Human rights in an Islamic state
December 02 2021 08:45 PM

Islam, as represented in the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, laid down human rights centuries before they were known to the modern world. The following are some of these rights:
1. The Security of Life and Property: 
In the address which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, delivered on the occasion of the Farewell Haj, he said: “Your lives and properties are forbidden to one another till you meet your Lord on the Day of Resurrection.” The Prophet has also said about the Thimmis (the non-Muslim citizens of the Muslim state): “One who kills a man under covenant (i.e., Thimmi) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.”
2. The Protection of Honour: 
The Holy Qur’an lays down this right, stating: “O you who have believed! Let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name [i.e. mention] of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent -  then it is those who are the wrongdoers. O you who have believed! Avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” [Qur’an: 49:11-12]
3. Sanctity and Security of Private Life: 
The Qur’an has laid down the injunction stating: “…And do not spy or backbite each other…” [Qur’an: 49:12] “O you who have believed! Do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants…” [Qur’an: 24:27]
4. The Security of Personal Freedom: 
Islam has laid down the principle that no citizen can be imprisoned unless his guilt has been proven in an open court. To arrest a man only on the basis of suspicion and to throw him into a prison without proper court proceedings and without providing him a reasonable opportunity to produce his defence is not permissible in Islam.
5. The Right to Protest against Tyranny: 
Amongst the rights that Islam has conferred on human beings is the right to protest against a government’s tyranny. Referring to it Allah, He says: “Allah does not like the public mention of evil except by one who has been wronged...” [Qur’an: 4:148]
In Islam, all power and authority belongs to Allah Alone; man is only delegated a part of that power which becomes a trust. Everyone who becomes the recipient of such a power has to be accountable before his people, for whose sake he will be called upon to use these powers. This was acknowledged by Abu Bakr  who said in his very first address: “Co-operate with me when I am right but correct me when I commit error. Obey me so long as I follow the commandments of Allah and His Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, but turn away from me when I deviate.” 
6. Freedom of Expression:
Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all citizens of the Islamic state on the condition that it should be used for the propagation of virtue and truth, and not for spreading evil and wickedness. The Islamic concept of freedom of expression is much superior to the one prevalent in the West. Under no circumstances would Islam allow the propagation of evil and wickedness. It also does not give anybody the right to use abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism. It was the practice of the Muslims to enquire from the noble Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, whether a certain matter or a divine injunction had been revealed to him. If he said that he had received no divine injunction, the Muslims freely expressed their opinion on the matter.
7. Freedom of Association: 
Islam has also given people the right to freedom of association and formation of parties or organisations. This right is also subject to certain general rules.
8. Freedom of Conscience and Conviction: 
Islam has laid down the injunction; Allah says: “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion...” [Qur’an: 2:256] On the contrary, totalitarian societies absolutely deprive the individuals of their freedom. Indeed this undue exaltation of the State authority postulates a sort of slave-like servitude on the part of man. At one time slavery meant total control of man over man - now that type of slavery has been legally abolished, but in its place totalitarian societies impose a similar sort of control over individuals.
9. Protection of Religious Sentiments: 
Along with the freedoms of conviction and conscience, Islam has given the right to the individual that his religious sentiments will be given due respect, and nothing will be said or done which may encroach upon his right.
10. Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment: 
Islam also recognises the right of the individual that he will not be arrested or imprisoned for the offences of others. The Qur’an has laid down this principle clearly as in the saying of Allah: “…And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another...” [Qur’an: 6:164]
11. The Right to Basic Necessities of Life: 
Islam recognised the right of the needy people, that help and assistance be provided to them. Allah says: “And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute.” [Qur’an: 70:24-25]
12. Equality Before Law: 
Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of the law.
13. Rulers are not Above the Law:
A woman belonging to a noble family was arrested in connection with theft. The case was brought to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and it was recommended that she might be spared the punishment for theft. The Prophet replied: “The nations that lived before you were destroyed by Allah because they punished the common man for his offences and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes; I swear by Him Who holds my life in His hand that even if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed this crime, I would have amputated her hand.” 
