(part 1 of 3): Rights for All Humanity
What exactly are human rights? Is it the right to life? Or is it the right to freedom, independence and justice? Do human rights include the right to security and a sanctuary? Since the end of the Second World War, western international politics seems to have focused on securing human rights; however, the reality is that the line between securing such rights and maintaining state sovereignty is blurred. The growing power and politics involved in defending human rights tend to promote western ideals, but these are not necessarily universal ideals. Many would argue that human rights doctrine has become a means of spreading Western moral imperialism.
Nobody will deny that there are certain indispensable human rights, only what these rights are is often the subject of heated debates. While some cultures focus on individual rights and freedoms, others are more concerned about rights that ensure the survival of communities. This world is populated by different nations and tribes, so it makes sense that laws and declarations are made by people who are not universally recognized, regardless of their moral standing.
God says in the Quran:
“O people, we have created you out of man and woman and made you peoples and tribes so that you may know each other.” (Quran 49:13)
This is how we recognize that interactions between nations are normal and desirable. However, it is part of the nature of man that he is jealous and at times selfish. Islam takes the whims of human nature into account and therefore it turns to the Supreme Creator for guidance. Human rights and responsibility are embedded in Islam; they form the basis of sharia law.
There is no doubt that human rights abuses are committed around the world, often in the name of religion and sadly sometimes in the name of Islam. But it is important to acknowledge that just because a country is known as Islamic does not mean that it automatically follows the laws of God. It is also important to understand that not all Muslims understand and follow their religion. Culture often dictates the deeds. Of course, this can be said of all religions. Throughout history, humanity has used God’s name to justify incredible deeds.
Planet Earth stumbled into the 21st century, struck by wars, famines and major social unrest, so today’s buzzwords confess the supposed cure: freedom, democracy and reconciliation. Human rights are understandably of paramount importance. Government and non-governmental organizations, religious and charitable groups have all talked about equality and essential rights. The United Nations was founded to act as a beacon of hope for understanding and common initiatives, but in reality it is a toothless tiger, unable to enforce most of the resolutions it has adopted.
Over 1400 years ago, God sent down the Quran, a book of guidance for all mankind. He also chose Muhammad as the last prophet; he was the man who was able to lead mankind into a new era of tolerance, respect and justice. The words of the Quran and the authentic traditions of the Prophet Muhammad contain rights and responsibilities that God grants to mankind. They are not subject to the whims and desires of men or women, and they do not change as borders or governments shift and stop, sometimes incessantly.
The United Nations announced the declaration of human rights in 1948. It sets out in 30 articles the fundamental rights to be universally protected and describes them as designed to “promote universal respect and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms ”. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights further described these rights as inherent in all people, regardless of gender, race, belief or color, and declared them indivisible, interdependent and coherent. Over the next 60 years, more declarations, contracts, and committees came into existence, all of which focused on securing the rights of different groups in different societies.
Islam contains a principle of rules that serve to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals, but the rights of individuals must not affect the rights of communities. Islam is a doctrine concerned with respect, tolerance, justice and equality and the Islamic concept of freedom and human rights is embedded in the belief in the One God. If mankind wants to live in peace and security, it must obey God’s orders.
Muslims believe that God is the only creator and sustainer of humanity and the universe. He has given dignity and honor to everyone and the human rights and privileges we enjoy are from Him. The rights that God grants are for everyone. No one is worth protecting more than another. Everyone is entitled to care, shelter and security, and if some people are denied their God-granted rights, it is the responsibility of the rest of the people to reflect those rights.
„Oh you, who believe! Stand up for God and be witnesses to justice. And hatred of a group should not encourage you to act differently than fairly. Be fair, that is closer to the fear of God. And fear God; surely God knows what you are doing. ”(Quran 5: 8)
Power and authority are anchored in the defense of human rights. Legislation and unenforceable contracts cannot protect the humiliated and oppressed. But Islam declares that God treats all people equally and true human rights can only be achieved through obedience to Him. In the following series of articles, we will examine the 30 articles of the Declaration of Human Rights and compare them with the Islamic viewpoint and the reality of the 21st century. I
(part 2 of 3): Articles 1, 2 & 3
Islam is the religion that has been revealed to all mankind. It is not exclusive to Arabs or Asians, men or women, the wealthy or the oppressed. Islam is the religion and way of life that assures mankind of preserving all of its 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 to live happy, safe lives .
Muslims believe that this knowledge can be found in the Quran and the authentic traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, God’s blessing and peace with him, and that it is guaranteed by Sharia law (Islamic law). Islam establishes a legal framework and embodies a code of ethics made to protect the rights of individuals, including their right to live in a safe society.
The Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever gets up (in the morning), feels safe in his company, free from complaints and illnesses in his body, and has enough care for a single day, as if he had the whole world . ” (Tirmidhi)
Sharia is keen to preserve the five fundamental rights: the right to practice one’s religion, the protection of life, the protection of the intellect or intellect, the protection of honor and family, and the inviolability of one’s wealth and possessions. A unified community provides a moral and ethical foundation in which individual rights are upheld. Although the rights of individuals are very important, they are not allowed to overshadow the rights of the community.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains 30 articles. They aim to ensure life, freedom and security for all men, women and children. There is no doubt that keeping this declaration is a righteous act, but every article in the past has been adequately addressed by the words of God in the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad.
Article 1 & 2
All people are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should meet one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to the rights and freedoms proclaimed in this declaration without any difference, for example by race, skin color, gender, language, religion, political or other conviction, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no difference may be made are made on the basis of the political, legal or international position of the country or territory to which a person belongs, regardless of whether they are independent, under trust, have no self-government or are otherwise restricted in their sovereignty.
Quran & Traditions
There are numerous verses in the Quran that emphasize the dignity, equality and fraternity of people. God also makes it clear that everyone is entitled to rights and freedoms regardless of their race, gender, social origin, nationality, language, skin color or position.
“O people, we have created you from man and woman and made you peoples and tribes so that you may recognize each other. Verily, the most respected of all of you who is the most feared of God. Verily, God is Omniscient, Omniscient. ”
God created humanity to live on earth as a governor; Human beings have been placed before animals, birds and fish and have been given a great responsibility.
„Have you not seen that God has made everything available to you that is in heaven and what is on earth, and (that) He has poured out His blessings abundantly on you – in a visible and invisible way?“ (Quran 31:20)
The first man, Adam, the father of mankind, was honored and treated with due respect and dignity. God breathed his soul into him, He designed it with His own hands and ordered the angels to bow before him. By honoring Adam, God assured that all humanity deserves dignity and respect. Islam also makes it clear that all humanity is descended from Adam and is therefore brothers and sisters.
„Then your Lord said to the angels:“ It is My will to create a man out of clay. And if I have formed him and breathed my spirit into him, then fall down before him. „“ (Quran 38: 71-72 )
God says in the Quran (49:10) that believers are nothing less than brothers to each other and the Prophet Muhammad has constantly stressed the need to strengthen the bonds of fraternity. He said that no one will achieve true piety until he wishes for his brother (or sister) what he wants for himself. 
When it became clear to the Prophet Muhammad that he would return to his beloved God, he addressed the whole of humanity with profound and powerful words known as his farewell sermon. He looked at over 100,000 followers standing on the Arafat plain and said: “All humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. An Arab does not take precedence over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab take precedence over an Arab; White does not take precedence over black, nor does black take precedence over white; [nobody is superior to another] except in fear of God and in good deed. Learn that every Muslim is the brother of every Muslim and that Muslims constitute a brotherhood. ”
Everyone has the right to life, freedom and security of the person.
Quran & Traditions
“That is why we have… prescribed that if someone kills a person without committing a murder or without causing a mischief in the country, it should be as if he had killed all of humanity; and if someone preserves life for a human being, it should be as if he had sustained life for all of humanity. ” (Quran 5:32)
God clarifies in the Quran that human life is sacred. Blood or life must not be shed or taken without justification. The right to live is inherent in the principles of Islam, and it is given by God to the same extent for every single person who lives or will live on this planet Earth. Life and the full dignity and honor it brings are considered the greatest gift. It was entrusted to us by the Creator as a trustee. We are obliged to take care of others and ourselves. Suicide from despair at God’s grace or for any other reason is strictly prohibited. The sacredness of the body is inviolable, and the bodies of the deceased must be treated with care and dignity.
„Say:“ Come here, I will read out what your Lord has forbidden you: You should not put anything aside to Him and show kindness to your parents; and you should not kill your children out of poverty, We care for you and for them. You should not approach shamefulness, be it obvious or hidden, and you should not kill anyone whose life God has made inviolable unless it is according to law, which is what He has commanded you to understand may. ” (Quran 6: 151)
In his farewell sermon, the Prophet Muhammad reminded us of the importance of human rights in Islam by saying: “This is also how the life and property of every Muslim is viewed as a sacred, entrusted good. Return the goods that have been entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Do not harm anyone so that no one can harm you. Always keep in mind that you will meet your Lord and that He will surely calculate your actions. ”
 Sahieh Al-Bukhari
 The text of the farewell sermon can be found in Sahieh Al-Bukhari and Sahieh Muslim, and in the books by At Tirmidhi and Imam Ahmad.
(part 3 of 3): Slavery and Torture
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights deals with many issues. It tries to ensure that people treat each other with respect and dignity. Islam is a religion that values respect, dignity and tolerance very highly, and the rights and responsibilities inherent in Islam are themselves a declaration of human rights.
