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Jasla Salana Home > Mauritius > Year 2010 > Speeches > Human Rights and Islam :


بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ









Delivered at 10.10 hours on

10 OCTOBER, 2010




Highly Esteemed Naziri-Ala and Amir Jamaat Ahmadiyya Bharat, Respected Amir Sahib Jamaat Ahmadiyya Mauritius,Respected Missionary in charge sahib, Mauritius Distinguished Guests/ Delegates and My Dear Brothers and Sisters.


I am very pleased and honoured to speak to you today on the subject of “Human Rights and Islam” and I extend to you all the greetings, Assalamo Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatohu which say: ‘May you all live in peace, may you go on enjoying the mercy and infinite blessings of God Almighty.’


These greetings, which we exchange daily with each other, and which we are enjoined by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to extend to all  Muslims, friends and strangers, contain the very essence of the teachings of Islam, which means nothing but the unqualified submission to the Will of God Almighty and peace for all.


Since times immemorial, man has, at the hand of man, been suffering all kinds of miseries and cruelties; his rights have been violated; he has become alienated from his own species.

Today, most of the evils humanity is confronted with are rooted in the violation and deprivation of human rights. No doubt in the dark corridors of history, we hear echoes reverberating protest against human sufferings and exploitation. No doubt in these very corridors sometimes we also see a chink of light of hope for man in the form of Charters, such as Magna Carta, English Petition of Rights, The Virginian Declaration of Rights, American Bill of Rights and so on and so forth. However, when we critically look at these various documents, we are a bit disappointed. We soon realise that they are not after all what humanity expected them to be. They disappoint not so much in what they say, but in what they leave out to say. They give no redeeming hope to man, or offer any source of perennial light for humanity. They, if not in their letter, at least in their spirit and the way in which they were composed, and have been understood, interpreted and applied, epitomise the Orwellian formula:

‘All are equal but some are more equal than others.’

(Adapted from Animal Form – Penguin Classic, by G. Orwell).


As far as the U.N.O's Charter of Human Rights is concerned, by and large its value remains academic, in that it is a testimony to a very important historical fact; namely, that over the centuries man's conception of human rights has gradually evolved to reach a stage where it could be documented in such detail as we find in the U.N. Charter and subsequent Declarations.

However, I personally have been associated with the U.N. Human Rights organisations for the past seventeen years and can vouchsafe that in spite of the Charter, the world situation with regard to Human Rights has not changed much since its inception. If anything, it has worsened in many respects as we witness today. The means of subjecting man to all kinds of exploitation and suffering have become more sophisticated and its ways more subtle. Might has become mightier, and the right has become correspondingly weaker. The hypocrisy, the apathy, the selfishness, the arrogance of those who presume to be the spokesmen of human rights and who regard themselves as their custodians, have bred international terrorism, militancy, religious fundamentalism and all kinds of psychopathic violence. We all live under the constant shadow of terror. Man has turned against man, as he never did in the past.

With that in mind and in the world of today, the repeated association between Islam, terrorism and human rights abuses,  I have the honour to speak on this topic, for Islam truly offers the light, the hope, and the justice and peace for all, without any distinction or discrimination.


When we make a comparative study of Human Rights as prescribed by Islam and those found elsewhere, we are at once impressed by three facts:

Firstly, for Islam the question of Human Rights is part of a much wider question of rights of all creation of God, and for that matter the Rights of the Creator Himself. We cannot separate the question of Human Rights from the question of, say, the rights of animals. If we do so the very rationale of Human Rights would collapse.


Secondly, all kinds of rights as prescribed by Islam derive their significance from the moral and spiritual values of Islam in which they are firmly embedded and on which they are founded. These values are, in turn, based on the concept of the unity of God. No other view of rights has ever been able to provide such secure foundations for them. The assumptions and the principles on which secular doctrines base the concept of rights are, on examination, found to be either outright untenable or inadequate and flimsy.


Thirdly, Islam deals with all kinds of rights, including human rights, in such profound depth and in such wide range that no secular view has ever been able to cover them in such depth and in such range.


To expand on, and elaborate all these points, doing full justice to the subject is not possible in the short time available. So I shall be selective and brief in my humble presentation, hoping that I shall, in this short time, be able to do at least some justice to the subject.


In Surah Rahman (Ch. 55) verse 10 of the Holy Quran, God Almighty says:

اَقِيْمُوْا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوْا الْمِيْزَانَ     ‏

‘Weigh all things with justice and fall not short of the measure.’


That is, God has set up the measure and balance so that order and harmony pervade and govern the entire Universe. It is the right of every creation of God that its order and balance should at no cost be disturbed. We are enjoined to weigh all things with justice and not to fall short of the measure.


