Human rights are rights that are generally available to everyone,
irrespective of their gender, caste, nationality and colour. Human rights are
related to life and liberty, the right to liberty and so on. In the modern
world, the state or governing body is held accountable for ensuring such rights.
As we are living in an advanced era but unfortunately, instances of prejudices
and inequalities are often seen. Who is responsible for it? And who has a
responsibility towards the prevention and protection of human rights? Human
right is a pertinent motif everywhere and for it, certain measures had been
taken internationally and notionally to uphold it.
Here I want to highlight human rights through the lens of religion. The Quran is
a primary source of Islamic jurisprudence and the hadith is secondary. In Quran,
Almighty Allah laid down that, "People, I created you all and made you into
races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In Allah's eyes, the
most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of him, Allah is all-knowing all
By this verse, Allah clearly says that in his sight the only distinguishing
factors between humans are virtuousness and holiness and not their colour, race,
caste. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), the last Prophet of Allah eliminated all the
social problems unbridled among the Arabs in those days. Islam's contribution to
human right is always appreciated when viewed against the backdrop of world
history as well as the reality of modern times. When we talk about human rights
in Islam, it means that these rights have been granted to us by Almighty Allah,
not by any king or by any legislative statute.
Before I discuss the human rights in Islam I would like to explain a few points
about two major approaches to the question of human rights: the Western and
Islamic. This will enable us to study the issue in its proper perspective and
avoid some of the confusion which normally befogs such a discussion.
The Western Approach:
The people in the West have the habit of attributing every good thing to
themselves and try to prove that it is because of them that the world got this
blessing, otherwise the world was steeped in ignorance and completely unaware of
all these benefits. Now let us look at the question of human rights. It is very
loudly and vociferously claimed that the world got the concept of basic human
rights from the Magna Carta of Britain; though the Magna Carta itself came into
existence six hundred years after the advent of Islam.
But the truth of the
matter is that until the seventeenth century no one even knew that the Magna Carta contained the principles of Trial by Jury; Habeas Corpus, and the Control
of Parliament on the Right of Taxation. If the people who had drafted the Magna
Carta were living today they would have been greatly surprised if they were told
that their document also contained all these ideals and principles. They had no
such intention, nor were they conscious of all these concepts which are now
being attributed to them. As far as my knowledge goes the Westerners had no
concept of human rights and civic rights before the seventeenth century.
after the seventeenth century the philosophers and the thinkers on jurisprudence
though presented these ideas, the practical proof and demonstration of these
concepts can only be found at the end of the eighteenth century in the
proclamations and constitutions of America and France. After this there appeared
a reference to the basic human rights in the constitutions of different
But more often the rights which were given on paper were not actually
given to the people in real life. In the middle of the present century, the
United Nations, which can now be more aptly and truly described as the Divided
Nations, made a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and passed a resolution
against genocide and framed regulations to check it. But as you all know there
is not a single resolution or regulation of the United Nations which can be
enforced. They are just an expression of a pious hope.
They have no sanctions
behind them, no force, physical or moral to enforce them. Despite all the
high-sounding ambitious resolutions of the United Nations, human rights have
been violated and trampled upon at different places, and the United Nations has
been a helpless spectator. She is not in a position to exercise an effective
check on the violation of human rights. Even the heinous crime of genocide is
being perpetrated despite all proclamations of the United Nations.
Right in the neighbouring country of Pakistan, genocide of the Muslims has been taking place
for the last twenty- eight years, but the United Nations does not have the power
and strength to take any steps against India. No action has even been taken
against any country guilty of this most serious and revolting crime.
The Islamic Approach:
The second point which I would like to clarify at the very outset is that when
we speak of human rights in Islam we really mean that these rights have been
granted by God; they have not been granted by any king or by any legislative
assembly. The rights granted by the kings or the legislative assemblies, can
also be withdrawn in the same manner in which they are conferred. The same is
the case with the rights accepted and recognized by the dictators.
confer them when they please and withdraw them when they wish; and they can
openly violate them when they like. But since in Islam human rights have been
conferred by God, no legislative assembly in the world, or any government on
earth has the right or authority to make any amendment or change in the rights
conferred by God.
No one has the right to abrogate them or withdraw them. Nor
are they the basic human rights which are conferred on paper for the sake of
show and exhibition and denied in actual life when the show is over. Nor are
they like philosophical concepts which have no sanctions behind them.