14. The Right to Participate in Affairs of the State: 
Allah says: “…And their affair is [conducted] through consultation among themselves…” [Qur’an: 42:38] The chapter or the legislative assembly has no other meaning, except that the executive head of the government and the members of the assembly should be elected by free and independent choice of the people.
Lastly, it is to be made clear that Islam tries to achieve the above-mentioned human rights and many others, not only by providing certain legal safeguards, but also by inviting humankind to transcend the lower level of animal-like existence to be able to go beyond the ties fostered by the kinship of blood, racial superiority, linguistic arrogance and economic privileges. It invites humankind to move on to a plane of existence where, because of his inner excellence, man can realise the ideal of the universal brotherhood.

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Etiquettes of reading the Noble Qur’an
It is very significant, for you, dear reader of the Qur’an, to observe the following:
Do not touch the Qur’an except when in the state of ritual purity (Wudu), and only recite it when you are in that state.
Brush your teeth with a wooden tooth stick (Siwak), remove food particles from between them, and freshen your mouth before reciting.
Sit up straight if (reading whilst) not in prayer, and do not lean back.
Face the direction of prayer (Qiblah) when reciting.
Rinse your mouth out with water if you cough up mucus or phlegm while reciting.
Stop reciting when you yawn, for when reciting, you are addressing your Lord in intimate conversation, while yawning is from the Devil.
At the beginning of your recitation, seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Devil by saying the Isti’athah (i.e., “A’oothu Billahi min Ash-Shaytanirrajeem”, which means: “I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the accursed.”), whether beginning to read from the beginning of a Surah (Qur’anic chapter) or from some other part that one has reached.
Once you have begun, do not to interrupt your recitation from moment to moment with human words, unless absolutely necessary.
Seclude yourself when reciting it, so as not to be interrupted by someone, forcing you to mix the words of the Qur’an with a reply, for this nullifies the effectiveness of having taken refuge in Allah from the Devil at the beginning.
Recite it slowly without haste, distinctly pronouncing each letter.
Try to comprehend what is being said in every verse.
Pause at verses that promise Allah’s favour, long for Allah Most High and ask of His bounty. At verses that warn of His punishment, ask His protection from it.
Ponder over the stories of past civilisations and individuals, taking heed and benefiting from their example.
Learn the meanings of the Qur’an’s unique lexical usages.
Pay attention to each letter so as to clearly and fully pronounce every word, for each letter earns one ten good deeds.
Whenever one finishes reciting, attest to the truthfulness of Allah, and that His Messenger Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), has delivered His message; do this by saying: “Our Lord! You have spoken the truth, Your Messengers have delivered their tidings, and bear witness to this. O Allah, make us of those who bear witness to the truth and who act with justice.” After this, supplicate Allah with prayers.
Try not to select certain verses from each chapter to recite, instead, aim to recite whole chapters at a time.
If you put down the Qur’an, do not leave it open.
Do not place other books on top of the Qur’an; it should always occupy a higher position than all other books, regardless of whether they are books of sacred knowledge or not.
Place the Qur’an on your lap when reading, or on something in front of you, but not on the floor.
Do not let a day go by without looking at least once at the pages of the Qur’an.
Do not trivially and playfully quote the Qur’an at the occurrence of everyday events as by saying, for example, when someone comes (what means): “Eat and drink in satisfaction for what you put forth in the days past” [Qur’an: 69:24] when food is brought out, and so forth.
Do not recite the Qur’an to the tunes of songs.
When writing the Qur’an, do so in clear, elegant handwriting.
If someone else is reciting, do not recite in a way in that would disturb him.
Do not recite it in marketplaces, places of clamour and frivolity, or where ill-mannered people gather.
Do not use the Qur’an as a pillow, or lean upon it.
Do not toss it when handing it to someone else.
Do not miniaturise the Qur’an, mix into it what is not of it, or mingle worldly adornment with it by embellishing or writing it with gold.
Do not write it on the ground or on walls, as is done in some new mosques.
