Since the advent of Islam, Muslim scholars and thinkers have offered theories and views about social responsibilities of individuals. For instance, Abu Nasr Al-Farabi (872-950), known in the West as Alpharabius, introduces Utopia as being based on cooperation, helping one another, sharing work, and sharing responsibilities among members of the society in order to fulfil individual and social needs.
Islam defines social responsibility as ‘righteous deed’. Also referred to as ‘good deed’, it is a clear and unambiguous concept which in the Quran is sometimes contrasted with bad deed or evil deed, including in verse 46 of Surah Fussilat: “Whoever acts righteously does so for his own good and whoever commits evil does so against his soul. Your Lord is not unjust to His servants.”
The concept of ‘good deed’ is mentioned in the Quran 87 times in different forms, which shows the importance the Holy Book attaches to it. It seems that the significance of good deed is no less than that of faith, because good deed signifies the presence of faith in one’s heart and in one’s life. Faith without good deed is like a dry tree with no fruits.
As mentioned in verse 2 of Surah Al-Ankabut, fulfilling one’s responsibilities and doing good deeds are necessary in addition to having faith in God: “Do people think that they are left alone by saying: ‘We are believers,’ and will not be tried?”
According to this verse, having faith is a necessary condition but not a sufficient one and, therefore, believers must fulfil their responsibilities after accepting the faith.
Individuals’ social responsibilities are the basis for collective social responsibilities because a society is made up of individuals. So there is a relation between Individuals’ social responsibilities and collective social responsibilities.
Social responsibilities are a voluntary issue and it is the individual who should decide about them but it is important to note that any commitment brings about responsibility and failing to fulfil it would have consequences not for the society alone but for the individual as well.
When one enters the field of social responsibility with a sense of commitment, he helps to resolve problems that people and the society are facing and reduces the negative outcomes of development in different economic, social, cultural and other fields.