Rights in Islam

Rights in Islam

Islam has prescribed that its followers give people their due rights. Parents, spouses, children, neighbors; all are given specific rights according to their specific roles in this world. Through this, mutual bonds, solidity is set and strengthened between the individuals of a Muslim society. It spreads love and unity and prevents the society from fragmenting.

Allah says:

(And worship Allah [alone], and do not ascribe partners to Him. And do good unto your parents and near of kin and unto orphans, and the needy, and the neighbor from among your own people, and the neighbor who is a stranger, and the friend by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hand possess. Verily, Allah does not love those who are full of self-conceit and boastful.) (4:36)

The Prophet said:

"Everyone of you is a guardian, and responsible for what is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a woman is a guardian of her husband's house and is responsible for it, and a servant is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it." (Bukhari)

Also, the paths which people traverse have their rights that must be fulfilled. The Messenger of Islam, Muhammad said:

"Be careful and stay away from sitting on the paths." They said, "O Messenger of Allah, we have no other place to gather and talk." So he replied, "If you must do so, then give the path its right." They said, "And what is the right of the path?" He replied, "Lowering one's gaze (not looking at members of the opposite sex), not bringing harm to others, replying to salutations, and enjoining good and forbidding evil." (Bukhari)

Even animals have rights. Showing them compassion and treating them well is a means to attain forgiveness of one's sins. The Messenger of Islam, Muhammad said:

"Once a man was tending to some business, and became very thirsty. He came across a well, so he descended into it and drank from it. [When he came out], he saw a dog panting and rolling his mouth in dirt (in search of water) due to thirst. The man said, 'This dog is as thirsty as I was.' So he descended [once again] filled his boot with water and gave drink to the dog. [Due to that] Allah rewarded him by forgiving his sins." They said, "O Messenger of Allah, will we be rewarded even due to our well treatment of animals?" He replied, "Yes indeed. For [the well treatment of] every fresh liver (living thing) you will receive reward." (Bukhari)

Islam has made ill-treating animals, such as confining them [without food or drink] or torturing them, reasons for entering Hellfire. The Messenger of Islam, Muhammad said:

"A woman was punished due to a cat. She imprisoned it until it died, so she entered the Hellfire due to it. She did not feed it nor give it drink when she kept it, nor did she let it free to eat the insects (and other things) of the earth." (Bukhari)

If this is the mercy Islam shows to animals, how much more mercy would it show to humans, whom Allah has preferred and honored over all other creatures?