By Adamu Sani (Tj Chinade)
It appears that some people think of human rights was only theorised by the Western world and scholars. However, this perception proves inaccurate because Islam is the ultimate religion that left behind nothing in confusion. To understand this, Almighty Allah says, “…..We have neglected nothing in the Book (Glorious Qur’an).” (Qur’an 6:38). Given this verse, most of what the western people theorised has its roots in Islam. Meaning that if someone searches deeply into the topic, someone may easily trace its origin from the Glorious Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet. Therefore, human rights have been discussed and recognised by some organisations as detailed in Islam, since Almighty Allah is the Creator of the universe.
What differentiates between human rights in Islam and the western perspectives is that Almighty Allah and all laws that give rights in Islam are derived from the primary sources. In contrast, in western perspectives, it is man-made laws, and the leaders provide the rights to their respective people of their States or Nations. It should be clear that human beings are all the same in the sight of Allah. The rights and privileges that Allah has granted to man as a human being will be enjoyed by all individuals, regardless of colour, religion, geographical location, nationality, among others. All the rights should be recognised and respected by every Muslim. The following are some of these rights.
1. Right to Life
The first and foremost fundamental right is the right to live and respect human life. The Glorious Qur’an states: “If anyone killed a person, not in retaliation of murder, or spread mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed all mankind…” (Qur’an 5:32). According to this verse, the punishment of taking life in retaliation for murder or spreading mischief on the earth can be decided only by a proper and competent court of law. In addition, if there is any war with any nation or country, it can be determined only by a properly established government. In whatever case, no human being has any right by itself to take human life in retaliation or for causing mischief on this Earth. In another place, Almighty Allah has condemned the killing of any soul without a reliable measure as He is saying; “… and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic Law)…” (Qur’an 6:151).
2. Respect for the Chastity of Women.
In Islam, the chastity of women must be respected and protected under all circumstances, everywhere, regardless of her religion or even if she has no faith. A Muslim is forbidden to be in any illegal relationship with a woman. Almighty Allah emphasises this in the Glorious Qur’an, thus: “And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily it is Fahishah (i.e. anything that transgresses its limits)” (Qur’an 17:31).
3. Right to Basic Standard of Life.
The Glorious Qur’an enjoins upon the Muslims about the economic right. Allah says: “And in their properties, there was the right of the beggar and the Mahrum (the poor who does not ask the others)”. Qur’an 51:19.
4.Right to Freedom.
Islam has clearly and categorically forbidden the barbaric practice of enslaving a free man or selling him into slavery. Because of this, the unequivocal statement of the Prophet reads, “There are three categories of people against whom I shall by myself be a plaintiff on the Day of judgement. On this three, one who enslaves a free man, then sell him and eat this money”.
5. Right to Justice
It is also the most important and valuable right Islam has given to man as a human being. Almighty Allah calls upon humankind to respect justice in many places in the Glorious Qur’an. One of these places is where Allah says: “O you Who believed! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily Allah is Wel-Acquainted with what you do.” (Qur’an, 5:8).
The above verse clarifies that Muslims have to be just not only with ordinary human beings but even with their enemies. It is noteworthy that justice in Islam is not limited to Muslims but all people regardless of their race, colour, tribe, nation or religion – the entire humanity. This indicates the boundless mercies of Almighty Allah to his creators.
6. Equality of Human Being
It should be clear that Islam not only recognises and confers absolute equality between men irrespective of any colour, race, or nationality but makes it an essential and significant principle and a reality. To understand this, Almighty Allah says: “O mankind! We have created you from male and female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily the Honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) Who has Taqwa (Qur’an, 49:13).
The above verse suggests that the division of human beings into nations, races, tribes, and group is for the sake of distinction so that people of one tribe or group may easily recognise their partner once they meet. This further indicates that the superiority of one man over the other is only based on one’s faith, purity of character and high morals, not based on colour, nation, tribe and language.
7.Right to Freedom of Expression
Islam also gave human beings the right to freedom of speech, but with a limitation, this can be seen in one of the Hadith of the Prophet reads: “Say good, or be silent” This Hadith clearly shun away the spreading of fake news and hate speech.
Adamu Sani (Tj Chinade)