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The Rights

The Rights of Allah

The first of Allah's rights is believing in Him, as the only true God, Who deserves to be worshipped alone, associating no partner with Him, nor taking gods or lords beside, or instead of Him. This right may be fulfilled by believing in the declaration of faith which means: “There is no true god except Allah”.

The second of Allah’s rights is to submit completely to the truth, and guidance that came down from Him by following His Messenger, Muhammad peace be upon him, and this is the meaning of “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”, the second part of the Testimony of Faith.

The third of Allah’s rights is that He must be obeyed by adhering to His laws that are made manifest in the Glorious book of Allah, and expounded by the Sunnah, of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him.

The fourth of Allah's rights is the fulfillment by man the above-mentioned duties with which Allah has charged him. One must sacrifice his own as well as the rights of his fellow-human beings for the sake of this right, When a Muslim for instance, performs prayer, or observes fasting, he in fact, sacrifices many of his particular requirements. He wakes up early in the morning to perform ablution for the dawn prayer. He leaves behind many of his important occupations more than once during the day and night to perform his prayer. He also refrains from eating and drinking, and restrains himself just to observe fasting throughout the month of Ramadhan. A Muslim gives preference to the love of Allah over his love of wealth when giving out the Zakah, and he endures hardships of the Pilgrimage trip, leaving behind his beloved ones, and his business, and expends from his wealth.to perform this duty. He also sacrifices his wealth and life in the jihad for the sake of Allah alone. Besides that, a Muslim sacrifices many of his possessions, i.e. slaughtering sacrificial animals, as well as expending in charity.

Allah, the Exalted, on the other hand, has put limits to the fulfillment of His rights so that He may not overburden His slaves. Take prayer for instance, Allah does not impose hardship on His slaves for performing it. If water is not available, or if a person is sick, he may perform tayammum. A traveling person may shorten some of the obligatory prayers. Or if a person is sick, he may perform his prayer while sitting, or even lying down. The Qur'anic recitation during the course of prayer, on the other hand, does not have to be long. If a person is not in a hurry, he may take his time reciting longer chapter such as surat al-Baqarah, Aali Imran, an-Nisa, or any other long chapters. It is not permissible though for an imam, who leads the prayer, to prolong praying period by reciting longer chapters, for there may be behind him those who are sick, or weak of whom he must be considerate.

Allah loves that His slaves perform supererogatory prayers following the obligatory prayers, but not to the point of depriving them of sleep and rest, or on account of earning one's living, nor to the point of neglecting one's own rights altogether, or the rights of other slaves of Allah.

The same applies to fasting. Allah has made obligatory observing fast of the month of Ramadhan only. Even then, when a person happens to be sick, or on a journey during that month, it is permissible for him to defer observing fast until he is well again, or when he returns home. He may make up the number of days that are missed out after Ramadhan. On the other hand, it is not permissible to add an extra minute to the fasting period of the day, nor to delete a minute there from. The fasting person may, during the night in Ramadhan, eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to him from the black thread of the dawn. Once it is sunset, a person must break his fast right away.

Although Allah loves His slaves to observe voluntary fasting, He does not like them to continue fasting for more than one day without taking food or drink. Such observance drains the energy, and incapacitates man.

Islam has imposed as Zakah only a small percentage to be given out in charity. It is only imposed on those who are liable for Zakah. Although Allah loves those who expend in His cause, yet He does not want His slave to forfeit his rights, or his wealth for charity and be left empty handed. Rather a person must keep within the reasonable limits when it comes to expending in charity.

Now consider the fardh of Hajj, or pilgrimage. It is obligatory only on those who can afford it financially and health-wise, and can endure the hardship of the journey. To make it even easier, Allah has made this rite obligatory once in a lifetime. Moreover, if a person is worried about his safety, or does not have ready funds, he may defer the trip until such time when the trip becomes affordable.

