"What the Devil Doesn't Want You to Know"
Rights of all kinds have always been an important subject since the beginning of mankind. We talk of "human rights"; "women's rights"; "children's rights"; "parents rights"; "grandparents rights"; "gay rights"; "taxpayer's rights"; "animal rights"; "victim's rights"; "debtor's rights." Everyone wants their rights. Islam provides those rights - and more.
DAYS OF IGNORANCE - BEFORE ISLAM
When Islam came to the ignorant Arabs living in the desert over 14 centuries ago, the poor and weak had no one to appeal to for assistance against the oppression of the wealthy and powerful. Rulers and leaders took charge by force and ruled according to their pagan customs and tribal cultures without regard or concern for the women, children, orphans or poor amongst them.
GOLDEN RULE - OF IGNORANCE
Whoever had the most power and wealth was in control. The only "Golden Rule" in those days was, "Whoever has the gold - rules."
RICH & POOR TREATED SAME
The Quran ordered the redistribution of wealth through "Zakat" and charity, for all believers. All men were to be treated fairly and without regard to their worldly possessions. The prophet, peace be upon him, told his own daughter, if she violated the law then she would be punished the same as anyone else. This was demonstrated in actual cases during the life of the prophet, peace be upon him.
WOMEN TREATED LIKE PROPERTY - BEFORE ISLAM
Females were considered as property and could be bought, sold or traded off or given away without concern. When a girl was orphaned or a woman was widowed, her estate would be immediately confiscated by some man, claiming he was now the rightful owner due to his "marriage" to the poor lady.
WOMEN HAD NO RECOURSE
Women had no recourse against the oppressive and unfair treatment of the men. The Quran gave women equal status as to ownership of property and freedom of their person. No longer could they be inherited against their will or married off in arranged marriages.
MUSLIM WOMEN DON'T PAY
Women of Islam are not tasked to pay for any of their upkeep, nor are they required to give anything to support the children. All of their wealth is theirs to keep, yet their male relatives are responsible for them from the time they are born until the time they die.
Muslim women do however, pay the "Zakat" or charity tax on wealth the same as men.
BALANCE COMES FOR WOMEN
The balance comes in the Quran in the very same verse that orders men to provide for them. Allah Almighty tells us:
MEN RESPONSIBLE FOR CARE & SECURITY OF WOMEN
Women's rights do not end after marriage in Islam, they are only just beginning. A huge emphasis for the responsibility of women is placed on men to provide for the needs and security of all the females, including the daughters, sisters, mothers and wives. Men are ordered to care for the women and protect them at their own expense:
HUSBAND & WIFE HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS TO ARBITRATION
When marital problems get out of hand, Islam is providing solutions to differences amongst couples by arbitration. Allah Almighty says:
Men are taken into consideration for their impatience. Almighty Allah says,
INFANTS AND ORPHANS NO LONGER ABUSED
The children were in not in any better condition as they had no one to look out for their interests when they were orphaned or killed without any justification according to tribal or cultural whims. New born girls were viewed as a bad omen and dealt with in the most despicable way, by being buried alive in the burning sands at the hands of their own fathers. This was one of the very first things to be forbidden by the Quran.
Allah speaks to us clearly on the subject of children, orphans and handling their estates until they are old enough to take financial matters into their own hands:
CHILDREN ALSO ORDERED TO BE OBEDIENT
Children and family rights are a vital part of Islam. No one can call themselves a believer and at the same time they are not providing for the welfare and safety of their family and children.
Allah talks about the "father's advise to his son":
ESTATES PRESERVED FOR PROPER INHERITANCE
Today there is a big demand for lawyers and legal council to help sort through financial matters whenever someone dies. What about the "rights" of those who inherit? Can a person be assured today, that his or her wealth is being distributed according to their Last Will and Testament?
Almighty Allah provided for this along with the proper amount to be given to each member of the family, according to His Will:
POOR AND NEEDY PROVIDED FOR
Regarding the poor and needy, Almighty Allah has ordered the wealthy to care for them out of their own provisions. He warns them what will happen if they are stingy or miserly:
Those having wealth and power are admonished not to look down on the less fortunate and others. Almighty Allah says,
Allah balances this by reminding those who are poor and needy not to envy or covet others good fortunes. Allah Almighty says:
We all know the effects an interest based economy has on a society. The interest on a home load can cause the total payments to exceed the value of the property 3 times over.