The charter and the proclamations and the resolutions of the United Nations
cannot be compared with the rights sanctioned by God; because the former is not
applicable to anybody while the latter is applicable to every believer. They are
a part and parcel of the Islamic Faith. Every Muslim or administrators who claim
themselves to be Muslims will have to accept, recognize and enforce them.
they fail to enforce them, and start denying the rights that have been
guaranteed by God or make amendments and changes in them, or practically violate
them while paying lip-service to them, the verdict of the Holy Quran for such
governments is clear and unequivocal:
Those who do not judge by what Allah has sent down are the dis Believers (kafirun).
The following verse also proclaims:
"They are the wrong-doers (zalimun)" (5:45),
while a third verse in the same chapter says: "They are the evil-livers (fasiqun)"
(5:47). In other words this means that if the temporal authorities regard their
own words and decisions to be right and those given by God as wrong they are
If on the other hand they regard God's commands as right but
wittingly reject them and enforce their own decisions against God's, then they
are the mischief-makers and the wrong-doers. Fasiq, the law-breaker,is the one
who disregards the bond of allegiance, and zalim is he who works against the
truth. Thus all those temporal authorities who claim to be Muslims and yet
violate the rights sanctioned by God belong to one of these two categories,
either they are the disbelievers or are the wrong- doers and mischief-makers.
The rights which have been sanctioned by God are permanent, perpetual and
eternal. They are not subject to any alterations or modifications, and there is
no scope for any change or abrogation.
The Slave Trade of Western Nations:
After the occupation of America and the West Indies, for three hundred and fifty
years, traffic in slave trade continued. The African coasts where the
black-skinned captured Africans were brought from the interior of Africa and put
on the ships sailing out from those ports, came to be known as the Slave Coast.
During only one century (from 1680 to 1786) the total number of free people who
were captured and enslaved only for British Colonies amounts, according to the
estimate of British authors, to 20 million human beings.
Over the period of only
one year (1790) we are told that 75,000 human beings were captured and sent for
slave labour in the Colonies. The ships which were used for transporting the
slaves were small and dirty. These unfortunate Africans were thrust into the
holds of these ships like cattle right up to the top and many of them were
chained to the wooden shelves on which they could hardly move because these were
only eighteen inches apart, kept one on top of the other.
They were not provided
with suitable food, and if they fell ill or were injured, no attempt was made to
provide them with medical treatment. The Western writers themselves state that
at least 20% of the total number of people who were captured for slavery and
forced labour perished during their transportation from the African coast to
It has also been estimated that the total number of people who were
captured for slavery by the various European nations during the heyday of the
slave trade comes to at least one hundred million. This is the record of the
people who denounce Muslims day and night for recognizing the institution of
slavery. It is as if a criminal is holding his finger of blame towards an
The Position of Slavery in Islam:
Briefly I would like to tell you about the position and nature of slavery in
Islam. Islam tried to solve the problem of the slaves that were in Arabia by
encouraging the people in different ways to set their slaves free. The Muslims
were ordered that in expiation of some of their sins they should set their
slaves free. Freeing a slave by one's own free will was declared to be an act of
great merit, so much so that it was said that every limb of the man who manumits
a slave will be protected from hell-fire in lieu of the limb of the slave freed
The result of this policy was that by the time the period of the
Rightly-Guided Caliphs was reached, all the old slaves of Arabia were liberated.
The Prophet alone liberated as many as 63 slaves. The number of slaves freed by
'Aishah was 67, 'Abbas liberated 70, 'Abd Allah ibn 'Umar liberated one
thousand, and 'Abd al-Rahman purchased thirty thousand and set them free.
Similarly other Companions of the Prophet liberated a large number of slaves,
the details of which are given in the Traditions and books of history of that
Thus the problem of the slaves of Arabia was solved in a short period of thirty
or forty years. After this the only form of slavery which was left in Islamic
society was the prisoners of war, who were captured on the battlefield. These
prisoners of war were retained by the Muslim Government until their government
agreed to receive them back in exchange for Muslim soldiers captured by them, or
arranged the payment of ransom on their behalf.
If the soldiers they captured
were not exchanged with Muslim prisoners of war, or their people did not pay
their ransom money to purchase their liberty, then the Muslim Government used to
distribute them among the soldiers of the army which had captured them. This was
a more humane and proper way of disposing of them than retaining them like
cattle in concentration camps and taking forced labour from them and, if their
women folk were also captured, setting them aside for prostitution.
