HUQUQ Allah (rights of God) and huquq-ul Ibad (rights of His servants) are the foremost obligations of Muslims. The first means to fulfil the obligations towards God and the second to do so for human beings. The Holy Quran enjoins returning evil with good. Being kind to others despite their unkindness is more likely to change their attitude. It is mentioned in the Holy Book: “Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel (evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!” (41:34)
Caring for others is also known as ihsan: adopting an attitude of ensuring better for others and less for oneself. Islam asks its followers to be sensitive to the feelings of others, especially if they are strangers, or if there is a chance of hostility. This becomes important when Muslims live and work in foreign lands, where their way of life and worship might be other than the norm. Their attitude towards their adopted countries should be that of guests caring for the possessions and feelings of hosts.
Unfortunately, the fact is that in many cases, piety is now worn on one’s sleeve and many Muslims believe that they must ‘prove’ their religion by demanding special privileges. While this may, at times, be necessary and possible, it may not always be a smooth process. In Toronto, Muslim students of some high schools recently demanded time off and a place within the school premises to offer jummah prayers.