[3] Human Rights – Some Succinct Observations By Shaikh Saalih Aala Ash-Shaikh

In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

This lecture will not be enough to cover everything relating to this topic, but we will give you a closer acquaintance based on the core principles of Islamic law – an understanding with no ambiguity. And it will be evident to you that what the unbelievers and their followers assert about human rights based on what colonialists and enemies of Islam want is not good for Islam or Muslims, rather, it leads to interference in the affairs of Muslims, diverting them from religious adherence and directing them to follow in the footsteps of the West in matters such as freedom, equality, the relationship between a man and a woman, financial matters, rights, political affairs, and so on. (see footnote a)

The genesis of a person’s rights is referred to the meaning of Allah’s statement: [وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَم – And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam]. [Surah Al-Israa. Ayah 70]

The honour that Allah has bestowed upon the offspring of Adam is based on two things: first, humans are honoured because of their innate sound natural disposition, physical traits, and the things that Allah has subordinated to them on the earth and in the skies. Second, Allah elevated the offspring of Adam above all other creatures, giving them preference over many of the other created beings in all matters pertaining to their happiness, their means of subsistence, and their interactions with other people. And as a result, the divine legislation was sent to define Allah’s rights and those of His slaves. Allah [The Almighty] said:

 وَلَقَدۡ كَرَّمۡنَا بَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ وَحَمَلۡنَـٰهُمۡ فِى ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ وَرَزَقۡنَـٰهُم مِّنَ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ وَفَضَّلۡنَـٰهُمۡ عَلَىٰ ڪَثِيرٍ۬ مِّمَّنۡ خَلَقۡنَا تَفۡضِيلاً۬

And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Tayyibaat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preference. [Surah Al-Israa. Aayah 70]

Allah stated in the beginning of the Ayah [وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ- And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam], and at the end He said [وَفَضَّلۡنَـٰهُمۡ عَلَىٰ ڪَثِيرٍ۬ مِّمَّنۡ خَلَقۡنَا تَفۡضِيلاً۬  – and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preference].

So, the creation, revelation of divine law, the foundation of social structure, and the command that they worship Allah alone and follow the Messengers are all mentioned.

According to Westerners, the rights that fall under the umbrella of ‘Human Rights’ are divided into two categories: freedom and equality, (but) even in their own countries, the term “freedom” does not exist without restrictions. Absolute and unlimited freedom for a person to do anything he wants – without being held accountable – does not exist in any place on Earth; rather, freedoms exist where they are found, but they have limits, and people are told that anything beyond that limit is forbidden and is not freedom. This makes you understand that the word freedom is not present anywhere on the earth but in a limited sense. As for absolute freedom in everything, including dealings with wealth, politics, court judgements, one’s actions, the sanctity of life, and dealing with one’s children, this does not exist without restriction anywhere on the earth; rather, freedom varies by country, with some countries having much less freedom than others. As a result, the word freedom, which they argue is part of human rights, is not unrestricted in their eyes. So, when this is the case, and they impose constraints on freedom based on the opinions of humans, we say: “Indeed, this principle shows that limiting freedom renders the word unacceptable to all humans”. (see footnote b)

So, if the word freedom could be accepted (based on individual interpretations), then you should grant a person the freedom to do as they please, then in that case, you would be promoting absolute freedom. However, if you limit a person’s freedom through man-made regulations while also discreetly seizing control of their wealth and abilities, then this freedom is not absolute. As a result, the basis of freedom on which one advocate human rights must be viewed from the perspective that absolute freedom does not exist. Therefore, it must be limited, which means that a person is not entirely free to behave in any location on the earth in any way they wish; rather, this freedom has boundaries that they explain and differentiate, and as a result, one discovers what is known as protocols and etiquettes. And there are measures taken to deal with those who disregard the rules governing formal ceremonies and to bar anyone from entering any location while wearing any kind of clothing. Additionally, there is something that is equivalent to a lack of freedom everywhere in terms of one’s presence and speech. This is because they saw that it is not suitable to grant someone complete freedom since sometimes that freedom conflicts with what is desired and other times it conflicts with one’s relationships and other people’s rights. As a result, the notion of total freedom is negated. [Listen here: https://video.link/w/j4azb paraphrased]


Footnote a: It should be understood that, while a Muslim seeks to keep the identity required by the Creator and His final Messenger, this does not imply that Muslims do not coexist peacefully with non-Muslims. Read the clarification provided by Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allah preserve him] below.


Footnote b: Shaikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: And, while there is something in the paths of analogical reasoning and reflection that will lead to knowledge, it cannot always provide a detailed explanation in a dispute between the people of the earth due to the minute details and ambiguities [in that dispute], and at other times due to the fact that people differ when it comes to prioritising necessities. As a result, Allah [The Exalted] commanded us to return to the revelation in times of disagreement. Allah [The Almighty] said:

كَانَ ٱلنَّاسُ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَبَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ لِيَحۡكُمَ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ فِيمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ‌ۚ

Mankind was one community (i.e. upon Tawheed and Allaah’s pure Shariah) and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them, He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed]. [Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 213] Therefore, Allaah [The Most High] designated the revealed Books [i.e. the Qur’aan being the final of them] as the judge between the people in matters wherein they differ. [ Dar Ta’aarud Al-Aql Wan-Naql: 9/17-18]


Emergency Appeal 2023



Follow Us


Back to Top

More Articles



Manhaj (Methodology)

Fiqh (Rulings & Jurisprudence)

Women & Family

Innovations in Islam

Share The Knowledge