Human Rights in Islam

Since God is the absolute and the sole master of men and women and the universe, and since He has given each human dignity and honor, and breathed into man of His own spirit, it follows that all humans are essentially the same. In fact, the only differences between them are such artificial ones as nationality, colour, or race. Thus, all human beings are equal and form one universal community that is united in its submission and obedience to God. And at the centre of this universal brotherhood is the Islamic confession of the Oneness of God that, by extension, includes the oneness and brotherhood of humanity.

An Islamic state may be established anywhere. While the state is geographically limited, the human rights and privileges granted to humanity by God are not. The Qur’an states that these are universal and fundamental, and that all individuals are to enjoy and observe them under all circumstances including war, regardless of whether he or she is living in the geographical confines of an Islamic state or not: “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. (Al-Qur’an, chapter 5: Verse 8)

Human blood is sacred in any case and cannot be spilled without justification. Violating this rule is equivalent to killing all of humanity: “…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” (Al-Qur’an, chapter 5, verse 32)

It is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded. Women’s honour and chastity are to be respected under all circumstances. The hungry must be fed, the naked to be clothed, and the wounded or diseased given medical treatment regardless of their pro or anti-Muslim sentiments and activities.

In Islam, human rights are granted by God, not by kings or legislative assemblies, and therefore they can never be taken away or changed, even temporarily, for any reason. They are meant to be put into practice and lived, not to stay on paper or in the realm of unenforceable philosophical concepts or United Nation declarations. Every Muslim is required to accept them and recognize the people’s right to have them enforced and obeyed. The Qur’an states that: “Those who do not judge by what God has sent down are the disbelievers” (Al-Qur’an, chapter 5: verse 44).