Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Human Rights and Objectives of Shari’ah.
Human Rights:
Human right, the rights of man, literally means “the rights that one has because one is human”.
Human rights are defined as:
The basic rights and [1]freedoms, to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.
Human rights means:”Rights that belong to an individual or group of individuals as a consequence of being human. They refer to a wide continuum of values or capabilities thought to enhance human agency and declared to be universal in character, in some sense equally claimed for all human beings.
It is a common observation that human beings everywhere demand the realization of diverse values or capabilities to ensure their individual and collective well-being. It also is a common observation that this demand is often painfully frustrated by social as well as natural forces, resulting in exploitation, oppression, persecution, and other [2]
William Edmondson’ introductory book on rights distinguishes human rights from other rights by suggesting that:
Human rights recognize extraordinarily special, basic interests, and this sets them apart from rights, even moral rights, generally.
Richard Falk suggests that:
Human rights are a new type of rights’ achieving prominence a result of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of the human rights by the United Nations in 1948.[3]
Universal Declaration of Human Rights ~ Preamble

Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

it  is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

It is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
The  people of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in cooperation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

A common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,[4]

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
Article 1:
  • All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with Article 2:
  • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Article 3:
  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 4:
  • No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article 5:
  • No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6:
  • Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7:
  • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8:
  • Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for Article 9:
  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10:
  • Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 11:
  • (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.
  • (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
Article 12:
  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
Article 13:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 14:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 15:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Article 16:
  • (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  • (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Article 17:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  • (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Article 18:
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19:
  • Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 20:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  • (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Article 21:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  • (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
  • (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Article 22:
  • Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Article 23:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  • (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Article 24:
  • Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 25:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, and housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
Article 26:
  • (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  • (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  • (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
Article 27:
  • (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  • (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Article 28:
  • Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29:
  • (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  • (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  • (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 30:
  • Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.[5]
Human Rights in Islam:
The world Islam literally means peace. Its teachings also disclose all such ways, which are sure to create peace in the world, if adhered to in daily life. Islam prescribes a complete and acquitable system for mankind. It provides spiritual directives along with legal safeguards. It is a comprehensive spiritual and material way of life which expresses itself in the conscience of the individual as well as in the behaviour of the society. Islam is a great liberation movement. Its advent brought a revolution which destroyed all spiritual, intellectual and social factors which has suppressed human life and clearly spelled out human rights, without the protection of which there can’t be peace on the face of earth.
Human rights called haqooq-ul-Abad ( the rights of the people) are obligatory for the Muslims. They are as important as haqooq-al-Allah( the rights of Allah), nay in a way more important because Allah has promised to forgive the violation of his rights if someone repents, but in the case of violation of the haqooq al Abad the person who had suffered, has the right to forgive and it is obligatory for the offender to compensate.
Objectives of Shari’ah:
Shari’ah is the basic code of Islam it aims at creating a society with deep sense of responsibility and every one is accountable for his actions. The main difference between Shari’ah and the secular law is that the Shari’ah is based on revelation while the secular law is man made law[6]
The human rights, presented by united nation organization are presented in 1948 and are a very modern and innovative concept for the western world and the world which is not familiar with Islam. For Islam this is the concept presented by Allah and his last messenger, Muhammad (pbuh), 1400 years ago.
Islam is the universal religion which preaches and practices the theory of human rights when the world was lost in the darkness of ignorance. Further, the scholar of Islam, Imam Ghazali presented the Universal theory of Islamic law, which is known as Makasid-e-Shari’ah.
This theory of Makasid-e-Shari’ah which is also known as the objectives of Shari’ah is as follows.
  1. The protection of Religion (DIN).
  2. The protection of Life.
  3. The protection of Intellect
  4. The protection of procreation.
  5. Protection of property.
Al Ghazali divided these purposes in two types. The first is pertaining to the hereafter which means preservation of Religion and the second category is related to this life and world and contains the four other purposes.[7]


Human rights and the objectives of Shari’ah:
The objectives of Shari’ah are the promotion of human dignity, justice and equality. It establishes the consultative government and the realization of the lawful benefits of the people. It provides the prevention from harm and the removal of the hardships. It educates the individual and make hi punctual, self disciplined and honest.[8]
There are 30 articles which are demonstrating the categories of human rights, presented by united nation organization; these 30 articles are precisely and concisely presented by Islam in 5 objectives of Shari’ah. As Islam is the complete code of life and covers each and every aspect of life, the objectives of Shari’ah in the same way presents the human rights in only 5 points and covers the whole range of human rights.
Objectives of Shari’ah protect the human rights and these objectives of Shari’ah are fulfilled by the implementation of Hadud and Qisas penalties or punishments. For example:
Ø  The Qisas and Diyat punishment protects the life of the person or the lives of the people.
Ø  The Hadud punishment like the punishment of adultery which is stoning to death or hundred stripes protects the lineage of a person or it preserves the sanctity and respect of the individual.
Ø  The punishment of the theft or dacoit which is cutting of hands preserves the objective of protection of wealth.
Ø  The punishment of the drinking of wine protects and preserves the objective of preservation of intellect.
Ø  The protection of these four things automatically preserves the religion and generally as a whole it protects all the human rights in broader sense.
Human rights are well protected and preserved by the objectives of the Shari’ah which not only give a chance to the individual as well as to the society to live a peaceful life and teaches one, to not to violate the rights of others and if some one commit the crime of violating the rights of others it provides the remedy for this disease by the implementation of Hadud and Qisas punishments. Hence, Hadud and Qisas punishments protect and preserve the objectives of Shari’ah and the objectives preserves all the human rights of the whole world.

[3] Clapham,A (2007). Human rights, a short introduction (Great Britain, Biddles LTD)
[5] Peter Davies (1988), Human Rights(Great Britain, Guernsey press)
[6] Qasmi, A.H (2006) International Encyclopedia of Islam (India, Isha Books) vol 2, pg 89.
[7] Shah, Niaz.A (2011) . Islamic law and the law of the armed conflict, (New York, Rutledge) pg 16.
[8] Esposito, John (1999), The Oxford history of Islam. (New York, Oxford university press) pg 135.

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