Understanding Human Rights in Islam: Part 1

The simplest understanding of the concept of human rights in Islam can be described as rights of every person established by Allah. Furthermore, in Islam human rights are centered on fairness, self-worth, and reverence for the human race. The human race is superior to the other creations.

Islam is the first religion to establish a charter of human rights and freedoms. The reason for the establishment of such rights is to eliminate unfairness, subjugation and mistreatment of others. During the time of the Prophet ﷺ, an individual’s life, possessions and freedoms were guarded as taught in The Holy Quran. People practicing other religions were reasonably given the same treatment of fairness.

Human rights in Islam are anchored on the Islamic doctrine and it is mandatory for every Muslim to respect as prescribed by the Holy Book (Quran). Countries practicing the Sharia law are obligated to implement such rights as stated in the Holy Quran. The same rights guaranteed to Muslims by their leaders also apply to Non Muslims in the “Sharia” setting.

The fundamental principles of human rights mentioned by the Great Messenger of Allah ﷺ in his final address to his followers are namely the right to protection against torture, right to social security, right to education, right to life and the right to own property.

No government, legislative assembly and/or any ruler can modify, change or amend any of these rights because they are regarded as a decree from Allah, the Exalted.

We will briefly examine three human rights stated above in this article.

#1.The Right to life

All individuals are given the right to life. Islam does not segregate humans based on social class, race and/or gender. Under the Islamic principle, all humans are equal in God’s view but differ in capabilities such as fortune, passion and prospects to name a few. The only difference that God establish amongst humans is in the degree of righteousness and goodness a person upholds.

#2.Right to freedom

Every person is born free without any limitations. A person can only be denied such right in accordance with judicial procedure. According to Islam, every person has the right to engage freely in any political, economic, cultural and physical engagements. In addition to the above, right to freedom of religion, right to freedom of thought and expression, and right of freedom of movement is completely protected in Islam.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

“O people, the truth has indeed come to you from lord; so whoever goes aright, goes aright only for the good of his soul; and whoever errs, errs only to its detriment. And I am not custodian over you” (10:108)

#4.Right to own Property

In Islam, every person is entitled to own land and other possessions no matter the social and economic background.  However, three fundamental issues can limit the right of property ownership which include; (1) Property should not be acquired illegally, (2) Property should not inflict damage to others (3) Property should not nullify any true entitlement.

Follow us on part II of the article to discuss this subject further.

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