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Rights of Human Beings, Animals and Plants in Islam

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Human Rights in Islam Part 8
Human Rights in Islam

*Rights Of Employees/Laborers*

*Rights of Laborers*

*labor force. Such a relationship must be based on equality, goodwill and the brotherhood of Islam. This is based on the Hadith of God’s Messenger ﷺ*

*‘Your workers and servant are your brothers whom God has placed under you. Whosoever has one under him should feed him of what he eats, clothe him of what he clothes himself, and must not burden him over their ability. But if you must burden them, then help them.’ (Bukhari, Hadith no. 5702.)*

*Furthermore, Islam upholds the honor and the dignity of the workers. God’s Messenger ﷺ is reported to have said,*

“*The best of income is that which results from honest labor.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 8419.)*

*Islam requires an employer to declare the wages to the worker before the worker embarks on the required work.’ (Baihaqi and Abdul Razzaq in al-Musannaf.)*

*God’s Messenger s has assured the rights of the worker and the wages he is going to receive. God’s Messenger ﷺ is reported to have said,*

*“I am the adversary of three people on the Day of Judgment: one who gave in my name and then was treacherous, one who enslaved a free man and consumed the price and a man who employs a worker but does not pay him his rightful wages.” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 2114.)*

*God’s Messenger ﷺ has even instructed the employer to pay the wages of his worker before their sweat dries. (Ibn Majah, Hadith no. 2468.)*

*Rights of Employees*

*Islam equally requires workers to maintain good relations with their employer. Islam requires workers to fulfill their duties towards their employer to the best of their abilities and talent. Workers must not neglect or harm their employer or his work in any way. God’s Messenger ﷺ is reported to have said,*

*“God likes a worker to excel in his work.” (Abu Ya’la Hadith no.4386. and Baihaqi in al-Shuáb Hadith no.5312.)*

*In order to encourage sincerity in work and to protect one’s dignity, Islam made the earning of a laborer the best of all earnings if he were sincere in his work. The Prophet ﷺ said:*

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*“The best earning is what is earned with the labor of the hand in sincerity”. (Ahmad, Hadith no.8393.)*

*Rights Of Other Creatures*

*Rights Of Animals*

*All pet animals must be well fed, decently cared for and kindly treated. God’s Messenger ﷺ is reported to have said,*

*“A woman was made to enter the Hell-fire because of a cat which she locked up until it died. The woman did not feed the cat, nor did she offer it water to drink, nor did she permit it to roam to eat from the insects of the earth.” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 5702 and Muslim, Hadith no. 1661.)*

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*Animals must not be over-loaded when hauling goods (on their backs) in such a manner that they cannot bear the load. Animals must not be tortured, hurt or beaten for any reason. God’s Messenger ﷺ is reported to have said,*

*“God curses a person who burns an animal for marking and tattooing” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 2236 and Muslim, Hadith no. 2110.)*

*Islam prohibits people to use an animal as a live target. It is reported that Ibn Omar passed by a group of young-men who used a bird as an aiming target. Ibn Omar asked about the person who did so and then commented, “God curses the person who does so.” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 5196 and Muslim, Hadith no. 1958)*

*Islam condemns people who mutilate animals after killing them.’ (Bukhari, Hadith no. 5196.)*

*Islam also forbids abusing or harming animals as mentioned in the Hadith reported by Ibn Mas’ood: ‘We were traveling in the company of God’s Messenger.He went away to answer the call of nature. While he was away, we saw a female bird along with its two little babies. We took the little birds so the mother bird started flying over us. When God’s Messenger ﷺ returned back, he noticed what we had done. He s asked, “Who has agitated this (bird) by taking its babies?
Immediately return its babies to it!” And he saw a colony of ants we had burnt so he said: “Who burnt these? We said: We did. He said: “Verily nobody should torment with the fire except the Lord of the Fire”.*

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*Islam, furthermore, commands mercy while slaughtering animals for eating. It is not allowed to sharpen the knife in front of the animal to be slaughtered or in the presence of other animals. Nor is it permitted to kill them by breaking their necks, striking them or electrocuting, or to start skinning them before they are completely dead. The Prophet s said:*