In place of
such a cruel and outrageous way of disposing of the prisoners of war, Islam
preferred to spread them in the population and thus brought them in contact with
individual human beings. Over and above, their guardians were ordered to treat
them well. The result of this humane policy was that most of the men who were
captured on foreign battlefields and brought to the Muslim countries as slaves
embraced Islam and their descendants produced great scholars, imams, jurists,
commentators, statesmen and generals of the army.
So much so that later on they
became the rulers of the Muslim world. The solution of this problem which has
been proposed in the present age is that after the cessation of hostilities the
prisoners of war of the combatant countries should be exchanged. Whereas Muslims
have been practising it from the very beginning and whenever the adversary
accepted the exchange of prisoners of war from both sides, it was implemented
without the least hesitation or delay.
In modern warfare we also find that if
one government is completely routed leaving her in no position of bargaining for
the prisoners of war and the winning party gets its prisoners easily, then
experience has shown that the prisoners of war of the vanquished army are kept
in conditions which are much worse than the conditions of slaves.
tell us what has been the fate of the thousands of prisoners of war captured by
Russia from the defeated armies of Germany and Japan in the Second World War? No
one has given their account so far. No one knows how many thousands of them are
still alive and how many thousands of them have perished due to the hardship of
the Russian concentration and labour camps.
The forced labour which has been
taken from them is much worse than the service one can exact from slaves. Even
perhaps in the times of ancient Pharaohs of Egypt such harsh labour might not
have been exacted from the slaves in building the pyramids of Egypt, as has been
exacted from the prisoners of war in Russia in developing Siberia and other
backward areas of Russia, or working in coal and other mines in below zero
temperatures, ill-clad, ill-fed and brutally treated by their supervisors.
Human rights in the Quran:
In its Arabic text, the Quran is considered the primary source of authority by
Muslims. The Quran is a relatively short book of 77,797 words that are divided
into one hundred and fourteen chapters (Suras). A hundred and thirteen of the
chapters of the Quran begin with an indication of the book's intent (In the name
of God the All- Compassionate and the Ever-Merciful). The book is largely
concerned with establishing boundaries that Muslims are prohibited from
Within these boundaries the Quran treats human beings as equally
valuable and endowed with certain rights by virtue of simply being human, hence
Human rights. The rights bestowed upon humans in the Quran include the right to
life and peaceful living as well as the right to own, protect, and have property
protected Islamic economic jurisprudence. The Quran also contains rights for
minority groups and women, as well as regulations of human interactions as
between one another to the extent of dictating how prisoners of war ought to be
17:70 We have honored the childrens of Adam, and provided them with rides on
land and in the sea. We provided for them good provisions, and we gave them
greater advantages than many of our creatures. 49:13 O people, we created you
from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes that
you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the
most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.
The Quran states that all humans are the descendants of one man Adam and are
therefore brothers to one another (Human rights in Islam). The emphases on
equality and justice in the Quran appears throughout the text and even include
one's enemy. The duty of Muslims to be just and truthful enjoys a high priority
status, in the Quran, and is described in the following manner, that "O you who
believe! be maintainers of Justice, bearers of witness of Allah's sake.
it maybe against your own selves or (your) parents or near relatives; if he be
rich or poor, Allah is nearer to them both in compassion; therefore do not
follow (your) low desires, lest you deviate; and if swerve or turn aside, then
surely Allah is aware of what you do". The Quran, also unequivocally restricts
its believers from aiding someone in need of their help only where they intend
to deceive or carry out an act of aggression by stating "help one another in
goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression."
Furthermore, the Quran teaches its followers that treating followers of other
religions justly, and kindly is an article of faith.
Right to life and peaceful living:
According to the Quran, life is a divine bestowal on humanity that should be
secured and defended by all means (Islamic bioethics). It is the individual and
universal duty of Muslims, according to the Quran, to protect the human merits
and virtues of others. Life in the Quran is attributed tremendous value, in fact
the Quran says that " whoever slays a soul, it is as though he slew all men; and
whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men;."
forbids the taking of life without due process of the law, and it also obligates
Muslims to provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. The right to
life is conferred by the Quran even on one's enemy during war as Muslims are
forbidden from using force except in self-defense. Also protected by the Quran
are the Elderly, women, and children of the enemy and to these there are no
Right to own and protect property:
The Quran bestows upon humans the right to property as well as, the freedom to
deal and trade as they please in what they own provided they do so fairly.
