In the name of Allah ,the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

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Misconceptions On Human Rights In Islam
by:  Abdulrahman A. Al-Sheha.
Original language:  Arabic.
Rendered into english by:  Dr. Mohammed Said Dabas.
Publishing house:  Islamic Propagation Office in RABWAH P.O.Box 29465 Riyadh 11457.
Publishing date:  1422H/2001G.
ISBN:  9660-39053.
Printed on the expense of:  Faisl Al-Samannoudi (may Allah forgive him and his parent).
Press via:  Safir Press, Tel:+966-1-4980780.

Islamic Declaration on Human Rights[102]
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, Most Merciful!

            The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur'�n Sura al-Hujurat, (The Chambers), 49:13 the meaning of which is translated as:� Oh Mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the Sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full Knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things)�.

            The member countries of the Islamic Congress Organization, having full faith in Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala), the Creator of all beings, the Grantor of all Bounties, He Who created man in the best form and shape and honored him by making man His Vicegerent on earth. Allah has entrusted man to build, reform and maintain the land He created. Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) entrusted man to abide by the Divine teachings and obligations and employed everything in the heaven and on the earth for the service of man.

            Believing in the Message of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) , who was commissioned with the Guidance and the True religion as Mercy to mankind, a liberator for all enslaved people, a destroyer of all tyrants and arrogant people in this life. Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) declared real equality among all types of people. There is no preference for a person over another person except with piety. Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) abolished all differences between people whom the Almighty Allah created from a single soul.

            Based on the pure monotheistic faith on which Islam is built, where all mankind are called and invited to worship none besides Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala), not to associate anything else with Allah's worship, and not to set rivals other than Allah to be worshipped. That monotheistic belief is the one that built the real foundations of people's freedom, dignity and integrity and declared the freedom of man from the slavery of another man.

            Besides, based on what the eternal Islamic Shari'ah brought forth for man in terms of the preservation of the faith, religion, soul, mind, honor and integrity and the progeny. Also, based on the comprehensiveness and moderation of the Islamic Shari'ah in all rulings, verdicts and sentences, where the soul and the matter is, fantastically, mixed and the heart [emotions] and the mind [intelligence] are both respected and honored.

            In order to emphasize the important cultural and historical roles that the Islamic Ummah, nation has played throughout the history of man on earth, as Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) made this Ummah the best of nations, He caused the humanity to inherit a balanced, stable and international civilization and culture that joins this world and the next. The heritage of this Ummah connects science with faith. This Ummah is hoped to play, nowadays, an important role as well, guiding the deviated humanity. The latter is lost in terms of competing currents and trends as well as, in order to offer solutions for the problems of the materialistic civilization.

            In recognition to the human efforts related to the human rights that protect man against mistreatment, violation and abuse and with aim to emphasize man's freedom and his right to a better and descent life and living conditions these should agree with the Islamic Shari'ah.

            We have illustrated that, in spite of the great advancement that the humanity have attained in the materialistic realm, it is still, and will continue to be, in a great need for a spiritual support that is based on faith, in order to support these great achievements in terms of advanced civilization. This is needed in order to protect the human rights in this society.

            We believe, according to Islam, that the basic rights and public freedoms are an integral part of the Islamic belief and religion. None has the right, initially, to stop them fully or partially. We also believe that none has the right either to break these rights or ignore them. These basic rights are divine and heavenly. They have been revealed to the Prophets of Allah in all Scriptures. In fact, Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) commissioned the last of His Prophets to mankind, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who completed the missions and the Message of all previous Prophets and Messengers, with these essential rights as well. Furthermore, observing these essential rights is a type of worship. Meanwhile, neglecting such rights or infringing them is an evil act, according to Islam. Every individual is responsible, individually, to adhere to these rights. The Ummah, collectively, is also responsible for these rights.

            Based on the above, the member countries of the Islamic Congress Organization declare the following:

  • Article One:
    1. The entire humanity constitutes as one big family. They are united under the banner of all being slave servants to Allah I and they are the children of Adam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the Prophet. All people are equal in terms of human dignity and honor. All people are also equal in terms of responsibility. No race, color, language, sex, religious belief, political belonging, social status or any other serves as a factor that differentiates them. The true and sound belief is the only assurance and guarantees to ensure the growth of this human integrity for the human integration.
    2. All human beings are [as] family of the Almighty. The best of which is the best to all. There is no preference for one over the other except for piety [righteousness] and good deeds.

