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  Human Rights

                                                    Human Rights an Overview*

Many of us believe that Human Rights are granted by the government or legislative assemblies, while Islam considers Human Rights are granted and sanctioned by God. History had demonstrated that governments and rulers have altered Human Rights to benefit and reinforce circumstances in their favor.

Since Human Rights are a part of the parcel in the Islamic creeds, every person who claims to be a Muslim has to accept and practice these creeds. If one fails to do so by denying, altering, or violating these doctrines while paying lip-service, that person clearly will not be considered a Muslim. The Holy Quran states:

One of the most important issues among the Human Rights is Justice which is the buttress and spirit of Human Rights. That is why Islam highly emphasizes on justice though it might not be favorable to some people.
But, by justice there shall be no Racism, Abuses, Harassments, etc.
A person has to be just with all people whether he likes them or abhors them:

"Those who do not judge by what God has sent down are the disbelievers." 5:44

One of the most important issue among the Human Rights is Justice. Since  justice is the buttress and spirit of  Human Rights. And that is why Islam highly emphasized on justice though it might not be  favorable to some people.
But, by justice there shall be no Racism, Abuses, Harassments, etc.
A person has to be just with all people whether he likes them or abhors them:  And let not the hatred of others make you avoid justice.  Be just: that is nearer to piety.... (Quran, 5:8)

The Right to Life Freedom Of Association
Equality and Justice Freedom Of Conscience And Conviction
The Security Of Life And Property Protection Of Religious Sentiments
The Protection Of Honor Protection From Arbitrary Imprisonment
Sanctity And Security Of Private Life The Right To Basic Necessities of Life
The Security Of Personal Freedom Equality Before Law
The Right To Protest Against Tyranny Rulers Not Above The Law
Freedom Of Expression The Right To Participate In The Affairs Of State

The Right to Life

The first and the foremost basic right is the right to live and
respect human life. The Holy Quran lays down:

  Whosoever kills a human being without (any reason like) man
  slaughter, or corruption on earth, it is as though he had killed
  all mankind ... (5:32)

As far as the question of taking life in retaliation for murder or the
question of punishment for spreading corruption on this earth is con-
cerned, it can be decided only by a proper and competent court of
law. If there is any war with any nation or country, it can be decided
only by a properly established government. In any case, no human
being has any right by himself to take human life in retaliation or for
causing mischief on this earth. Therefore it is incumbent on every
human being that under no circumstances should he be guilty of
taking a human life. If anyone has murdered a human being, it is as if
he has slain the entire human race. These instructions have been
repeated in the Holy Quran in another place saying:

  Do not kill a soul which Allah has made sacred except through the due
  process of law ... (6:151)

Here also homicide has been distinguished from destruction of
life carried out in pursuit of justice. Only a proper and competent
court will be able to decide whether or not an individual has forfeited
his right to life by disregarding the right to life and peace of other
human beings. The Prophet, may God's blessings be on him, has
declared homicide as the greatest sin only next to polytheism. The
Tradition of the Prophet reads: "The greatest sins are to associate
something with God and to kill human beings." In all these verses of
the Quran and the Traditions of the Prophet the word 'soul' (nafs) has
been used in general terms without any distinction or particularization
which might have lent itself to the elucidation that the persons belong-
ing to one's nation, the citizens of one's country, the people of a
particular race or religion should not be killed. The injunction applies
to all human beings and the destruction of human life in itself has
been prohibited.

'The Right to Life' has been given to man only by Islam. You
will observe that the people who talk about human rights if they have
ever mentioned them in their Constitutions or Declarations, then it is
clearly implied in them that these rights are applicable only to their
citizens or they have been framed for the white race alone. This can
clearly be gleaned by the fact that human beings were hunted down
like animals in Australia and the land was cleared of the aborigines for
the white man. Similarly the aboriginal population of America was
systematically destroyed and the Red Indians who somehow survived
this genocide were confined to specified areas called Reservations.
They also penetrated into Africa and hunted down human beings like
wild animals. All these instances go to prove that they have no respect
for human life as such and if they have, it is only on the basis of their
nationality, color or race. Contrary to this, Islam recognizes this right
for all human beings. If a man belongs to a primitive or savage tribe,
even then Islam regards him as a human being.