Do not to enter the lavatory with a paper or anything else on which the Qur’an is written, unless it is encased in leather, silver, or other materials, for then it is as if kept in the heart.
And if you finish reading the entire Qur’an, immediately begin reading it again, so it does not become something that has been abandoned. (Written by Mohamed bin Ahmad al-Qurtubi)

Acting upon the Qur’an
It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), said: 
He who recites the Qur’an and acts upon what it contains; on the Day of Judgment his parents will be crowned with the crown (of dignity), whose light is brighter than the light of the sun in the world when it is bright among you: what do you then think of the one who acts upon it? [Abu Dawood]
This hadith clarifies the position and reward of him who recites the Qur’an and acts upon its laws and principles: his reward, indeed, transcends him to his parents (if they are believers; and if they are not believers, nothing will avail them even in the least).
Why would his parents be crowned with the crown (of dignity) on the Day of Judgment although they neither recited the Qur’an nor did what their child did? For the reason that they were the cause of the rectitude of their child, by either teaching him the Qur’an or arranging for him to learn it or by supplicating for him; or by bringing him up on righteousness and feeding him lawfully.
The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “If somebody dies, his deed will cease except from three: recurrent charity, advantageous knowledge by which the people benefit after him, and a good righteous child to supplicate (Allah for a good effect) to him.” [Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab, Muslim, At-Tirmithi, Abu Dawood and An-Nasa’i] The one who died then caused those three things whose reward joins him not only during his life but also after his death.
The crown, then, is the reward of the parents of the righteous child who recites the Qur’an and acts upon its principles and laws. It is they who guided him to good, and the guide to the good is like its doer (in reward). But Allah multiplies the reward for whomever He pleases. Of course, Allah’s multiplication of the reward to the doer of good is not like His multiplication to the one who guides to it. He may multiply the reward for the doer of good, if he is sincere in his intention to Allah, many times more than He does for the one who guides to it.
It is narrated on the authority of An-Nawwas ibn Sam‘an, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, say: “On the Day of Judgment, the Qur’an, along with those who used to act upon it in the world, will be brought together, headed by both Surahs of Al-Baqarah and Al ‘Imran, defending their reciter.” [Muslim]
This hadith explains the two previous ones. The people of the Qur’an are the party and selected people of Allah; and the Qur’an will come as an intercessor for its reciter who used to act upon it in the world, headed by the first two Surahs of the Qur’an, Al-Baqarah and Al ‘Imran, to intercede and defend the one who used to recite and act upon them. To be sure, whoever acts upon the rulings of Al-Baqarah and Al ‘Imran will have almost acted upon what is in the entire Qur’an in view of the great deal of rulings they contain.
Abu Sa‘eed al-Kharraz, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:
The first part of understanding the Book of Allah is to act upon it, because doing so includes knowing, understanding and extracting its meanings; and the first thing to do towards understanding is to listen while being present in mind because Allah Almighty says (what means):
l{Indeed in that is a reminder for whoever has a heart or who listens while he is present [in mind].} [Qur’an 50:37]
l {Who listen to speech and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding.} [Qur’an 39:18]
The whole of the Qur’an is good and to follow the best refers to the wonders which are disclosed to the hearts when listening with attentiveness to it; and this leads to understanding and extracting its meanings. The first thing to do towards listening with attentiveness to the Qur’an is to listen to it as if the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, is reciting to you; and then you transcend that to imagine that you are listening to it from Jibreel (Gabriel), may Allah exalt his mention, while reciting it to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, because Allah Almighty says (what means): {And indeed, the Qur’an is the revelation of the Lord of the Worlds. The Trustworthy Spirit has brought it down upon your heart, [O Muhammad] – that you may be of the warners.} [Qur’an 26:192-194] Then you may transcend further to imagine that you are hearing it from Allah Almighty.
