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Common Rights in the Qur'an

MIT
3/17/2015
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The Qur’an is the divine constitution of the Muslims. A large part of its concern is focused on freeing human beings from the bondage of traditionalism, authoritarianism (religious, political, economic, etc.), tribalism, racism, sexism, slavery, or anything else that prohibits or inhibits human beings from actualizing their purpose of creation which is to worship their creator. Allah says in the Qur’an: ﭳ   ﭴ  ﭵ  ﭶ  ﭷ  ﭸ   ﭹ 

Meaning: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Q51:V56).

 

The Glorious Qur’an affirms the fundamental rights that all human beings possess. These rights are so deeply rooted in our humanness that denying or violating them is tantamount to a negation or degradation of that which makes us human.

From the perspective of the Qur’an, these rights came into existence when we did. They were created by Allah (just as we were) so that our human potential could be actualized. Not only do these rights provide us with an opportunity to develop all our inner resources but also they hold before us a vision of what Allah would like us to be — what Allah wants us to strive for and live for and die for.

The rights created or given by Allah cannot be abolished by any temporal ruler or human agency. Eternal and immutable, these rights ought to be exercised, because everything that Allah does is for a just purpose.

 

Right to Life

Sanctity and absolute value of human life are upheld in the Qur’an. Almighty Allah says:ﯵ  ﯶ  ﯷ  ﯸ     ﯹ  ﯺ  ﯻ      ﯼ  ﯾ  ﯿ  ﰀ  ﰁ  ﰂ  ﰃ   ا

Meaning: “And that you slay not the life, which Allah has made sacred, except for the requirements of justice. This He has enjoined you with, in order that you may discern.” (Q6:V151)

The Qur’an points out that, in essence, the life of each individual is comparable to that of all humankind and should therefore be treated with the utmost care: ﭑ  ﭒ  ﭓ  ﭔ  ﭕ  ﭖ  ﭗ  ﭘ  ﭙ  ﭚ   ﭛ  ﭜ   ﭝ  ﭞ  ﭟ  ﭠ  ﭡ  ﭢ  ﭣ   ﭤ  ﭥ  ﭦ  ﭧ  ﭨ  ﭩ  ﭪ   ﭫ  ﭭ  ﭮ  ﭯ  ﭰ  ﭱ  ﭲ  ﭳ                 ﭴ  ﭵ  ﭶ  ﭷ  ﭸ  ﭹ  ﭺ 

Meaning: “For this reason did We decree for the children of Israel that (for) whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though they slew all humankind, and (for) whoever keeps it alive, it is as though they kept alive all humankind.” (Q5:V32).

 

Right to Justice:

The right to seek justice and the duty to do justice are greatly emphasized in the Qur’an. Almighty Allah says:

 ﮨ  ﮩ  ﮪ  ﮫ        ﮬ  ﮭ   ﮮ  ﮯ  ﮱ  ﯓ  ﯔ  ﯕ  ﯖ   ﯗ  ﯘ  ﯚ  ﯛ  ﯜ  ﯝ  ﯟ  ﯠ  ﯢ   ﯣ  ﯤ  ﯥ  ﯦ  ﯧ 

Meaning: “O you who believe, be upright for Allah, bearers of witness with justice, and let not hatred of a people incite you not to deal justly. Deal justly — that is nearer to piety, and be careful of (your duty toward) Allah; surely Allah is Ever-Aware of what you do.” (Q5:V8).

And again, in Surat An-Nisaa’, the importance of upholding justice is emphasized:

   ﭒ  ﭓ  ﭔ  ﭕ  ﭖ  ﭗ  ﭘ  ﭙ   ﭚ  ﭛ  ﭜ  ﭝ  ﭞ  ﭟ  ﭡ  ﭢ  ﭣ   ﭤ  ﭥ  ﭦ  ﭧ  ﭨ  ﭪ  ﭫ  ﭬ  ﭭ  ﭮ  ﭰ   ﭱ  ﭲ   ﭳ  ﭴ  ﭵ  ﭶ        ﭷ  ﭸ  ﭹ  ﭺ 

Meaning: O you who believe, be maintainers of justice, witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or (your) parents or (your) near relatives, whether (the case be of) a rich or a poor, for Allah is nearer unto both (than you are). Therefore, do not follow (your) low desires, lest you deviate, and if you swerve or turn aside, then surely Allah is Ever-Aware of what you do.” (Q4:V135).

