Human rights in Islam


It can safely be said that the modern western movement for recognising human rights started from 1100 CE in Britain and reached its fruition with the 1948 UN Charter of Human Rights. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Quran revealed to him introduced a new concept of human rights in the sixth century CE. He is reported to have said the ‘the whole of creation is the family of God. The better a person treats this family, the higher he is held in God’s esteem’. (Mishkat)
The Prophet’s landmark sermons and agreements uphold human rights. He was part of the agreement called Hilf al-Fudhul at a very young age. Made in 586 CE, 26 years before the announcement of his prophethood, its purpose was to establish peace and to support the rights of the downtrodden. The activists of this group would, against all tribal traditions, protect the persecuted, including strangers to the place, and strive for peace and economic equality. These qualities made people recognise him as a prophet later. The clauses of the oath taken by the knights of Europe centuries later were somewhat similar to the clauses of the Hilf al-Fudhul, which is said to be the first document in written history concerned with human rights.

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Categories: Law, Law and Religion

2 replies

  1. The Holy Quran, revealed in the desert of Arabia in the seventh century stated that the purpose of defensive warfare is to preserve the sanctity of cloisters, churches, synagogues and mosques. The Quran named the place of worship of the Muslims as the last on this sacred list. In so doing the Holy Quran established the religious freedom for the whole humanity. The verses pertaining to the religious rights for all are:

    Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged — and Allah indeed has power to help them — Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ — And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeed Powerful, Mighty. (Al Quran 22:40-41)

    I would urge apologists for different religions and philosophies to bring forth the equivalent teachings from their scriptures. If they succeed, I am happy for them, for my goal is to be able to establish ‘Universal Brotherhood’ for the whole humanity. I have knols on Universal Declaration of Human Rights also, if you search my name here.

    For our Global village we need a thoroughly Universalist message, a panacea of Islam as revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The Holy Quran states about him, “We have sent thee as a mercy to the whole mankind.” (Al Quran 21:108)

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