Human Rights between Islam and West ( Theory and Practice )

دراسة مترجمة إلى الإنجليزية لفضيلة أ. د. أحمد عبده عوض حول حقوق الإنسان بين الإسلام و الغرب

In the Name of Allah the All Compassionate the All Merciful

Thanks to Allah, to Him we all owe obedience and thankfulness. We all repent to Allah and ask Him for forgiveness. We all bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger.

The greatness of Islamic legislation lies in the highness of these legislations, as they are facing all the nations' needs and aspirations. These legislations represent the rights that are constituted as necessities and priorities for both; the individual and the group at the same time, regarding the true belief and good interpretation of Quran and Sunna.
While formulated as human rights depend on the concept that Islam is the religion of mercy, justice, pity, humane, equity, facilitation, and taking circumstances into account.

The Islamic street ensures the balance in these human rights among the different rights of the person, the society, the nation and nations as a whole, depending on the principle that these rights in Islam elicit their sources from the Islamic law. This procedure appears to be the most ideal model known in the history without any subjective judgments or even illiterate imitation.  )114. Say (O Mohamed) "Shall I seek a judge other than Allah while it is He Who has sent down unto you the Book (Quran), explained in details."  Those unto whom We gave the scripture [the Torah and the Injeel] know that it is revealed from your Lord in Truth. So be not you of those who doubt.  115. And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His words. And He is the All- Hearer, the All- Knower. 116. And if you obey most of those on the earth, they will mislead you far away from Allah's path. They follow nothing but conjectures, and they do nothing but lie. (  ]surah 6. Al'nam[

 First: The Importance of the study of Human Rights:
   Human rights in Islam represents a very crucial issue that is closely related to the human guarantees of mankind, that are recognized and admitted in Islam. I hope to be related to limits of truth if I say that: Islam advances to all legislations and laws regarding respecting human rights of the man and humanity as a human being. ) «70» And indeed We have honoured the children of Adams, and We have carried them on the land and sea, and have provided them with Ar- Tayyibat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment. ( ]surah 17: Al- Isra'[ Islam has honored human kind regardless nationality, concepts, thoughts, and beliefs. Islam also calls all the nations to recognize to each other and tolerance, thus Islam is considered the first to call for international human rights treaties that are looking for mutual and joint cooperation among the different nations.
   )«13» Oh mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At- Taqwa [i.e. he is the one of the Muttaqun (the pious.]. Verily, Allah is All- Knowing, All- Aware  (  ]Surah 49: Al- Hujaraat[ Nowadays, it is just after many centuries that the United Nations is established to unify all the nations and realize the global security and peace.

Therefore, as mentioned in the interpretation of the verse: 13 in surah: Al-hujaraat that the only criteria of preference among nations and individuals is that of social and moral upgrading and elevation. As a result, all these materialistic systems that ignored religion, suppressed feelings, and released all the instincts have fallen down and demolished. They could not continue as they were not based on any strong pillars.
It is an important issue to determine that the source of these rights is the Islamic legislation, because it is being a divine legislation, it has a religious vision of these rights that is based on the concept that man is a slave created to worship Allah and so has no rights, but it is only Allah's will Who granted him some rights to be honored. Thus, a right in Islam is a grant from Allah to the individuals according to the benefit of the group. Henceforth, Islamic legislation controls the process of using rights for the sake of others and not to harm them. A one is not granted absolute freedom to use rights being granted, it is restricted to the benefit of the group and not to harm others.

Second: Honoring the man; the subject of these rights:
Islam is paying lots of attention and focus on the issue of honoring the human being who is the subject of these rights. Islamic concept depends on the idea the balance of honoring depends on the ideological obligation and submission of human beings, as the rank of this honoring is determined by piety, religiousness, acceptance of Allah's messengers' conversions and the Holy Spirit's doctrines. Regarding this point, Allah said in the Holy Quran – ) «4» Verily, We created man in the best stature (mould). 5. We reduced him to the lowest of the low. 6. Save those who believe (in Islamic Monothiesm) and do righteous deeds. Then they shall have a reward without end (paradise)  ( ]Surah 95: Al - Tin. [ The prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) also said relating to this issue: "The All- Might Allah has spent you away from the concepts of illiteracy ages, and ethnic pride. It became just a matter of a pious believer or a licentious infidel. All the people are the sons of Adam and Adam was created from clay."

