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     The Legal Concept of Human Rights



This article was provided for issue 20 (Spring 1997) of Common Sense by Islamic Party of Britain legal affairs spokesman, Kaleem Muhammad Alleyne .

In our world today, there are a number of words and cliches that permeate all societies: 'love', used by Christians when starting out on Crusades; 'peace', when they have completed the slaughter of the innocents; 'diplomacy', when they divide up the spoils of the conquered and enslaved; and 'democracy', in order to maintain their hold over the lives of the divided. Whatever is said about them, the Christians have so far been successful in their use of all four. There are of course more subtle forms - the one in constant use, however, and which tends to form the basis of current western international intervention is 'human rights'. When we talk about human rights we have to be very careful as to what we mean by it. Upon whose ideological premise are we basing our pursuit of the terminology 'human rights'?

Those of us living in western countries who are members of the United Nations, have always had that defined for us in terms of the Nuremberg Crimes against Peace, the four Geneva Conventions 1949, two additional Protocols of 1977, the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide 1948, as well as the United States' own Genocide Convention Act of 1987, to the last resolution passed at the United Nations.

Yet the Western world's continuing inhumane pursuits against the countries outside their social and conceptual development goes on unchecked and when questioned about why they pursue one policy against one set of tyrants and not the other, their diplomats tell the world that they have interests to protect in the one, but in the other we will try to obtain a peace settlement by bringing the warring sides to the peace table.

The truth about this is that the Western nations 'share in the common and firm belief in America's manifest destiny to rule the world.' Here I could set out catalogue of Christian prophetic scriptures to verify this but that is a subject within itself and though I could beg many questions about this subject of prophecy, but for now it has to be just an interjection of modest means.

You may have noticed so far I have not made use of Qur'anic statements. You see the way of al-Islam is clear; what is unclear is
1. the Muslims' current interpretation of that way;
2. the distinct pursuit and objectives and the goals of the Western powers;
3. The plan and the working of and to the plan to achieve the West's objectives;
4. doing everything from talk to genocide to keep the plan on track.

The multitudinous organisations from the Red Cross to the last western self-interest refugee organisation formed, but shows that this plan meets the requirements of the Western powers determination and their commitment to the destruction of Islam and to assume full control of the Arab states and the wealth that flows from them. The plan cannot succeed unless it has an element that is crusading, and appealing in and to its own social values. But the idea of Human Rights was first introduced in its fullness by the Revelation of Allah the Almighty to His Apostle Muhammad (peace be upon him). The failure of the Muslim ummah to preserve this, among themselves especially, has led to weakness in the Nation of Islam, and has allowed the setting up of boundaries and national divisions created by the western colonials to serve their business approach and materialistic shrouded interest. This is seen in the United States of America's foreign policy since 1948 in the Middle East and again in 1967 with lands stolen by Israeli expansion. Add to this the Arab oil boycott which brought Europe to its knees, the Iraq-Iran war, the arming of Iraq by Russia and America and the often repeated words of Henry Kissinger that the United States government would be prepared itself to seize the Arab oil field in order to prevent something like the boycott from ever happening again. Put that statement in its western context and you have the ingredients for world domination, through the concept of Human Rights, New World Orders and whatever they can breathe into it, all is left is understanding why the rest of the world wanders after the American dream of western social and economic utopia under their control of course: this, therefore, is their recipe for human rights.

"O mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that ye might known each other (not that ye despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous of you, and Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." Qur'an, 49:13.

Dr Abdur Rahman Olayiwola in one of his papers on Human Rights in Islam, cites another Qur'anic verse:

"It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse ye through its tracts and enjoy of the sustenance which He furnishes: but with Him is the resurrection." Qur'an, 67:15

He states that 'the above ayah shows evidence of human rights enjoined by Islam and as contained in Islamic law'.

But what is the Islamic law? It is a religion, way of life, the embodiment of a social order, containing a system of economic rules and government, which lays down universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, so that human rights in Islam means, rights granted by Allah. No legislative, executive or judicial arm of any state or government has any authority to alter, abrogate or refuse to enforce them. When Muslim nations, in order to be the friends of other non-Muslim nations, fail to maintain, protect, accept, recognise and enforce human rights as part and parcel of the Islamic way of life, then the warning of Allah the Almighty is clear:

"If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) disbelievers." Qur'an 5:44

Where then is the claim of the government of the United States of America, the United Nations, or any other government for that matter, to the promulgation and implementation of human rights? What do nations of the West know of human rights? They have never practised them, and where they take any legal form, it operates against the very humans it is supposed to protect. Why do not the British release the Irish, and France the Islands of the Caribbean and South Seas? Why don't the rest of Europe free Africa from their mineral exploitation? And America, their imperial, political and economic sanctions on Sudan, Iraq, Vietnam and any other country that wants to go the way of its own social development? This must include the native Americans they reduced from 100 million to just 10 million.

