Shame, dignity, and honor may be viewed as states of the human mind. We naturally categorize events in our lives as humiliating or exalting based on our own individual values. Vanities such as wealth, physical ability, social status, and their opposites are all misleading value systems which give us a false understanding of shame and dignity. God provides perfect guidance in Quran, which includes the paths to both divine dignity and genuine humiliation. Inside Quran we find the truthful standard upon which we may base our values, so we can avoid humiliation, attain dignity in the sight of God, and to use as a scale for comparison when judging.
Among the attributes of God is The Most Honorable, Al-Kareem, الْكَرِيمِ (27:40, 82:6). Honorable is also an attribute given to Quran. The root for the Arabic word kareem means "giving generously to honor and dignify the recipient". The specific grammar format of Al-Kareem, referring to God or Quran, is called the exaggeration format, which indicates excessive generosity with intent to honor and dignify. Derivatives of this word which are found in Quran and in general Arabic language use mean: expressing or offering honor and dignity to a recipient through the giver's generosity. Numerous examples are found within the verses of Quran which help us understand the expansive meaning of this beautiful word. In all such examples, the one common denominator in the definitions of this word is "giving generously to honor and dignity".
[82:6] O you human being, what diverted you from your Lord Most Honorable?
يأيهَا الْإِنسَنُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ
[82:7] The One who created you, designed you, and perfected you.
[82:8] In whatever design He chose, He constructed it.
[56:77] This is an honorable Quran.إِنَّهُ لَقُرْءانٌ كَرِيمٌ
[56:78] In a protected book.
Both being "honorable", God and Quran represent infinite generosity in honoring and dignifying. God has honored the human being with the brains, the eyesight, the hearing, and the freedom that he is born with (33:72). Quran is God's utmost gift of honor that guides and details for the human being what it takes to be redeemed.
[17:70] We have honored the children of Adam, and provided them with rides on land and in the sea. We provided for them good provisions, and we gave them greater advantages than many of our creatures.
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي ءادَمَ وَحَمَلْنَهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَهُمْ مِنْ الطَّيِّبَتِ وَفَضَّلْنَهُمْ عَلَى كَثِيرٍ مِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا
Trusting God, submitting to His divine laws, and studying His explained systems dictate to us a state of fearlessness. Such a state flourishes our sense of freedom and this brings peace, clarity, security, strength, and dignity to our lives irrespective of our surroundings and how we might be perceived as different by others:
[3:160] If GOD supports you, none can defeat you. And if He abandons you, who else can support you? In GOD the believers shall trust.
This security, peace, and dignity continue, eternally, if we choose to hold fast to the rope of God, and take His words, seriously, truthfully, and unconditionally all the way until we leave the earth:
[10:25] GOD invites to the abode of peace, and guides whoever wills (to be guided) in a straight path.
Heaven and Hell are Eternal [10:26] For the righteous, the reward will be multiplied manifold. Their faces will never experience any deprivation or shame. These are the dwellers of Paradise; they abide therein forever.
[10:27] As for those who earned sins, their requital is equivalent to their sin. Humiliation is their lot, and no one beside GOD can protect them. Their faces will seem overwhelmed by masses of dark night. They will be the dwellers of Hell; they abide therein forever.
They Go Straight to Paradise [16:32] The angels terminate their lives in a state of righteousness, saying, "Peace be upon you. Enter Paradise (now) as a reward for your works."*
Those who choose to violate the limits set by God become gradually deprived of the above divine dignity and security to be prisoners of FEAR, and thus will lose their freedom and progress towards eternal shame. FEAR weakens our will to obey the word of God, and intimidates us into adopting a path of compromise. While God and Quran infinitely honor and dignify us, Satan and his constituents target our freedom through fear. They enslave souls, and invisible shackles stay with such souls until the Day of Judgment.
[4:120] ...... what the devil promises is no more than an illusion.
[35:40] ...Indeed, what the transgressors promise one another is no more than an illusion.
[4:14] As for the one who disobeys GOD and His messenger, and transgresses His laws, He will admit him into Hell, wherein he abides forever. He has incurred a shameful retribution.
Retribution for Opposing God and His Messenger [9:63] Did they not know that anyone who opposes GOD and His messenger has incurred the fire of Hell forever? This is the worst humiliation.
[31:6] Among the people, there are those who uphold baseless Hadith, and thus divert others from the path of GOD without knowledge, and take it in vain. These have incurred a shameful retribution.
The following verses set very strong examples so we pursue the true dignity with God and His scripture with no fear or compromise:
[63:8] They say, "If we go back to the city, the powerful therein will evict the weak (and we will be victimized)." (They should know that) all dignity belongs to GOD and His messenger, and the believers. However, the hypocrites do not know.
[4:138] Inform the hypocrites that they have incurred painful retribution.
[4:139] They are the ones who ally themselves with disbelievers instead of believers. Are they seeking dignity with them? All dignity belongs with GOD alone.
In conclusion, God is the source of all dignity. God and Quran are both given the attribute of excessive generosity to dignify and honor, honorable /الْكَرِيمِ . They grant the human being true and divine honor and dignity in this life and all the honorable ranks in the Hereafter. Our value systems become so distorted once we let go of the rope of God and become too absorbed in the illusion of this worldly life. The majority around us operates on and supports distorted value systems (6:116, 12:103), and this is why it gets confusing for some weak souls. Believers should constantly check their values against Quran for all situations and use Quran as a scale for comparison and judgment. We are either on the path of freedom, honor, and dignity or the path of shackles and shame. Either dignity or shame will be eternally ours, depending on the choices we make during life on earth.
All Dignity Belongs With God [35:10] Anyone seeking dignity should know that to GOD belongs all dignity. To Him ascends the good words, and He exalts the righteous works. As for those who scheme evil works, they incur severe retribution; the scheming of such people is destined to fail.
[94:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
[94:1] Did we not cool your temper?
[94:2] And we unloaded your load (of sins).
[94:3] One that burdened your back.
[94:4] We exalted you to an honorable position.
[94:5] With pain there is gain.
[94:6] Indeed, with pain there is gain.
[94:7] Whenever possible you shall strive.
[94:8] Seeking only your Lord.
[3:26] Say, "Our god: possessor of all sovereignty. You grant sovereignty to whomever You choose, You remove sovereignty from whomever You choose. You grant dignity to whomever You choose, and commit to humiliation whomever You choose. In Your hand are all provisions. You are Omnipotent.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.