The Prophet (PBUH) declared to the people, ”Your blood, your properties, and your honor are sacred to one another…“ (Sahih al-Bukhari). Islam is a religion that does not allow discrimination. The base of Islam is justice, and denying someone their human rights is a form of injustice. Thus, bigotry, racism, and the ilk are all incompatible with the religion of Islam.
The Islamic concept of human rights, however, differs from the universal definition of the term. Western human rights organizations aim to allow a person to do anything of his or her own accord. Human rights advocates also believe in complete freedom of expression, allowing people to say anything. That includes offensive statements about Allah, Islam, the Prophet (PBUH), etc.
Human rights in Islam view society collectively as a whole. Right and wrong can only be decided based onAllah’s commands. As mentioned earlier, Islam focuses on justice. Human rights organizations focus on across the board equality, equality for men and women in everything, for example, which defies the laws of nature. Thus, Islam does indeed protect human rights, but not in line with Western definitions of the term.
Racism and bigotry
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.” (Quran 49:13). Allah outlines in the Quran, how tribal differences, etc., only serve to help us to know each other. However, these differences of race, color, ethnicity, etc., amount to nothing when it comes to being judged in front of Allah. Piety and obedience to Allah are the only things that matter.
The Prophet (PBUH) explicitly stated this. “Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa.” (Musnad Ahmed ibn Hanbal)
Allah also says in the Quran, “And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.” (Quran 30:22). Hence, our Lord explains that the diversity amongst human beings is of his signs. It does not make anyone superior or inferior to another.
All Muslims are born equal in front of Allah, and it is our deeds that determine our fate. If Allah created someone with dark, reddish, or yellowish skin, what does it mean if we ridicule such people? Racism and prejudice based on things like the color of someone’s skin is a form of mocking Allah’s creation.
Human life is sacred
“…Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely…” (Quran 5:32). In no uncertain terms, Allah has placed importance on the sanctity of life in Islam. Life is extremely precious and can not be taken for minor reasons. The killing of innocent persons is a heinous crime.
By the same token, acts such as suicide are also prohibited. In the West, there has been serious discussion about the permissibility or the “right” to commit suicide. This concept is utterly alien to Islam and is not allowed under any circumstances.
However, capital punishment for certain crimes is permissible. Human rights organizations, nowadays, are pushing for the elimination of this concept. However, it is very much a part of Sharia and is essential for justice. Crimes such as murder require that the option be available for retribution. After that, it’s up to the victim’s next of kin to decide if he wants to apply Qisaas (retaliation), Diyah (blood money), or forgiveness. The elimination of capital punishment in the name of “human rights” infringes upon the realm of justice.
When Islam was introduced to the Arab lands, slaverywasrampant in society. It was a way of life amongst the desert Arabs. Islam focused on a long-term effort to end this institution. The statement from the Prophet (PBUH), “Visit the ill, feed the hungry and release the slaves,” in Saheeh Bukhari is one of the well-known Hadith on the topic. However, there aren’t any texts that encourage people to take slaves.
Islam, therefore, mainly focused on improving the conditions for slaves. Muslims are encouraged to utilize their zakat to free slaves. Freeing slaves is also a form of expiation for sins, such as breaking vows. Several Prophetic Hadith emphasized on the importance of treating slaves well and being kind and compassionate for them. These were unfathomable concepts at the time.
In the West, the emphasis on ending slavery has resulted in the old form of slavery,indeed being mostly wiped out. However, it has been replaced by a psychological form of slavery, whereby people willingly get involved in all kinds of harmful things that benefit the corporate industry. The drug and sex industries and associated addictions are a few of the examples that are relevant here.
No compulsion in religion
“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.” (Quran 2:256). The Quran puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of disbelievers accepting Islam. However, it is prohibited for Muslims to force others to accept Islam. Visit websiteThe acceptance of Islam must come from the heart, and forced conversions have no meaning.
Muslims are supposed to treat all human beings with kindness. Neighbors are amongst those who have rights. In this regard, “Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes…” (Quran 60:8). Therefore, upholding ties and being fair with the non-Muslims is very much a part of Islam.
Regarding the treatment of non-Muslims in a Muslim state, the Prophet (PBUH) also said, “Beware, if anyone wrongs a contracting man, or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyond his capacity, or takes from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
Justice is paramount in Islam
We can determine that human rights are indeed ingrained in Islam, as long as they don’t infringe upon the realm of justice. Allah said in the Quran, “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just…” (Quran 5:8)
Therefore, we must realize the rights of others. The ones mentioned earlier are just a few of several human rights in Islam. We need to make sure that we always behave in accordance with Islamic injunctions and obey Allah’s commands.