Beginning of Human Rights in the World

Beginning of Human Rights











About the Author


Shiraz Mehboob is a result oriented Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental professional with Eleven years of experience in the fields of Occupational Health, Safety & Environmental Management in Construction Industry, Precast Manufacturing Industry, Offshore Civil & Building Project, and Gas Plant Construction & Mechanical & Electrical Installation Sector. In this period of time author writes several articles on different subjects.




We live in an age that is striking in its unprecedented technological sophistication. Unfortunately, the prejudices and inequities that have plagued the human race historically continue to exist, and are responsible for untold human suffering. It is in this context that the subject of human rights is especially pertinent. This book explains the beginning of human rights in Islam & the origins of Human Rights in the world, detailing the comprehensive and progressive entitlements of human beings described by Islam and as per the history of this world.


Beginning of Human Rights in the World


Let me start with the concept of human rights in the world. Before there were no human rights in the world if individual is in the group he/she is save but if not then they are likely to get killed or become a slave or likely to get tortured. Islam which is the world fastest-growing religion in the world explained 5 basic human rights but before I explain further I would like to demonstrate that The first thing that we find in Islam in this connection is that it lays down some rights for man as a human being. In other words it means that every man whether he belongs to this country or that, whether he is a believer or unbeliever, whether he lives in some forest or is found in some desert, whatever be the case, he has some basic human rights simply because he is a human being, which should be recognized by every Muslim. In fact it will be his duty to fulfill these obligations.


The Right to Life: The first and the foremost basic right is the right to live and respect human life. The Holy Quran lays down: Whosoever kills a human being without (any reason like) man slaughter, or corruption on earth, it is as though he had killed all mankind ... (5:32)


As far as the question of taking life in retaliation for murder or the question of punishment for spreading corruption on this earth is con- cerned, it can be decided only by a proper and competent court of law. If there is any war with any nation or country, it can be decided only by a properly established government. In any case, no human being has any right by himself to take human life in retaliation or for causing mischief on this earth. Therefore it is incumbent on every human being that under no circumstances should he be guilty of taking a human life. If anyone has murdered a human being, it is as if he has slain the entire human race. These instructions have been repeated in the Holy Quran in another place saying: Do not kill a soul which Allah has made sacred except through the due process of law ... (6:151)


Here also homicide has been distinguished from destruction of life carried out in pursuit of justice. Only a proper and competent court will be able to decide whether or not an individual has forfeited his right to life by disregarding the right to life and peace of other human beings. The Prophet, may God's blessings be on him, has declared homicide as the greatest sin only next to polytheism. The Tradition of the Prophet reads: "The greatest sins are to associate something with God and to kill human beings." In all these verses of the Quran and the Traditions of the Prophet the word 'soul' (nafs) has been used in general terms without any distinction or particularization which might have lent itself to the elucidation that the persons belong- ing to one's nation, the citizens of one's country, the people of a particular race or religion should not be killed. The injunction applies to all human beings and the destruction of human life in itself has been prohibited.


The Right to the Safety of Life: Immediately after the verse of the Holy Quran which has been mentioned in connection with the right to life, God has said: "And whoever saves a life it is as though he had saved the lives of all mankind" (5:32). There can be several forms of saving man from death. A man may be ill or wounded, irrespective of his nationality, race or color. If you know that he is in need of your help, then it is your duty that you should arrange for his treatment for disease or wound. If he is dying of starvation, then it is your duty to feed him so that he can ward off death. If he is drowning or his life is at stake, then it is your duty to save him. You will be surprised to hear that the Talmud, the religious book of the Jews, contains a verse of similar nature, but records it in altogether different form. It says: "Whoever destroyed a life of the Israelite, in the eyes of the Scripture, it is as if he destroyed the whole world. And whoever protected and saved one life of the Israelite, in the light of the Scripture, it is as if he saved the whole world." Talmud also contains the view that if a non-Israelite is drowning and you tried to save him then you are a sinner. Can it be given a name other than racialism? We regard it as our duty to save every human life, because it is thus that we have been enjoined in the Holy Quran. On the other hand, if they regard it necessary to save the life of a human being at all, it should be the life of an Israelite. As far as other people are concerned, according to this view, they do not seem to be human enough to deserve protection of their persons. In their literature the concept of 'Goyim' for which the English word 'Gentile' and the Arabic word ummi (illiterate) is used, is that they enjoy no human rights; human rights are reserved only for the children of Israel. The Quran has mentioned this belief of the Israelites and quotes the Jews saying: "There is no blame on us (for anything we may do) with regard to the unlettered folk (i.e. the ummi)" (3:75).