*“Verily God ordains that you be kind to everything. So if you kill, kill in a good manner, and if you slaughter, slaughter in a good manner. So sharpen your knife to make the slaughtering process easy and fast.” (Muslim, Hadith no. 1955.)*

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*At the same time Islam commands us to kill dangerous and harmful animals and/or insects in order to protect humans from the harm of the animals because man’s life is sacred in the Sight of God as God has made him the most honorable creature on the earth. Therefore, if the animals’ rights are important in the Sight of God, the rights of the human beings are more so!*

Almighty God states in the Qur’an:

*(We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.) [17:70]*

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*Not only is this kind and just treatment ordered to protect the animals from any cruelty, but it also expiates the sins of a Muslim and becomes a reason for him being admitted into Jannah (Heavenly Gardens). God’s Messenger ﷺ is reported to have said:*

*“While a man was on his way, he suffered from tremendous thirst. So he found a well and descended down the well, drank his fill and came back up. At the top of the well he saw a dog panting and licking the dirt out of severe thirst. The man thought to himself, ‘this dog must be suffering from the same thirst I suffered from. So he descended down the well again, filled his shoe with water and holding the shoe with his mouth climbed back up and had the dog drink the water. God, the Exalted, praised him and accepted his deed (for this act of mercy) and forgave him his sins.” They asked: O Messenger of God! Are we rewarded for what we do for animals?’ He s replied: “Yes, indeed. In kindness to every living soul there is reward.” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 5663.)*

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*Rights Of Plants & Trees*

*Islam permits benefiting from the fruits of trees but forbids cutting them or breaking their branches without a genuine reason. On the contrary, Islam commands us to preserve trees and encourages any reproduction process or activities which help in growing more trees. God’s Messenger ﷺ said,*

*“If the Hour [of the Last Day] took place while one of you is holding a palm-tree seedling [to plant in the dirt], then if he can plant it before standing up, he should do it.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 12901.)*

*Islam considers planting of useful plants and beneficial trees as charity for which a Muslim is rewarded. God’s Messenger ﷺ:said*

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*“Never a Muslim plants something or cultivates it, of which birds, human beings or animals eat, but a reward is given to him for this charity.” (Muslim, Hadith no. 2195.)*

*Other Rights*

*Miscellaneous Rights*

*Islam regulates certain rights for roadside and public passages. God’s Messenger ﷺ is reported to have said:*

*‘Avoid sitting on roadsides [or sidewalks].’ The Companions who were present at the time commented, ‘O Messenger of God! Roadsides are outlets for us where we can sit, enjoy and talk.’ Upon hearing this comment God’s Messenger s replied, ‘If you cannot avoid sitting on sidewalks then give the sidewalks their due rights.’ The Companions then inquired, ‘O Messenger of God! What are the rights of the sidewalks?’ God’s Messenger s replied, “Lowering your gaze [when a female crosses or passes by], clearing the path from harmful things, returning the salaam [Islamic greetings], enjoining good and forbidding evil.” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 2121 and Muslim Hadith no. 2333.)*

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*God’s Messenger ﷺ is reported to also have said,*

*“Removing any harmful items of the road is a charitable act [which is rewarded and cherished by God.].” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 2827.)*

*Besides this, God’s Messenger s is reported to have instructed, ‘Fear the two acts that cause you to be cursed.’ The Companions, who were present at the time, inquired: ‘O Messenger of God! What are those acts that are the cause to be cursed?’ God’s Messenger ﷺ replied:*

*“The person who answers the call of nature on the public passages or in the shades where people seek rest” (Muslim, Hadith no. 269.)*

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*In general, Islam makes it obligatory on Muslims to be considerate and caring with each other, no matter where they are. The Prophet said:*

*“The similitude of the believers in their mutual care, love and kindness to one another is like one human body: if one organ aches, this prompts the entire body to become feverish and to remain awake.” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 5665.)*

*And he ordered Muslims to work towards the betterment of their brother Muslims:*

*“None of you is a true believer until he loves for his Muslim brother what he loves for himself.” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 13.)*