Equality and Justice

 ...And act justly.  Truly, God loves those who are just.  (Quran, 49:9)
The Prophet Muhammad  said: {People, beware of injustice, for injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.}
 Truly God commands you to give back trusts to those to whom they are due, and when you judge between people, to judge with justice.... 
(Quran, 4:58)

Racism is not allowed in Islam, for the Quran speaks of human equality in the following terms:
 O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes for you to know one another.  Truly, the noblest of you with God is the most pious.  Truly, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.  (Quran, 49:13)

Islam rejects certain individuals or nations being favored because of their wealth, power, or race.  God created human beings as equals who are to be distinguished from each other only on the basis of their faith and piety.  The Prophet Muhammad  said: {O people!  Your God is one and your forefather (Adam) is one.  An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety.}

The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred, whether a person is Muslim or not.  Islam also protects honor.  So, in Islam, insulting others or making fun of them is not allowed.  The Prophet Muhammad  said: {Truly your blood, your property, and your honor are inviolable.}


The Security Of Life And Property:


In the address which the Prophet delivered on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, he said: "Your lives and properties are forbidden to one another till you meet your Lord on the Day of Resurrection." The Prophet has also said about the the non-Muslim citizens in the Islamic state: "One who kills a man under covenant  will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise."

The Protection Of Honor:

The Holy Quran lays down: "You who believe, do not let one (set of) people make fun of another set." "Do not defame one another."
"Do not insult by using nicknames."
"Do not backbite or speak ill of one another." (49:11-12)

Sanctity And Security Of Private Life:

The Quran has laid down the injunction:

"Do not spy on one another." (49:12)
"Do not enter any houses unless you are sure of their occupant's consent." (24:27)

The Security Of Personal Freedom:

Islam has laid down the principle that no citizen can be imprisoned unless his guilt has been proven in an open court. To arrest a man only on the basis of suspicion and to throw him into a prison without proper court proceedings and without providing him a reasonable opportunity to produce his defense is not permissible in Islam.

The Right To Protest Against Tyranny:

Among the rights that Islam has conferred on human beings is the right to protest against government's tyranny. Referring to it the Quran says:

"God does not love evil talk in public unless it is by someone who has been injured thereby." (4:148)

In Islam, as has been argued earlier, all power and authority belong to God, and with man there is only delegated power which becomes a trust; everyone who becomes a recipient of such a power has to stand in awful reverence before his people toward whom and for whose sake he will be called upon to use these powers.

Freedom Of Expression:

Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all citizens of the Islamic state on the condition that it should be used for the propagation of virtue and truth and not for spreading evil and wickedness. The Islamic concept of freedom of expression is much superior to the concept prevalent in the West. Under no circumstances would Islam allow evil and wickedness to be propagated. It also does not give anybody the right to use abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism. It was the practice of the Muslims to enquire from the Holy Prophet whether on a certain matter a divine injunction had been revealed to him. If he said that he had received no divine injunction, the Muslims freely expressed their opinion on the matter.

Freedom Of Association:

Islam has also given people the right to freedom of association and formation of parties or organizations. This right is also subject to certain general rules.

Freedom Of Conscience And Conviction:

Islam has laid down the injunction:

"There should be no coercion in the matter of faith." (2:256)

On the contrary, totalitarian societies totally deprive the individuals of their freedom. Indeed, this undue exaltation of the state authority curiously enough postulates a sort of servitude, of slavishness on the part of man. At one time slavery meant total control of man over man - now that type of slavery has been legally abolished but in its place totalitarian societies impose a similar sort of control over individuals.

Protection Of Religious Sentiments:

Along with the freedom of conviction and freedom of conscience, Islam has given the right to the individual that his religious sentiments will be given due respect and nothing will be said or done which may encroach upon his right.

 Protection From Arbitrary Imprisonment:

Islam also recognizes the right of the individual not to be arrested or imprisoned for the offenses of others. The Holy Quran has laid down this principle clearly:

"No bearer of burdens shall be made to bear the burden of another." (35:18)

The Right To Basic Necessities of Life:

Islam has recognized the right of the needy people for help and assistance to be provided to them:

"And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute." (51:19)

 Equality Before Law:

Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of the law.

Rulers Not Above The Law:

A woman belonging to a high and noble family was arrested in connection with theft. The case was brought to the Prophet, and it was recommended that she might be spared the punishment of theft. The Prophet replied: "The nations that lived before you were destroyed by God because they punished the common man for their offenses and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes; I swear by Him Who holds my life in His hand that even if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed this crime, I would have amputated her hand."

The Right To Participate In The Affairs Of State:

"And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves." (42:38)

The "Shura" or the legislative assembly has no other meaning except that the executive head of the government and the members of the assembly should be elected by free and independent choice of the people.

Lastly, it is to be made clear that Islam tries to achieve the above mentioned human rights and many others not only by providing certain legal safeguards but mainly by inviting mankind to transcend the lower level of animal life to be able to go beyond the mere ties fostered by the kinship of blood, racial superiority, linguistic arrogance, and economic privileges. It invites mankind to move on to a plane of existence where, by reason of his inner excellence, man can realize the ideal of the Brotherhood of man.



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