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Human Rights in Islam : Miscellaneous Rights

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Islam regulates certain rights for roadside and public passages. God’s Messenger (pbuh) is reported to have said:

‘Avoid sitting on roadsides [or sidewalks].’

The Companions who were present at the time commented, ‘O Messenger of God! Roadsides are outlets for us where we can sit, enjoy and talk.’ Upon hearing this comment God’s Messenger (pbuh) replied, ‘If you cannot avoid sitting on sidewalks then give the sidewalks their due rights.’ The Companions then inquired, ‘O Messenger of God! What are the rights of the sidewalks?’

God’s Messenger (pbuh) replied, “Lowering your gaze [when a female crosses or passes by], clearing the path from harmful things, returning the salaam [Islamic greetings], enjoining good and forbidding evil.” [Bukhari, Hadith no. 2121 and Muslim Hadith no. 2333]

God’s Messenger (pbuh) is reported to also have said, “Removing any harmful items of the road is a charitable act [which is rewarded and cherished by God.].” [Bukhari, Hadith no. 2827]

Besides this, God’s Messenger (pbuh) is reported to have instructed, ‘Fear the two acts that cause you to be cursed.’ The Companions, who were present at the time, inquired: ‘O Messenger of God! What are those acts that are the cause to be cursed?’ God’s Messenger (pbuh) replied:

“The person who answers the call of nature on the public passages or in the shades where people seek rest” [Muslim, Hadith no. 269]

In general, Islam makes it obligatory on Muslims to be considerate and caring with each other, no matter where they are. The Prophet (pbuh) said:

“The similitude of the believers in their mutual care, love and kindness to one another is like one human body: if one organ aches, this prompts the entire body to become feverish and to remain awake.” [Bukhari, Hadith no. 5665]

And he ordered Muslims to work towards the betterment of their brother Muslims:

“None of you is a true believer until he loves for his Muslim brother what he loves for himself.” [Bukhari, Hadith no. 13]

In the times of need, the Prophet (pbuh) said:

The believers, one to another, are like a firm structure, each brick supporting the other.” He then intertwined his fingers. [Bukhari, Hadith no. 5680]

Muslims are prohibited to abandon each other, as the Prophet (pbuh) said:

“Anyone who does not support another Muslim when his sacred rights are attacked and his honor is demeaned; God will forsake him at a time when he needs His help. No one helps a Muslim when his honor is demeaned and his sacred rights are attacked except that God will help him when he would need His help”. [Abu Dawood, Hadith no. 4884]

Islam bans killing or murdering any human being. Islam categorizes such an act as one of the major sins.

However, if these rules or rights were not enforced, they would have remained ideals and dreams only in the minds of people. If there is no authority to enforce, they will remain only utopian ideals. It is reported that God’s Messenger (pbuh) said,

“You should stop an ignorant person from doing evil. You should force such an ignorant person to enjoin good, or else, God shall soon expedite a speedy punishment against you.” [Abu Dawood, no.4336 and Tirmidhi no.2169]

Almighty God therefore, in order to preserve and maintain such human rights in the Islamic society, has revealed unto His Messenger pertinent commandments. God commands not to exceed these limits and sets punishments and laws, which are known as Hudood (prescribed punishments) or capital punishments. He may also impose a specific punishment in the Hereafter.

Allah prohibits all types of aggression against the wealth and property of others.

We will list below only a few of the commandments of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” that Islam has ordained:

Islam bans killing or murdering any human being. Islam categorizes such an act as one of the major sins. This is based on the verse in the Glorious Qur’an:

(And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly – We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Indeed, he has been supported [by the law].) [17:33]

Islam prohibits all acts of aggression against the honor, dignity and privacy of people. In fact, such acts of aggression are known as major sins in Islam.

Almighty God states in the Qur’an:

(Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of fear of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed.

And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.”) [6:151]

Islam, further, bans all types of actions that are categorized as shameful acts, or a means to promote indecency in a society. Therefore, all acts that lead to indecent acts are also banned in Islam. God, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:

(And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily it is a great sin, and an evil way.) [17:32]

God prohibits all types of aggression against the wealth and property of others. Therefore, all forms of theft and cheating etc. are banned in Islam. This is based on the Hadith of God’s Messenger (pbuh) :

“Whosoever cheats us is not one of us.” [Muslim, Hadith no. 164]

Usury and all monetary interest is banned in Islam for the injustice it spreads in the economic system harming all, especially the poor. God, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:

(That is because they say: “Trade is like usury,” but God has permitted trade and forbidden usury.) [2:275]

God forbids all kinds of deception and betrayals. God states in the Qur’an:

(O you who believe! Betray not the trust of God and the Messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.) [8:27]

Islam forbids monopoly. God’s Messenger (pbuh) said:

“No one monopolizes except a wrongdoer.” [This Hadith is reported by Muslim no.1605]

Islam bans all types of bribery and kickbacks. As the Hadith of God’s Messenger (pbuh) tells us:

“May God curse those who pay out bribes and the ones who receive it.” [Abu Dawood, no.3580 and Tirmidhi, no.1336]

Similar prohibitions are imposed on the devious and illegal means through which money is taken. God states in the Glorious Qur’an:

(And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful].) [2:188]

Islam bans all types of bribery and kickbacks.