Third: Integrity of Rights in Islam:
The definition of rights in Islam is an integrated one in the light of protecting the human humanity. It is considered the supreme goal of legislation, as Shariaa (Islamic legislation) has been formulated to achieve the benefit of humanity whether in living and after death. Their benefits are not achieved except by realizing the five necessities which are related to (mind, religion, soul, honor and money). They represent the main human rights which are necessary for saving human dignity that cannot be realized except by realizing them and protecting as rights of life, religion liberty, choosing, performance, constructing a suitable social life, thinking and expression of opinions.
It was not enough in Islam to determine these rights, and denoting their benefit and importance, but also confess that to violate them is a crime and penalty is formulated and constituted precisely.
Fourth: Balance of Rights in Islam:
    Rights in Islam are balanced as Allah has organized them to regulate the human life.
    Islam is the bondage that gathers all the humanity to believe in Allah and the Dom Day, as the supreme goal of religion is to elevate the human soul, purify the heart, prevail the spirit of obedience and submission to Allah's orders, and acknowledge the goodness and piety in the whole life.
    It is considered a basic crucial requirement that enrich the soul and the mind. It represents the aspiration of favor and soul. Religion also carries out lots of psychological missions that make it a vital feeding to strengthen the soul.

     Thus it is clear for both the researcher and students that Islam represents the human needs of humanity, whether regarding skills and features. Therefore, human beings are in need to religion as a natural instinct, as Allah created man and granted him the features and abilities to adjust and cope to other variables. This means that religion becomes the monitor and control centre of what is beneath and hidden in the hearts. The motive of religion and belief is integrated to all the other human features and powers whether physical, spiritual, psychological, moral and social as well.
Fifth: Reality of Human Rights in Islam:

    Islam represents a realistic model that is framing human rights in all its legislations that are harmonized and consistent with the human nature. It also contains a fixed framework, as it determined these rights and limited them to its promotion of virtues and prevention of vices. Islam determined the guarantees to ensure these rights and clarify them as well and represented the tools to carry them on. These procedures are against what have been cited in the Western thinking that related these rights and legislations to liberty and freedom principles. Western thinking gave each individual the chance to get his/her rights depending on the benefit. It also limits them to imaginary limits when necessary, such as confirming the principle that individual rights and freedom ends when others' rights begins and appears, or even confirming the idea that the state is not to interfere except once the rights are violated, and its main responsibility is to protect these rights without caring for affairs. Thus rights in most cases become theoretical stuff that is not connected to the real life, as no agreement can be held related to the benefit, besides always being greedy and selfish are prevailing. Therefore the strong always dominates the weak and the able always control. It is also the capitalists who impose and constitute legislations to save their own benefits only regardless rights of the others in the society. Therefore contrast appears clearly in the forms of Western legislations regarding human rights, as some people regards that saving the criminal from penalty and saving the thief from having his/her hands cut are a defense for their human rights, without paying attention to the impacts of these deeds as others' rights got lost and wasted, those who live in terror and fear of these crimes. Some legislation regarding giving others the chance and freedom to practice natural rights and carry out wished and desires without being limited to any religion principles or morals. Therefore both interest and monopoly become legitimate, and pornography and fidelity become also two rights regardless results in the nation.

