Jesus was sent only to…

“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the nation of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)

And the verse from Matthew 15:24 was again reminded in the Qur’an in 61:6, where it is mentioned

Quote from the Holy Qur’an: As-Saff (61:6)

وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَٰبَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ إِنِّى رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَىَّ مِنَ ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ وَمُبَشِّرًۢا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِى مِنۢ بَعْدِى ٱسْمُهُۥٓ أَحْمَدُ ۖ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم بِٱلْبَيِّنَٰتِ قَالُوا۟ هَٰذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ

Waith qala AAeesa ibnu maryama ya banee israeela innee rasoolu Allahi ilaykum musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina alttawrati wamubashshiran birasoolin yatee min baAAdee ismuhu ahmadu falamma jaahum bialbayyinati qaloo hatha sihrun mubeenun

And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.” But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, “this is evident sorcery!”

HUMAN RIGHTS, THE WEST AND ISLAM

Before I discuss the human rights in Islam I would like to explain a few points about two major approaches to the question of human rights: the Western and Islamic. This will enable us to study the issue in its proper perspective and avoid some of the confusion which normally befogs such a discussion. 

The Western Approach:

The people in the West have the habit of attributing every good thing to themselves and try to prove that it is because of them that the world got this blessing, otherwise the world was steeped in ignorance and completely unaware of all these benefits. Now let us look at the question of human rights. It is very loudly and vociferously claimed that the world got the concept of basic human rights from the Magna Carta of Britain; though the Magna Carta itself came into existence six hundred years after the advent of Islam. But the truth of the matter is that until the seventeenth century no one even knew that the Magna Carta contained the principles of Trial by Jury; Habeas Corpus, and the Control of Parliament on the Right of Taxation. If the people who had drafted the Magna Carta were living today they would have been greatly surprised if they were told that their document also contained all these ideals and principles. They had no such intention, nor were they conscious of all these concepts which are now being attributed to them.

As far as my knowledge goes the Westerners had no concept of human rights and civic rights before the seventeenth century. Even after the seventeenth century the philosophers and the thinkers on jurisprudence though presented these ideas, the practical proof and demonstration of these concepts can only be found at the end of the eighteenth century in the proclamations and constitutions of America and France. After this there appeared a reference to the basic human rights in the constitutions of different countries. But more often the rights which were given on paper were not actually given to the people in real life

In the middle of the present century, the United Nations, which can now be more aptly and truly described as the Divided Nations, made a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and passed a resolution against genocide and framed regulations to check it. But as you all know there is not a single resolution or regulation of the United Nations which can be enforced. They are just an expression of a pious hope. They have no sanctions behind them, no force, physical or moral to enforce them. Despite all the high-sounding ambitious resolutions of the United Nations, human rights have been violated and trampled upon at different places, and the United Nations has 
been a helpless spectator. She is not in a position to exercise an effective check on the violation of human rights. Even the heinous crime of genocide is being perpetrated despite all proclamations of the United Nations. Right in the neighboring country of Pakistan, genocide of the Muslims has been taking place for the last twenty- eight years, but the United Nations does not have the power and strength to take any steps against India. No action has even been taken against any country guilty of this most serious and revolting crime. 

The Islamic Approach:

The second point which I would like to clarify at the very outset is that when we speak of human rights in Islam we really mean that these rights have been granted by God; they have not been granted by any king or by any legislative assembly. The rights granted by the kings or the legislative assemblies, can also be withdrawn in the same manner in which they are conferred. The same is the case with the rights accepted and recognized by the dictators. They can confer them when they please and withdraw them when they wish; and they can openly violate them when they like. But since in Islam human rights have been conferred by God, no legislative assembly in the world, or any government on earth has the right or authority to make any amendment or change in the rights conferred by God. No one has the right to abrogate them or withdraw them. Nor are they the basic human rights which are conferred on paper for the sake of show and exhibition and denied in actual life when the show is over. Nor are they like philosophical concepts which have no sanctions behind them.

The charter and the proclamations and the resolutions of the United Nations cannot be compared with the rights sanctioned by God; because the former is not applicable to anybody while the latter is applicable to every believer. They are a part and parcel of the Islamic Faith. Every Muslim or administrators who claim themselves to be Muslims will have to accept, recognize and enforce them. If they fail to enforce them, and start denying the rights that have been guaranteed by God or make amendments and changes in them, or practically violate them while paying lip-service to them, the verdict of the Holy Quran for such governments is clear and unequivocal:

“Those who do not judge by what God has sent down are the disbelievers.”
(Kafirun). 5:44

The following verse also proclaims:

“They are the wrong-doers (zalimun)” (5:45)

while a third verse in the same chapter says: 

“They are the evil-livers (fasiqun)” (5:47)

In other words this means that if the temporal authorities regard their own words and decisions to be right and those given by God as wrong they are disbelievers. If on the other hand they regard God’s commands as right but wittingly reject them and enforce their own decisions against God’s, then they are the mischief-makers and the wrong-doers. 