It is also imperative that the person who intends to perform Pilgrimage that he should seek his parents' permission lest they may be inconvenienced by his absence, due to their old age or disability. It has thus, become clear that Allah has given consideration to many rights of His slaves on account of His Own. Glory be to Allah. The greatest sacrifice man offers is in the jihad. Man in the jihad, sacrifices his as well as the others' wealth and lives just seeking the pleasure of Allah, keeping His word the supreme. Even then, Allah commands the mujahid to kill only those who must be killed, not to attack the disabled, women, children or the wounded. He also commands them to fight only those who fight them from the people of falsehood, and not to act injuriously and corruptly in the enemy's land unnecessarily, or insensibly. Moreover, they must apply justice in dealing with the enemy if they conquer their land, and to observe any treaty they enter with them. If the enemy has given up fighting and resisting the truth, and cease to support the falsehood, the mujahideen must stop fighting them. All this signifies that Allah, the Exalted, permitted only this indispensable sacrifice on the part of His slaves in order that they fulfill His right.

 

The Individual's Own Rights

We now discuss the second part of rights man owes himself. Man may afflict injustice upon himself more than afflicting it upon others, because every one feels and believes that his own self is dearer to him than anyone else. There is no one who believes that he is his own enemy. But if you reflect upon this issue, the truth becomes clear to you.One of the most distinctive, and innate point of weakness, is that when man is possessed by a desire, he would entirely succumb to it unmindful of whatever harm he may encounter, whether being aware of it or not. An alcoholic may suffer greatly jeopardizing his health, wealth, and reputation for the sake of satisfying his addiction. Another, has been enslaved by his psychological desires, doing things that lead him into destruction. These are only samples of many demeritorious social facets denoting man's immoderation in this world that we encounter every now and then.

Since the Shari'ah is set for man's prosperity and happiness, it lays, therefore, a stress on the rule that is laid down by the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, that dictates: "Indeed, your own self has a right upon you." This rule restrains man from taking any harmful thing, i.e., liquor, drugs, and any other intoxicating matters. This rule also declares as unlawful the consumption of the flesh of dead animal, swine, and the flesh of the wild carnivorous, or venomous animals. These animals are hazardous to man's health, mental faculty, manners, and spirit. In return, the Islamic laws have made lawful for him every good, pure and healthy thing, instructing him not to deprive himself of such good things., for you owe your body a right.

The Shari'ah forbids nudity, and commands man to enjoy the ornaments that Allah has granted in this world, but commands him too, to cover his body, and in particular, those parts of his body that are indecent to expose. The Shari'ah, on the other hand, commands man to exert his effort to earn his living, not to stay home jobless, or beg for food and other needs, Rather, the Shari'ah encourages man to utilize the faculties that Allah has granted him, to earn his living through the legitimate ways and means that Allah has created in the heavens and the earth for his happiness, comfort, and nourishment.The Shari'ah does not demand man to suppress, his desire all the way, rather, it enjoins marriage on him, that he may satisfy his sexual needs; It makes it unlawful for him to degrade himself by shunning moderate pleasures. The Shari'ah suggests that if man seeks spiritual uplifting, nearness to Allah, and safety in the Hereafter, he does not need to neglect this world. Obeying Allah while enjoying His graces, refraining from the acts of disobedience, and following His laws is the most effective means of success and prosperity in this world, and in the world to come.The Shari'ah prohibits man from committing suicide, because man's own life does not belong to him. It is Allah who owns it. Allah has entrusted man with it that he may use it for a limited period of time, not to abuse it, or terminate it with his own hand.

 

The Rights of human beings

Shari'ah has commanded man to fulfill his own rights, on one hand, while, on the other, it has commanded him to do so without encroaching on the rights of others. If a person fulfills his desires in this manner, he would defile and injure himself. It is for this reason the Shari'ah has made unlawful robbing, stealing, bribery, treachery, forgery, treason, usury, and the like. Any profit or interest accrued through such methods would be accrued on account of others. Shari'ah prohibits all games of chance, because whatever gain a gambler may make out of gambling, or lottery, it would be based on the losses of thousands of people. Prohibited too are all forms of bartering that involve cheating, or deceiving, and all other financial transactions that may entail injustice to one of the two parties.Homicide, promoting corruption on earth, and transgression are all prohibited. No one is allowed to kill or hurt another, or embezzle his property, for the sake of satisfying his thirst for revenge. Fornication is prohibited along with other evil deeds, that endanger the health and the conduct, and lead to promiscuity, flippancy, and recklessness in society. Such acts also cause fatal diseases, damage human relations, and rock the bases of civilization.

