Ch 3:11. The Right to Basic Necessities of Life

Ch 3:11. The Right to Basic Necessities of Life  

Islam has recognised the right of the needy people that help and assistance will be provided for them.

“And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute” (51:19).

In this verse,

  1. the Quran has not only conferred a right on every man who asks for assistance in the wealth of the Muslims,
  2. but has also laid down that if a Muslim comes to know that a certain man is without the basic necessities of life,
  3. then irrespective of the fact whether he asks for assistance or not,
  4. it is his duty to reach him and give all the help that he can extend.
  5. For this purpose Islam has not depended only on the help and charity that is given voluntarily,
  6. but has made compulsory charity, zakat
  • as the third pillar of Islam,
  • next only to profession of faith
  • and worship of God through holding regular prayers.

The Prophet has clearly instructed in this respect that:

“It will be taken from their rich and given to those in the community in need”

(al-Bukhari and Muslim).

 

 

In addition to this, it has also been declared that the Islamic State should support those who have nobody to support them.

The Prophet has said:

“The Head of state is the guardian of him, who has nobody to support him”

 

(Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi).

The word wali which has been used by the Prophet is a very comprehensive word and has a wide range of meanings.

  1. If there is an orphan
  2. or an aged man,
  3. if there is a crippled
  4. or unemployed person,
  5. if one is invalid
  6. or poor
  7. and has no one else to support him
  8. or help him,
  • then it is the duty
  • and the responsibility of the state
  • to support
  • and assist him.

If a dead man has no guardian or heir, then it is the duty of the state to arrange for his proper burial.

In short the state has been entrusted with the duty and responsibility of looking after all those who need help and assistance.

A truly Islamic State is therefore

  • a truly welfare state
  • which will be the guardian
  • and protector of all those in need.

 

 

 

Charity:

the third pillar of Islam

Excerpt from Islam in a Nutshell by Dr. M. Hamidullah

Zakat, almsgiving, is the third pillar of Islam. The term zakat was used in the Qur’an in a number of verses. It means “growth” and “purifying”. [123]

In other words, one must purify one’s wealth by giving away something from the surplus for the benefit of society. Zakat was levied as a tax on the Muslims. Zakat is to be used for certain purposes which are determined by the Qur’an.

Alms are for the poor (al-fuqara) and the needy (al-masakin) and those employed to administer the funds; for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled to the Truth; for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of God; and for the wayfarer. (Thus it is) ordained by God, and God is full of knowledge and wisdom. [124]This tax was considered a right– a right of the poor and an obligation of the wealthy. Islam not only calls on the rich to pay this tax, from their hoarded income, but it also prohibits usury–in fact, interest of any kind. [126]

One should also add that the second caliph, ‘Umar, ruled that the poor among the non-Muslims also have a right to receive zakat. [127]

Zakat must be paid sincerely and in a spirit of selflessness. If one’s motives are mixed or worldly, then one’s charity is useless in the eyes of God. In this regard, the Qur’an gives a stern warning:

O ye who believe! Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury–like those who spend their substance to be seen of men, but believe neither in God nor the Last Day. [128]

Ch 3:8 Conscience, Conviction, 9 Religious Sentiments, 10 Imprisonment

Ch 3:8 Conscience, Conviction,

9 Religious Sentiments, 10 Imprisonment  

Ch 3:8. Freedom of Conscience, Conviction  

Islam also gives the right to freedom of conscience and conviction to its citizens in an Islamic State.

The Holy Quran has laid down the injunction:

“There should be no coercion in the matter of faith” (2:256).

  1. No force will be applied in order to compel them to accept Islam.
  2. Whoever accepts it he does so by his own choice.
  3. Muslims will welcome such a convert to Islam with open arms and admit him to their community with equal rights and privileges.
  4. But if somebody does not accept Islam,
  • Muslims will have to recognise and respect his decision,
  • and no moral,
  •  social or
  • political pressure

will be put on him to change his mind.  

Ch 3:9. Protection of Religious Sentiments 

Along with the freedom of conviction and freedom of conscience, Islam has given the right to the individual that his religious sentiments will be given due respect and nothing will be said or done which may encroach upon this right.