Islam condemns the abuse of power, position and authority to obtain personal gains. In fact, Islam empowers the ruler to reclaim all assets taken through abusive means and deposit them into the Islamic treasury. God’s Messenger (pbuh) appointed a man called Ibn-ul-Lutbiyyah as a Zakah collector. When the collector brought the Zakah amount, he said: This amount is for the Islamic Treasury, but this other amount has been given to me as gifts. God’s Messenger (pbuh) became very upset upon hearing this from the collector. God’s Messenger (pbuh) said:

“Were he sitting in his father’s or mother’s house, would he have received any of these gifts? By Him in Whose hands is my soul, nobody would take anything from this except that he would be carrying it on his neck on the Day of Resurrection …” Then he raised his hands until we saw the whiteness of his armpits and said: “O God! Bear witness that I have conveyed the Message” three times.” [Bukhari, Hadith no. 6772 and Muslim, Hadith no. 1832]

Islam condemns the abuse of power, position and authority to obtain personal gains.

Islam prohibits all forms of intoxicants that cloud the mind or judgment. It is commanded in the Qur’an:

(O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters, and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.) [5:90]

All types of injuries to a person or animal such as beating and other vices such as backbiting, false testimony, gossip and so forth are also prohibited. The Qur’an warns:

(O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sins, and spy not, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would abhor it. And fear God, for God is Oft-Returning, Most-Merciful.) [49:12]

Islam upholds the dignity and honor of others and forbids slandering them. Almighty God states in the Qur’an:

(And those who harm believing men and believing women for [something] other than what they have earned have certainly born upon themselves a slander and manifest sin.) [33:58]

In Islam, great importance is given to the privacy of a person and any type of intrusion is prohibited. God states in the Qur’an:

(If you find none in the house, enter not until permission is given to you; if you are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves and God knows all that you do.) [24:27]

Justice is one of the basics of the Religion of Islam. It is not allowed to be unjust with anyone, even to one’s own self. God commands in the Qur’an:

(God commands justice, the doing of good and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have taken it, [O believers], and do not break oaths after their confirmation while you have made Allah , over you, a witness. Indeed, Allah knows what you do.) [16:90-91]

In addition, in a Hadith Qudsi, God says,

“O My slaves! I have banned injustice for Myself and I have declared injustice unlawful among you. Therefore, do not do any act of injustice to one another.” [Muslim, Hadith no. 2577]

In fact, God disapproves injustice done even to those who differ with Muslims in faith. God has demanded Muslims to be kind and fair to non-Muslim residents in an Islamic State. God states in the Qur’an:

(God does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, God loves those who act justly.) [60:8]

Islam forbids abusing the beliefs of non-Muslims, for it provokes the other party to respond with reciprocal abuse. God says:

(And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge.) [6:108]

Islam commands people to assist an oppressed person even with the use of force when necessary.

Instead, God instructed Muslims to use a fair and well-matured dialogue with such people: God says:

(Say: “O People of the Book! Come to common terms between us and you: that we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we take not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God. If then they turn back, say you: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims (submitting to God’s Will).) [3:64]

Islam, further, bans all types of social, political and moral corruption and mischief. It is commanded in the Qur’an:

(And cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.) [7:56]

Islam forbids the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force. God states in the Glorious Qur’an:

(If it had been your Lord’s Will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Will you then compel mankind against their will to believe!) [10:99]

Islam forbids the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by Force.

This does not mean that Muslims should not call others to join the Islamic monotheistic faith by delivering the Message of God to people, but instead indicates that Muslims should call to Islam in a wise, kind and comely manner. Islam has an international mission and it is neither a regional nor an ethnic call. But the guidance is in the Hands of God alone and not in the hands of people.

Islam commands people to run their governments with consultation. The principle of consultation is operative in situations where there are no clear scriptures from the Qur’an and Sunnah. God states in the Glorious Qur’an:

(…their affairs are conducted by mutual consultation…) [42:38]

Islam commands that all relative rights be given to their deserving people. Islam also calls for full justice among people. Almighty God states in the Qur’an:

(God does command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between others, that you judge with justice:

verily how excellent is the teaching which He gives you! For God is He Who hears and sees all things.) [4:58]

Islam commands people to assist an oppressed person even with the use of force when necessary. This is based on the verse in the Glorious Qur’an, the meaning of which is translated as:

(And why should you not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect; and raise for us from You one who will help!) [4:75]

Islam establishes an executive system or authority for the common good. In light of the fact that there are certain categories of people, as pointed out earlier, who will never be good without applying force against their criminal activities… this system works to assure that all individuals are enjoying their relative rights.

It also works to monitor and govern the execution of such rights, to prevent any aggression, and to apply appropriate punishment against violators of the laws.

The following is a summary of some of the various Islamic systems that are the components of the overall executive system.

Reference : Dr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Sheha, Human Rights in Islam, Usool International Centre, Riyadh, ISBN: 978-603-90936-9-5

Main article : Human Rights in Islam  

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