The Quranic notion of human dignity is associated with mainly three characteristics: (1) that every human being is born with an innate personhood, entitles all humans to equal respect. That is, human dignity connotes catholicity. It is an ascription to every member of homo sapiens. (2) dignity also connotes inalienability, i.e., dignity as non-contingent, (3) and unconditionality, i.e., it an essence necessitating no performance, i.e., it is a God-given ontological property rooted in the human being itself. As such, it is not contingent upon variables as social prowess, mental or somatic abilities, or genetic endowment. Further, this rooted dignity does not admit of grades. Human dignity cannot be gradually achieved. It is a binary function, that allows no middle ground. This position is diametrically opposed to the Hobbesian concept of dignity as the “price set on an individual agent by the commonwealth”, a position that admits of gradation of dignity based on a utility-function paradigm.
On the other hand, the touchstone of general societal position, determining the relative status – rests chiefly on modes of human activity (“And for all there are ranks according to what they do”). That is, since the element of interior causality is rooted in every member of the human species, the self-determining agent, in her/his activities, directs his/her being toward values, and as such determines herself/himself as well. Put in a different way, the human being is the creator of his own self. And as actions are organically linked to creative becoming, by selecting intentionally between several courses of action open to the human ego, the human subject is "becoming" a morally good or bad human being, i.e., acting intentionally toward an object, a value which draws the will to itself.
Therefore, a distinction ought to be made between a God-given ontological innate dignity on the one hand, and how individuals, as a subjective “I”, operates with their power of self-determination, and thus determines their own identities and moral values.