Human Rights In Islam:
May 20th, 2009 by Dr. Shabbir
The ideas that inspired the French Revolution and the Declaration of Rights that guided the framing of the American Constitution and inflamed the struggle for independence in the Latin American countries [and elsewhere] were not inventions of the West. They find their ultimate inspiration and source in the Holy Koran.
- Robert Briffault
I suggest that the reader examine three most celebrated documents on human rights:
- The British Magna Carta (1215 CE)
- The American Constitution 1787 CE
- The United Nations Charter of Human Rights (1945)
Then study only the brief “Farewell Sermon” of Messenger Muhammad, the exalted, and compare. The intelligently written human documents seem to fade away and pale in comparison to just one sermon of Muhammad (S)! See Briffault’s quote above.
Haven’t human rights become a vital issue at the international scene? True, the world including Muslims have to go a long way. But, Islam is on the march. The Quran had declared in the 7th century, “Indeed, We have conferred dignity on all children of Adam (as their birth-right).” (17:70)
History stands witness to the blessings of the Quranic Way of Life. In the truly Quranic era of Islam, the (emancipated) black slave of Ethiopia, Bilal, the poor laborer of Rome, Suhaib, and the lonely wanderer of Persia, Salman, were equal to, and had the same rights as, the most powerful man of the time. Umar Farooq the Great, the second Caliph of Islam, used to address Bilal, “O My master!” He requested that Suhaib lead the Caliph’s funeral. And the exalted Messenger had himself honored Salman by calling him a member of his own household.
A brief resume of human rights given in the Quran will now be given. These points also reflect the Moral Code of Islam.
a. Equal human dignity by birth. (17:70, 95:4)
b. Gender equity. (4:32, 33:35)
c. Superiority by character only. (49:13, 46:19)
d. Rule of law, not of individuals. (3:79)
e. Full compensation of work. (53:39, 53:41, 39:70, 37:39)
f. Provision of basic needs. (20:118-119)
g. Security of faith, life, mind, honor, and property. (6:109, 6:152, 2:269, 17:36, 24:2, 22:40, 6:152, 5:90, 2:195, 5:32, 17:32, 17:35, 17:29, 83:1)
h. Choice of spouse. (4:3, 4:19)
i. Freedom of religion. (22:40, 6:109, 2:256)
j. Freedom of expression. (2:42, 3:71)
k. Redress of grievances. (4:148)
l. Right to privacy. (33:53, 24:27)
m. Care of the handicapped. (4:36, 70:24)
n. Presumption of innocence. (49:6)
o. Sanctity of name and lineage. (49:11, 33:4)
p. Right to residence. (4:100, 2:85, 6:41)
q. Aesthetic choice. (18:31, 76:13-15)
r. Protection of chastity. (17:32, 24:2)
s. Race, color, gender, lineage, wealth, nothing, nothing but good conduct, is the only criterion of honor. (49:13)
t. Degrees of people according to their deeds. (2:212, 3:163, 6:132)
It is noteworthy that the United Nations and the UNESCO Commission subject human rights to certain conditions and limitations. They further differentiate between a person owning those rights and application of those rights according to the local law. Human rights outlined in the Quran are not subject to the whims of nations or individuals.