    Difference appears clearly in the details of the legitimate rights in comparison to these values related to the Western thinking, as rights in Islam are clearly handled and detailed, not ambiguous, and are limited in the Holy Quran and Sunna (Tradition). Quran and Sunna banned others to violate these rights; i.e. banning killing others to save their lives, necessity of jihad to remove slavery and monopoly of man to another man, banning adultery, and insulting others to be whores and saving others' dignities, banning of benefit and monopoly to save halal and acceptable benefits, banning the strong to control and dominate the weak, caring for individuals by the state and banning oppression among citizens and acknowledging legal justice in the society.
Sixth: the Main topics of this Book:
The first chapter : (Human rights between the East and the West) handled three main topics:

1.    Determining the definition of human rights.
2.    The historical development of human rights among the different ages.
3.    Features and characteristics of human rights between Islam and the West.

These points are handled in the light of Islamic legislation (Shariaa), whether cited in the Holy Quran or the Sunna, then comparing between both of them in one hand and the other divine religions (Christianity and Judaism) on the other hand, the international charters and Western laws.
The second chapter : (Religious and Civil rights between Islam and the West) handled two rights:

1.    The right of life,
2.    The right of belief.

It was handled in this chapter regarding the enrichment of Islam to those two rights, responding to the suspicion of apostasy in comparison to the Western practices, and discussing the different issues of retribution, penalty, and the Western practices in the modern age.
The third chapter: handled the political rights between Islam and the West as it is formulated into four elements:

1.    The freedom of opinion and expression.
2.    Equality.
3.    Justice.
4.    Consultation and voting.

These elements are discussed according to citations from Quran and Sunna that assure them in Islam in comparison to the Western vision of these rights and the Western practices of each element.
The fourth chapter : (Economic Rights between Islam and the West) discussed three main topics related to:

1.    Freedom to work.
2.    Freedom of the worker.
3.    Freedom of money possession.

These elements are handled also according to the interpretation of Quran and Sunna in comparison to the Western an international charters and systems. This chapter also handled the legitimate preventions that are related to the economic field and are imposed in Islam.
The fifth chapter : handled ten main topics related to:

1.    Right of the orphan,
2.    Right of caring for disabled people,
3.    Rights of children,
4.    Rights of parents,
5.    Right of education,
6.    Right of the neighbor,
7.    Right of caring for the weak
8.    Right of caring for the aging,
9.    Right of the woman and
10.    Right of consultation and democracy of the governing system.

