7. Freedom of Association
Islam has also given people the right to freedom of association and formation of parties or organizations.
right is also subject to certain general rules. It should be exercised
for propagating virtue and righteousness and should never be used for
spreading evil and mischief.
We have not only been given this
right for spreading righteousness and virtue, but have been ordered to
exercise this right. Addressing the Muslims, the Holy Quran declares:
are the best community which has been brought forth for mankind. You
command what is proper and forbid what is improper and you believe in
God ..." (3:110)
means that it is the obligation and duty of the entire Muslim community
that it should invite and enjoin people to righteousness and virtue and
forbid them from doing evil.
If the entire Muslim community is not able to perform this duty then "let there be a community among you who will invite (people) to (do) good, command what is proper and forbid what is improper, those will be prosperous" (3:104).
clearly indicates that if the entire Muslim nation collectively begins
to neglect its obligation to invite people to goodness and forbid them
from doing evil then it is absolutely essential that it should contain
at least a group of people which may perform this obligation.
has been said before this is not only a right but an obligation and on
the fulfillment of which depends success and prosperity here as well as
in the Hereafter.
It is an irony with the religion of God that
in a Muslim country the assembly and association that is formed for the
purposes of spreading evil and mischief should have the right to rule
over the country and the association and party which has been formed for
propagating righteousness and virtue should live in perpetual fear of
harassment and of being declared illegal.
Conditions here are
just the reverse of what has been prescribed by God. The claim is that
we are Muslims and this is an Islamic State5 but the work that is being
done is directed to spreading evil, to corrupt and morally degrade and
debase the people while there is an active and effective check on the
work being carried out for reforming society and inviting people to
Moreover the life of those who are engaged in
spreading righteousness and checking the spread of evil and wickedness
is made intolerable and hard to bear.
8. Freedom of Conscience and Conviction
also gives the right to freedom of conscience and conviction to its
citizens in an Islamic State. The Holy Quran has laid down the
injunction: "There should be no coercion in the matter of faith" (2:256).
there is no truth and virtue greater than the religion of Truth-Islam,
and Muslims are enjoined to invite people to embrace Islam and advance
arguments in favour of it, they are not asked to enforce this faith on
No force will be applied in order to compel them to accept Islam. Whoever accepts it he does so by his own choice.
Muslims will welcome such a convert to Islam with open arms and admit him to their community with equal rights and privileges.
if somebody does not accept Islam, Muslims will have to recognize and
respect his decision, and no moral, social or political pressure will be
put on him to change his mind.
9. Protection of Religious Sentiments
with the freedom of conviction and freedom of conscience, Islam has
given the right to the individual that his religious sentiments will be
given due respect and nothing will be said or done which may encroach
upon this right. It has been ordained by God in the Holy Quran:
"Do not abuse those they appeal to instead of God"
(6:108). These instructions are not only limited to idols and deities,
but they also apply to the leaders or national heroes of the people.
a group of people holds a conviction which according to you is wrong,
and holds certain persons in high esteem which according to you is not
deserved by them, then it will not be justified in Islam that you use
abusive language for them and thus injure their feelings.
does not prohibit people from holding debate and discussion on religious
matters, but it wants that these discussions should be conducted in
decency. "Do not argue with the people of the Book unless it is in the politest manner"
(29:46)- says the Quran. This order is not merely limited to the people
of the Scriptures, but applies with equal force to those following
10. Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment
Islam also recognizes the right of the individual that he will not be arrested or imprisoned for the offences of others.
The Holy Quran has laid down this principle clearly: "No bearer of burdens shall be made to bear the burden of another" (6:164).
believes in personal responsibility. We ourselves are responsible for
our acts, and the consequence of our actions cannot be transferred to
In other words this means that every man is
responsible for his actions. If another man has not shared this action
then he cannot be held responsible for it, nor can he be arrested.
is a matter of great regret and shame that we are seeing this just and
equitable principle which has not been framed by any human being, but by
the Creator and Nourisher of the entire universe, being flouted and
violated before our eyes.
So much so that a man is guilty of a
crime or he is a suspect, but his wife being arrested for his crime.
Things have gone so far that innocent people are being punished for the
crimes of others.
To give a recent example, in Karachi (Pakistan), a man was suspected of being involved in a bomb throwing incident.
the course of police investigation he was subjected to horrible torture
in order to extract a confession from him. When he insisted on his
innocence, then the police arrested his mother, his wife, daughter and
sister and brought them to the police station.
They were all
stripped naked in his presence and he was stripped naked of all his
clothes before their eyes so that a confession of the crime could be
extracted from him.
It appears as if for the sake of
investigation of crime it has become proper and legal in our country to
strip the innocent women folk of the household in order to bring
pressure on the suspect.