Thus ‘Justice’ - the very principle and basis of all rights - is inexorably joined with measure, balance and order of the Universe. The fabric of rights surrounds the entire Universe and is bound up with God-created order, harmony and measure of the Universe; Violate rights in one area and you not only violate rights in other areas but also disturb the balance and order of the Universe.

As there is an all-comprehensive harmony in the whole Universe, man, the crown and the object of creation, is enjoined to maintain a just balance in everything and treat with equity and justice his fellow beings, giving everyone his due, and to avoid extremes and discharge his duties to his Creator and His creations.


Thus, the Islamic view of human rights is pivoted on the overall view of justice, harmony and order in the Universe. This is one foundation on which the entire edifice of Human Rights is built. The other foundation of this edifice is the moral and spiritual values of Islam.


The field of Islamic moral and spiritual values is vast. All other Islamic values, civic, political, social and economic, are determined by these.


However, this fabric of values is based on certain fundamental principles.

Once we grasp these principles we can have an idea of Islamic values. However, within the time available, I can just discuss two of them here.


The first principle can be derived from the following verse of the Holy Quran:



 يٰۤاَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اِنَّا خَلَقْنٰكُمْ مِّنْ ذَكَرٍ وَّاُنْثٰى وَجَعَلْنٰكُمْ

 شُعُوْبًا وَّقَبَآٮِٕلَ لِتَعَارَفُوْا‌ اِنَّ

 اَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللّٰهِ اَتْقٰٮكُمْ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَلِيْمٌ خَبِيْرٌ 


‘O mankind, We have created you from a

 male and a female; and We have made you into tribes

and sub-tribes that you may recognise one another.

 Verily, the most honourable among you,

in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most

righteous among you. Surely,

 Allah is All-knowing, All-Aware.’ (49:14)


This verse reminds us of the fact that as our Creator is One and we are created by Him from a single soul, no discrimination and injustice can have any place or justification in human society. The verse emphatically and unequivocally asserts the principle of human fraternity and equality and calls upon us all to be righteous and God-fearing. It lays an axe at the false and foolish notions of superiority, born of racial arrogance or national conceit. The worth of man is to be judged only by his moral greatness and by the way he discharges his obligations to God and His creation.

The entire human race is but one family. Divisions into tribes, nations and races are meant only to give them better knowledge of one another's national characteristics and good qualities. At the occasion of the last pilgrimage at Mecca, a short time before his death, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), addressing a vast concourse of Muslims, said;


“O Ye Men! Your God is One and your ancestor is one. An Arab possesses no superiority on a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab over an Arab; A white is in no way superior to a black or a red, nor, for that matter, a red or a black to a white, but only to the extent to which he discharges his duty to God and man. The most honoured among you in the Sight of God is the most righteous among you.” (Bukhari)


The second principle is contained in Verse 91 of Chapter 16 (Al-Nahl) of the Holy Quran:


اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَاْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْاِحْسَانِ وَاِيْتَآىِٕ ذِىْ

 الْقُرْبَىٰ و يَنْهٰىَعَنِ الْفَحْشَآءِ وَالْ مُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْىِ‌ۚ

يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُوْنَ   


‘Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to


others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency,


and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression. He


admonishes you that you may take heed.’ (16:91)




As far as the moral and spiritual life of man is concerned, this is the most comprehensive and all-embracing verse. It contains three commandments and three prohibitions.


The first injunction of the verse is doing justice (‘Adl’) to others. Strict justice demands that a person should treat others as they treat him. In its wider meaning, justice demands that everyone and everything should be given his and its due. From this, it follows that rights of everyone and everything should be respected.


The second injunction of the verse is doing goodness (‘Ehsan’) to others, which is a higher stage than that of justice. At this stage man goes beyond justice and does good to others regardless of what sort of treatment he receives from them. The qualities of forgiveness, charity, the giving of alms, social services etc. all fall under this category. The promotion and patronage of knowledge also are included in this head because it has for its objects the material and spiritual well-being of man.


The last and the highest stage of moral development of man is giving like kindred (‘Eeta-i-zil qurba’). At this stage, man is expected to do good to others not in return for any good received from them, nor with the idea of doing more good than the good received, but as good as is done to very near blood relations. A man's condition at this stage resembles that of a mother who is kind to her children and does good to them, out of natural love, not hoping for any return or appreciation of her actions. Her actions spring from the natural foundation of love, which God has implanted in her nature. At this stage the moral development of man becomes complete.