Respect for the Chastity of Women: The woman’s chastity has to be respected and protected under all circumstances and these include; whether she belongs to our own nation or to the enemy; whether we find her in the wild forest or in a conquered city; Whether she is an Islam or not or has no religion at all; A Muslim cannot outrage her under any circumstances & all promiscuous relationship has been forbidden to him, irrespective of the status or position of the woman, or even if she has given her consent.


The words of the Holy Quran in this respect are: "Do not approach (the bounds of) adultery" (17:32). Heavy punishment has been prescribed for this crime, and the order has not been qualified by any conditions. Since the violation of chastity of a woman is forbidden in Islam, a Muslim who perpetrates this crime cannot escape punishment whether he receives it in this world or in the Hereafter. This concept of sanctity of chastity and protection of women can be found nowhere else except in Islam.


The Right to a Basic Standard of Life: According to the Article published on Internet regarding ‘Right to Basic Necessities of Life in Islam: Meaning and Concept’ by Islamic Professors (Dr. AtiqueTahir is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Shariah and Law, International Islamic University, Islamabad ; Dr Atiq-uz- Zafar khan is Assistant Professor in the International Institute of Islamic Economics , International Islamic University Islamabad ; Ataullah Khan Mahmood is Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Shariah and Law, International Islamic University, Islamabad)


The concept of basic necessaries of life in Islam is as old as Islam itself. The term used for necessaries in Islam is ‘haajat’ which stands for basic needs of man’s life. Its dictionary meaning is: “Anything which compels a person or anything a person is in dire need of like food at the time of hunger.”1 In the words of AlMaujam-al-Waseet, it means: “Everything a person cannot do without; everything which is needed.” In the terminology of Shariah, the broadest meaning is that which the Ulama-Usuliyyeen gave in their debate on objectives of Shariah. Imam Shatibi (RH) says:


Necessities mean those things one cannot do without to fulfill his worldly and ‘deeni’ (Islamic) needs. If he does not get them, he will not be able to live his life properly; rather his worldly affairs will run into difficulty to the extent that life, itself, may come to an end.”


Ali Hezbollah gives the definition as: “Necessary aims are those on which worldly and religious life is based on and if one loses them, his worldly life will get uprooted” This right of basic necessaries to life has been recognized by the Quran in these words: “And in their wealth is the due share of the beggar and the destitute.” The point to note is that in the above ayah of the Holy Quran the ‘basic necessaries’ have been declared as the right of the poor and needy as a share in the wealth of the rich. The rich do not give any share of their own wealth in the form of zakat but give back only what belongs to the poor. Thus it is incumbent on the wealthy Muslims to help out the poor and the needy irrespective of the fact whether they ask for assistance or not, it is their duty to reach them and give all the help that they can extend.


To illustrate this principle, when sending out Maaz bin-eJabal to Yemen (as the governor), the Messenger (SAW) instructed as: “Tell them that Allah has imposed on their goods, Sadqah (Zakat) which will be realized from their haves and distributed among their have-nots.” In many other ayat of the Holy Quran reference has been made to the basic necessaries of life. In Surah Al-Baqara While talking about the creation of Adam (AS), Allah (SWT) says: “And We said: O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Zâlimûn(wrong-doers).”


