Islam and Human Rights

Islam stands for and pays special attention to Human Rights. It is beyond any doubt that it is Islam which fought for the glorification and dignity of human race all over the world. Before the advent of Islam on the sandy

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Islam stands for and pays special attention to Human Rights. It is beyond any doubt that it is Islam which fought for the glorification and dignity of human race all over the world. Before the advent of Islam on the sandy land and in the hilly region of Makkah in Saudi Arabia, this planet was inhabited, no doubt, by human beings. But they were no better than animals in respect of habits, behaviour, conduct and other features that go together to make a man man.

Nowhere in the world was an innocent minor-aged girl buried alive except in Arabia. There was no trace of culture and discipline in the life of the people throughout this planet. With the advent of civilization certain changes began to take place in human life. Despite this, human dignity and respect could not reach the level befitting a man in the true sense. But, when the rays of Islam began to pierce into and disperse the thick pall of darkness, engulfing the human race, its teachings started shaping and moulding the character of man.

Since the middle of the 20th century, human rights issues started to become the focus of attention of humankind, and these issues still remain topical in many social, political and economic matters, at national and international levels. Muslims, as an integral part of the population of the world, pay special attention to and show particular interest in this global issue of human rights. As a member of human society, inheriting rich and civilized tradition, Muslims cannot stay beck in response to important issues unfolding in any given time and period.

Islam’s teachings, well known to all of us, are dynamic. They never were and can never be static because of the qualities they spouse. It is the enemies of Islam who pass such ignoble remarks against Islam. Undoubtedly, it encourages its followers to invent and find new and forward-looking solutions for the progress and all round development of the entire human race. Since its existence, Islam has contributed significantly to a greater civilization of mankind until today. Along with this, its contribution to respect human dignity is well recognisable. Even its ardent enemies have accepted this. It is beyond any doubt that Islam is a religion of humanity. The Muslims who kill innocent persons are not Muslims in the true sense. In fact, they, with their unjustified and wrong doings, have been tarnishing the true spirit of Islam.

When we take a step forward in order to study Islam from the perspective of human rights, we are confronted with an academic query whether the teaching of Islam provides such a learning method. In general, we can say we cast no doubt that Islam, essentially, is a teaching, the scope of which is based on the essentials of al-Quran. Al-Quran, the divine words of Almighty Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him), serves as a perfect, genuine and wholesome guidance for direction and elucidation of such direction in making a distinction between the right and the wrong. The teachings of Islam handed down by the Blessed Messenger encompass all aspects of human life, albeit for specific matters he confers them in general terms, which are open for further thought, contemplation and consideration to be formulated into concepts and further into actions to respond to the challenges confronting us in the fast-changing times. Besides, the rationality feature of the teachings of Islam at all times gives confidence to its followers to reason boldly and prudently on the basis of the two ideal sources of the teachings of Islam – al-Quran and al-Hadith (sayings and acts of the Blessed Messenger) – to advance them to present new ideas and concepts to respond to new challenges. As cited in al-Quran “those who make earnest efforts in my path, I shall show them the right way”.

It goes without saying that the teachings of Islam, in principle, affirm that human beings must not disobey God and must see fellow human beings as equal. Their sincere, vast and immeasurable strict obedience to God reflects their true inner-life. Inner-life, as stated by Caliph Ali bin Abi Talib, cannot tell a lie. The very foundation of human relation, according to the teachings of Islam, should be and must be built upon Truth and Justice. This principle, underscoring Truth and Justice, has strong accounts in al-Quran and al-Hadith. Surah An-Nisa (Ayat 135) says: “Believers, conduct yourselves with justice and bear true witness before Allah, even though it be against yourselves, your parents, or your kinsfolk. Whether the man concerned is rich or poor know that Allah is nearer to him than you are. Do not be led by passion, lest you might sever from the truth. If you distort your testimony or decline, know that Allah is cognisant of all your actions.”

It must be noted that legal experts on Islam have unanimously confirmed that ‘justice’ is the soul and basic principle of Shari’ah (Islamic Jurisprudence). No human being is in compliance with any norms if the laws do injustice. As such, justice should essentially serve as a solid basis for governing our actions and attitudes to conduct human relations. On one occasion a person posed a question to the Blessed Messenger – “What is justice all about?” He replied, “Justice is when you give someone what his rights are and take it from someone what are not.” It is, therefore, necessary that justice must start from our frame of thinking when we move towards others. Abhorrence or aversion, according to al-Quran, must not govern us to do injustice.

Since the advent of Islam more than fourteen hundred years ago, it has been advocating the rule of justice, equality and brotherhood. It is but a Satanic remark that Islam is incompatible with what human rights stand for. In fact, this particular religion champions the cause of human rights. For the establishment of peace and rule of justice in society, human rights under all circumstances ought to be respected and upheld. And, I would without any hesitation say that it is Islam and only Islam that gives utmost importance to human rights, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, language, and colour.