Allah forbids dealing with interest in the Quran, just as He did in the Bible (Bible says, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be.")
Allah Almighty says in His Quran:
Then comes a promise from Allah to those who will give up these ill-gotten worldly gains for His sake:
ANIMALS RIGHTS DEFENDED IN ISLAM
Animals had none to stand up for them when they were being beaten, over burdened or tortured and killed for sport. The prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, taught his followers that even animals have rights, and if anyone was cruel or inhumane to the animals in their charge, they would have to answer for it on the Day of Judgment.
He even gave the example of a woman who left a cat tied up to starve, while she prayed and fasted. Due to her willful neglect of this poor animal, she was deprived of any benefit from her worship and as a result had to go to Hell.
Another example he gave was that of another woman who was a prostitute who showed mercy to a poor dog on the road. She went down into a well to get a drink of water for the dog and saved his life. For this act of mercy and kindness, Allah forgave her and as a result, she was admitted to the Paradise. Hunting for sport without taking benefit from the meat or hides, just to kill for trophies is not permitted in Islam.
PLANTS AND TREES PROTECTED
Flowers, trees and other plants had never in the history of humans, had such rights as came with Islam one thousand four hundred years ago. Muslims are encouraged by prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to plant trees even if they feel sure the end of the world is tomorrow. He also did not allow destruction of crops or plant life even while in battle with their enemies.
ENEMIES GIVEN RIGHTS - 1400 YEARS BEFORE THE GENEVA CONVENTION
Speaking of enemies, Muslims were charged to take care of their enemies when captured, just as they would care for themselves. Food, drink and shelter was provided for their opponents while being held prisoners, even though it was clear the same treatment would not have been provided for Muslims should they fall in the hands of their enemies. Respect and dignity for everyone was demanded by Islam, even disbelievers who had tried to kill them, provided they had stopped and were not engaged in battle or combat at the time.
NON-MUSLIMS GIVEN RESPECT
Dignity and honor was given even to those who unintentionally violated the sanctity of the mosque. One man entered the mosque and began to urinate there, when the companions of Muhammad wanted to strike him for that. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, ordered them to let him finish, clean it up and then tell him not to do that anymore, because this is a place where we put our heads down on the ground.
ALLAH MAKES CLEAR - FOR ALL
Just as Islam provides for the rights of everyone and everything, there is also true equalization of rights by putting undeniable limits for every right. He has revealed a complete Way of life for humans to follow, showing us what is permissible and what is forbidden to us in this life.
Almighty Allah says:
LIMITATIONS VS. RIGHTS - the balance to all "Rights"
The list of rights coming with Islam is far too large and detailed for this short paper. But there is another side to Islam that few, if any take into consideration when it comes to the subject of "rights."
As we list some of the more obvious rights in Islam, we will show the balance through limitations that Islam brings about. Consider the following:
The first and foremost right in Islam, is the Right of Allah, to be worshipped alone without any partners. His servants are to love Him with their whole being, heart and soul and not to have other 'gods' beside Him. All worship is limited to Allah, without any partners or associates.
Almighty Allah says in His Quran:
Notice the "right" versus the "limitations."
The second right in Islam is that of the prophet, peace be upon him, to be followed and obeyed, as he is the messenger and representative of the Lord of the Worlds and as such he is the guide to true salvation. The limit here is that no other person, even the previous prophets should be taken into consideration when he gives any directive, as he is not speaking on his own authority, but rather on the authority of the One Almighty Allah who sent revelation to him.
Allah Almighty says:
The third right in Islam is for the parents, with a special focus on the rights of the mother. Someone came to the prophet, peace be upon him, and asked him if carrying his mother on his back around the Ka�bah in Mecca was sufficient to pay back all the rights his mother had on him. The answer was, "Not even for one birth pain." Another man asked him, "Who has the most rights on me, after Allah and His messenger?" The answer was, "Your mother." And he repeated it three times.
Allah tells us in the Quran about the many rights parents have on us, yet He balances it by saying not to obey them in worshipping false gods or taking partners with Allah in worship.
EVEN THE SOUL HAS RIGHTS
Each individual has rights over himself. As the prophet, peace be upon him, told us, "Even your body has rights over you. So, give your body its rights."
Allah Almighty forbids anyone to take their own life, thereby giving the body its own right. As Almighty Allah says: