In some parts of the world, social responsibility is a way of life. In some, they just talk about it. In others, it is not even mentioned.
The essence of social responsibility is to widen the circle of one’s responsibilities and duties. How socially responsible one is, depends on how wide the circle of responsibility is. Social responsibility is the trademark of civil society.
Social responsibility circles are very narrow for some, to include only self, family, people of a specific city, or a country. Nonetheless, it is very broad for others to include, not only human beings, but all life forms like animals and plants, and even non-living resources, as taught by Prophet Mohammed PBUH. He said, “do not waste water, even if at a running river.”
It is very intriguing how social responsibility can help one understand self more and respect self more as if we are all one, and respect starts with self, then extends to include everything, then comes back and engulfs self again with more awareness and love.
Social responsibility is not something theoretical. It cannot be. It is the way we live. “Socially responsible” means making this world a better place. It is a great stick measure to look at everything we do and its value. The more value one creates for the world the more socially responsible the person is, and vice versa.
Things that go well with social responsibility is faith, optimism, love, selflessness, open-mindedness, and civilization. The things that cannot coexist with social responsibility are selfishness, hatred, prejudice, narrow mindedness, and cynicism.
Patriarchal social systems, social responsibility might be less apparent, because in a patriarchal system, everybody is looking for the head of the group (family, tribe, country, etc) to provide for everyone else, more than expecting people to be responsible.
In God’s creation, social responsibility is all around us. The bees and ants are very socially responsible creatures, as most animals are. It is amazing that animals by instinct are socially responsible, while some humans are not. We are on earth to make it a better place, according to the Muslim Faith, and many other faiths. We are responsible to do what we can for mankind and every living creature on earth. We sometimes forget and get distracted. However, there is no question about it: We are responsible to preserve nature, protect the environment, love, respect, and help fellow humans, and make this world a better place. In Quran, God tells us ” وَقِفُوهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُم مَّسْئُولُونَ”, in Surat Saffat verse 24, which means “they will be called to account.” We are responsible for our actions and this does not mean in our relationship with God only but extends to include our relationship with everything around us.
We need to remember that we are created to make a difference for the better, not for ourselves and family, but for the whole world. We must think of the whole world and its inhabitants part of our extended family.