Fundamental Rights in Islam

Islam is a complete code of life: it covers all walks of human life and society, politics and State. It provides a perfect charter of fundamental human rights. They may be divided into two categories, as under:

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Fundamental Human Rights in the Islamic State.

Before we may consider these rights separately, it should be mentioned that the two categories of rights in Islam are derived from the Holy Quran, the traditions or Ahadith of the Holy Prophetand the examples of the four Pious Caliphs, who strictly followed the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet^. These are the only sources of rights in Islam. Secondly, rights and duties in Islam go together. Every human right in Islam has its corresponding duty or responsibility. Thirdly, rights of man (Haqooq al-Abad) are in some respects more important than the rights of God (Haqooq Allah), which is a clear proof that in Islam fundamental human rights are of immense importance.

Charter of Fundamental Human Rights, proclaimed by the Holy Prophet in his Farewell Sermon:

On his last pilgrimage the Holy Prophet/^ delivered his Farewell Sermon, which, by all fundamentals and disciplines of Statehood makes the linchpin of the Fundamental Human Rights in Islam. He said:

“O people! Listen to my words, for I do not know whether I shall ever meet you in this place again after this year.

Right to Sanctity of Life and Property:

“Your blood and your property are as sacred as are this Day and this Month (9th Dhu’l Hijja). You will surely meet your Lord and He will ask you of your works. I have told you. He who is entrusted with property belonging to another should deliver his trust to whom it belongs.”

Right to Inheritance:

“God has ordained to every man the share of his inheritance: a testament is not lawful to the prejudice of heirs. The child belongs to his parents: and the violator of wedlock shall be stoned.”

Riba abolished:

“All riba (interest) is abolished, but you have your right to capital. Wrong not and you shall not be wronged. God has decided that there is no riba (interest). And all riba due to Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib (Prophet’s uncle) is cancelled.”

Right to Life safeguarded:

“All blood shed in the Days of Ignorance is to be left unavenged. The first claim on blood I abolish is that of Rabia ibn Harith ibn Abdul Muttalib. It is the first blood shed in the Days of Ignorance (Jahiliya) which I deal with.”

Rights of Wives protected:

“O my people! You have rights over your wives and they have rights over you. You have the right that they should not defile your bed and that they should not behave immodestly. If they are guilty, God allows you to avoid intercourse with them and beat them without causing serious injury. But if they repent, you must feed and clothe them with kindness. Instruct and order your women kindly, for they are prisoners with you; they have no control over anything by themselves. You have taken them only as a trust from God and they have been made lawful to you by the Word of God.”

Right to Equality and Brotherhood of Muslims:

“O People! Listen to what I say and take it to heart. You must know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim and that all Muslims are brethren. All of you are as equal as the fingers of a hand. It is not lawful for any man to take anything of his brother’s, except what is given with one’s own free will. Therefore do not do injustice to one another.”

Equality of All Races proclaimed:

“The Arabs are not superior to the Ajamis (non-Arabs), or the Ajamis to the Arabs.”

Right of the Slaves to kind treatment:

“Your slaves; See that you feed them with such food as you eat yourselves, and clothe them with the stuff you wear; and if they commit a fault which you are not inclined to forgive, then part from them, for they are the servants of the Lord, and are not to be harshly treated.”

Fundamental Human Rights in Islam.

We shall now enumerate the fundamental human rights as guaranteed by Islam. They are available to all the people, Muslims or non- Muslims, living in the Islamic State. They are as follows:

Right to Life:

Islam ensures the right of every being to life and freedom from injury,’ and the right of retaliation or self-defence. The Quran, in Surah Beni

Israel, says that, Allah has forbidden the killing of any living being. Again Allah says in Surah al-, Ma’idah, “Excepting, in retaliation or in preventing whoever saves a life has, indeed, saved the life of the whole mankind.”

In Surah an-Nisa, Allah says: “Do not commit suicide.” Again He says “Whoever has knowingly killed a momin (pious Muslim), will be punished with hell-fire for ever.”