It is narrated on the authority of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said:
O holders of knowledge! Act upon your knowledge because a true scholar is he who acts upon what he knows while his knowledge agrees with his deeds. There will appear a people who will carry knowledge but it will not go beyond their collar-bones: their deeds will contradict their knowledge, and what is in their hearts opposes what they show. They will sit with the people and vie in glory with each other, so much so, that a man will grow angry with his companion because he sits with someone other than him. As for those, the deeds they do in their gatherings will not rise to Allah Almighty. [Ad-Darimi]
It was narrated on the authority of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “He who recites and memorises the Qur’an, making lawful what is lawful in it and making unlawful what is unlawful in it, Allah will admit him to Paradise and accept his intercession for ten of his household, to all of whom the Fire has been affirmed.” [At-Tirmithi]
The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said:
“The lawful is evident, and the unlawful is evident, and in between them there are suspicious matters unknown to a lot of people. So, whoever forsakes those suspicious matters (lest he may commit a sin) definitely keeps his religion and honour blameless; and whoever bravely indulges in these suspicious things is about to fall into the unlawful, like a shepherd who grazes (his animals) around the protected zone, and he is about to pasture them in it. Verily, every king has a protected zone, and the protected zone of Allah is His taboos.” [Al-Bukhari, Muslim, At-Tirmithi, Abu Dawood and An-Nasa’i]
Both the lawful and the unlawful are evidently clear in the Qur’an. Suspicious matters should be avoided according to the command of the hadith, for fear of falling into the unlawful. Whoever does so, Allah will admit him to Paradise and accept his intercession for his family.
Intercession is proven in the Qur’an and Sunnah; and whoever recites the Qur’an and acts upon what it contains will be made to intercede for others because of his high position and superiority in the sight of Allah Almighty. The first for whom he will be made to intercede are his parents, and their worthiness of intercession goes back to their being the direct cause of this act, even though they themselves are not among the people of the Qur’an. The intercession takes place only by the permission of Allah by whomever He pleases for whomever He likes. There will be no intercession for him who does not believe in Allah and His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.
Just as one’s intercession for his parents is a fact, the parent’s intercession for his child is also proven in the Book of Allah. Allah mentioned one’s supplication for his parents (what means): {“Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established.”} [Qur’an 14:41] Similarly, He Mentioned the parent’s supplication for his offspring (what means): {“My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication.”} [Qur’an 14:40]
A mention may also be made of the supplication of Ibrahim (Abraham), may Allah exalt his mention, for his descendants (what means): {“Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are The Exalted in Might, The Wise.”} [Qur’an 2:129]
For this supplication in this world and the intercession in the Hereafter, they are in dire need. Intercession is assured for the Prophets and Messengers as well as for the Qur’an, fasting, righteous deeds, and Allah’s righteous servants and pious allies.
According to this hadith, one will intercede, not only for his parents, but also for his family members to whom the fire has been affirmed. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whomever He pleases and the reward of reciting and memorising the Qur’an and acting upon its principles and laws in this world, and with Allah is the best reward.
Just as the righteous will intercede for their parents and relatives, they will also intercede, by the leave of Allah, for their teachers and disciples, those who have a good favor on them, those whom they like and those who like them in (the religion of) Allah Almighty.
It was narrated on the authority of Abu Shurayh Al-Khuza‘I, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: “The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: ‘No doubt, this Qur’an is a rope, one of whose ends is in the Hand of Allah and the other in your hands: hold fast by it so that you would never go astray nor be ruined after it.’” [Ibn Abi Shaybah]
Allah Almighty says (what means): {And thus We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an and have diversified therein the warnings, that perhaps they will avoid [sin] or it would cause them remembrance.} [Qur’an 20:113]
Allah only revealed this Qur’an to guide the people; and it is Allah’s uncreated, revealed speech which He says and continues to say; and that is why one of its ends is in His Hand and the other end is the mus-haf, which is in our hands. We have to adhere to it: it is the strong rope between us and our Lord which no falsehood could approach, neither from before it, nor from behind. Allah kept it from any kind of distortion or alteration. In confirmation, He, the Almighty, says (what means): {Indeed, it is We Who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.} [Qur’an 15:9]
If things become difficult and the people fall into dispute and the ways are confused so much that no one will know what to do, the saved sect will be that which adheres to the Book of Allah (the Qur’an) and, after it, the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, as stated in a hadith.

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