Man is a shepherd
July 27, 2022
Thoughtspace: Distributed Identity Formation
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) is narrated to have said:
Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.
Identifying our roles as shepherds or stewards in this world fundamentally changes our relationship to people, wealth, and life. Our identity, and the meaning we give to ourselves and this life, is associated with service to different agents. In other words, our identity is formed based on what we give rather than what we take.
This definitely needs to be further fleshed out, but this idea that identity is a function of service or stewardship is in contrast with today's belief that identity is something we shape based on what we associate ourselves with, buy, or create.
Our existence must be earned, not purchased. We are on this Earth to fill certain roles – son, brother, friend, etc. – that are defined by our relationships with one another. We have the freedom to shape how we fill the container (i.e. how we practice our stewardship), but less so over the role of those relationships.
Man is a shepherd.