Right to property:

Islam has guaranteed right to property to all human beings, provided it is earned in a lawful way. The Quran says: “Man will get what he has striven for;” It means that one will have what he has earned by his labour. Moreover, a Muslim cannot possess wealth more than his rightful needs and he should also pay zakat for what he possesses in excess of his needs. Furthermore, Islam forbids a man to spend his wealth in evil ways or on what is haraam (forbidden) in Islam…

Right of Inheritance:

Islam recognises the right of inheritance in accordance with the prescriptions of the Quran.

Right to personal freedom:

In Islam personal freedom is guaranteed: no one can be punished or imprisoned without evidence of two and in some cases of four witnesses. The Holy Prophet/^ never punished a person on mere accusation: it must be supported by evidence.

Freedom of Opinion:

Islam lays particular emphasis on freedom of opinion, and criticism. The Quran says, “When you say something, say it with justice, even though it may be about your relatives” (Al-An‘dm:152) Addressing the Muslims, the Quran says, “You are the best of the Ummah, who are sent to guide and reform the world; you command what is good and to prevent what is bad “(Surah Al- ‘Imran: 110) Again the Quran says, ‘if you favoured anyone or you tried to conceal truth and then remember that God knows everything.” (3:135)

Freedom of Conscience and religion:

The Quran says, There is no compulsion in religion”. (Surah al- Baqarah: 256) Again it says, “Will you compel people to make them momin (a believer in God)”. (Surah Yunus: 99)

Islam also teaches tolerance of other faiths and religions. In Surah AI-Kafirun, the Quran commands: “For you your religion and for me my religion.” Again it says to the Muslims, “The people, who worship other than God, do not curse them”. (Surah AI-An’&m: 108)

 Right to Equality:

Islam declares again and again that all Muslims are equal brothers to each other. The Quran says, “All Muslims are brothers.” Again it says,

“ALL MANKIND were once one single community; [then they began to differ-] whereupon God raised up the prophets as heralds of glad tidings and as wamers.” (2:213) Moreover, Islam has also declared men and women as equal in their rights and duties.

Duties:

Along with rights, Islam has laid equal emphasis on the performance of duties. Some of them are as follows:

Duty of Obedience:

Islam, which is a religion of submission and obedience, commands the Muslims to obey Allah, the Messenger and the Ameer. The Quran says, “O, ye who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those of you who are in authority (amr); and if you have a dispute concerning any matter refer it to Allah and the Messenger if you are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end.” (4:58)

Payment of Zakat

Payment of zakat (tax for aiding and helping the poor) is as compulsory in Islam as offering prayers. Moreover, Islam also emphasizes the payment of alms, charity and sadqaat to the poor and the needy. It is against concentration of wealth in the hands of the few wealthy persons. Instead, it is in favour of constant circulation of wealth among the people, so that there may be a fair degree of equality in all the necessaries of life und happiness. As we have said above, the Quran calls upon the Muslims to give away in the name of Allah all that is in excess of their needs. “And |>cople ask you that what they should spend in the way of Allah? Say ‘That which is beyond your needs.” (AI-Baqarah: 219) Again the Quran says: “Warn them of terrible death to the people who have accumulated gold and silver and have not spent them in the path of Allah, that the Day will come when this very gold and silver will be made red hot in the fires of Hell and then their heads and bodies will be burnt with them: this is the treasure which they have collected with which they will have the taste of their wealth.” (Surah at-Tauba: 33-35).

Cooperation and Mutual Aid:

Islam commands the Muslims to cooperate with the government of the Islamic State by making sacrifice of their lives and property, so that it may defend them against their enemies and promote the interests of the Muslim “Ummah”. The Quran further says, “Righteousness is not in that you turn faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the Prophets; and gives his wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask and to set slaves free” (2:177)

Israel, says that, Allah has forbidden the killing of any living being. Again Allah says in Surah al-, Ma’idah, “Excepting, in retaliation or in preventing whoever saves a life has, indeed, saved the life of the whole mankind.”

In Surah an-Nisa, Allah says: “Do not commit suicide.” Again He says “Whoever has knowingly killed a momin (pious Muslim), will be punished with hell-fire for ever.”

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