Backbiting destroys reputations

The Status of Human Beings

Human rights in Islam stem from two foundational principles: dignity and equality. Dignity is a fundamental right of every human being merely by virtue of his or her humanity. The diversity of humanity into many races and ethnicities is a testament to God’s majesty and wisdom. Therefore, racial superiority and discrimination is prohibited in Islam and contradicts their essence. This concept is exemplified in the final sermon of Prophet Muhammad(saw). Allah says:

وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۗ وَمَن قُتِلَ مَظْلُومًا فَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا لِوَلِيِّهِ سُلْطَانًا فَلَا يُسْرِف فِّي الْقَتْلِ

“Do not kill the soul which Allah has made sacred except by right of justice. Whoever is killed unjustly, We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed the limits in taking life.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:33)

Allah has commanded us three kinds of rights: the rights of Allah and his Prophet, the rights of self or our own life and the rights of people. A human being can be the best and the most perfect creature. In Islam, life is a sacred trust from God and the most basic right of a human being. No individual is permitted to take the life of another unless it is for justice administered by a competent court following due process of law.  Allah says:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَيَجْعَلُ لَهُمُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وُدًّا

“Verily, for those who have believed and done righteous deeds, the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.” (Surah Maryam 19:96)

Islam’s contribution to human rights is best appreciated when viewed against the backdrop of world history as well as the realities of modern times. When considering the question of human rights and Islam, it is important to distinguish the divinely prescribed rights of Islam from potential misinterpretation and misapplication by imperfect human beings. Just as Western societies still fight against racism and discrimination, many Muslim societies struggle to fully implement the rights outlined in Islam.

Here are some fundamental Human Rights In Islam:

  1. Islam is a way of life that transcends race and ethnicity
  2. Islam provides the right to equality is a practical reality
  3. Islam’s teaching shows that all innocent life is sacred
  4. Islam emphasizes the complete freedom of belief
  5. Islam is a paradigm shift towards human rights
  6. Islam has no schisms between human beings
  7. Islam establish peace and justice in society
  8. Islam teaches us to practice in our daily life
  9. Islam leads to a balanced way of living
  10. Islam brings civilization and happiness
  11. Islam emphasizes the right to privacy
  12. Islam holds a woman in high esteem
  13. Islam holds a sanctity of human life
  14. Islam  brings trust in Almighty Allah
  15. Islam leads an honour and dignity
  16. Islam has freedom of religion
  17. Islam gives social responsibility
  18. Right to life for the unborn child
  19. Right to personal responsibility
  20. Right to protection of reputation
  21. Right to participate in public affairs
  22. Right to chastity, dignity, and lineage
  23. Right to enjoin virtue and eradicate evil
  24. Right to inheritance for both women and men
  25. Right to refuse obedience to oppressive rulers

Human rights in Islam stem from two foundational principles: dignity and equality. Dignity is a fundamental right of every human being merely by virtue of his or her humanity. The Islamic model of human rights, in particular, is striking in its rigour, its vision and its relevance to modern times. One of the fundamental rights established by the sacred texts is that no one can be compelled to accept Islam.  Allah says:

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِين

“And his signs are the creation of heavens and earth and the diversity of your tongues and colours. Surely, there are signs in this for all the worlds.” (Surah Ar-Rum 30:22)

Speaking and acting respectfully with people gives them the dignity they deserve. It is particularly important to be respectful towards elders, like our parents, grandparents, and teachers because they are more experienced, wiser and can guide us in many aspects. The most deserving of respect is our Creator Allah (s.w.t) Himself. Islam requires that each individual learn to obey the Creator and thus treat oneself, mankind, other beings, and the environment with respect.  Allah says:

فَمَنْ عُفِيَ لَهُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ شَيْءٌ فَاتِّبَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَأَدَاءٌ إِلَيْهِ بِإِحْسَانٍ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ تَخْفِيفٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۗ فَمَنِ اعْتَدَىٰ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَهُ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

“Whoever pardons a capital crime from his brother, then it should be followed by good conduct and payment to him in the best manner. This is an alleviation from your Lord and mercy, but whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:178)

Islam has great placed emphasis on the value of all life and has issued clear warnings against unjustified violence. Every person has the right to enjoy respect and honour in society. It is not allowed to defame a person through the wrong accusation.  Islamic teachings can be made part of life only through a process of learning by each and every member of the community. It is the fundamental right of a Muslim to have facilities and adequate opportunities for learning and acquiring knowledge.

God recognizes this right in the Holy Quran:

  • “Men not created without a purpose.” (Surah Muminun, 23:115)
  • “Man is himself accountable for his own actions.” (Surah Al-Isra, 17:1)
  • “Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause” (Quran 17:33)
  • “…Eat and drink; but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.” (Quran 7: 31)
  • “…if any of you does evil in ignorance, and thereafter repents and does righteous good deeds (by obeying God), then surely, He is Oft ­Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran 6:54)
  • “If any do deeds of righteousness – be they male or female – and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.” (Quran 4:124)
  • “And those who malign believing men and women undeservedly bear upon themselves the guilt of slander and a manifest sin.” (Quran 33:58)
  • “If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allâh), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.” (Surah Ibrahim, Verse 7)

Allah wants a balance between all kinds of rights. In the Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), helping the less privileged and the weak is constantly underlined. From the teachings of Islam, it is revealed that the divine spark is present in every human; however, it needs an enabling society to ignite it. Islam places the significance of peace in a practical sense at all levels. A Muslim recognizes the signs of the unlimited power of Allah in the universe.  Allah says:

وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا

“We have honoured the children of Adam and carried them by land and sea; We have provided good sustenance for them and favoured them specially above many of those We have created.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:70)

The intellectual dimension of human beings is constantly highlighted in Islamic teachings. The Holy Quran has reinforced the concept of human beings using their intellect and reflecting on the mysterious creations of God. Education and seeking knowledge are viewed as important to develop the intellectual capacity of human beings. Allah says:

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ صَوَّرْنَاكُمْ ثُمَّ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ لَمْ يَكُن مِّنَ السَّاجِدِينَ

“We created you then We fashioned you. Then We said to the Angels, “Prostrate to Adam,” So they prostrated, except Iblees. He was not of those who prostrated.” (Surah Al-A’raf 7:11)

Righteous actions are only rewarded by God if a person worships Allah alone and does not commit idolatry. Idolatry is to worship gods besides Allah, whether it be idols, saints, angels, prophets, stars or the dead in their graves. Allah says:

وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ

“Cooperate in righteousness and piety, and do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:2)

Everyone is equal before the law. All citizens must be treated equally in law, rich or poor a person of high status or an ordinary person. Allah made no distinction between the life of a Muslim and a non-Muslim, a believer or an unbeliever. Everyone has the right to discharge his religious obligations according to his faith and belief. Freedom of religion is an accepted right of every citizen of the state.  Allah says:

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

“Verily, you do not guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He wills. He is most knowing of the rightly guided.” (Surah Al-Qasas 28:56)

Islam requires that Muslims possess upright character and deal justly with the entire human race, irrespective of their ethnicity, nationality, creed and whether they are a friend or foe. Islam requires that Muslims possess upright character and deal justly with the entire human race, irrespective of their ethnicity, nationality, creed and whether they are a friend or foe.