Fasiq, the law-breaker,is the one who disregards the bond of allegiance, and zalim is he who works against the truth. Thus all those temporal authorities who claim to be Muslims and yet violate the rights sanctioned by God belong to one of these two categories, either they are the disbelievers or are the wrong-doers and mischief-makers. The rights which have been sanctioned by God are permanent, perpetual and eternal. They are not subject to any alterations or modifications, and there is no scope for any change or abrogation.

BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS

The first thing that we find in Islam in this connection is that it lays down some rights for man as a human being. In other words it means that every man whether he belongs to this country or that, whether he is a believer or unbeliever, whether he lives in some forest or is found in some desert, whatever be the case, he has some basic human rights simply because he is a human being, which should be recognized by every Muslim. In fact it will be his duty to fulfill these obligations. 

  1. The Right to Life
  2. The Right to the Safety of Life
  3. Respect for the Chastity of Women
  4. The Right to a Basic Standard of Life
  5. Individual’s Right to Freedom 
    1. The Slave Trade of Western Nations
    2. The Position of Slavery in Islam
  6. The Right to Justice
  7. Equality of Human Beings
  8. The Right to Co-operate and Not to Co-operate

RIGHTS OF CITIZENS IN AN ISLAMIC STATE

  1. The Security of Life and Property
  2. The Protection of Honor
  3. The Sanctity and Security of Private Life
  4. The Security of Personal Freedom
  5. The Right to Protest Against Tyranny
  6. Freedom of Expression
  7. Freedom of Association
  8. Freedom of Conscience and Conviction
  9. Protection of Religious Sentiments
  10. Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment
  11. The Right to Basic Necessities of Life
  12. Equality Before Law
  13. Rulers Not Above the Law
  14. The Right to Avoid Sin
  15. The Right to Participate in the Affairs of State

Reference: From Islam101 on HUMAN RIGHTS IN ISLAM by  ‘Allamah Abu al-‘A’la awdudi al Tawhid Journal, vol. IV No. 3 Rajab-Ramadhan 1407

The Right to Participate in the Affairs of State

According to Islam, governments in this world are actually 
representatives (khulafa’) of the Creator of the universe, and this 
responsibility is not entrusted to any individual or family or a particular 
class or group of people but to the entire Muslim nation.

The Holy Quran says:

“God has promised to appoint those of you who believe and do good deeds as (His) representatives on earth” (24:55).

This clearly indicates that khilafah is a collective gift of God in which the 
right of every individual Muslim is neither more nor less than the right 
of any other person.

The correct method recommended by the Holy Quran for running the affairs of the state is as follows:

“And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves” 
(42:38).

According to this principle it is the right of every Muslim that 
either he should have a direct say in the affairs of the state or a 
representative chosen by him and other Muslims should participate in 
the consultation of the state. Islam, under no circumstance, permits or 
tolerates that an individual or a group or party of individuals may 
deprive the common Muslims of their rights, and usurp powers of the 
state.

Similarly, Islam does not regard it right and proper that an individual may put up a false show of setting up a legislative assembly and by means of underhand tactics such as fraud, persecution, bribery, etc., gets himself and men of his choice elected in the assembly. This is not only a treachery against the people whose rights are usurped by illegal and unfair means, but against the Creator Who has entrusted the Muslims to rule on this earth on His behalf, and has prescribed the procedure of an assembly for exercising these powers. The shura or the legislative assembly has no other meaning except that:

  1. The executive head of the government and the members of the assembly should be elected by free and independent choice of the people.
  2. The people and their representatives should have the right to criticize and freely express their opinions. 
  3. The real conditions of the country should be brought before the people without suppressing any fact so that they may be able to form their opinion about whether the government is working properly or not. 
  4. There should be adequate guarantee that only those people who have the support of the masses should rule over the country and those who fail to win this support should be removed from their position of authority.

Reference: From Islam101 on HUMAN RIGHTS IN ISLAM by  ‘Allamah Abu al-‘A’la awdudi al Tawhid Journal, vol. IV No. 3 Rajab-Ramadhan 1407

The Right to Avoid Sin

Islam also confers this right on every citizen that he will not be ordered to commit a sin, a crime or an offence; and if any government, or the administrator, or the head of department orders an individual to do a wrong, then he has the right to refuse to comply with the order.

His refusal to carry out such crime or unjust instructions would not be regarded as an offence in the eyes of the Islamic law. On the contrary giving orders to one’s subordinates to commit a sin or do a wrong is itself an offence and such a serious offence that the officer who gives this sinful order whatever his rank and position may be, is liable to be summarily dismissed.

These clear instructions of the Prophet are summarized in the following hadith:

“It is not permissible to disobey God in obedience to the orders of any human being” (Musnad of Ibn Hanbal).

In other words, no one has the right to order his subordinates to do anything against the laws of God. If such an order is given, the subordinate has the right to ignore it or openly refuse to carry out such instructions. According to this rule no offender will be able to prove his innocence or escape punishment by saying that this offence was committed on the orders of the government or superior officers. If such a situation arises then the person who commits the offence and the person who orders that such an offence be committed, will both be liable to face criminal proceedings against them. And if an officer takes any improper and unjust measures against a subordinate who refuses to carry out illegal orders, then the subordinate has the right to go to the court of law for the protection of his rights, and he can demand that the officer be punished for his wrong or unjust orders.