Moreover, throughout the Quran the feeding of orphans, the poor, and the needy
are an article of faith that signal one's true devotion to the teachings of the
Quran. The message is made clearly and unambiguously in the following verse "
Those, who, Should We establish them in the law, will keep up prayer and pay the
poor-rate and enjoin good and forbid evil; and Allah's is the end of affairs".
The principles of justly protecting the rights and property of those in need of
such protection, such as orphans, brought together effortlessly in the Quran
when it says " And give to the orphans their property, and do not substitute
worthless (thing) for (their) good (ones), and do not devour their property (as
an addition) to you own property; this is surely a great crime".
Rights of minorities and other religious groups:
"This is the truth from your Lord," then whoever wills let him
believe, and whoever wills let him disbelieve.[107:1-7] Do you know who really
rejects the faith? That is the one who mistreats the orphans. And does not
advocate the feeding of the poor. And woe to those who observe the contact
prayers (Salat) - who are totally heedless of their prayers. They only show off.
And they forbid charity.
Although the Quran is the religious scripture of Islam, it prohibits Muslims
from using any method of compulsion to influence the religious practices, and
beliefs. The Quran goes even further in protecting the rights of the followers
of other faiths by obligating Muslims to protect all "cloisters and churches and
synagogues and mosques in which God's name is remembered".
In relation to
different ethnic, cultural, and religious groups the Quran tells Muslims "for
every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He
would have made you (all) a single people, but that He might try you in what He
gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds". The
Quran advocates equality between all and says that the only good deeds may raise
the status of one human over another.
With regards to women's rights the Quran dedicates one chapter of its
one-hundred and fourteen chapters to women which is evident from the very name
of the chapter, Women (an-Nisa. The Quran in that chapter states that whoever
does good deeds, whether they are male or female, shall enter Paradise and not
the least bit of injustice shall be dealt to them.
The same message is repeated
in chapter sixteen" Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a
believer, we will most certainly make him live a happy life, and We will most
certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did". The ability of
women to bear children is a significant attribute used by the Quran in a number
of verses to uplift the status of women.
One such chapter states " And We have
enjoined man in respect of his parents--his mother bears him with fainting upon
fainting and his weaning takes two years--saying: Be grateful to Me and to both
your parents; to Me is the eventual coming". in terms of the economic rights of
women, the Quran demands "And give women their dowries as a free gift, but if
they of themselves be pleased to give up to you a portion of it, then eat it
with enjoyment and with wholesome result".
Women have also been given the right
to inherit in the Quran. The Quran in one particular verse creates an additional
obligation on men to provide, protect, and generally take care of women as their
guardians and not as superiors. Perhaps the most valued status, with regards to
women, is that of a mother in the Quran as it illustrates this point by binding
the reward of paradise to those who satisfy the needs of their parents.
Respect for the Chastity of Women:
The third important thing that we find in the Charter of Human Rights granted by
Islam is that a woman's chastity has to be respected and protected under all
circumstances, whether she belongs to our own nation or to the nation of an
enemy, whether we find her in the wild forest or in a conquered city; whether
she is our co-religionist or belongs to some other religion or has no religion
at all. A Muslim cannot outrage her under any circumstances.
relation- ship has been forbidden to him, irrespective of the status or position
of the woman, whether the woman is a willing or an unwilling partner to the act.
The words of the Holy Quran in this respect are: "Do not approach (the bounds
of) adultery" (17:32). Heavy punishment has been prescribed for this crime, and
the order has not been qualified by any conditions.
Since the violation of
chastity of a woman is forbidden in Islam, a Muslim who perpetrates this crime
cannot escape punishment whether he receives it in this world or in the
Hereafter. This concept of sanctity of chastity and protection of women can be
found nowhere else except in Islam. The armies of the Western powers need the
daughters of their nation to satisfy their carnal appetites even in their own
countries, and if they happen to occupy another country, the fate of its women
folk can better be imagined than described.
But the history of the Muslims,
apart from a few lapses of the individuals here or there, has been free from
this crime against womanhood. It has never happened that after the conquest of a
foreign country the Muslim army has gone about raping the women of the conquered
people, or in their own country, the government has arranged to provide
prostitutes1for them. This is also a great blessing which the human race has
received through Islam.