These are restrictions that the Islamic Shari'ah has imposed on man so that a person may not plunder the rights of others, or diminish them in the course of securing his own.

Encroaching on the rights of others does not help reaching the objective of the advancement of human civilization. It is rather important that human relations be based on mutual cooperation on issues of common social interests to reach that objective.The following synopsis include excerpts of the Shari'ah's laws for this purpose.

 

A. Human relations begin with the family which should be considered before anything else. The family, in fact, is the unit comprising two spouses and their children. The foundation upon which Islam bases the family is the fact that the husband's duty is to earn the family's living, meet its needs, and defend it. While the wife's duty is to manage the domestic affairs of the family, to provide all means of comfort for her husband and children, and to look after the children. The children's duty, on the other hand, is to obey their parents, respect them, and to be in their service when they reach old age.

In order to keep the family system on the right direction, Islam has opted two measures:

The first, the husband, or the father as the head of the family, and the manager of its affairs. It is impossible to render the family's system sound without having the father as its ruler and manager. Chaos and disorder would definitely prevail in a family in which each member imposed his own opinion on the rest of the family members, being irresponsible about the consequences of his actions. Such a family would definitely lack the sense of security, and happiness. In order to eliminate this corruptness, the family must have a head to run its affairs. It is only man who can be responsible for looking after the family and protecting it.

The second measure, having charged man with the duty of handling the external affairs of the family, the Shari'ah commands woman to stay home, not to go out unnecessarily. Woman, accordingly, is relieved of the exterior duties to enable her to fulfill the internal duties peacefully so that the home order may not be disturbed by her outing.

This of course, does not mean that it is not permissible for woman to go out. She may do so whenever there is a need for it. Thus to keep home as the natural environment of her duties utilizing her energy and intelligence in raising her children to become good Muslims, capable of enduring life's burdens.

The family circle grows wider by blood relations and intermarriages. In order that the members of this circle maintain cooperation and support among themselves, the Shari'ah has provided them with wise rules, of which are:

  1. It is unlawful for the members of the same family to marry each other i.e., the siblings, the mother and her son, the father and his daughter, the step-father and the step-daughter, the step-mother and her step-son, and the brother and sister, and her milk-brother, and the uncle and his niece, and the aunt and her nephew, and the mother-in-law and her son-in-law, and the father-in-law and his daughter-in-law.

  2. Among the other purposes of illegalising such matrimonial relations between siblings is helping the family members to retain pure, and natural relationship. Intermingling with each other, the siblings exchange mutual love and sincerity without suspicions or inconvenience.

  3. Islam has legalized matrimonial relations between the other members of the family circles to strengthen their ties and love. Those who understand each other's preferences, and customs would usually have more successful marriages than those who do not. It is for this reason Islam recommends the guardians to give their daughters in marriage to competent men.

  4. The family circle may comprise the rich and the poor. Hence, of all human rights, Islam considers as most outstanding the right of kinship. Such right is referred to in the Shari'ah as 'silat ar-rahm', that is maintaining good relations with one's own kin. This kinship is emphasized in many places in the Qur'an, and the Sunnah. Severing this relation is one of the gravest sins. If a poor member of the family suffers a misfortune, it becomes incumbent upon the well-off members of his family to help, and support him. One's own relatives, deserve his charity more than the outsiders.

  5. Islam has organized the laws of inheritance division. When a person dies leaving behind an estate, the ownership of this estate transfers to the legal heirs of the deceased. The estate left behind by the deceased must not remain within the hand of a single heir. Rather each heir is entitled to a share of that estate, in accordance with the Qur'anic guideline of inheritance division. The estate, thus is distributed among many heirs of the deceased relatives.

The Islamic law of inheritance division is second to none in the world’s ancient or modern man-made laws. There are some nations, in this age that have started applying the Islamic laws of inheritance.

Some Muslim have, unfortunately begun to disregard the laws of inheritance due to their ignorance, and simple-mindedness. The malaise of depriving girls from their rightful share of inheritance has begun to be felt. It is abhorrent injustice, and a rebellion against the pertinent conspicuous statutes of the Qur'an.