This is indeed very outrageous and
shameful. This is the height of meanness and depravity. This is not a
mere hearsay which I am repeating here, but I have full information
about this case and can prove my allegations in any court of law.
would here like to ask what right such tyrants who perpetrate these
crimes against mankind have to tell us that they are Muslims or that
they are conducting the affairs of the state according to the teachings
of Islam and their state is an Islamic State.
They are breaching
and flouting a clear law of the Holy Quran. They are stripping men and
women naked which is strictly forbidden in Islam. They disgrace and
humiliate humanity and then they claim that they are Muslims.
11. The Right to Basic Necessities of Life
Islam has recognized the right of the needy people that help and assistance will be provided for them. "And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute" (51:19).
In this verse,
the Quran has not only conferred a right on every man who asks for
assistance in the wealth of the Muslims, but has also laid down that if a
Muslim comes to know that a certain man is without the basic
necessities of life, then irrespective of the fact whether he asks for
assistance or not, it is his duty to reach him and give all the help
that he can extend.
For this purpose Islam has not depended only
on the help and charity that is given voluntarily, but has made
compulsory charity, zakat as the third pillar of Islam, next only to profession of faith and worship of God through holding regular prayers.
The Prophet has clearly instructed in this respect that: "It will be taken from their rich and given to those in the community in need" (al-Bukhari and Muslim).
In addition to this, it has also been declared that the Islamic State
should support those who have nobody to support them. The Prophet has
said: "The Head of state is the guardian of him, who has nobody to support him" (Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi).
word wali which has been used by the Prophet is a very comprehensive
word and has a wide range of meanings. If there is an orphan or an aged
man, if there is a crippled or unemployed person, if one is invalid or
poor and has no one else to support him or help him, then it is the duty
and the responsibility of the state to support and assist him.
If a dead man has no guardian or heir, then it is the duty of the state to arrange for his proper burial.
In short the state has been entrusted with the duty and responsibility of looking after all those who need help and assistance.
A truly Islamic State is therefore a truly welfare state which will be the guardian and protector of all those in need.
12. Equality Before Law
Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of the law.
far as the Muslims are concerned, there are clear instructions in the
Holy Quran and hadith that in their rights and obligations they are all
equal: "The believers are brothers (to each other)" (49:10). "If they (disbelievers) repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-due, they are your brothers in faith" (9:11).
The Prophet has said that: "The life and blood of Muslims are equally precious" (Abu Dawud; Ibn Majjah). In another hadith he has said: "The protection given by all Muslims is equal. Even an ordinary man of them can grant protection to any man" (al-Bukhari; Muslim; Abu Dawud).
another more detailed Tradition of the Prophet, it has been said that
those who accept the Oneness of God, believe in the Prophet hood of His
Messenger, give up primitive prejudices and join the Muslim community
"then they have the same rights and obligations as other Muslims have" (al-Bukhari; al-Nisa'i)”.
religious brotherhood and the uniformity of their rights and
obligations is the foundation of equality in Islamic society, in which
the rights and obligations of any person are neither greater nor lesser
in any way than the rights and obligations of other people.
As far as the non- Muslim citizens of the Islamic State are concerned, the rule of Islamic Shari'ah (law) about them has been very well expressed by the Caliph 'Ali in these words: "They have accepted our protection only because their lives may be like our lives and their properties like our properties" (Abu Dawud).
In other words,
their (of the dhimmis) lives and properties are as sacred as the lives
and properties of the Muslims. Discrimination of people into different
classes was one of the greatest crimes that, according to the Quran,
Pharaoh used to indulge in: "He had divided his people into different classes," ... "And he suppressed one group of them (at the cost of others)" (28:4).
13. Rulers Not Above the Law
clearly insists and demands that all officials of the Islamic State,
whether he be the head or an ordinary employee, are equal in the eyes of
None of them is above the law or can claim immunity.
Even an ordinary citizen in Islam has the right to put forward a claim
or file a legal complaint against the highest executive of the country.
The Caliph 'Umar said, "I
have myself seen the Prophet, may God's blessings be on him, taking
revenge against himself (penalizing himself for some shortcoming or
failing)." On the occasion of the Battle of Badr, when the
Prophet was straightening the rows of the Muslim army he hit the belly
of a soldier in an attempt to push him back in line. The soldier
complained "O Prophet, you have hurt me with your stick." The Prophet
immediately bared his belly and said: "I am very sorry, you can revenge by doing the same to me." The soldier came forward and kissed the abdomen of the Prophet and said that this was all that he wanted.
belonging to a high and noble family was arrested in connection with a
theft. The case was brought to the Prophet, and it was recommended that
she may be spared the punishment of theft.