The second part of the verse contains three prohibitions, which are explained by three Arabic words- ‘Fahsha`a’ (indecency), ‘Munker’ (manifest evil), and ‘bughyun’ (wrongful transgression).

Indecency covers all those vices which only affect the individual who indulges in those vices, for they are confined to his or her personal affairs and private life; manifest evil covers those vices which affect others; wrongful transgression covers all those vices which adversely affect the government of a country as well as harm society in general.

In short, the message is: Do not do any evil which harms you personally, nor do any evil which harms others, nor do any evil which is detrimental to the interests of State and egregiously injurious to society in general. These three simple words cover all conceivable vices.


I have discussed only two of those principles on which Islamic moral and spiritual values are based. And it is, as I have said, these values which give true significance to Human Rights and, being their foundation, make them indefeasible and inviolate, not just in words and as a matter of slogan, but as a matter of fact.

These Rights remained in place and were never violated as long as Muslims understood the teachings of Islam and remained faithful in following to the best of their ability, the Holy Quran and precepts and the excellent moral example of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his Caliphs. It was only with the general decadence of Muslims that the Islamic values were forgotten, nay, sometimes trampled over. However, with the advent of the Promised Messiah, Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam, and the revival of the divine Institution of Khilafat, these moral and spiritual Islamic values are being revived and practised faithfully.


The members of the Ahmadiyya Community, under the divinely guided wisdom of Khalifatul Masih, the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, are constantly preoccupied with expending all resources, spiritual, human and material, in appeasing the suffering of humanity. In this respect, the Community’s Satellite Television Station, MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya), the website Al-Islam and Humanity First are playing a major role.


The World Human Rights organisations have divided Human Rights into various categories. But the fact remains that all these categories taken together fail to cover the wide spectrum of Human Rights as prescribed by Islam; Hence in the discussion of Islamic concept of Human Rights, it would not be justifiable to stick to the generally recognised classifications of Human Rights. However, for the sake of simplicity, I shall divide the Islamic scale of Human Rights into two parts: the part that covers general rights of man and the part that covers particular rights. By general Rights of Man, I mean those rights that Islam gives to each and every individual in virtue of the fact that he or she is a human being as, for example, the Rights of freedom of thought and expression. By particular rights I mean those rights which Islam gives to an individual, over and above his or her general rights, in virtue of gender as well as in virtue of his or her role or station in society – the role and station being determined by kinship as well as civic, social, economic, political and other realities of society. Islam acknowledges these realities but regards exploitation on their basis as sinful and by giving these particular rights to various social groups safeguards their interests.

In short, each and every human being is given general as well as particular rights, the latter being a distinctive feature of Islam.


Some of the General Rights include the Right to Life and Security of a person, Property, Protection of Honour, Personal Freedom, Equality,

 Freedom of Conscience, Freedom of Thought and Expression, basic survival needs, Freedom of Work, Justice, Education, the Right to have a Family, Privacy and Medicare.


Some of the Particular Rights include the Rights of Women, Men, Children, Parents, the Mutual Rights of Husband and Wife, the Rights of Orphans, Relatives, Neighbours, Wayfarers, Sick and disabled, the Rights of Guests, Hosts, Prisoners of War, Labourers and Minorities.



The General Rights in Islam and the Particular Rights are based on certain fundamental Islamic Principles. They are God-given and do not derive their significance from human wisdom alone. Hence their sanctity, indefeasibility and universality.


The first and foremost of these is the Right of Life. In fact according to Islam every form of life is sacrosanct and cannot be taken without justification. Even unnecessarily killing of animals or destroying other kinds of life is forbidden in Islam. But human life is especially sacrosanct. In the Holy Quran God Almighty says:   



اَنَّه مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسَۢا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ اَوْ فَسَاد

فِىْ الْاَرْضِ فَكَاَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيْعًا


‘Whosoever killed a person — unless it be for killing a

 person or for creating disorder in the land — it shall

 be as if he had killed all mankind. (5:33)


Further, in chapter 17 verse 32 of the Holy Quran:

God Almighty says:

‘Suicide and infanticide are particularly condemned.’ (17:32)

Anyone committing suicide or inciting others to become suicide bombers is in fact committing a grievous sin and humiliating the teachings of Islam.