It has been ordained by God in the Holy Quran:

“Do not abuse those they appeal to instead of God” (6:108).

  1. These instructions are not only limited to idols and deities,
  2. but they also apply to the leaders
  3. or national heroes of the people.
  4. If a group of people holds a conviction which according to you is wrong,
  • and holds certain persons in high esteem which according to you is not deserved by them,
  • then it will not be justified in Islam that you use abusive language for them
  • and thus injure their feelings.

Islam does not prohibit people from holding debate and discussion on religious matters, but it wants that these discussions should be conducted in decency.

“Do not argue with the people of the Book unless it is in the politest manner” (29:46)-says the Quran.

This order is not merely limited to the people of the Scriptures, but applies with equal force to those following other faiths.

 Ch 3:10. Protection from Arbitrary Imprisonment

Islam also recognises the right of the individual that he will not be arrested or imprisoned for the offences of others.

The Holy Quran has laid down this principle clearly:

“No bearer of burdens shall be made to bear the burden of another” (6:164).

Islam believes in personal responsibility.

We ourselves are responsible for our acts, and the consequence of our actions cannot be transferred to someone else.

Ch 3:5 Tyranny, 6 Freedom of Expression & 7 Association

Ch 3:5 Tyranny,

6 Freedom of Expression &

7 Association

Ch 3:5. The Right to Protest against Tyranny 

Amongst the rights that Islam has conferred on human beings is the right to protest against government’s tyranny.

Referring to it the Quran says:

“God does not love evil talk in public unless it is by someone who has been injured thereby” (4:148).

God gives the person, who has been the victim of injustice or tyranny, the right to openly protest against the injury that has been done to him.  Ch 3: 6. Freedom of Expression

Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all citizens, on the condition that it should be used for the propagation of virtue and truth and not for spreading evil and wickedness.

It also does not give anybody the right to use abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism. One who tries to deny this right to his people is openly at war with God. And the same thing applies to the attempt to stop people from evil.

The Holy Quran has described this quality of the Faithful in the following words:

“They enjoin what is proper and forbid what is improper” (9:71).

The Quran mentions:

“They bid what is improper and forbid what is proper” (9:67).

The Prophet has said:
“If any one of you comes across an evil, he should try to stop it with his hand
(using force), if he is not in a position to stop it with his hand then he should try to stop it by means of his tongue (meaning he should speak against it). If he is not even able to use his tongue then he should at least condemn it in his heart. This is the weakest degree of faith” (Muslim).  

Ch 3:7. Freedom of Association  

Islam has also given people the right to freedom of association and formation of parties or organisations. It should be exercised for propagating virtue and righteousness and should never be used for spreading evil and mischief.


The Holy Quran declares:

You are the best community, which has been brought forth for mankind.
You command what is proper and forbid what is improper and you believe in God … (3:110)
 

Ch 3:4 The Security of Personal Freedom

Ch 3:4 The Security of

Personal Freedom  

Islam has also laid down the principle that no citizen can be imprisoned unless his guilt has been proved in an open court.

To arrest a man_

  1. only on the basis of suspicion

  2. and to throw him into a prison

  3. without proper court proceedings

  4. and without providing him a reasonable opportunity to produce his defence

is not permissible in Islam.

It is related in the hadith that once the Prophet was delivering a lecture in the mosque,

when a man rose during the lecture and said:

“O Prophet of God, for what crime have my neighbours been arrested?” The Prophet heard the question and continued his speech. When that man rose for a third time and repeated the same question,

the Prophet ordered that the man’s neighbours be released.

  1. The Prophet had kept quiet when the question was repeated twice earlier because_
  2. the police officer was present in the mosque
  3. and if there were proper reasons for the arrest of the neighbour of that man, he would have got up to explain his position.
  4. Since the police officer gave no reasons for these arrests the Prophet ordered that the arrested persons should be released.
  5. The police officer was aware of the Islamic law that if the charges against the arrested men cannot be disclosed in public,
  6. the Prophet would not accept the arrest order.
  7. The fact that the police officer did not give any reasons for the arrests in the open court was
  8. sufficient reason for the Prophet to give immediate orders for the release of the arrested men.


