is the building block of society.  Look at our families today. How many of us sit with our parents and talk to them? If you live away from them, how often do you visit or call them? How often do you get together as a family?

The sad truth is that families are breaking up at an unprecedented speed and family ties are weakening. This has a detrimental impact on society. Many studies show correlations between increasing divorce rates and a rise in crime rates and social ills.

The best service you can give to the society is to serve and keep your family strong. But if you stop here, you are being selfish.

Care for your neighbours

Being good to our neighbors is an obligation. But how many people do you know in your neighborhood? How is your relationship with them? When was the last time you spoke to them?

Care for your community – Be the catalyst for positive change

A few years ago, I visited my hometown. I was surprised to see so much garbage around the neighbourhood. When I asked about the mess, the residents said, “What can we do? We have been waiting for the last two years, but the city councilmen are not doing their job.” So I asked if anyone had filed a complaint. One person had gone to the city council once, but he did not meet the person in charge and that was the end of it. Most of the people were hiding behind this excuse to explain their inaction.

The next day, I met two old friends and we agreed to take charge. We needed three trucks to carry the garbage. With only three hours of work a day for three days, the area was clean and the kids were playing there again. It cost less than US$30. Before this, everybody was waiting for someone out there to solve their problem. Certainly, someone has to do something about it, but when you believe that someone is you, your community will improve.

There are so many ways to be socially responsible. Look around you. What are the problems in your community? Is it a lack of education, poverty, poor health system or polluted environment? List them, then pick one problem, own it and commit to solving it.

You can also choose one of the actions below:

  • Sponsor an orphan
  • Support a poor family
  • Sponsor a student
  • Visit the sick
  • Set up a company or invest in companies that create jobs in the community

The first chapters of the Quran that were revealed in Mecca aimed to imbed the concept of social responsibility in the belief system of the people at that time who did not believe in taking care of the widows, the poor and other weak members of society.

The Prophet’s (PBUH) actions of social responsibility were a change from the ways of his people. Comforting him after he received the first verses of the Quran, his wife said, “…God would never forsake you, for you are good to your relatives, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest and you answer the call of those who are in distress.”

When the Prophet (PBUH) left Mekkah and upon approaching the outskirts of Medina, he reminded his companions of these basic social responsibilities: “Spread peace, feed the hungry, honor kinship ties and pray at night, you shall enter paradise in peace.” He wanted to lay a strong foundation for a society that cares.


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