There topics are handled in the light of mercy of Islamic legislation, its insurance to achieve these rights, clarifying the position of woman in Islam, and establishing the Islamic democratic rights that are represented in the form of consultation  in comparison to the Western practices.
The Sixth chapter : discussed (The Health Rights between Islam and the West), and this topic was handled in the light of Islamic texts that call for saving the environment, not to waste its resources, and caring for cleanness in comparison to the Western procedures related to this topic.
The final chapter (chapter seven): discussed the universal announcement of human rights as a comparative study between Islam and the West through handling the following four items:
**    First : The Islamic declaration of human rights.
**    Second : The universal declaration of human rights.
**    Third : Points of comparison related to the control elements between the two declarations (Islamic and Universal).
**    Fourth: Analytical faithful perspective comparing the two declarations.
    This chapter points out the totalitarianism of Islamic system regarding individual and group rights.
Seventh : The Most Important Finding outs:
1.    The right of the modern individual is what acknowledged as a static to the human being, whether by the international charters or the Islamic legislation. This perspective towards the human rights has been developing through the ages. Judaism has called for love and right, but the Jews did not preserve what have descended from the Divine, as they added what calls for racism. Gospel called for peace and safety to all the humanity, though its followers have wasted its principles and rights according to their instincts and desires. Finally Islam brought a whole vision regarding these rights, which is based on mercy, equity, and considering others' rights While the Western point regarding human rights is framed with oppression during historical development, until the global charter of human rights is formulated that suffers from a lack of enforcing power and so these rights can't be saved and defended.
2.    Islam insures the right of life and belief. Islam honors individual; alive and dead, and granted him/her the freedom of belief and worship, according to his/her own religion. Allah legitimates fighting to defend self and conquers. The Western perspective can't elevate to reach such a point in particular regardless all its legislations.
3.    The religious freedom, according to the Western perspective, stems from the concept that religiousness is a bondage between the individual and Creator, and is not related to the political, economic and social life and what results from legislations and systems. This is mainly because the  state in the West is based on the secular and national principles, and religious freedom means the right of individual to covert to any religion or even being infidel. While the individual rights of worship are released from religious legal bases that are not connected to freedom. As Shariaa is related to belief and worship details, besides other social dimension verdicts that are related to saving Islam to be spoiled and saving the society as well away from belief and ideological deviations. The devotional human rights have been investigated regarding non-obligatory convert to Islam for non- Muslims, the legal right of the state to preserve the Islamic beliefs and legislations as a part of the state's responsibility to hold on the Islamic Shara, handling the differences that appear among Muslims and the state's duty to face infidelity whether on the side of an individual or a group alleged to be a Muslim one.
4.    Political rights in Islam are related the public rules that control the society. The Islamic political perspective is based on pillars of justice, consultation, equality, freedom and religion and right defiance. Islam is the religion of perfection that came to save humanity from injustice, suppression, corruption and tyranny.
5.    Islam did to the issue of slavery in a leading role as if things are handled according to the orders of Allah, lots of generations would not have suffered. Islam also imposed respect and honor to women as they became partners of men in all rights and duties.
6.    Equality in front of the court is another principle that  is handled also in Islam without discrimination and instincts. Consultation in Islam is considered an essential right and a basic rule of judgment. It is also related to belief. Islam precedes all the Western systems that call for the right of the citizens to elect the leader and the majority's opinion is to prevail, while the minorities are to be protected regarding their right of protest and call for multi parties, election and voting rights.
7.    Allah is the All- Judge and the All- Just Who imposed justice and found all the required tools to make it prevail, not to be used to monopolize and steal others' rights. This is all indicated and clarified in Islam, not in other western systems.
8.    Islam determined the curriculum and method of true economic systems and formulated their limits and structures. Islam also considers the rights of workers through determining their rights and duties. Work in the West is regulated according to the capitalistic principles. It is based on work hours system, and private rewards depending on the amount of work. Such a principle may not be consistent with Islamic legislation that calls for reward that is based on the worker's effort.
9.    Lots of attention is paid in Islam to the orphan, regarding his/her education, treatment, saving their money, and guaranteeing their living. Islam also cares for disabled people and treating them as normal and natural people. Lots of services and facilities are provided in Islam to those people. Treating the weak softly, tolerantly and mercifully is also considered in Islam besides saving their rights. Aging people are treated well according to Islamic principles that respect and honor them all.
10.    Children have lots of rights in their families, regarding their full care rights; i.e. named after their fathers, breastfeeding, nursery, and healthy education as well. While Parents also have lots of rights that are imposed on their children; i.e. treating them kindly, obeying them, and spending on them in case of old ages and inability.
11.    Islam has a realistic perspective towards the environment as a public property that others must save and maintain clean. Islam also warns individuals to be aggressive towards the environment and to change its nature, while the West does not regard the environment.
Eightth: Recommendations and Suggestions:
1.    Conducting further studies related to the items of differentiating the Islamic civilization and ideology, to show the strength of human rights issue in Islam and confirming the great human need to Islam.
2.    Determining how Muslims handle the issues of globalization and the new global system without recklessness or exaggeration.
3.    Providing an Islamic vision related to how to deal with the modern rights issues such as defense, struggle and how to differentiate between both of them and terrorism.
4.    Providing the new generations within the different educational systems with the concept of human rights in Islam and comparing them to the Western civilization.
5.    Activating the role of observational institutions and human rights councils and societies regarding achieving and realizing these rights according to the individual or the group levels.
6.    Showing the religious background and references of mutual dialogue and talk to the other regarding the Holy Quran and Sunna, instead of civilizations' conflict.
7.    Directing the Islamic and educational media discourse to show these legal rights and the necessity of practicing them to realize the features of Islamic society.
8.    Showing up the role of the nations and individuals in the process of carrying out the Islamic vision to the whole world, and all the people's minds and souls, to pick them all up from the illusions of life and the prevailing of benefits and private life interests, whether in their private or public life.
9.    Releasing translated booklet in the different languages regarding the definition of Islam, principles, discrimination between the political, social, economic, environmental and health rights, and differentiating the tolerant profile of Islam, especially in dealing with non- muslims. These booklets should also be related to clarifying the prosperity of Islam and the politeness of calling for Allah's word.
10.    Paying interest in unifying the thinking methods of the Muslim nation, and avoiding controversial topics that indicate that the nation is segregated into sectarian groups.
11.    Clarifying the features of believing immunity in the Islamic legislation that enables safety of soul and body, and the health immunity that depends on cleanness, and avoiding sexual diseases, as additional and further studies should be conducted related to that field.
12.    Identifying and clarifying the role of Islam related to family rights and the relationship between man and woman. It also should be clarified that the interest of Islam to construct a unified family that is closely related to the principles and worship of Allah and His prophet (Mohamed: Peace be upon him).
13.    Innovating Islamic institutions; formal, citizen, or online ones that carry out the responsibility of responding and defending the gossips released by the Western editors and media against Islam and the prophet; Mohamed (Peace be upon him). It is no shameful to make use of dual dialogue and debate with those people as in most cases, those people often lacks knowledge and awareness of Islamic principles.
14.    Clarifying the points of disorder, and corruption that prevailed in the Western societies as well as religious scholars who say what is not done. Some of them are charged or involved in harassment that can't go with their positions in the society. Thus, Islamic institutions should be established to uncover the Freud characters of such people and errors.
15.    Calling the Islamic editors, writers and institutions to focus attention on the impacts of the Western invasion and anti- Islam trends which may lead to destabilizing the consequent generations' belief.
16.    The Islamic nation is to pay lots of attention to apply the Islamic principles and enforce Islamic legislation (Shariaa) rules to all the public and individual levels. The Islamic nation is to purify and cleanse itself; rulers and citizens, and groups and individuals, from all types of monopoly, homogeneity, discrimination and racism, besides all systems and rules that are not consistent with Islam and Principles.