Beyond the family relations, a person comes in contact with his friends, neighbors, people in his district, and town, as well as those with whom he may deal in his daily life. Islam enjoins dealing with such people on the basis of truthfulness, fairness, and good behavior. In other words, he must treat others in the same manner he would like them to treat him. A person should keep his mischief away from them as he likes them to keep theirs away from him out of cooperating on righteous deeds and fine manners.

There are, of course, priorities with respect to man's relations with others. The closest to him are his immediate kinship members, followed by his neighbors. It is mentioned in the authentic. Prophetic traditions that Jibreel persisted in recommending to the Prophet, peace be upon him, treating neighbors with comely manner until he thought that Jibreel would assign a share from the inheritance to the neighbor. This only Signifies the greatness of the neighbors' right even if he happens to be non-Muslim. The Prophet, peace be upon him, visited a neighbor of his who was a Jew. There are other duties upon the Muslim, that is to give food and clothing to the poor among the Muslims, help their handicapped, and console their less fortunate, visit their sick, help out the needy, earn living for his family, and teach the misguided. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

“The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He neither oppresses him, nor does he let him down”.

Allah says:

And help one another in righteousness, and piety; but do not help one another in erring and transgression.

And He says:

Verily, only the believers are brothers.

There are many other kinds of relations between Muslims and those to whom a Muslim feels obliged, such as those referred to in the words of Allah:

And if anyone of the idolaters seek your protection, then grant him protection, so that he may hear the words of Allah (the Qur’an), and then escort him to his secure place.

From this limited circle we move into the universal circle which comprises all Muslims of the world. Islam has constituted laws and regulations to make the Muslims support each other, and help one another in righteousness and piety thus to provide for themselves an environment in which their lives and honor are protected within certain regulations:

  1.  

    1. Islam prohibits indiscriminate intermingling of non-sibling, men and women to restrain the behavior and safeguard the Muslim's reputation. Allah commands his slaves to avoid looking at things that are unlawful to look at, i.e., men to avoid looking at women who are strangers, and women at men who are strangers, because eye-contact is the first step of establishing relation.

Allah says:

And tell the believers to lower their gaze and guard their private parts (of their bodies from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them.

Allah has designated duties for women that are hard for men to observe, and has designated for men duties that are hard for women to observe. He commands women to stay at home to maintain tranquillity, and comfort in it. Allah has made the wife a garment for her husband, and an abode of rest. Man, on the other hand, toils outside home to earn the family’s living, and when he returns home, he needs rest, and comfort that he finds available with his wife who stays home preparing food, and looking after the domestic duties.

On the opposite side, the wife who works in shops, restaurants, factories, or other occupations, returns home at the end of the day to be just like her husband, too exhausted to be able to combine between her own comfort and her husband's.

  1.  

    1. Islam has forbidden women to beautify themselves, and display their beauty in public. Doing so would cause harm to men by exciting their desires, and luring them into illicit acts. This prohibition protects women against any consequences of such behavior. Both sexes are commanded to wear the garment which suites them in a way that does not excite the other.

    2. Islam abhors singing and musical entertainment, because they degenerate peoples' morals, and arouse their lower desires, waste their time and money, and affect their health.

    3. As a means of preserving the unity of Muslims, and their harmony, Allah has commanded them to avoid discord amongst themselves, and shun all means of conflict. If they have any dispute, they must refer it to the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of His Messenger, peace be upon him, and commit their affairs to Allah alone. The Muslims are commanded to support each other in order to achieve success, and harmony. They must obey their authority, and ostracize those among them who create commotion, and strife in the community, lest their power falters, and expose their own nation to enemy while warring against themselves.

    4. The Muslims are permitted to study science, and other human arts, and to learn beneficial methods from the non-Muslims. They are forbidden, however, from imitating the unbelievers' way of life. Only the nation that admits defeat, and humiliation tries to copy what is believed to be a superior nation. This imitation reflects the lowest form of slavery. Degradation is an open recognition of the inevitable consequences of imitation. It is for this reason the Prophet, peace be upon him, vehemently forbade copying the foreign nations, or adopting their way of life. It is quite understandable that the Muslim nation's power does not depend on the dress code, nor on the life style of the foreign nations. Rather it depends on the strong faith in the Oneness of Allah, and the adherence to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. The nation's power also depends on its wealth of knowledge, and organization. Therefore, he who seeks power, and perfection, must avoid imitating the Kafir (unbeliever) nations.