*In the times of need, the Prophetﷺ said:*

*The believers, one to another, are like a firm structure, each brick supporting the other.” He then intertwined his fingers. (Bukhari, Hadith no. 5680.)*

*Muslims are prohibited to abandon each other, as the Prophet ﷺ said:*

*“Anyone who does not support another Muslim when his sacred rights are attacked and his honor is demeaned; God will forsake him at a time when he needs His help. No one helps a Muslim when his honor is demeaned and his sacred rights are attacked except that God will help him when he would need His help”. (Abu Dawood, Hadith no. 4884.)*

*However, if these rules or rights were not enforced, they would have remained ideals and dreams only in the minds of people. If there is no authority to enforce, they will remain only utopian ideals. It is reported that God’s Messenger ﷺ said,*

*“You should stop an ignorant person from doing evil. You should force such an ignorant person to enjoin good, or else, God shall soon expedite a speedy punishment against you.” (Abu Dawood, no.4336 and Tirmidhi no.2169.)*

*Almighty God therefore, in order to preserve and maintain such human rights in the Islamic society, has revealed unto His Messenger pertinent commandments. God commands not to exceed these limits and sets punishments and laws, which are known as Hudood (prescribed punishments) or capital punishments. He may also impose a specific punishment in the Hereafter.*

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*We will list below only a few of the commandments of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” that Islam has ordained:*

*Islam bans killing or murdering any human being. Islam categorizes such an act as one of the major sins. This is based on the verse in the Glorious Qur’an:
(And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly – We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Indeed, he has been supported [by the law].) [17:33]*

*Islam prohibits all acts of aggression against the honor, dignity and privacy of people. In fact, such acts of aggression are known as major sins in Islam. Almighty God states in the Qur’an:
(Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of fear of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.”) [6:151]*

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*Islam, further, bans all types of actions that are categorized as shameful acts, or a means to promote indecency in a society. Therefore, all acts that lead to indecent acts are also banned in Islam. God, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:*

*(And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily it is a great sin, and an evil way.) [17:32]*

*God prohibits all types of aggression against the wealth and property of others. Therefore, all forms of theft and cheating etc. are banned in Islam. This is based on the Hadith of God’s Messenger*

*“Whosoever cheats us is not one of us.” (Muslim, Hadith no. 164.)*

*Usury and all monetary interest is banned in Islam for the injustice it spreads in the economic system harming all, especially the poor. God, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:*

*(That is because they say: “Trade is like usury,” but God has permitted trade and forbidden usury.) [2:275]*

*God forbids all kinds of deception and betrayals. God states in the Qur’an:*

*(O you who believe! Betray not the trust of God and the Messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.) [8:27]*

*Islam forbids monopoly. God’s Messenger said:*

*“No one monopolizes except a wrongdoer.” (This Hadith is reported by Muslim no.1605.)*


*Islam bans all types of bribery and kickbacks. As the Hadith of God’s Messenger ﷺ tells us:*

*“May God curse those who pay out bribes and the ones who receive it.” (Abu Dawood, no.3580 and Tirmidhi, no.1336.)*

*Similar prohibitions are imposed on the devious and illegal means through which money is taken. God states in the Glorious Qur’an:
(And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful].) [2:188]*

*Islam condemns the abuse of power, position and authority to obtain personal gains. In fact, Islam empowers the ruler to reclaim all assets taken through abusive means and deposit them into the Islamic treasury. God’s Messenger s appointed a man called Ibn-ul-Lutbiyyah as a Zakah collector. When the collector brought the Zakah amount, he said: This amount is for the Islamic Treasury, but this other amount has been given to me as gifts. God’s Messenger became very upset upon hearing this from the collector. God’s Messenger said:*

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*“Were he sitting in his father’s or mother’s house, would he have received any of these gifts? By Him in Whose hands is my soul, nobody would take anything from this except that he would be carrying it on his neck on the Day of Resurrection…” Then he raised his hands until we saw the whiteness of his armpits and said: “O God! Bear witness that I have conveyed the Message” three times.” (Bukhari, Hadith no. 6772 and Muslim, Hadith no. 1832.)*