One of the most important principles in Islam is that God created people to be responsible for their actions. Everyone has certain rights and obligations and nobody has the right to restrict someone else’s freedom. Anyone who dares to take away the God-given rights inherent in Islam, including the right to human dignity, is called an evildoer or oppressor. God urges those who obey Him to stand up for the rights of the oppressed.
“And why don’t you want to fight for God’s cause and for the weak men, women and children who say:“ Our Lord, lead us out of this city, whose inhabitants are oppressors, and give us a protector from You and give us a helper from you? ” (Quran 4:75)
The fourth article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: No one may be held in slavery or serfdom; Slavery and slave trade are prohibited in all forms. Over 1400 years ago, Islam also considered the subject of slavery.
In the seventh century AD, Arab society was steeped in slavery, as were other societies and legal systems. Slaves were easy to acquire through war, debt, kidnapping, and poverty; therefore it would have been useless to ban slavery altogether, just like poverty itself. For this reason, Islam introduced restrictions and rules for slavery that eventually led to its abolition.
There are no texts in the Quran or in the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad, God’s blessings and peace be with him that command the taking of slaves, but there are countless texts that stand for their freedom, including the simple statement of the Prophet Muhammad : „Visit the sick, feed the hungry and release the slaves.“  Islamic law recognizes slavery as an institution, but it limited the sources of its acquisition to a single method: prisoners of war and their families. Muslim leaders have been asked to release prisoners of war or to exchange them for a ransom.
The principle of dealing with slaves in early Islam was a combination of justice, kindness, and compassion. Muslims donate a small proportion of their annual accumulated wealth as mandatory alms and a permitted way to use this money is to free slaves. Freeing slaves is also an atonement for many sins, such as breaking an oath and unintentionally killing.
Over the past 200 years, Western culture has slowly abolished slavery, but human trafficking has not stopped. National Geographic estimates that there are 27 million men, women and children worldwide who are currently enslaved. Ironically, although man-made declarations and agreements condemn slavery, a slave in the open market today is less worth than it was 200 years ago.
“Slaves” of modern times, who are physically restricted or detained, forced to work, or kept under control by force, have no legal means to buy their freedom, and there is no legal entity to review their treatment. Slavery exists under the radar and is usually associated with drugs, prostitution and other illegal activities.
The restrictions that Islam imposed gave the slaves rights and protection against mistreatment. The act of freeing a slave is a very virtuous act that will bring blessings to a person in this and the next life. Islam has the inherent ability to recognize and regulate undesirable properties of human nature.
Slavery and serfdom cannot be successfully abolished unless humanity recognizes that God’s laws are the true embodiment of human rights. The same can be said about torture and cruel, inhuman punishments. These repulsive acts will not cease to exist until all of humanity realizes that there is a God and that His worship goes beyond life in this world. Torture exists today, despite the treaties and declarations, including Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which call for the abandonment of such mistreatment.
Cruelty, including exaggerated punishments, is prohibited in Islam. Every member of the human race is treated with the appropriate respect and dignity, regardless of race, skin color, belief or nationality. The Prophet Muhammad explicitly prohibited cruel and unusual punishments even in times of war. He made it clear that nobody should be burned alive or tortured with fire, and that wounded soldiers should not be attacked and prisoners of war should not be killed. He said this to his followers: “You are neither hardhearted nor evil in your qualities”,  and he warned his people against being unfair: “Because injustice is darkness on the day of judgment.” 
Even the prisoners of war in early Islamic history spoke well of their conquerors. „Blessed are the men of Medina,“ said one of these prisoners later, „they let us ride while they went; they gave us wheat bread when there was little of it while they were content with dates.´  The second Khaliph of Islam, Umar Ibn Al Khattab, said: “A person will not be held accountable for his confession if you inflicted pain on him, made him afraid, or locked him up [to get the confession]. ”
The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 20: “It is forbidden to arrest someone without legitimate reason, to restrict their freedom, to banish them or to punish them. It is forbidden to torture someone physically or mentally, to humiliate them, or to treat them cruelly or degrading. ”
The enforcement of human rights in Islam is inextricably linked to the establishment of Islamic law. Islam promises that those who follow God’s laws will be rewarded with His guarantee of Eternal Paradise. However, if someone chooses to restrict or withhold from humanity the rights they have been given by God, they will be punished. “On the day of judgment the rights are given to those to whom they are due (and injustice will be redressed) …” 
 Sahieh Al-Bukhari
 Sahieh Al-Bukhari
 From the works of the orientalist Sir William Muir (1819-1905)
 Reported by Abu Yusuf in the book Al Kharaj
 Sahieh Muslim