Next, in importance to the Right of Life is the Right to Basic Human needs. Hence the first teaching with regards to civic society which, according to the Holy Quran, were given to Adam (peace be upon him) were:



اِنَّ لَـكَ اَلَّا تَجُوْعَ فِيْهَا وَلَا تَعْرٰىۙ‏

وَاَنَّكَ لَا تَظْمَؤُا فِيْهَا وَلَا تَضْحٰى‏


‘It is provided for thee that thou wilt not hunger

therein, nor wilt thou be naked. And that thou

 wilt not thirst therein, nor wilt thou be exposed to

the sun.’ (20:119-120)


That is, to have food, water, clothing and shelter – the basic necessities of life is the right of every individual. It is the individual duty of each and every person and collective duty of a government and society as well as the world at large that no human being remains hungry or thirsty or without adequate clothing and reasonable shelter.  

Unfortunately, in spite of the World Summits, U.N Conferences and forceful tirades, more than a half of the world population is deprived of these basic survival necessities. But by the grace of Allah, we can say with absolute certainty, that there is not a single Ahmadi in the world today who remains hungry or thirsty or without adequate clothing and reasonable shelter inspite of the fact that the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is established in nearly 200 countries of the world with millions and millions within its folds. It is because the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is doing its best to present to the world a Pristine pure model of the teachings of Islam.

Closely linked with these is the right of each human being that he or she should be given means and opportunities of development of the physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual faculties to the full. This is a vast subject and various rights fall under it, as, for example, the right to proper education and the right to leisure and enjoyment within the limits prescribed by Islam.


Next comes the right to Freedom to work within the limits laid down by Islam. For if this right is denied, human capacities are sure to be wasted. In work as well as in reward for work, Islam condemns all kinds of exploitation and discrimination on the basis of gender, race, nationality or religion.

Islam gives man the Right of Protection of Property and Honour. Several verses of the Holy Quran can be cited in this respect.

Similarly with respect to the honour of Man, the Holy Quran says:


يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوْا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّنْ قَوْمٍ عَسٰٓى

 اَنْ يَّكُوْنُوْا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَآءٌ مِّنْ نِّسَآءٍ عَسٰٓى

 اَنْ يَّكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ‌ۚ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوْۤا اَنْفُسَكُمْ


‘O ye who believe! let not one people deride another

 people, who may be better than they, nor let

 women deride other women, who may be better than they.

 And defame not your own people.’ (49:12)



In his Sermon at his last Pilgrimage, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said;

“O People! Surely your blood, your property and your honour are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity and inviolability of this day, that is the day of Pilgrimage.’ (Bukhari)


Islam gives to all the Right of Freedom of Conscience. Giving this right means that every one is free to profess, practice and preach any faith, religion, opinion or creed he or she holds to be true.


The Holy Quran says:

‘There is no compulsion in religion.’ (2:257)


The Holy Quran explains that it is only within the competence of God Almighty to make a person believe but even He chose not to force anyone to believe. He leaves every one to exercise his or her reason and judgement. If He does that, it behoves no one else to try to force people to believe.

In this connection, it should also be noted that apostasy is not according to Islam, as some believe, a crime to be punished by man in this world.

The following verse is a clear proof that change of faith entails no temporal punishment.


اِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا بَعْدَ اِيْمَانِهِمْ ثُمَّ ازْدَادُوْا كُفْرًا

 لَّنْ تُقْبَلَ تَوْبَتُهُمْ‌ۚ وَاُولٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ الضَّآلُّوْنَ 


‘Surely, those who disbelieve after they have believed

 and then increase in disbelief, their repentance shall

 not be accepted, and these are they who have gone

 astray.’ (3:91)



Islam is very particular about the sanctity of family and foremost among the Particular Rights are the rights of those who constitute a family i.e. Husband, Wife and Children.

Islam was the first to give sanctity to the institution of marriage and explicitly lays down the mutual rights and obligations of members of a family. What, according to the Holy Quran, cements and maintains married life is mutual love of Husband and Wife.


Expounding this, the Holy Quran says: 


وَمِنْ اٰيٰتِهۤ اَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِّنْ اَنْفُسِكُمْ اَزْوَاجًا

 لِّتَسْكُنُوْۤا اِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَّوَدَّةً وَّرَحْمَةً


‘And one of His Signs is this, that He has created your partners in marriage

for you from among yourselves

that you may find peace of mind in them,

and He has put love and tenderness between you.’ (30:22)



Thus to receive love, to be cherished by, and to seek peace of mind and comfort from each other is the first and foremost mutual right of husband and wife. There are many others. I shall not discuss them in detail, for there is a long list of them as, for example, the right to inheritance, the right to property, the mutual right of divorce, the right that both parents have a say in matters concerning the upbringing of children, the wife's right that she should be maintained by her husband irrespective of whether or not she has her own independent means or income.


The Holy Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said:

“The best among you is he who treats his wife best.”