It is my firm belief that human rights as perceived by the Western countries and militarily developed nations, and as sanctioned by themselves in the United Nations, cannot be considered human rights in the sense of my Islamic faith and understanding. So I must again ask the question - human rights for whom? Let me share this with you. Human rights in Islam enjoins upon mankind to act in these ways and recognise them as:

The right to life (Qur'an 5:32, 17:31-38) "Three things of a Muslim are prohibited for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his reputation." (Hadith: Bukhari) The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said about the dhimmis (the non-Muslims in an Islamic state): "One who kills a man under a covenant will not even smell the fragrance of paradise." (Hadith: Bukhari) Yet the killing of Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere goes on.

Right to security of Private Life: "O Ye who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that ye may heed (what is seemly). If ye find no-one in the house, enter not until permission is given to you." Qur'an 24:27-28 (see also 49:11-13).

Right to Freedom of Expression: "Allah loveth not that evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done." Qur'an 4:148-149.

Right to participate in government and cultural life of the community: "Those who harken to their Lord, and establish regular prayer; who conduct their affairs by mutual consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for sustenance." Qur'an 42: 38.

Right to religion of conscience: "Let there be no compulsion in religion; truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah, hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks, and Allah heareth and knoweth all.

Right to Education: In the first chapter revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Allah the Almighty said: "Read! In the name of thy Lord Who createth, createth man from a clot. Read! and thy Lord is the Most Bounteous, who teacheth by the pen, teacheth man what he knew not." Qur'an 96:1-5 This right in Islam is not just for the rich, powerful and affluent, but for everybody, man, woman, young, old, the needy and the wealthy: all must be educated. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: To seek knowledge is compulsory for every Muslim (male or female). Reported by Bukhari and Muslim

There are Human Rights and the Rights of the Community. In the eyes of Islam there is never a time when the priorities of the individual can be disassociated from the requirements of the community. The rights of the community and human rights are complementary to each other, each a fundamental part of a basic truth. The rights of the individual are clearly interwoven into that of the community, and the community's development is threatened where the rights of the individual are threatened, attacked and hurt. This truth is self-evident whenever a single member of the ummah is prevented from achieving full self-attainment, by participating freely in the life of the community. The actions of man-made laws which prevent the full development of any human being, impoverish the community which by reason of this ceases to be its true self.

Rights to Social and Economic Status: It is my firm belief that there can be no justice where there is no social equality. Islam places obligation upon those who govern in the community to provide for the minimum needs of those who are unable to do so for themselves. This must go as far as providing a dwelling for every individual, an appropriate education, work for those able to do it, and to aim as far as it is possible, to enable each individual to participate in the conduct of the affairs of the community. Allah says in the Qur'an: "And in their wealth the beggar and the outcast had due share." Qur'an 51:19. Of many it can be said in truth, 'Truly the poor man shames us.'

There are many other aspects of human rights in Islam such as the equality of individuals before God. This absolute and complete right is to be in the eyes of the law fundamentally applied to all individuals, male and female. It cannot be for the privilege of the community to disregard the actions of their peers, while they punish severely those of the underprivileged and the poor. One day a woman belonging to a high and noble family was arrested in connection with an offence of theft that made her deserving of amputation. That case was brought before the Prophet (peace be upon him). Usamah was sent to plead on her behalf before the Prophet (peace be upon him) that she might be spared. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: "The nations that lived before you were destroyed by God because they punished the common man for their 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." Allah says in the Qur'an:

"O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor, for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lust (of your hearts), Lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well acquainted with all that ye do." Qur'an 4:135

Lastly, let me touch on a part of Islamic rights that the male species tend to ignore, that is, the rights of women... "... and women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable." Qur'an 2:228 Again: "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, male or female." Qur'an 3:195

It is then plain and clear that we who like to be called Muslims must be that people who are called to revive among the nations of this world the true meaning of human rights, and we have through this short journey been reminded of the supreme requirements of this subject by the words from Qur'an and Hadith. Because of this we can no longer go on ignoring the requirements of Allah in our lives for what is called by men, or groups of men 'A New World Order.' The fostering upon themselves a cone of democracy that has not worked in the true sense of the word, they having ignored the call of Allah to righteousness, seek to impose, by force of arms, trade and economic boycott, their concepts of Human Rights upon any country not willing to abide by their call to law and order.

How can ungodly people who kill and maim in the name of money be those who must be believed and followed? Allah says in the Qur'an:

"Systems have passed away before you. Do but travel the land and see the nature of the consequences for those who deny (the messengers). This is a declaration for mankind, a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil). Faint not, nor grieve, for ye will overcome them if ye are (indeed) believers." Qur'an 3:137-139

Author: Kaleem Muhammad Alleyne
Date Published: Spring 1997


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