  • Article Two:
    1. Life is a gift of Allah. It is assured for every human being. All members of the society, and all states and countries must act to protect this right against all types of aggression. No life shall be claimed without a due legal reason.
    2. It is unlawful to use means and tools that wipe out the human race.
    3. Maintaining and preserving the human life is Shari'ah's, legal obligation.
    4. Man's physical safety is respected. None has the right to attack his safety. None also has the right to touch this safety without a legal reason. The state must assure this right.

  • Article Three:
    1. While using force, or in event of armed fighting, it is illegal [un-lawful] to kill those who partake a role in the actual fight. Elderly people, women, children, wounded persons and the sick all have the right to be treated. The captives [prisoners of war] have the right to be fed, sheltered and clothed. It is illegal to mutilate the bodies of the killed war victims. Prisoners of war must be exchanged. Families that are separated due to wars are entitled to reunite.
    2. It is forbidden to cut [or pull] trees, destroy the crops and dairy animals, destroy buildings and other civil facilities for the enemies by shelling or blowing up, etc.

  • Article Four:
    1. Every human being is entitled to his integrity, honor and reputation, during his life and after his death. The State and society must protect the remains and the burial place [cemeteries] of deceased.

  • Article Five:
    1. The family is the basic unit in the society. Marriage is the basis for building and forming a family. Men and women are entitled for marriage. No restrictions should be set to restrict them from marriage based on race, color or nationality.
    2. The society and the state must act to remove all barriers for marriage. Further, they should attempt to make it easy and protect and care for the family.

  • Article Six:
    1. Woman is equal to man in terms of human integrity and honor. She is entitled for equal rights and duties. She is entitled for her own civil personality, financial independence and she has the right to maintain her name and surname.
    2. Man must take care of all financial needs of his family and must provide all possible care and protection.

  • Article Seven:
    1. Every born child has the right upon his parents, society and the state, of custody, upbringing, material care, educational care and moral attention. The fetus and the mother must be also provided a special care.
    2. Parents and guardians have the right to choose the type of up-bringing they like [or prefer] for their children. However, the interest and the future of the children must be taken into consideration in the light of moral and Shari'ah values and principles.
    3. Parents have their own rights towards their children. Relatives also have their own rights among themselves in accordance with the Shari'ah laws and principles.

  • Article Eight: Every individual has the right to practice his full rights in terms of all commitments. If the individual is no longer qualified to practice his rights, fully or partially, a Wali [guardian] must be assigned instead.

  • Article Nine:
    1. Seeking education is an obligatory act. Offering and providing education is a duty that is incumbent on the society and the state. The state must secure the means of education and assure variety of educational media to serve the interest and the welfare of the members of the society. Education should also enable man to learn about Islam as a religion and way of life, the cosmos and how to utilize the materialistic means for the benefit and the welfare of the humanity.
    2. Every human is entitled for a right from the various educational organizations such as the family, the school, the university, the media etc. They shall offer the suitable worldly and religious education and training in an integrated and balanced fashion that strengthens his personality and his faith in the Almighty Allah and his respect to rights and duties of man.

  • Article Ten: Man must follow and obey the innate religion. Therefore, no one has a right to force other or compel him to do anything against his nature. Furthermore, no one has the right to exploit one's poverty, weakness or illiteracy to change his religion or to become atheist.

  • Article Eleven:
    1. Man is born free. None has the right to enslave him, humiliate, conquer or exploit. There should be no slavery other than the slavery to the Almighty Allah.
    2. All types of colonization is fully banned. Colonization is the worst type of slavery. Suffering people have the right to liberate themselves from colonization. Such people have the right to determine their own destiny. All other people must support the fair and just cause of fighting against all types of colonization and occupation of all types. All people have the right to preserve their independent state and personality and have the control over all natural resources.

  • Article Twelve: Every human being has the right to move about freely by choosing the suitable residence for himself within his own country or state, or even outside his country. However, if a man is unsafe [in his country] he has the right to seek asylum to another country. The country who is providing asylum must protect such a person unless the reason of this asylum involves a legal crime.

  • Article Thirteen: The state and society must ensure work for every capable person. Every individual must enjoy the freedom to choose the most suitable job that ensures his interest, and the interest of the society. A worker must enjoy his right in safety and security, and all social welfare insurance and guarantees. A worker must not be assigned to do what he is unable to do. A worker must not be forced against his will to do certain things. A worker must not be exploited or harmed. A worker, male or female, without any distinction is entitled for fair wages. No delays should be made in the payment of wages. A worker must enjoy [annual] vacation, promotions, incentives and other monetary items he is entitled to get. A worker is demanded to devote his time and effort with perfection to his job. If a dispute between the worker and the employer arises, the state must intervene to resolve such dispute, remove the oppression, do the justice and force the disputing parties to take and accept the just judgement without any bias.