17.    Activating the Islamic nation's role related to carrying out the mission of calling for Islam and Allah's orders, besides guiding the other Islamic countries' embassies to carry out their religious legal mission of calling for Islam, clarifying its principles, discussing misguiding and suspicious points that are posted by the other anti- Islam nations, besides holding on scientific and practical competitions and granting rewards for Islamic studies research papers that are related to dealing with others.

18.    Guiding workers in the field of Islamic preaching and invitation to Islam to the methods helping them conduct their mission to non- Muslims within the whole globe, besides clarifying the ambiguous features of Islam that are related to consultation, justice, mercy, tolerance, women's rights, and non- Muslims rights in Islam as well. In addition to clarifying the wisdom and benefit lies behind Legislative principles such as; banning financial interests, banning adoption, conditions of accepted disobedience of the ruler, prohibiting the vices, and the verdict of women working as judges, war prisoners' rights in Islam, besides the verdict of abortion and why it is banned by Allah.

19.    Guiding all the Muslims to practice their rights and recognize their own political, economic and social rights at the same time.

20.    The call for training and educating a new generation that believes in mutual dialogue and search for the wisdom. Besides regarding the point that not all the Western society is oppressive and misguiding. There are lots of positive features they enjoy such as; estimating time, being convinced by dialogue and debate, caring for order, estimating work, and freedom of opinion. We are to notice that the positive values they enjoy originated from our culture, heritage and Holy Quran, though lots of Muslims don't know these values or practice them. There should be a sincere practice of reading in Islam and comprehending the semantics of that great religion.

Oh Allah! Nothing is easy except for that You makes easy, and You Allah makes the hard one an easy one. Hallelujah Lord of the angels and the Spirit, and all the people.


Prof. Dr. Ahmed Abdou Awad
(The Islamic Scholar and Preacher)

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