The Muslims are also forbidden to treat the non-Muslim through the parochial mentality, and fanaticism. They are even forbidden to abuse the gods of the unbelievers or insult their denominations so that the latter would not revile Allah ignorantly. The Muslims are also prohibited to initiate disputes with the non-Muslims. Rather the Muslims should invite them to Islam instead, as long as the unbelievers are seeking reconciliation, and peace with Muslims. They should offer them the chance of discovering the religion of Allah.

Our Islamic manners dictate that we should invite the non-Muslims to the religion of Allah of which He approves. The Muslim must set himself to be a good example for others to follow. The Muslims must show the non-belligerent un-believers the fine Islamic manners. It is un-Islamic to treat others harshly, because the Muslim is supposed to be a model of refined manners and pertinence, that he may attract others into the folds of Islam without humiliation nor indifference. Furthermore, the Muslims are commanded to extend protection to those who seek it among the unbelievers.

Allah says:

And if anyone of the idolaters seek your protection, then grant him protection, so that he may hear the words of Allah (the Qur’an), and then escort him to his secure place.

Thus Allah has commanded the Muslim to give protection to an unbeliever who asks for it, and invite him to the truth before escorting him to safety.

 

The Rights of the Rest of Creation

Allah has distinguished man over many of His creatures, and permitted him to utilize them as he chooses after having subjected them to him. This is a part of man's legitimate right, being the best of creatures on earth. In return, Allah has charged man with certain obligations towards these creatures. Of such obligations; man must not abuse, harm, or endanger these creatures unnecessarily, unless there is no alternative. Man must choose the best way of utilizing these creatures, and enjoy them in the best possible way.

There are many rulings in the Shari'ah that deal with this issue. Man is permitted to kill animals only for food, or for protecting himself from their danger. There is a stern warning against killing animals senselessly, or for the fun of doing so. As for animals that are killed for human consumption, there is a designated method for slaughtering them. It is the best method for utilizing their meat for food. Any method other than the Islamic one, regardless how humane it may appear, would only lessen the benefit of the animals meat, and if it is less humane, it would subject the animal to more torture. Islam recommends neither methods.

Killing animals in a harsh way is strictly forbidden in Islam. Exterminating dangerous, and venomous animals is permissible only because human life is more precious than such animals' life. Even then, Islam forbids subjecting these animal to torture. Starving animals that are used for hauling and toiling, overburdening them, or beating them harshly is prohibited in Islam. So is trapping birds without valid reason. Islam does not allow destroying trees senselessly, let alone harming animals. We may harvest the fruits off the trees, or the flowers, but not to destroy them or uproot them unnecessarily wasting lifeless things such as water, or the like is not permissible either.

 

The Perpetual Universal Shari'ah

The foregoing is just a synopsis of the laws, and regulations of the chaste Shari'ah with which our Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him, was sent to mankind at large.Only the correct creed, and deed are the criteria for distinguishing one man over another in Islam. In fact, man-made laws, and religions that distinguish between one man and another on the basis of lineage, country of origin, color, and wealth are not fit to be universal religions, because, in such religions, it is impossible for a member of one race to excel over another from a lower race. Such denominations may be restricted to one particular nation only. In the face of all these denominations, Islam has introduced the universal Shari'ah which is open to anyone who upholds its creed, i.e., the Testimony of Faith that signifies: (Their is no true god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah), and enjoy, as a result the same rights that all other Muslims do. There is no consideration given in the Islamic Shari'ah to lineage, language, country of origin, color, or wealth.

Besides, the Islamic Shari'ah is perpetual. Its laws are not based on norms of a certain nation, or one particular age. Rather it is assigned to fulfill man's needs in every age and everywhere, for the One Who has legislated it is the One Who created man. He knows what suits man's nature best at all ages and everywhere.

The last of our supplications is: "All praise is due to the Rubb of the worlds."

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