Human Rights VS Righteousness in Islam

Homeless Child begging for money

In the name of Allah, I begin my writing.

The declaration of Human rights by the United Nations (UN) is sought as one of the greatest achievement in human moral and the progress of humanity since the second world war. Truth to be told however, although with the ongoing human rights, human moral and behavior is declining to its lowest.

We don’t have to go very far to see this. Liberty and democracy is one of the main pillars of the so-called human rights. In the name of liberty, same-sex marriage is legalised, not married same-sex relationship is legalised, sex without marriage (zina) is legalised, wearing tight clothes on the streets are legalised, alcohol consumption is legalised, gambling is legalised, riba is legalised.

All of these lead to social illnesses like dumping newborn babies, theft, mental abuse, sexual abuse, drug addiction, etc. They also lead to health issues like sexually transmitted diseases (STD), depression, and other mental health issues. Kids, especially are prone to these kind of dangers. What happens when the father is a heavy drinker? The family starts to fall apart, the father gives less attention to the family, instead, the mother is working hard to find money for her child, the child receives less love and attention, becomes a school drop-out, and what happens when the child starts to skip school? They get involved in gangs, drugs, and many of that sort.

As a result, moral is declining very fast and it is going to get worse. Some of the examples above, if not yet practiced in Malaysia, are starting to enter Malaysia. According to Numbeo, Malaysia is 20th country with the highest crime rates.

Islamic values and teachings are proven to be outstanding by looking at the struggle of the prophet Muhammad pbuh and his followers. Both Western and Muslim scholars acknowledge this. Muhammad established the Islamic civilization that impacted the whole world until today. How can Arabia in 600 AD, the worst in social, economical and political order of that time, regressive in civilization, finally became united and flourished politically, economically, socially, and all other aspects after Islam began to take ground in Medina? -Not to mention the vast contributions of Muslims back then in many fields including science, arts, medicine, botany, mathematics, algebra, pharmacy, optometry, astronomy, geography, and many more.

Why are we so into the ideas of humans instead of what Allah Azza wa Jalla has ordained for us? Why do we seek the meaning of ‘righteousness’ from humans instead of seeking for the meaning of righteousness from Allah Himself? Indeed, Allah is the Most Knowing. What is righteousness according to Allah?

لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

 

It is not righteousness (al-Birr) that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keep up sholah and pay the zakat; and those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts– these are they who are true (to themselves) and these are they who guard (against evil).

(Al-Baqarah, 2:177)

Righteousness (al-Birr) in Islam is far different from the Human rights created by fallible humans themselves. Righteousness is not “that you turn your faces to the East and the West“- although this verse usually relates to the qiblat in prayers, it can also mean it is not about looking at the West’s (like Europe) standard of peace, or the East’s (like Japan) moral practices. And it is definitely not fighting for the faulty and untrustworthy “human rights”. Instead, righteousness (al-Birr) is:

  1. Believe in Allah, the last day, angels, the Book, the prophets
  2. Give away wealth although loving it
  3. Maintain relationship (sholah) and zakat (charity tax)
  4. Keeping promises
  5. Patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts

Do the human rights have any of these in their constitution? Are there any documents or treaties that ensure any of the above? Is there even any country in this world that upholds all of the above?

Al-Birr unites people by believing in the one true God,  instead of splitting people to devote to different ideologies, countries or gods;

الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ

“…but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets…”

Al-Birr is about compassion and sacrifice while humans rights are about excessive liberty and selfishness;

وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ

…and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives,…

لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنْفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚ وَمَا تُنْفِقُوا مِنْ شَيْءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَلِيمٌ

Never will you attain the good [al-Birr] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. (Ali Imran, 3:92)

Al-Birr is about making good ties between humans by establishing sholah, and between the rich and poor by paying zakat (charity tax), while human right’s product, capitalism, makes the rich richer and the poor poorer;

وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ

…keep up sholah (horizontal and vertical relationship) and pay the zakat…

Al-Birr is about integrity and virtues:

وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ

…and those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts…

Al-Birr is uniting and all-encompassing, it is about compassion and sacrifice, making good ties between God and humans, and between the rich and poor, promotes integrity and virtues. While human rights are disuniting, indifferent, selfish, promotes capitalism which makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, and, under human rights you are free to do many lustful things although morally unacceptable.

The ayat (verse) above is just a few moral teachings in Islam excluding many more advice and practices advocated in the Quran.

Sit back and think, what is the point Allah sent down the Quran if we keep following fallible human standards instead of Allah’s standards?

Allah is the Most Knowing.

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