In these modern days ‘Human rights’ is a slogan that chanted and mostly spoken about by everyone; and it is especially championed by countries that are basically the greatest violators of such rights in all corners of the world. The actual human rights in Islam that are extolled in our time were guaranteed by Islamic law over centuries ago.
In the Holy Quran, Allah, the Merciful established the rights of every human being to life, as long as one does not commit a great crime that warrants the punishment of death. Our Lord said:
“And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right.” (Al-Anam 6:151).
Allah (SWT) assigned every individual the right of privacy in his home; in Islam, therefore, no one has the right to enter anyone’s home except with his permission. Allah (SWT) said:
“O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them that is better for you, in order that you may remember. And if you find no one therein, still, enter not until permission has been given. And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you, and Allah is All-Knower of what you do.” (An-Nur 24:27, 28).
This is Islam, The Religion of Peace, morality, rights and Truth that teaches us how to observe the rights of individuals. It forbids us from interfering in others privacy and interrupting them with their consent.
Allah (SWT) granted each person the right to earn lawfully derived wealth and guaranteed, through laws and protect the citizens of a Muslim society, both the protection of life and the protection of wealth. He says:
“O you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.” (An-Nisa 4:29).
In addition, Allah (SWT) disallowed slander, mocking and defamation; no one in Islam has the right to spread over the character of another individual. And everyone’s honor and self-respect are inviolable in Islam. Allah (SWT) says:
“O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one’s brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: “O sinner”, or “O wicked”, etc.]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.).” (Al-Hujurat 49:11).
The Lord of the worlds also gave every individual, both man and woman, the right of marriage. He (SWT) says:
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Ar-Rum 30:21).
Out of Allah’s blessings and mercy he made our wives from our own kind, and created love and kindness between us. For a man stays with a woman because he loves her, or because he feels compassion towards her if they have a child together, or because she needs him to take care of her. Such affection and mercy are also from the basic rights of human beings through which they can fulfil their mutual rights.
Allah (SWT) allocated every person the right to produce offspring:
“And Allah has made for you from yourselves mates and has made for you from your mates sons and grandchildren.” (An-Nahl 16:72).
Not only Allah gave the spouses to produce offspring, He also gave children, even while they are in their mothers’ wombs, the right to live. It is for this reason that Allah (SWT) forbidden killing the children for fear of poverty and the practice of burying one’s daughters alive, a practice that was widespread among Arabs during the pre-Islamic days of ignorance. Allah (SWT) said:
“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Isra 17:31).
And He said:
“And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked. For what sin she was killed?” (AT-Takwir 81:8, 9).
The Glorious Quran also assigned rights to every member of the society, particularly to the weak, needy and poor, to whom Allah (SWT) allotted a specific portion of wealth of the rich and prosperous:
“And those in whose wealth there is a known right, For the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth, (and his means of living has been straitened);” (Al-Marij 70: 24, 25).
Furthermore, Allah (SWT) gave to every member of the society the right to live in an atmosphere, which is free from all kinds of vices and indecency. As a result of having that right, all are charged with the duty of abolishing evil whenever they see it being committed out openly. Allah (SWT) said:
“And do not incline toward those who do wrong, lest you be touched by the Fire, and you would not have other than Allah any protectors; then you would not be helped.” (Hud 11:113).
Allah (SWT) dignified human beings and especially their rights to the level of obligatory duties. Anyone can voluntarily give up his right to something, but no one can abandon an obligatory duty. Therefore, in the Glorious Quran Allah (SWT) elevated human rights form the level of optional to that of sacrosanct.