Islamic Concept of Human Rights VS Western Concept Islamiat Paper CSS-2011

Islamic human rights in Islam provide for personal welfare as well as welfare of family and society.

Islam as a supreme and eternal divine religion gives a dynamic and comprehensive concept and system of Human Rights. According to teachings of Islam, rights have been divided into two categories rights towards God and Human Rights. Rights towards God or Huqooq-ul-Ullah are the responsibilities that we owe to Almighty God such as offering salat, fasting and offering pilgrimage. Huqooq-ul-Ibaad or human rights are the duties which we owe to our fellow human beings, such as abstaining from causing harm to the life, property and honour of other humans. Some Islamic injunctions like Zakat is the amalgamation of rights towards God and Human Rights; as we are duty bound to Almighty God as well as to fellow human beings to spend a stipulated portion of our wealth annually in the way of Allah for the welfare of destitute and needy.

Islam equally emphasises on rights towards God and Human Rights. Both are closely related and dependent upon each other and in some aspects, Huqooq-ul-Ibaad assumes more importance than Huqooq-ul-Ullah. A Muslim who is careful about rights toward God but is negligent towards human rights is doing a great injustice and blatant violation of Islamic injunctions. In the same way the one who is doing vice versa is also not discharging his or her religious responsibility and would be held accountable for this improper and unIslamic behavior. For becoming a true Muslim, it is obligatory upon us to discharge both Huqooq-ul-Ullah and Haqooq-ul-Ibad.

Islamic human rights provide for personal welfare as well as welfare of family and society. Islam makes it necessary for us to exercise utmost vigilance in our relations with other family members especially parents, spouses, children, siblings and other relatives. It also emphasises on our rights towards neighbours, servants, guests and other human beings. In contrast to Islamic concepts, the west only provides for personal welfare and is silent about our duties towards parents, neighbours and servants. West concentrates on materialistic approach which reflects fear of law and worldly punishments but completely neglects spiritual satisfaction and fear of Allah. For example, Islam ordains us to hold parents in high esteem and not to use even a harsh word in front of them whereas in the west the approved and recommended way is to send ailing and aged parents to Welfare homes. About the rights of parents Almighty God says in verse No. 23 and 24 of Surah Bani Israeel/Chapter Children of Israeel, ‘Your Lord has decreed: Do not worship any but Him. Be good to your parents; and should both or any one of them attain old age with you, do not say to them even’ neither chide them, but speak to them with respect (23) and be humble and tender to them and say: ‘Lord, show mercy to them as they nurtured me when I was small’ (24) .

Islam declares in unequivocal terms the sanctity of human life, property, honour and prestige and prohibits all kinds of exploitations such as usury, gambling, accumulation of wealth by unfair means etc.; whereas the west encourages such means of exploitation as the whole economic systems of west is entirely dependent upon interest.  The last sermon of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) elaborates the prime Islamic guidelines about human rights. This sermon was delivered by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in 10th year after Hijra in the plain of Arafat on the occasion of Hajj. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) declared,
Your blood and your property are as sacred as are this day and this month.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) also prohibited all kinds of usury and bloodshed. He also emphasised on the importance of equality and brotherhood among Muslims by saying that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim and all Muslims are brethren. He also declared that there is no discrimination among the Muslims on the basis of creed, language, race and colour; and the only criterion for superiority is piety. About the Rights of wives, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said O my people! you have rights over your wives and they have rights over you. In the same way about the rights of slaves the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said And your slaves! See that you feed them with such food as you eat yourselves and clothe them with the stuff you wear. If they commit a fault which you are not inclined to forgive, then part from them, for they are the servants of the Lord and are not to be harshly treated.

West concentrates on materialistic approach which reflects fear of law and worldly punishments but completely neglects spiritual satisfaction and fear of Allah.

Islam gives sanctity to the institution of marriage and makes it the responsibility of the marriage partners not to defile marital bed whereas the West is having abominable standards of honour and prestige. In contrast to Islamic values, the family system of west is very fragile. The institution of marriage has become a joke. Illicit marital relationships are very common in western society and it is considered to be right of the young people both male and female to have as many affairs as they like. Abortion is exercised as a right and is even not considered as an offence in many countries of the west. The parents cannot play a due role and exercise influence in ameliorating the moral values of their grown up children and the birth of illegitimate children is the order of the day. Everything is measured in the scale of monitory benefits.

Islam abhors all kinds of ill-treatment of human beings and violation of human rights. About the sanctity of human life, Almighty God says in verse No. 93 of Surah Nissah/Chapter the Women, ‘And he who willfully slays a believer his reward is Hell, where he will abide. Allah’s wrath is against him and He has cast His curse upon him, and has prepared for him a great chastisement.

Similarly in verse 32 Surah Maidah/ Chapter the Repast, Almighty God says, Therefore, we ordained for the Children of Israel that he who slays a soul unless it be (in punishment) for murder or for spreading mischief on earth shall be as if he had slain all mankind; and he who saves a life shall be as if he had given life to all mankind. Apparently, the west seems to be concerned about the wel-being and welfare of not only human beings but also about the animals as is often projected on different channels but in practical the situation is quite different. In contrast to Islamic values, the west has always exploited the poor and the poor countries, some time in the shape of mandate system, some time in the shape of coloniasation. Now the proper nations are being exploited in the name of financial aid. Even in this age of science, thousands of Muslims have been killed in different countries of world on the basis of certain pretexts such as weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that were never found and recently drone attacks. Likewise, the west is directly meddling in the affairs of different Muslim countries in contravention of all international standards and moral values.

All aspects of human character which are detrimental to other human beings such as telling lies, deception, forgery, back biting, hoarding, profiteering, bribery, weighing less, mocking others, mud slinging, abusing, teasing, counterfeiting, black marketing, hypocrisy, extravagance, miserly attitude etc are completely proscribed in Islam. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) led an exemplary life which is a role model for all the Muslims in all walks of life including care and fear about human rights. His (PBUH) life is pure from all kinds of sins and deficiencies.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) had no love for worldly and material things. Although he was the undisputed religious, political, spiritual head of the Muslims and Muslim state, yet when he left this mortal world he left no wealth or property for his heirs and on the day that Muhammad (PBUH) passed away there was not even food for a single day in his household. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) established a society and community that is also exemplary and role model for all the communities to come. The members of that community and the companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) used to exercise extra vigilance in discharging rights of other people. A small glimpse of that vigilance can be judged from the fact that when the Muslims of Makkah migrated to Medina due to the persecution of infidels, the Muslims of Madina welcomed them open heartedly and established a strong and unprecedented mode of brotherhood with them which is having no parallel in whole history.

But unfortunately, the Muslims of our society are least concerned about Huqooq-ullah as well as human rights. We have failed to understand the true message of Islam. All the social evils are flourishing at an alarming rate in our society and the violation of human rights is rampant in our society. Instead of taking lesson from the past and rectifying our previous mistakes, we are putting forward lame excuses for our un-Islamic behavior. Owing to this state of affairs, we are facing a constant moral and social decline. For putting our national and social fabric on right track, it is imperative for us to realise the rights towards God and human Rights and instead of following the Western concept of human rights to follow the golden and dynamic principles of Islamic human rights. The Holy Quran is replete with verses which lays emphasise on human rights like the verse number 36 of Surah Nisa/Chapter the Women, which says, ‘Serve Allah and ascribe no partner to Him. Do good to your parents, to near of kin, to orphans, and to the needy, and to the neighbor who is of kin and to the neighbor who is a stranger, and to the companion by your side, and to the wayfarer, and to those whom your right hands possess. Allah does not love the arrogant and the boastful.

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