Individual's Right to Freedom: Islam has clearly and categorically forbidden the primitive practice of capturing a free man, to make him a slave or to sell him into slavery. On this point the clear and unequivocal words of the Prophet (S) are as follows: "There are three categories of people against whom I shall myself be a plaintiff on the Day of Judgement. Of these three, one is he who enslaves a free man, then sells him and eats this money" (al-Bukhari and Ibn Majjah). The words of this Tradition of the Prophet are also general, they have not been qualified or made applicable to a particular nation, race, country or followers of a particular religion. Withal According to Holy Quran Surah Al-An'am 6:151 (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)



In 539 B.C, the armies of Cyrus the Great, the first king of ancient Persia, conquered the city of Babylon. Here I would like to demonstrate that according to some Scholars, The Cyrus was identified as Dhul-Qarnayn which is an Arabic word which means that "he of the two horns", his name appear in Surah 18 verses 83-101 of the Qur'an. The Quran is the central religious text of Islam. We Muslims believe it represents the words of God revealed by the archangel Gabriel to Muhammad (S.A.W). According to Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surat l-māidah Verse (5:32) {Because of that, we decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors}.


Cyrus the Great (c 600 or 576 – 530 BC) figures in the Hebrew Bible as the patron and deliverer of the Jews. He is mentioned 23 times by name and alluded to several times more. From these statements it appears that Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, was the monarch under whom the Babylonian Captivity ended.


& in 539 B.C conquered he freed the slaves, declared that all people had the right to choose their own religion, and established racial equality. These and other decrees were recorded on a baked-clay cylinder in the Akkadian language with cuneiform script.


Known today as the Cyrus Cylinder, this ancient record has now been recognized as the world’s first charter of human rights according to western culture. It is translated into all six official languages of the United Nations and its provisions parallel the first four Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This ancient clay cylinder, now broken into several pieces, it was discovered in the ruins of Babylon in Mesopotamia (Modern Iraq) in 1879 by Assyro-British archaeologist Hormuzud Rassam during a lengthy programme of excavations in Mesopotamia (Modern Iraq) carried out for the British Museum

Hormuzd Rassam (1826 – 16 September 1910), was a Chaldean Mesopotamian archeologist who made a number of important discoveries from 1877 to 1882, including the clay tablets that contained the Epic of Gilgamesh, the world's oldest literature. He is accepted as the first-known Chaldeans, Ottoman and Middle Eastern archaeologist. He was known to be Christian. Later in life, he emigrated to the United Kingdom, where he was naturalized as a British citizen, settling in Brighton. He represented the government as a diplomat, helping to free British diplomats from captivity in Ethiopia


This ancient clay cylinder is currently in the possession of the British Museum, which sponsored the expedition that discovered the cylinder. Irving Finkel who is currently a British philologist and Assyriologist. He is currently the Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian script, languages and cultures in the Department of the Middle East in the British Museum stated that ‘the ancient clay cylinder was for the Babylonian audience and was written in Babylonian language which is a Semitic tongue related to the modern languages of Hebrew language, Arabic Language and Aramaic language. The writing system which Cyrus Official Use was traditional cuneiform script (which was one of the earliest system of writing, invented in Ancient Iraq well before 3000 BC. It was written by pressing a stylus, something a bit like a chopstick into the surface of clay which was nearly dry. The sign which convey the sound of the language consists of different arrangements of the stroke and written one by one and the reader has to join the sound emerges from the clay’.


According to British Museum ‘the early lines on the excels Cyrus’s virtues & his reasons for invading Babylon’. From Babylon, the idea of human rights spread quickly to India, Greece and eventually Rome. There the concept of “natural law” arose, in observation of the fact that people tended to follow certain unwritten laws in the course of life, and Roman law was based on rational ideas derived from the nature of things. Documents asserting individual rights, such as the Magna Carta (1215), the Petition of Right (1628), the US Constitution (1787), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), and the US Bill of Rights (1791) are the written precursors to many of today’s human rights documents. This is the overall beginning of Human Rights in this World.





Publication Date: 06-20-2017

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