Fourteen centuries ago, Islam gave humanity an ideal code of human rights. The main purpose of this code is to give humanity a guarantee of honor and dignity, eliminating the possibility of exploitation, oppression, and injustice.
Human Rights in Islam
In Islam, the concept of human rights is based on the belief that the Highest, and He alone, is the Author of the law and the source of all human rights. The human rights bestowed by the Almighty cannot, due to their divine origin, be reduced or abolished by the government, leader, or any ruling group. No one has the right to modify them at their discretion.
In Islam, human rights are an integral part of the Islamic system, and all Muslim governments and organizations are required to follow their spirit and letter. A huge tragedy is human rights are violated with impunity in a number of countries of the world, including in Islamic states. Such obvious violations excite and awaken the social consciousness of an ever-increasing number of people around the world.
“Verily your blood, your property, and your honor are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this town of yours. Everything of a Muslim is sacred to a Muslim: his blood, property, and honor”. Said Prophet Muhammad -peace be upon him- in the farewell Pilgrimage.
Islam’s contribution to the consolidation of human rights
Unfortunately, the prejudices and injustices that have plagued humanity throughout history continue to exist and lead to unbearable human suffering. It is in this context that the issue of human rights is particularly relevant.
Islam made a high value of the contribution to the development of human rights. It is best seen on the scale of world history, but this is particularly true in our time. Social, racial, gender and religious inequalities continue to exist. Economic and social imbalances led to the oppression of the lower classes; racial prejudice was the cause of subjugation and enslavement of people with darker skin; the situation of women was weighed down by chauvinistic views, and the widespread views on religious superiority led to large-scale persecution of people of various beliefs.
When considering the issue of human rights and Islam, it is important to distinguish divinely prescribed human rights in Islam from possible misinterpreted and, as a result, incorrectly realized rights, and practices applied by imperfect people. Just as Western societies continue to struggle against racism and discrimination, many Muslim societies struggle to fully realize the rights prescribed in Islam.
Human Rights in Islam are divine commands of God Almighty
A distinctive feature of human rights in Islam is their natural realization in the case of wide religious practice, which is reflected in the actions and social behavior of people, since; the laws of Islam are divine. God Almighty honored Man and made him the sanctities and rights that make him saved wherever he is. God mentioned that in the Qur’an: “And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” (QS. Al-Israa 17: Verse 70)
Dignity and Equality in Islam
Human rights in Islam are based on two fundamental principles: dignity and equality. Dignity is the fundamental right of every person, inherent in virtue of his or her belonging to the human race.
Equality is fundamental in Islam, whether in transactions, acts of worship, or the system of government, since it concerns a person without regard to his race, language or gender.
“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 noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (QS. Al-Hujuraat 49: Verse 13)
Equality and pluralism
Islamic law called for equality and pluralism 1400 years ago. Because Islam has been based on human political, cultural, and social differences. Which politicians are raising nowadays, who recognize the need to admit the different visions of people and their doctrines in thought and action.
Pluralism in Islam means recognizing and quoting others in ways that serve the public interest. In other words, Muslims are not that closed and isolated groups.
“So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you.” Al-Imraan 159
“And indeed, it is a remembrance for you and your people, and you [all] are going to be questioned.” (QS. Az-Zukhruf 43: Verse 44)
Equality between opponents
Islam represents real equality and you can find it in legislation and practice. It is based on the divine constitution “the Holy Quran” and on the practices of our noble messenger and his companions. The Islamic (Shari’a) law set out the procedures for litigation and showed the rights of the accused and his right to defend himself, and the need to listen to opponents and witnesses.
Islamic law urged not to punish a person for an act he did not do, as the almighty said:
“Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned.” Al-Toor 21
And also said:
“He said, God forbid that we should arrest anyone except him in whose possession we found our property; for then we would be unjust.” Yossuf 79
From above, it clear that Islamic law empowers people to fulfill their specific roles as spouses, parents, children, relatives, neighbors, friends, and even enemies.
By distributing rights and obligations, Islam takes into account the social, racial, gender, and religious aspects that concern our global community. Indeed, the model of rights and mutual obligations enshrined in Islam has great potential for individual and social reforms in the world.