Basic Human Rights Recognized By The Quran And The Hadith, Have A Look At
The Protection of Honour:
- Primarily Right to live and respect human dignity is a basic human right recognised by Allah through this Quranic verse
"whosoever kills a human being
(without any reasonable or justifiable cause), manslaughter or corruption on
earth, it is as though he had killed all mankind". Every human being's life is
valuable and everyone's life should be protected irrespective of nationality,
race, age, colour.
The important right is the right of the citizens to the protection of their
honour. In the address delivered on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, to which
I have referred earlier, the Prophet did not only prohibit the life and property
of the Muslims to one another, but also any encroachment upon their honour,
respect and chastity were forbidden to one another. The Holy Quran clearly lays
- 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.
- And do not backbite or speak ill of one another (49:11-12).
This is the law of Islam for the protection of honour which is indeed much
superior to and better than the Western Law of Defama- tion. According to the
Islamic Law if it is proved that someone has attacked the honour of another
person, then irrespective of the fact whether or not the victim is able to prove
himself a respectable and honourable person the culprit will in any case get his
But the interesting fact about the Western Law of Defamation is
that the person who files suit for defamation has first to prove that he is a
man of honour and public esteem and during the interrogation he is subjected to
the scurrilous attacks, accusations and innuendoes of the defence council to
such an extent that he earns more disgrace than the attack on his reputation
against which he had knocked the door of the court of law.
On top of it he has
also to produce such witnesses as would testify in the court that due to the
defamatory accusations of the culprit, the accused stands disgraced in their
eyes. Good Gracious! what a subtle point of law, and what an adherence to the
spirit of Law! How can this unfair and unjust law be compared to the Divine law?
Islam declared blasphemy as a crime irrespective of the fact whether the accused
is a man of honour or not, and whether the words used for blasphemy have
actually disgraced the victim and harmed his reputation in the eyes of the
public or not. According to the Islamic Law the mere proof of the fact that the
accused said things which according to common sense could have damaged the
reputation and honour of the plaintiff, is enough for the accused to be declared
guilty of defamation.
Quran and the Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad clearly and categorically laid down
that whosoever hurts any human being or infringed his right, is a sinner and has
committed the most serious and sinful act and will be punished on the day of
judgement for all his wrongdoings.
Freedom Of Religion:
- The Right to freedom is another right that comes into the category of basic
rights. Islam has forbidden the act of capturing a free man and then making him
a slave or selling him for slavery. The people of Arab during the days of
prophet Muhammad's preaching were indulging in human trafficking, they enslave
any free man and then transport these slaves to different regions.
Muhammad (PBUH) clearly and categorically forbade this kind of act by calling it
an inhumane act and spread the peace and the love of brotherhood by his
teachings. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that "there are three categories of
people against whom I shall myself be a plaintiff on the day of judgement",
amongst them one is who enslaves a free man.
- The Right to security is another right that comes into the category of basic
rights. Allah laid down in Quran, "And whoever saves a life it is as he had
saved the lives of all mankind". There can be different forms of saving the
life, a person who is in trouble, whether ill or wounded, every human being have
to protect the interests of an affected person irrespective of his nationality,
race, caste, colour.
If you know that he needs help then it is your first and
foremost duty to help him, if he is in starvation it is your duty to feed him.
According to the Qur'an and the Hadiths, security is a basic right and whoever
does not help a needy person despite knowing all the facts, it is as if he has
committed a serious sin and will be punished accordingly on the day of judgement.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent by God to spread Islam. Despite facing
difficulties everywhere he didn't stop, and the irony is that he spread Islam
only by his teachings, by his calm behaviour, by his character not by any kind
During the initial times of his preaching, Allah laid down in Quran that:
"O Muhammad, say these disbelievers, I don't worship what you worship nor are
you worshippers of what I worship nor will be a worshipper of what you worship,
nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion and for
me is my religion."
These verses indicate that Muhammad (PBUH) didn't use force and didn't allow his sahabas to force anyone to accept Islam. On the occasion of the conquest of
Makkah, the Muslims had full authority to avenge the injustice done to them in
past, but Muhammad (PBUH) declared that today is a day of forgiveness and
everyone will be forgiven and the oppression that went with them in past should
be ignored. By seeing this attitude of Muhammad (PBUH) and Muslims thousands of
people joined the religion of Islam and yes, this is an attitude of the religion
of Islam towards the human right.
