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By Ijaz Chaudry

How do human rights fit in with Islam?

It has been argued by many people in various debates what the oldest religion of the world is, even the Muslims today do not perceive what the oldest religion in the world is. Muslims today read the Quran about Adam, Noah, Solomon, David, Patriarch, Jesus and other messengers without realising the most significant point that all messengers of God were Muslims. So how do we know that? We know this because of the simple fact that the Arabic word Islam means Submission and Muslim means Submitter. Since all messengers of God submitted to God they were all Muslims. This makes Islam the oldest religion in the world since Adam was the first inhabitant on earth who was a Muslim.

So what significance does this have on human rights fitting in with Islam? Since Islam has been in existence since the beginning of time, Islam would have evolved the human rights from the very basic too much advanced as in today’s generation.

So what is the basic human right which came with Adam the example is in the following verses;

     The First Murder

[5:27]  Recite for them the true history of Adam's two sons. They made an offering, and it was accepted from one of them, but not from the other. He said, "I will surely kill you." He said, "GOD accepts only from the righteous.

[5:28]  "If you extend your hand to kill me, I am not extending my hand to kill you. For I reverence GOD, Lord of the universe.

[5:29]  "I want you, not me, to bear my sin and your sin, then you end up with the dwellers of Hell. Such is the requital for the transgressors."

[5:30]  His ego provoked him into killing his brother. He killed him, and ended up with the losers.

[5:31]  GOD then sent a raven to scratch the soil, to teach him how to bury his brother's corpse. He said, "Woe to me; I failed to be as intelligent as this raven, and bury my brother's corpse." He became ridden with remorse.

     Grossness of Murder

[5:32]  Because of this, we decreed for the Children of Israel that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people. Our messengers went to them with clear proofs and revelations, but most of them, after all this, are still transgressing.

Above is a story of Adam’s two sons and one brother murdering the other! There are two human rights laws displayed in this story, one, murder is forbidden, two, how to bury a corpse.

At this juncture we fast forward to today’s generation because of making this article brief and to a point.

So how does Islam associate human rights in this day and age? As the days went on God sent His messengers with laws (human right), do not steal, weigh and measure truthfully, be equitable, feed the poor, help orphans and many more such rights were brought in by the successive messengers, all these laws are stated in the Quran (The Final Testament).

However, these days there are many other human rights which are much sophisticated and dynamic because of the complex lives we live and all the inventions and technologies make these laws complicated to say the least. So how does Islam deal with these laws?

 The religion of Islam encompasses the modern human rights laws in one sweeping statement please read the following;

[3:112]  They shall be humiliated whenever you encounter them, unless they uphold GOD's covenant, as well as their peoples covenants with you. They have incurred wrath from GOD, and, consequently, they are committed to disgrace. This is because they rejected GOD's revelations, and killed the prophets unjustly. This is because they disobeyed and transgressed.

The important point in this verse is that it acknowledges and prescribes democracy with all the laws human or otherwise for Muslims to abide by in whichever land one lives in.

One might say that this verse is addressing Muhammad, which is true, however, the following verse clarifies the fact that messenger (who Muhammad was one) sets precedents for us whoever we might be.

[6:34]  Messengers before you have been rejected, and they steadfastly persevered in the face of rejection. They were persecuted until our victory came to them. Such is GOD's system that will never change. The history of My messengers thus sets the precedents for you.

There is no argument about how good the human rights are and how dynamic they have to be to compensate new and old situations, to write all the human rights needs more than one book, hence God in His immense Mercy has allowed peoples consensus or democracy as a tool to be used to accomplish this task.

However, in (3:112) there is a condition when accepting “people’s covenant” which is that at the same time we need to be aware of what God has prohibited for us. And the main criteria prohibited is idol worship. The main reason for this is that God created us, gave us homes, food to eat, gave knowledge to live happy day to day lives, if we than thank Satan or another person for all God has given us than this in itself becomes offence against human rights.

There are very few other prohibitions in Islam, simple things like alcohol is forbidden but this is human choice, can’t eat Pig’s flesh another human choice, cannot gamble another human choice, do not condone homo sexuality but stay neutral to it (like Lot did in his community only God took care of the evil doers) another human choice. There are some divorce laws which are more generous than the modern laws of any country. We are told to be gentle with women and treat them amicably. And the dowry has to be paid by the groom and not by the bride in marriage thus removing burden off bride’s family.

In Conclusion; we should Obey God’s law and Democratic laws, for a happy life.