Human Rights In Islam And Common Misconceptions

Human Rights In Islam And Common Misconceptions

 

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Abdul-Rahman Bin Abdulkarim Al-Sheha
Language: English | Format: PDF | Pages: 180 | Size: 1 MB

All Praise is due to Allah and may Allah exalt the mention of His Prophet and render him and his household, his Companions, and those who follow their way safe from every evil, and grant them security on the Day of Resurrection. Every society must ensure for its citizens the rights that guarantee for them their basic needs and security, and enable them to feel a sense of belonging and attachment to the larger social group. Individuals need to feel security and a sense of belonging in order to perform their tasks and duties in a satisfactory manner.

Presently, three distinct trends are discernable in our global society. The first trend exaggerates the right of the individual over the society. This trend gives the individual full freedom to do as he pleases with minimal restrictions. Unfortunately this leads to a chaotic social situation because when unlimited freedom is granted to the individual, selfish desires predominate and bring conflicting results. The entire society suffers immensely from greed and selfishness. This trend is found in the liberal democratic capitalist society.

The second trend, contrary to the above, advocates the rights of the society over the individual. The latter is stripped of his individual rights. Only rights that serve the ruling regime are granted to the individuals, according to the dominant ideology of the ruling class or group. This trend is prevalent in communist and totalitarian societies.

The third trend, ideally neither emphasizes the right of the society over the individual, nor the right of the individual over the society. Each is given its due right in life according to the given system. Rights and obligations are governed and controlled by strict rules and conditions. In this trend, the public interest is given priority over the interest of an individual only in case of a serious conflict.

In this booklet we shall address human rights in the light of perfectly balanced system of laws and principles of Islam. These rights are based on revelations from the Divine Book of Muslims, the Glorious Qur’an and from the Sunnah, the practice of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) the two main sources of Islamic life and jurisprudence. Both the Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah aim to produce an ideal individual in an ideal society: all interact with each other to produce the harmony of the individuals with Allah their Lord and Creator, with themselves, others, the society in general, and other societies all over the globe.

We firmly believe that the application of the individual and social principles of the third trend, when guided by the perfect revealed law from Allah in the Qur’an and Sunnah, will definitely make humanity happier and more prosperous. The application of these principles will enable the society to achieve peace and security. These social rights and principles are not a result of previous experiences, social ideologies, temporary and immediate needs and/or political drives and motives: rather they are from the Beneficent and the Omniscient for man’s progress to happiness in this life and salvation in the Hereafter.

Our firm belief in the truth and justice of the Islamic rights and principles is due to the fact that Allah, the Most Merciful and only Creator of man, reveals them. He knows well what suits His creation at all times, what benefits or harms man, what makes him happy or sad, what makes him successful or miserable. By His knowledge and beneficence He has legislated what suits best and fulfills the essential needs of all His creatures on earth and makes their lives successful, secure and joyful.

The Glorious Qur’an, which was revealed and sent down unto Muhammad (PBUH) is the everlasting miracle that contains the basics of these essential rules. The Sunnah, the practices of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) which is the second source of Islamic law, contains the detailed revealed guidance. These rules and principles were set forth by Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) some fourteen hundred years ago in the best form and manner and will remain relevant forever. Both, the Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah (practices of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH)) honor man and his individual rights in the society. These sources of Islamic law did not overlook the needs and rights of the society and the public interest. In fact, The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur’an:

وَلَقَدۡ كَرَّمۡنَا بَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ وَحَمَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ وَرَزَقۡنَـٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ وَفَضَّلۡنَـٰهُمۡ عَلَىٰ ڪَثِيرٍ۬ مِّمَّنۡ خَلَقۡنَا تَفۡضِيل

{We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of Our Creation.} (The Noble Qur’an 17:70)

Man will only gain this honor and privileges when he fulfills his obligations and renders the rights due to their owners.

In order to execute the role of the special place on earth, there is a need for specific tasks to be performed by specific individuals. This concept is illustrated by the Almighty Allah in the Glorious Qur’an:

فَلَمَّا نَسُواْ مَا ذُڪِّرُواْ بِهِۦۤ أَنجَيۡنَا ٱلَّذِينَ يَنۡہَوۡنَ عَنِ ٱلسُّوٓءِ وَأَخَذۡنَا ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ بِعَذَابِۭ بَـِٔيسِۭ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَفۡسُقُونَ

{So when they forgot the remindings that had been given to them, We rescued those who forbade evil, but We seized those who did wrong with a severe torment because they used to rebel against Allah’s command (disobey Allâh).} (The Noble Qur’an 7:165)

Some nations and international organizations, like the United Nations, call loudly to principles that seek to guarantee human rights. Islam established, within its enlightened Shari’ah (law and jurisprudence) many of these human rights some fourteen centuries ago. The rights enumerated by modern international organizations are characterized with deficiencies in conceptualization, flaws in formulation, and injustices in application. They are subject to political agendas, economic pressures and culturally biased viewpoints. They carry the residues of colonialism and imperialism. Such rights are often enumerated and established not for the interests of all humans, rather, to the benefit of certain governments, organizations and powerful special interest groups. This becomes more evident when, as we see all over the world, many of our fellow humans suffering from the worst atrocities, and yet, there is no organization to truly defend the poor and the weak. Glaring inequalities and abuses between nations and within nations are growing worse and worse even before our eyes, and the prescriptions for aid and development mire them deeper into misery as if they were meant to perpetuate their misery and servitude.

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