  • Article Fourteen: Each individual has the right for an honest and lawful income. No monopolization of goods, cheating or any act of deception, harming himself or others and usury are allowed. In fact, all above items are legally forbidden.

  • Article Fifteen:
    1. Each individual is entitled for lawful ownership. In addition, to enjoy the rights of ownership provided no harm is caused to one's own soul or others of the society members or the society at large. [Private] Ownership is not to be removed except for public interest and for an instant and fair substitution.
    2. No wealth [or ownership] confiscation is done without a legal and lawful reason.

  • Article Sixteen: Each individual is entitled to benefit from his actual production, literal production, artistic production or technical production. Also, each individual is entitled to protect his literary or financial interests resulting from his production, provided that this production does not contradict the laws of Shari'ah.

  • Article Seventeen:
    1. Each individual is entitled to live in a clean environment in terms of pollution and moral corruption. Such environment must permit the individual to morally build his character. Both the society and the state must ensure and provide this right to the individuals.
    2. The society and the state must provide to every individual is the [suitable and necessary] health care and social care by availing all public facilities, within the available means.
    3. The state must ensure decent living conditions for the individuals and their dependents. This right encompasses room and board, decent and proper clothing, proper education, medical care and all other essential or basic needs.

  • Article Eighteen:
    1. Each individual is entitled to life and security in the society as relates to his self, religion and faith, family honor, dignity and members and his financial belonging.
    2. Each individual has the right to be independent with his own affairs in terms of housing, family, finance and communications. No spying or surveillance may be maintained against any one. No defaming is allowed to anyone. In addition, others must protect individuals against all unlawful inferences.
    3. The privacy of houses and dwelling Entry to private homes must be with consent of their occupants. Private housing should not be demolished, confiscated or their tenants kicked out without any legal reason.

  • Article Nineteen:
    1. All individuals -the ruler and the ruled- should enjoy equal legal rights.
    2. All individuals have access to seek judicial judgement for their suites.
    3. Responsibility is personal.
    4. Crime and punishment are based on Shari'ah injunctions.
    5. Every accused is innocent until proven guilty. A fair trial is necessary where all assurances are given for full self-defense.

  • Article Twenty: No one is to be arrested or his freedom be restricted, exiled or punished without adequate legal action. Individuals must not be subjected to physical or psychological torment or any other humiliating treatment. No one may be subjected for medical experimentation without his consent, provided that it does not amount to the detriment of his health. Furthermore, it is not permitted to empower executive authority to issue exceptional laws.

  • Article Twenty-One: It is forbidden to take any person as a hostage for any purpose and in any form.

  • Article Twenty-Two:
    1. Each individual is entitled to express his opinion, if it does not contradict Shari'ah laws and principles.
    2. Each individual is entitled to enjoin good and forbid evil in consonance to the Shari'ah laws and principles.
    3. Media and information are vital for the society. Media must not be exploited, abused or attack the dignity of the Prophets of Allah or to practice any immoral or corruptive items. In addition, all issues that cause disunity within the society, moral decay, danger or disbelief are also banned.
    4. It is not allowed to generate national hatred or sectarianism or any other type of discrimination.

  • Article Twenty-Three:
    1. Guardianship is a trust that must not be betrayed. This is fully forbidden to ensure the basic human rights.
    2. Each individual is entitled to participate in the public administration of his country, either directly or indirectly. Similarly, all individuals are entitled for public offices based on Shari'ah laws and regulations.

  • Article Twenty-Four: All rights and freedoms listed in this Declaration are comprehensible within the framework of Shari'ah laws and principles.

