Transforming the Self, Family and Society through a Qur’anic Ethos


  • Zainab Alwani, Ph.D. Howard University



Qur’an, human self-worth, taqwa, oppression (ẓulm), accountability, repentance


This article examines how the Qur'an transforms self, family and society; discusses oppression of oneself and others; and demonstrates how the problems it causes can be prevented by constant self-awareness and self accountability. In addition, it addresses various issues including the Qur’an’s view of oppression’s spiritual roots, the origin of human relations, and taqwā’s relationship with self-development. In addition, and most importantly, it identifies the oppressor and the oppressed; explains how oppressors can transform themselves; why God holds people accountable; and how to evaluate our strategies’ success or failure in dealing with oppression. The methodology used is that of reading the Qurʾan intra-textually as one structural unity (al waḥda al-binā’iyya li-l-Qur’ān). This involves cross-examining and integrating the sacred text’s linguistic, structural, and conceptual elements. The overarching goal of this approach is to prevent injustice and promote peace through justice, mercy, and mutual accountability.

Author Biography

Zainab Alwani, Ph.D., Howard University

Associate Professor of Islamic Studies