Rulers Not Above the Law

“The nations that lived before you were destroyed by God because they punished the common men for their offences and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes; I swear by Him (God) who holds my life in His hand that even if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, has committed this crime then I would have amputated her hand.”

Islam clearly insists and demands that all officials of the Islamic 
State, whether he be the head or an ordinary employee, are equal in 
the eyes of the law. None of them is above the law or can claim 
immunity. Even an ordinary citizen in Islam has the right to put 
forward a claim or file a legal complaint against the highest executive of 
the country.

The Caliph ‘Umar said,

“I have myself seen the Prophet, may God’s blessings be on him, taking revenge against himself (penalizing himself for some shortcoming or failing).”

On the occasion of the Battle of Badr, when the Prophet was straightening the rows of the Muslim army he hit the belly of a soldier in an attempt to push him back in line. The soldier complained “O Prophet, you have hurt me with your stick.” The Prophet immediately bared his belly and said: “I 
am very sorry, you can revenge by doing the same to me.” The soldier 
came forward and kissed the abdomen of the Prophet and said that this 
was all that he wanted.

A woman belonging to a high and noble family was arrested in 
connection with a theft. The case was brought to the Prophet, and 
it was recommended that she may be spared the punishment of theft. 

The Prophet replied:

“The nations that lived before you were destroyed by God because they punished the common men for their offences and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes; I swear by Him (God) who holds my life in His hand that even if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, has committed this crime then I would have amputated her hand.”

During the caliphate of ‘Umar, Muhammad the son of ‘Amr ibn al-‘As the Governor of Egypt, whipped an Egyptian. The Egyptian went to Medina and lodged his complaint with the Righteous Caliph, who immediately summoned the Governor and his son to Medina.When they appeared before him in Medina, the Caliph handed a whip to the Egyptian complainant and asked him to whip the son of the Governor in his presence. After taking his revenge when the Egyptian was about to hand over the whip to ‘Umar, he said to the Egyptian: “Give one stroke of the whip to the Honourable Governor as well. His son would certainly have not beaten you were it not for the false pride that he had in his father’s high office.” The plaintiff submitted: “The person who had beaten me, I have already avenged myself on him.” ‘Umar said: “By God, if you had beaten him (the Governor) I would not have checked you from doing so. You have spared him of your own free will.”

Then he (‘Umar) angrily turned to ‘Amr ibn al-‘As and said: “O ‘Amr, when did you start to enslave the people, though they were born free of their mothers?” When the Islamic State was flourishing in its pristine glory and splendour, the common people could equally lodge complaints against the caliph of the time in the court and the caliph had to appear before the qadi to answer the charges. And if the caliph had any complaint against any citizen, he could not use his administrative powers and authority to set the matter right, but had to refer the case to the court of law for proper adjudication.

Equality Before Law

“The life and blood of Muslims are equally precious” (Abu Dawud; Ibn Majjah).

Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality 
in the eyes of the law. As far as the Muslims are concerned, there are 
clear instructions in the Holy Quran and hadith that in their rights and 
obligations they are all equal:

“The believers are brothers (to each other)” (49:10).

“If they (disbelievers) repent and keep up prayer and pay the Ipoor-due, they are your brothers in faith” (9:11).

The Prophet has said that:

“The life and blood of Muslims are equally precious” (Abu Dawud; Ibn Majjah).

In another hadith he has said: 

“The protection given by all Muslims is equal. Even an ordinary man of them can grant protection to any man” (al-Bukhari; Muslim; Abu Dawud).

In another more detailed Tradition of the Prophet, it has been 
said that those who accept the Oneness of God, believe in the Prophet- 
hood of His Messenger, give up primitive prejudices and join the Muslim 
community and brotherhood,

“then they have the same rights and obligations as other Muslims have” (al-Bukhari; al-Nisa’i).

Thus there is absolute equality between the new converts to Islam and the old followers of the Faith.

This religious brotherhood and the uniformity of their rights and 
obligations is the foundation of equality in Islamic society, in which the 
rights and obligations of any person are neither greater nor lesser in any 
way than the rights and obligations of other people.

As far as the non- Muslim citizens of the Islamic State are concerned, the rule of Islamic Shari’ah (law) about them has been very well expressed by the Caliph ‘Ali in these words:

“They have accepted our protection only because their lives may be like our lives and their properties like our properties” (Abu Dawud).

In other words, their (of the dhimmis) lives and properties are as sacred as the lives and properties of the Muslims. Discrimination of people into different classes was one of the greatest crimes that, according to the Quran, Pharaoh used to indulge in:

“He had divided his people into different classes,” … “And he suppressed 
one group of them (at the cost of others)” (28:4).

Reference: From Islam101 on HUMAN RIGHTS IN ISLAM by  ‘Allamah Abu al-‘A’la awdudi al Tawhid Journal, vol. IV No. 3 Rajab-Ramadhan 1407