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.