*Islam prohibits all forms of intoxicants that cloud the mind or judgment. It is commanded in the Qur’an:*

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*(O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters, and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.) [5:90]*

*All types of injuries to a person or animal such as beating and other vices such as backbiting, false testimony, gossip and so forth are also prohibited. The Qur’an warns:*

*(O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, indeed some suspicions are sins, and spy not, nor backbite one another.Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No, you would abhor it. And fear God, for God is Oft-Returning, Most-Merciful.) [49:12]*

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*Islam upholds the dignity and honor of others and forbids slandering them. Almighty God states in the Qur’an:*

*(And those who harm believing men and believing women for [something] other than what they have earned have certainly born upon themselves a slander and manifest sin.) [33:58]*

*In Islam, great importance is given to the privacy of a person and any type of intrusion is prohibited. God states in the Qur’an:*

*(If you find none in the house, enter not until permission is given to you; if you are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves and God knows all that you do.) [24:27]*

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*Justice is one of the basics of the Religion of Islam. It is not allowed to be unjust with anyone, even to one’s own self. God commands in the Qur’an:*

*(God commands justice, the doing of good and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. And fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have taken it, [O believers], and do not break oaths after their confirmation while you have made Allah, over you, a witness. Indeed, Allah knows what you do.) [16:90-91]*

*In addition, in a Hadith Qudsi, God says,*

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*(“O My slaves! I have banned injustice for Myself and I have declared injustice unlawful among you. Therefore, do not do any act of injustice to one another.” (Muslim, Hadith no. 2577.)*

*In fact, God disapproves injustice done even to those who differ with Muslims in faith. God has demanded Muslims to be kind and fair to non-Muslim residents in an Islamic State. God states in the Qur’an:*

*(God does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, God loves those who act justly.) [60:8]*

*Islam forbids abusing the beliefs of non-Muslims, for it provokes the other party to respond with reciprocal abuse. God says:
(And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge.) [6:108]*

*Instead, God instructed Muslims to use a fair and well-matured dialogue with such people: God says:*

*(Say: “O People of the Book! Come to common terms between us and you: that we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we take not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God. If then they turn back, say you: ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims (submitting to God’s Will).) [3:64]*


*Islam, further, bans all types of social, political and moral corruption and mischief. It is commanded in the Qur’an:*

*(And cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.) [7:56]*

*Islam forbids the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force. God states in the Glorious Qur’an:*

*(If it had been your Lord’s Will, they would all have believed, all who are on earth! Will you then compel mankind against their will to believe!) [10:99]*

*This does not mean that Muslims should not call others to join the Islamic monotheistic faith by delivering the Message of God to people, but instead indicates that Muslims should call to Islam in a wise, kind and comely manner. Islam has an international mission and it is neither a regional nor an ethnic call. But the guidance is in the Hands of God alone and not in the hands of people.*

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*Islam commands people to run their governments with consultation. The principle of consultation is operative in situations where there are no clear scriptures from the Qur’an and Sunnah. God states in the Glorious Qur’an:*

*(…their affairs are conducted by mutual consultation…) [42:38]*

*Islam commands that all relative rights be given to their deserving people. Islam also calls for full justice among people. Almighty God states in the Qur’an:*

*(God does command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between others, that you judge with justice: verily how excellent is the teaching which He gives you! For God is He Who hears and sees all things.) [4:58]*

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*Islam commands people to assist an oppressed person even with the use of force when necessary. This is based on the verse in the Glorious Qur’an, the meaning of which is translated as:*

*(And why should you not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect; and raise for us from You one who will help!) [4:75]*

*Islam establishes an executive system or authority for the common good. In light of the fact that there are certain categories of people, as pointed out earlier, who will never be good without applying force against their criminal activities… this system works to assure that all individuals are enjoying their relative rights. It also works to monitor and govern the execution of such rights, to prevent any aggression, and to apply appropriate punishment against violators of the laws. The following is a summary of some of the various Islamic systems that are the components of the overall executive system*

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