Indiscriminate & Proactive: Islam’s approach to Human Rights

10 December 2016 10:16 in Qubes
Indiscriminate & Proactive: Islam’s approach to Human Rights

December 10 marks the International Day of Human Rights and despite all the rhetoric by global organizations on the need to uphold human rights for all, the application of these basic rights remains highly subjective, particularly in the most vulnerable parts of the globe.

Marking the International Day of Human Rights

 

December 10 marks the International Day of Human Rights and despite all the rhetoric by global organizations on the need to uphold human rights for all, the application of these basic rights remains highly subjective, particularly in the most vulnerable parts of the globe.

 

As an Abrahamic faith Islam's principles are founded on indiscriminate and proactive application of human rights, irrespective of faith, race, gender, economic class or ethnic origin.

 

In fact, the distinguishing feature of human entitlements in Islam is that they are the natural outcome of a broader practice of faith, deeds and social behavior that Muslims believe are divinely mandated.

 

Being fair, respectful and generous to others

 

As established in Quran, Islam’s holy book, “God commands justice, good deeds and generosity towards relatives and He forbids what is shameful, blameworthy, and oppressive. He teaches you, so that you may take heed.” (16:90)

 

Additionally, Islam expects its followers to maintain a positive mannerism and deal justly with the entire human race, irrespective of their ethnicity, nationality or creed, without regard to whether they are friend or foe.

 

Not letting prejudice prevent acting in accordance with justice

 

In fact, Qur’an addresses the believers, saying “be steadfast in your devotion to God and remain impartial when testifying; do not allow hatred of others lead you away from justice, but adhere to justice, since that is more in tune with what God already knows. Verily, God is well aware of all that you do” (5:8).

 

Furthermore, Islam’s Prophet Mohammad remained quite proactive in instituting human rights principles as revealed in the Quran. He established the very first Islamic society, which eliminated the spiritual and social problems rampant in the Arabian Peninsula at the time.

 

Rejecting racial biases and promoting brotherhood

 

Freedom of religion was instituted in the city of Medina; women were honored and respected as equals under Islam; racial discrimination was virtually eliminated; tribal warfare was replaced with ties of brotherhood; and usury and alcohol which tend to cause conflict among people were entirely forbidden.

 

Contrary to what remains even today as major human rights violations across the world based on racial and religious prejudice, the religion of Islam firmly prohibits all forms of racial superiority and discrimination since they defy its essence.

 

The principle was clearly highlighted in the final sermon of the Prophet who declared, “No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Neither does a white man have any superiority over a black man, nor the black man any superiority over the white man. You are all the children of Adam, and Adam was created from clay.”

 

Promoting peace and security

 

Islam regards life as a sacred trust from God and the most basic right of a human being. No individual or entity is allowed to take someone’s life, unless it is for justice administered by a competent court following a legal due process.

 

This principle is clearly highlighted in the Qur’an in the following verses:

 

“Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for a just cause” (17:33).

 

“…if anyone kills a person – unless in retribution for murder or spreading corruption in the land – it is as if he kills all mankind while if any saves a life it is as if he saves the lives of all mankind” (5:32).

 

The above holds true even in time of war as evident in instructions issued by the prophet regarding non-combatants during battles: “Do not kill any old person, any child or any woman” and “do not kill the monks in monasteries.” Non-combatants, therefore, are guaranteed security of life even if their government is at war with an Islamic government.

 

Look after the poor and the deprived

 

Islam also holds its followers responsible for looking after the poor and the disadvantaged, pointing to yet another example of its many human rights principles. The Qur’an describes virtuous believers as those who give a “rightful portion of their wealth to the needy and the deprived” (51:19).

 

Related Items





About us

In a world of competing narratives and interests, it's hard to figure out what Islam really is, who Muslims really are, and whether Islam is really to blame for issues our world faces today. Through respectful dialogue we hope to increase awareness and understanding and clear the path towards peaceful coexistence. Q4T is home to a group of young people from different parts of the globe who're each on their own journey of seeking the truth. We're affected by the same events as you, and ask the same questions. By moving beyond the mainstream we will go directly to the source and try to get the answers. Pull up a chair, and join us on this journey. Welcome to the Q4T family!

Contact Us

We need your help to produce engaging content to meet our collective goal of peace and brotherhood on earth.

Whether you believe your message can be delivered through poetry, spoken word, blogging, storytelling or any other skill-set; or if you or your community are involved in positive grassroots initiatives then Q4T is the ideal platform for you.