In Islam, all humans are to be guaranteed the following rights:

A. The freedom to think and .voice one’s opinion. Islam encourages its followers to speak the truth and express their thoughts and opinions, those which are constructive and focused, without fearing any blame. The Prophet (ﷺ) said :

“The best type of jihad is a word of truth in the face of an oppressive ruler or leader.” [Abu Dawood]

 The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) implemented this principle. Once a man said to ‘Umar ibn ul-Khattaab, the second Caliph,

“Fear Allah O Commander of the Faithful!” Another interjected and said, “Do you dare tell the Commander of the Faithful to fear Allah!?” Upon that, ‘Umar said to him: “Leave him and let him say it, for indeed there is no good in you if you do not say that to us, and there is no good in us if we do not accept it.”

On other occasion ‘Ali judged in a specific issue according to his opinion. When ‘Umar, who was the Caliph at that time, he asked about this judgment, he replied:

 “If I were asked I would have judged with (such and such)…” When he was asked what stopped him from refuting ‘Ali while he was the Commander of the Faithful, he replied: “If that were in the Qur’an or Hadeeth, I would have refuted him, but it was his opinion, and opinions can be either right or wrong: no one knows which opinion holds more truth according to Allah.”

B. All have the right to own and earn a permissible Allah (SWT) says:

And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others. For men there is reward for, what they have earned, (and likewise) for women there is reward for what they have earned. [4:32]

C. All have the right to gain knowledge. Islam considers the seeking of knowledge to be an obligation. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon all Muslims.” [ibn maajah]

D. All have the right to utilize the good and pure things Allah has stored in this universe, according to the guidelines of the religion. Allah (SWT) says:

He it is, Who has made the earth subservient to you (i.e. easy for you to walk, to live and to do agriculture on it, etc.), so walk in the path thereof and eat of His provision, and to Him will be the Resurrection. [67:15]

E. All have the right to fill the role of leadership in society, with the condition of course that they have the necessary skills and abilities to do so. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “Whoever is given some authority over the Muslims and acts treacherously will enter Hellfire.” [Ahmad]

 Islam considers giving authority to those who are not fit as a betrayal of the trust given to us by Allah, and this is an indication of the nearness of the destruction of the world and the advent of the Day of Judgment. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “If the trust is betrayed, then await the striking of the Hour.” (One of his companions asked): “How is it betrayed 0 Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “When authority is given to those who are not fit, then await the striking of the Hour.” [al-Bukhari]

F. Islam has no autonomic spiritual authority with absolute power like those in other religions. This is due to the fact that Islam abolished the practice of taking intermediaries between Allah and His slaves. Allah condemned the polytheists because it led them to their worship. Allah (SWT) says:

Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only. And those who take protectors, helpers, and intercessors besides Him (say): ‘We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allah.’) [40:3]

Allah exposed the reality of these intermediaries, clarifying that they neither have the ability to bring benefit nor inflict harm, nor can they suffice themselves in the least. Rather, they are creatures as those who worship them. Allah (SWT) says:

Verily, those whom you call upon besides Allah are only slaves like yourselves. So call upon them and let them answer you if indeed you are truthful) [7:194]

Islam strengthened the notion of a direct relationship between Allah and His slaves. This relationship is built upon believing in Him Alone in all respects and turning to Him directly in seeking one’s needs, repentance, help and support, without seeking mediation from any intercessors. If a person commits a sin, he raises his hands and humbles himself before Allah alone, seeking forgiveness from Him, whenever and wherever he may be. Allah (SWT) says:

And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s Forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful [4:110]

There is no clergy in Islam which make things permissible or impermissible of their own accord. None have the right to forgive others for the sins they committed against Allah or regard themselves as God’s agents to His slaves, legislating new laws in the religion, changing set statutes of beliefs, forgiving sin, and granting Paradise to whom they deem fit. The right of legislation is exclusively for Allah. In explanation of the following verse:

They (the Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their gods besides Allah. [9:31]

The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“They (the Christians and the Jews) did not worship them (by praying to them, etc.) but when [the priests and rabbis] made something permissible for them, they took it to be permissible, and when they made something impermissible for them, they also made it impermissible.” [at-Tirmidhi]

G. The religion of Islam has given certain rights to every individual, each according to their different roles in society. This is to ensure that life carries on smoothly and in the best manner, and that all may take full benefit from the religion. Parents, children, relatives, neighbors, friends, etc. all have specific rights mandated for them in Islam. Allah (SWT) says:

Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbor who is near of kin, the neighbor who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer [you meet], and those [slaves] whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful. [4:36]

The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
 “Do not envy each other, do not praise an item or offer a higher price if you are not intending to buy it, do not hate each other, do not turn your backs on each other (by cutting ties), and let not one of you offer to sell something for a lesser price when he knows that his brother is about to strike a deal. Rather, be slaves of Allah and be brothers. The Muslim is the brother of another Muslim; he is not unjust to him, and he does not betray him, deceive him, nor belittle him. Piety and God-consciousness is here,” pointing to his heart thrice. “It is enough evil that a person belittles his Muslim brother. It is prohibited to transgress against a Muslim’s blood, wealth, and honor.” [Muslim]

The Prophet (ﷺ) also said:

 “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [al-Bukhari]

 Even those who show enmity to Islam have rights. Abu Azeez bin Umair the brother of Mus’ab bin Umair said:

 “I was taken captive in the Battle of Badr. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: ‘Treat the prisoners well.’ I was amongst a group of the Ansaar, and when they ate their lunch and dinner, they themselves would eat dates while they would feed me bread due to what the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered them.” [at-Tabaraani]

 The religion of Islam even gave animals certain rights as well.

When the Prophet (ﷺ) passed by an emaciated camel due to hunger, he said:

 “Fear Allah in regards to these animals, [a creation] which can not speak their will. If you ride them, then treat them accordingly (by making them strong and fit for that), and if you eat them, then treat them accordingly (by making them fat and healthy).” [Abu Dawood]

Islam legislates certain rights which individuals must give to a group, and other rights which a group must offer to an individual. The individual should keep the interest of the group in mind, and the group should keep the interest of the individual in mind. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“The believers are like a solid structure, each one (brick) strengthens the other,” and then he clasped his hands and intertwined his fingers. [al-Bukhari]

 When the two interests are in opposition, the interest of the group should be upheld over the interest of the individual; for example, a house which is about to collapse should be demolished because it may harm those who pass by it, and the owner should be reimbursed.

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