 

The Protection of Honour

Another important right is the right of the citizens to the protection of their honor. The Qur’an clearly states that:

 ﭽ ﯨ  ﯩ  ﯪ  ﯫ    ﯬ   ﯭ    ﯮ  ﯯ   ﯰ  ﯱ  ﯲ  ﯳ  ﯴ  ﯵ  ﯶ    ﯷ  ﯸ  ﯹ  ﯺ  ﯻ   ﯼ     ﯽ  ﯿ  ﰀ  ﰁ  ﰂ  ﰃ  ﰄ  ﰆ  ﰇ   ﰈ  ﰉ  ﰊ  ﰌ  ﰍ  ﰎ  ﰏ  ﰐ  ﰑ  ﰒ   ﭑ  ﭒ  ﭓ  ﭔ  ﭕ       ﭖ  ﭗ  ﭘ                 ﭙ  ﭚ  ﭛ   ﭝ   ﭞ  ﭟ  ﭠ  ﭡ   ﭢ  ﭤ  ﭥ  ﭦ   ﭧ  ﭨ  ﭩ  ﭪ  ﭫ  ﭭ  ﭮ  ﭰ   ﭱ  ﭲ   ﭳ  ﭴ 

Meaning: “O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent - then it is those who are the wrongdoers. O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” (Q49:V11-12). This is the law of Islam for the protection of honor which is indeed much superior to and better than the Western Law of Defama-
tion.

 

Freedom of Expression

Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all citizens of the Islamic State on the condition that it should be used for the propagation of virtue and truth and not for spreading evil and wickedness. This Islamic concept of freedom of expression is much superior to the concept prevalent in the West. Under no circumstances would Islam allow evil and wickedness to be propagated. It also does not give anybody the right to use abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism. The right to freedom of expression for the sake of propagating virtue and righteousness is not only a right in Islam but an
obligation. The Qur’an says:

 ﭽ ﮖ  ﮗ  ﮘ   ﮙ  ﮚ  ﮛ   ﮜ  ﮝ      ﮞ  ﮟ  ﮠ  ﮢ  ﮣ  ﮤ  ﮥ 

Meaning: “And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.” (Q3:V104).

 

Freedom of Association

Islam has also given people the right to freedom of association and formation of parties or organizations. This right is also subject to certain general rules. It should be exercised for propagating virtue and righteousness and should never be used for spreading evil and mischief. We have not only been given this right for spreading righteousness and virtue, but have been ordered to exercise this right. Addressing the Muslims, the Holy Quran declares:

 ﭞ  ﭟ  ﭠ  ﭡ  ﭢ  ﭣ  ﭤ      ﭥ  ﭦ  ﭧ   ﭨ  ﭩ    ﭷ 

Meaning: “You are the best community which has been brought forth for mankind. You command what is proper and forbid what is improper and you believe in Allah ... (Q3:V110).

Freedom of Conscience and Conviction

Islam also gives the right to freedom of conscience and conviction to its citizens in an Islamic State. The Holy Quran has laid down the injunction: "There should be no coercion in the matter of faith" (2:256). Though there is no truth and virtue greater than the religion of Truth-Islam, and Muslims are enjoined to invite people to embrace Islam and advance arguments in favour of it, they are not asked to enforce this faith on them. No force will be applied in order to compel
them to accept Islam. Whoever accepts it he does so by his own choice. Muslims will welcome such a convert to Islam with open arms and admit him to their community with equal rights and privileges. But if somebody does not accept Islam, Muslims will have to recognize and respect his decision, and no moral, social or political pressure will be put on him to change his mind.
 

 






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