Next to the rights of members of a family, come the right of neighbours. Islam lays great stress on the rights of neighbours. The concept of “neighbourhood” in Islam is a very wide concept, which covers all possible neighbourly situations and is not confined to the ordinary concept of neighbourhood.

Thus, in Chapter 4, verse 37 of the Holy Quran, God Almighty states:


’And worship Allah and associate naught with Him,

 and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and

 orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour

 that is a kinsman and the neighbour that is a

 stranger.’ (4:37)


Here, I would like to draw your attention to the part of the verse which covers the subject of neighbourhood. In this part three phrases are used to describe neighbourly relations. The first phrase ‘wal jaari zil qurba’ means:

1.The neighbour that is a kinsman.

2. The neighbour that lives near.

3. The neighbour that is kindly


The second phrase ‘wal jaaril jonobi’ means:

1.      The neighbour that is a stranger.

2.      The neighbour that lives at a distance.

3.      The neighbour that is not kindly.


The third phrase ‘was-sahibi bil janbi’ incorporates:

1.      The next-door neighbour.

2.      The Companion by your side i.e. your colleague or fellow students

3.      The Colleague in general and fellow partners in a trade.

4.      The Companion on a journey.

5.      The tenants who share your house.


The Holy Quran says that all these various kinds of neighbours should be treated not only with justice, but also with kindness.

The Holy Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is reported to have said:

“One whose neighbour is not safe at his hands shall not enter Paradise.” (Muslim)


The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) always treated his neighbours with extreme kindness and consideration. He used to say that the angel Gabriel had emphasised considerations towards one's neighbours so often that he sometimes began to think that a neighbour would perhaps be included among the prescribed heirs (Bukhari).

 At another occasion the Holy Prophet said:

‘Help your neighbour, if he seeks help, give him loan if he asks for loan; give him relief if he is needy; nurse him if he falls ill; follow his coffin if he dies; cheer him if he meets any good; sympathise with him if any calamity befalls him; raise not your building so as to deprive him of air without his permission; harass him not.’ (Kamil Ibne Adi)

This beautiful teaching extends from door to door to communities, nations and countries to cohere humanity into a family with respect, care and love, creating an environment of well being, development, peace and prosperity for all.


In Islam guests, too, have some rights upon us. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

‘When chosen persons from a people come to you honour them and give them full respect.’


Secondly, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

‘One who fails to thank the people for the favours he receives from them, in fact fails to thank God Almighty.’


All the Guests who joined us in this Convention, have in fact done us a great favour. They deserve our thanks. It is their right that we thank them.


My Dear Brothers and Sisters! The subject we are discussing is vast and the time is short. But before I close I would like to draw your attention to a few excerpts from the writings and recorded sayings of the Promised Messiah, Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (Peace be upon him), the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam, which beautifully sum up the teachings of Islam regarding the rights and the brotherhood of mankind. He said:


‘A person can be held to be a Muslim when the whole of his being together with all his faculties, physical and spiritual, is devoted to God. This devotion has two aspects. First, that God Almighty should become the object of worship and the true goal and beloved, and that no one should be associated in His worship and in His love. The second, that one's life should be devoted to the service of His creatures and to sympathise with them and to share their burdens and sorrows. One should suffer pain to bring them comfort, and one should experience grief to bring them consolation.’

(Aeena Kamalat-e-Islam pp. 559-62).


He further said:

‘Be the true well-wishers of every one. There should be nothing inside you except truth and there should be nothing outside you except truth and sympathy for mankind. If you desire that God should be pleased with you in Heaven, become to each other like real brothers. It is our principle to have sympathy for the whole of mankind. If a person sees that fire has broken out in the house of a Hindu neighbour and he does not get up to help in putting it out, I tell you truly he is not of me. If one of my followers sees a Christian being killed and he does not go to his assistance to rescue him, then I tell you quite truly that he is not of us.’                                             (Malfoozat, viii pp 26-27)


We Ahmadiyya Muslims, not only in Mauritius but every where in the world today, are striving to promote, support and create the environment where the dignity of all human beings without any discrimination of faith, race, colour, language or culture is respected and as prescribed in Islam their rights honoured and all kinds of injustice, depravation, oppression, exploitation, violence and brutality eradicated from which man suffers today.


Dear Brothers and Sisters! Islam stands for the unity of God, the unity of the universe and all the creation of God Almighty, and through its teachings provides the environment of justice, equality and dignity, leading on to lasting peace, harmony and prosperity for all.


Let us pray that with our slogan ‘Love for all Hatred for None', we as models of true Islam, fulfil our obligations to God Almighty and to humanity.


And our last words are that all Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!