  • Article Twenty-Five:
    1. Shari'ah laws and principles are the only source for the interpretation or clarification for any article of this Declaration.
      Cairo, 14 Muharram, 1411 H.
      Corresponding to: 5/8/1990.
    2. Accepting and determining the above stated rights is the correct path to erect a true Islamic society that maybe described as follows.[103]
    3. It is a society, in which, every one is equal. No one is superior on the basis of origin, race, color or language.
    4. It is a society, which enshrines equality as a basis of all rights and duties. This equality stems from the unity of human race. The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur'�n Sura al-Isra [The Night Journey] 17:70 the meaning of which is translated as:� We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of Our Creation�.
    5. It is a society where human's freedom is identical with his life. Man is born free. With his freedom, he can ensure his existence. Man must be safe against suppression, oppression, humiliation and slavery.
    6. It is a society, which rose from family. The latter serves its nucleus and basis. It provides stability and progress.
    7. It is a society where governor and the governed are equal before Shari'ah. The latter is divinely ordained. No discriminations are allowed in such a society.
    8. It is a society in which authority and power is a trust, which the ruler assumes to attain goals within the framework of Shari'ah.
    9. It is a society, in which, every individual believes that the Almighty Allah is the true Owner of the entire universe. He also believes that all what is in this universe is employed for the benefit of all the creatures of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). All what we have is a gift and grant from Allah and none has any privilege to obtain a fair share of this Divine grant. The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur'�n Sura al-Jathiyah, 45:13 the meaning of which is translated as:� And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect�.
    10. It is a society, in which, all policies governing public affairs are based on the principle of consultation. The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur'�n Sura al-Shura [The Consultation], 42:38 the meaning of which is translated as:� Those who listen to their Lord, and establish regular prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for sustenance�.
    11. It is a society, which grants equal opportunities to all individuals according to their skills and potentials. Such individuals will be accountable before their Ummah about their performance. This is based on the Hadith reported by Muslim, that Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:� Every one among you is a shepherd and every one is responsible for his [protected] herd�.
    12. It is a society, in which, both the ruler and the ruled stand equally in judicial courts.
    13. It is a society where every person reflects the conscious of Ummah. Each individual has access to the right of filing legal suit against any criminal action. Such individuals may also solicit the support of others.
    14. It is a society that rejects all types of oppression and tyranny. It is a society, which ensures freedom, security, honor, dignity and justice for all. It is a society, which observes Shari'ah laws and practices.
    15. The characteristics of human rights in Shari'ah are as under:
      1. Human rights according to Islamic Shari'ah are Divine. These do not stem from other humans who are influenced by whims, desires, interests and personal ambitions.
      2. Human rights are correlated with the Islamic faith and belief. They are protected and preserved by Divine judgement. Therefore, any violation on these rights is, in the first place, a violation against the Divine Will of Allah, and entails punishment in the Hereafter, as well as worldly punishment.
      3. These human rights are comprehensive and commensurate to the nature of human being. They agree with the human innate and coincide with his weakness, power, poverty, richness, dignity and humiliation.
      4. These human rights are applicable to each person under the Islamic jurisdiction, regardless of color, race, religion, language or social status.
      5. These human rights are constant. These are not adaptable at any time or place and under any condition or circumstances. Neither individuals nor society can alter these human rights.
      6. These rights are sufficient to establish a society that grants its individuals a decent and honorable life. These rights are a mercy from the Almighty Allah, the Lord of all worlds and they are for the entire humanity at large. Human rights also serve to preserve political, social, moral and economic rights of humanity.
      7. Human rights, however, are restricted and not absolute. These rights are compatible with the basic Shari'ah laws and principles. They are not detrimental to the interest of the society and its welfare. For instance, the freedom of opinion and speech is guaranteed for every individual. All individuals are entitled to speak out and speak up saying the truth without hesitation. All have the right to provide and offer a reasonable advice to others, so long as this advice is in the public interest of others. Advice may be given in the spheres of worldly affairs or religious affairs alike. There are certain restrictions, however, that must not be exceeded, otherwise it will become a chaotic situation in the society. The following are some of these restrictions:
        • This freedom for an objective dialogue should be based on wisdom and good advice. The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur'�n Sura al-Nahl (The Bees) 16:125 the meaning of which is translated as:� Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance�.
        • Adhere at all cost to the essential principles of Islamic faith such as the existence of Allah, the reality of the Message of Allah's Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and all other related issues.
        • Avoiding the use of such freedom in any way that is offensive to others, regardless whether the offense is worldly or religiously, such as defaming people, scandalizing people and revealing their secrets. Such unlawful acts will spread harm and evil among people in the Islamic society or any other society per se. The Almighty Allah states in the Glorious Qur'�n Sura al-Noor (The Light) 24:19 the meaning of which is translated as:� Those who love (to see) scandal published broadcast among the Believers, will have a grievous penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: Allah knows, and you know not�.

[102] Dr. Muhammad al-Zuhailee, The Human Rights in Islam, p.400.
[103] The following are adapted from The Islamic International Declaration for Human Rights.