Islam is the religion revealed for all of humankind. It
is not exclusively for Arabs or Asians, men, or women, the wealth or the
downtrodden. Islam is the religion and way of life that assures that humankind
is able to access all of their rights. It makes sense to think that the One Who
created us knows what is best for us, and He (God) has given us access to all
the knowledge we need in order to live happy secure lives.
Muslims believe that this knowledge is accessible
through the Quran and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad, may the
mercy and blessings of God be upon him, and that it is guaranteed by the Sharia
(Islamic Law). Islam establishes a legal framework, and embodies a code of
ethics, designed to protect the rights of an individual including his or her
right to live in a secure society.
said, “Whosoever wakes up (in the
morning) feeling that he is secure in his community, free from ailments
and diseases in his body, and has enough provision for a single day, it is as
if he owns the entire world.” (Tirmidthi)
The Sharia is concerned with preserving five
basic rights: the right to practice religion, the protection of life, the
safeguarding of the mind or intellect, the preservation of honour and family,
and the sanctity of his wealth and property. A unified community establishes a
moral and ethical base in which individual rights are upheld. Although the
rights of individuals are of great concern, they are not permitted to
overshadow the rights of the community.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains 30
articles. They strive to secure life, liberty, and security for all men, women,
and children. There is no doubt that the preservation of this declaration is a
righteous act however each article has been adequately addressed in the past by
the words of God in Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad.
Article 1 & 2
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity
and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards
one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms
set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race,
colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social
origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be
made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional, or international status of
the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent,
trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Quran & Traditions
There are many verses in Quran that point to the dignity,
equality, and brotherhood of humankind. Furthermore, God makes it clear that
rights and freedoms are granted to all, regardless of race, gender, social
origin, nationality, language, colour, or status.
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and
made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the
most honourable of you with God is that (believer) who has God consciousness
(including piety and righteousness). Verily, God is All Knowing, All-Aware.”
God created humankind to act as vicegerent upon the
earth; human beings were set above the animals, birds, and fish and given a task
of great responsibility..
“See you not (O men) that God has subjected for you whatsoever
is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and has completed and
perfected His Graces upon you, (both) apparent and hidden.” (Quran 31:20)
The first man Adam, the father of humankind was honoured
and treated with due respect and dignity. God blew man’s soul into him, He
fashioned him with His own hands and He ordered the Angels to bow down before
him. By honouring Adam God assured that all of humankind are worthy of dignity
and respect. Islam also makes it clear that all mankind is descended from Adam
and as such are brothers and sisters to one another.
“And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am going
to create a human (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud.
So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me,
then you fall down prostrate to him.” (Quran 38:71-72)
God said in Quran (49:10) that believers are nothing
less then brothers to one another and Prophet Muhammad constantly reinforced
the necessity of maintaining the ties of brotherhood. He said that no person
would attain true piety until he wished for his brother (or sister) what he wished
When Prophet Muhammad realised he would soon be returning
to his beloved God, he addressed all of humanity with profound and beautiful
words that became known as the Farewell Sermon. He gazed down upon more than
100,000 thousand followers standing on the plains of Arafat, and said, “All
mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does
a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. A white has no superiority over
black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good
action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the
Muslims constitute one brotherhood.”
Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and
security of person.
Quran & Traditions
“We ordained ...that if anyone killed a person not in
retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as
if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he
saved the life of all mankind.” (Quran 5:32)
God makes it clear in Quran that human life is sacred. Blood
cannot be spilled or life taken without justification. The right to life is
inherent in the tenants of Islam and it is given by God, in equal measure to
every single human being that has inhabited or will inhabit this planet earth. Life
and the integral honour and dignity it entails is considered the greatest gift.
It is given to us by our Creator as a trust. We are obligated to care for each
other and ourselves. Suicide out of despair of God’s mercy or for any other
reason is strictly forbidden. The sanctity of the body is inviolable and the
bodies of the deceased must be handled with care and fitting solemnity.
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Come, I will recite what your Lord has
prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful
to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty - We provide
sustenance for you and for them; come not near to shameful sins whether
committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom God has forbidden,
except for a just cause (according to Islamic law). This He has commanded
you that you may understand.” (Quran 6:151)
In his Farewell Sermon Prophet Muhammad reminded us of
the importance of human rights in Islam, he said, “So regard the life and
property as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their
rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you
will indeed meet your Lord and that He will indeed reckon your deeds.”