The Prophet replied: "The
nations that lived before you were destroyed by God because they
punished the common men for their offences and let their dignitaries go
unpunished for their crimes; I swear by Him (God) who holds my life in
His hand that even if Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad, has committed this crime then I would have amputated her hand."
During the caliphate of 'Umar, Muhammad the son of 'Amr ibn al-'As
the Governor of Egypt, whipped an Egyptian. The Egyptian went to Medina
and lodged his complaint with the Righteous Caliph, who immediately
summoned the Governor and his son to Medina.
When they appeared
before him in Medina, the Caliph handed a whip to the Egyptian
complainant and asked him to whip the son of the Governor in his
presence. After taking his revenge when the Egyptian was about to hand
over the whip to 'Umar, he said to the Egyptian: "Give one stroke of
the whip to the Honourable Governor as well. His son would certainly
have not beaten you were it not for the false pride that he had in his
father's high office." The plaintiff submitted: "The person, who had beaten me, I have already avenged myself on him." 'Umar said: "By
God, if you had beaten him (the Governor) I would not have checked you
from doing so. You have spared him of your own free will." Then he ('Umar) angrily turned to 'Amr ibn al-'As and said: "O 'Amr, when did you start to enslave the people, though they were born free of their mothers?"
When the Islamic State was flourishing in its pristine glory and
splendour, the common people could equally lodge complaints against the
caliph of the time in the court and the caliph had to appear before the
qadi to answer the charges.
And if the caliph had any complaint
against any citizen, he could not use his administrative powers and
authority to set the matter right, but had to refer the case to the
court of law for proper adjudication.
14. The Right to Avoid Sin
also confers this right on every citizen that he will not be ordered to
commit a sin, a crime or an offence; and if any government, or the
administrator, or the head of department orders an individual to do a
wrong, then he has the right to refuse to comply with the order.
His refusal to carry out such crime or unjust instructions would not be regarded as an offence in the eyes of the Islamic law.
the contrary giving orders to one's subordinates to commit a sin or do a
wrong is itself an offence and such a serious offence that the officer
who gives this sinful order whatever his rank and position may be, is
liable to be summarily dismissed.
These clear instructions of the Prophet are summarized in the following hadith: "It is not permissible to disobey God in obedience to the orders of any human being" (Musnad of Ibn Hanbal).
other words, no one has the right to order his subordinates to do
anything against the laws of God. If such an order is given, the
subordinate has the right to ignore it or openly refuse to carry out
such instructions. According to this rule no offender will be able to
prove his innocence or escape punishment by saying that this offence was
committed on the orders of the government or superior officers.
such a situation arises then the person who commits the offence and the
person who orders that such an offence be committed, will both be
liable to face criminal proceedings against them.
And if an
officer takes any improper and unjust measures against a subordinate who
refuses to carry out illegal orders, then the subordinate has the right
to go to the court of law for the protection of his rights, and he can
demand that the officer be punished for his wrong or unjust orders.
15. The Right to Participate in the Affairs of State
According to Islam, governments in this world are actually representatives (khulafa')
of the Creator of the universe, and this responsibility is not
entrusted to any individual or family or a particular class or group of
people but to the entire Muslim nation.
The Holy Quran says: "God has promised to appoint those of you who believe and do good deeds as (His) representatives on earth" (24:55). This clearly indicates that khilafah is
a collective gift of God in which the right of every individual Muslim
is neither more nor less than the right of any other person.
The correct method recommended by the Holy Quran for running the affairs of the state is as follows: "And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves" (42:38).
to this principle it is the right of every Muslim that either he should
have a direct say in the affairs of the state or a representative
chosen by him and other Muslims should participate in the consultation
of the state.
Islam, under no
circumstance, permits or tolerates that an individual or a group or
party of individuals may deprive the common Muslims of their rights, and
usurps powers of the state. Similarly, Islam does not regard it right
and proper that an individual may put up a false show of setting up a
legislative assembly and by means of underhand tactics such as fraud,
persecution, bribery, etc., gets himself and men of his choice elected
in the assembly.
This is not only a treachery against the people
whose rights are usurped by illegal and unfair means, but against the
Creator Who has entrusted the Muslims to rule on this earth on His
behalf, and has prescribed the procedure of an assembly for exercising
these powers. The shura or the legislative assembly has no other meaning except that:
The executive head of the government and the members of the assembly
should be elected by free and independent choice of the people.
2. The people and their representatives should have the right to criticize and freely express their opinions.
The real conditions of the country should be brought before the people
without suppressing any fact so that they may be able to form their
opinion about whether the government is working properly or not.
There should be adequate guarantee that only those people who have the
support of the masses should rule over the country and those who fail to
win this support should be removed from their position of authority.
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