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 this right. It
has been ordained by God in the Holy Quran:
Do not abuse those they appeal to instead of God" (6:108). These instructions
are not only limited to idols and deities, but they also apply to the leaders or
national heroes of the people.
If a group of people holds a conviction which according to you is wrong, and
holds certain persons in high esteem which according to you is not deserved by
them, then it will not be justified in Islam that you use abusive language for
them and thus injure their feelings. Islam does not prohibit people from holding
debate and discussion on religious matters, but it wants that these discussions
should be conducted in decency.
"Do not argue with the people of the Book unless it is in the politest manner"
(29:46)-says the Quran. This order is not merely limited to the people of the
Scriptures, but applies with equal force to those following other faiths.
The Right to Protest Against Tyranny:
Amongst 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 some- one who has been
injured thereby" (4:148).
This means that God strongly disapproves of abusive language or strong words of
condemna- tion, but the person who has been the victim of injustice or tyranny,
God gives him the right to openly protest against the injury that has been done
This right is not limited only to individuals. The words of the verse are
general. Therefore if an individual or a group of people or a party usurps
power, and after assuming the reins of authority begins to tyrannize individuals
or groups of men or the entire population of the country, then to raise the
voice of protest against it openly is the God-given right of man and no one has
the authority to usurp or deny this right. If anyone tries to usurp this right
of citizens then he rebels against God. The talisman of Section 1444 may protect
such a tyrant in this world, but it cannot save him from the hell-fire in the
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. This 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. The right to freedom of expression for the sake of
propagating virtue and righteousness is not only a right in Islam but an
obligation. One who tries to deny this right to his people is openly at war with
God, the All-Powerful. And the same thing applies to the attempt to stop people
Whether this evil is perpetrated by an individual or by a group of people or the
government of one's own country, or the government of some other country; it is
the right of a Muslim and it is also his obligation that he should warn and
reprimand the evil-doer and try to stop him from doing it. Over and above, he
should openly and publicly condemn it and show the course of righteousness which
that individual, nation or government should adopt.
The Holy Quran has described this quality of the Faithful in the following
words: "They enjoin what is proper and forbid what is improper" (9:71). In
contrast, describing the qualities of a hypocrite, the Quran mentions: "They bid
what is improper and forbid what is proper" (9:67). The main purpose of an
Islamic Government has been defined by God in the Quran as follows: "If we give
authority to these men on earth they will keep up prayers, and offer poor-due,
bid what is proper and forbid what is improper" (22:41).
The Prophet has said:
"If any one of you comes across an evil, he should try to stop it with his hand
(using force), if he is not in a position to stop it with his hand then he
should try to stop it by means of his tongue (meaning he should speak against
it). If he is not even able to use his tongue then he should at least condemn it
in his heart. This is the weakest degree of faith" (Muslim).
This obligation of inviting people to righteousness and forbidding them to adopt
the paths of evil is incumbent on all true Muslims. If any government deprives
its citizens of this right, and prevents them from performing this duty, then it
is in direct conflict with the injunction of God. The government is not in
conflict with its people, but is in conflict with God.
In this way it is at war with God and is trying to usurp that right of its
people which God has conferred not only as a right but as an obligation. As far
as the government which itself propagates evil, wickedness and obscenity and
interferes with those who are inviting people to virtue and righteousness is
concerned, according to the Holy Quran it is the government of the hypocrites.
This is a brief sketch of those rights which fourteen hundred years ago Islam
gave to human beings, to those who were at war with each other and to the
citizens of its state, which every believer regards as sacred as law. On the one
hand, it refreshes and strengthens our faith in Islam when we realize that even
in this modern age which makes such loud claims of progress and enlightenment,
the world has not been able to produce juster and more equitable laws than those
given 1400 years ago.
On the other hand it hurts one's feelings that Muslims are in possession of such
a splendid and comprehensive system of law and yet they look forward for
guidance to those leaders of the West who could not have dreamed of attaining
those heights of truth and justice which was achieved a long time ago.
Even more painful than this is the realization that throughout the world the
rulers who claim to be Muslims have made disobedience to their God and the
Prophet as the basis and foundation of their government. May God have mercy on
them and give them the true guidance. The above mentioned rights are some basic
right, which is available to all human beings and Islam laid stress on the
prevention and protection of these rights. Islamic countries where the
fundamental laws are brought from the Quran and Hadiths implement penalty these
laws in the interest of human rights.
Written By: Prof.Shaikh Moeen Shaikh Naeem
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