The injunction of the Holy Quran is very clear on this point.

“Whenever you judge between people, you should judge with (a sense of) justice” (4:58).

And the Prophet has also been asked by God:

“I have been ordered to dispense justice between you.”

This was the reason why the Caliph ‘Umar said:

“In Islam no one can be imprisoned except in pursuance of justice.”

The words used here clearly indicate that justice means due process of law.

What has been prohibited and condemned is_

  1. that a man be arrested
  2. and imprisoned without proof of his guilt
  3. in an open court
  4. and without providing him an opportunity to defend himself against those charges.

The correct method of dealing with such cases in Islam is exemplified in the famous decision of the Prophet which took place before the conquest of Makkah. The Prophet was making preparations for the attack on Makkah,

when one of his Companions, Hatib ibn Abi Balta’ah sent a letter through a woman to the authorities in Makkah informing them about the impending attack.

The Prophet came to know of this through a Divine inspiration.

To inform the enemy about a secret of an army and that too at the time of a war is a very serious offence tantamount to treachery.

The Prophet summoned Hatib

  1. to the open court of the Mosque of the Prophet
  2. and in the presence of hundreds of people
  3. asked him to explain his position with regard to his letter, which had been intercepted.

The accused said:

“O God’s Messenger (may God’s blessings be on you) I have not revolted against Islam, nor was betraying a military secret. My wife and children are living in Makkah and I could not protect them. I had written this letter so that the leaders of Quraysh may be indebted to me and may protect my wife and children out of gratitude.”

It was a clear case of treachery and betrayal of military secrets. But the Prophet acquitted Hatib on two counts. Firstly,

  • that his past records were very clean
  • and since on the occasion of the Battle of Badr, he had risked his life for Islam.

Secondly,

  • his family was in fact in danger at Makkah.
  • Therefore, if he had shown some human weakness for his children and written this letter, then
  • this punishment was quite sufficient for him that his secret offence was divulged in public
  • and he had been disgraced
  • and humiliated in the eyes of the believers.

The attitude and activities of the Kharijis in the days of the Caliph ‘Ali are well-known. They used to abuse the Caliph openly, and threaten him with murder. But whenever they were arrested for these offences, ‘Ali would set them free and tell his officers

As long as they do not actually perpetrate offences against the State,

  • the mere use of abusive language

  • or the threat of use of force

  • are not such offences for which they can be imprisoned.”

The imam Abu Hanifah has recorded the following saying of the Caliph ‘Ali (A):

“As long as they do not set out on armed rebellion, the Caliph of the Faithful will not interfere with them.”

On another occasion ‘Ali was delivering a lecture in the mosque when the Kharijis raised their special slogan there.

‘Ali said:

“We will not deny you_

  1. the right to come to the mosques to worship God,

  2. nor will we stop to give your share from the wealth of the State,

  3. as long as you are with us

  4. (and support us in our wars with the unbelievers)

  5. and we shall never take military action against you

  6.  as long as you do not fight with us.”

Ch 3:2 Honour, 3:3 Private Life Sanctity & Security

Ch 3:2 Honour,

3:3 Private Life Sanctity & Security  

Ch 3:2. The Protection of Honour 

The second important right is the right of the citizens to the protection of their honour.

In the address delivered on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj,

the Prophet did not only prohibit the life _

  1. and property of the Muslims to one another,
  2. but also any encroachment upon their honour,
  3. respect and
  4. chastity were forbidden to one another.

The Holy Quran clearly lays down:

  1. “You who believe, do not let one (set of) people make fun of another set. 
  2. Do not defame one another. 
  3. Do not insult by using nicknames. 
  4. And do not backbite or speak ill of one another”

(49:11-12).

According to the Islamic Law the mere proof of the fact that the accused said things which according to common sense could have damaged the reputation and honour of the plaintiff, is enough for the accused to be declared guilty of defamation.  Ch 3:3. The Sanctity and Security of Private Life  Islam recognizes the right of every citizen of its state that there should be no undue interference or encroachment on the privacy of his life.

The Holy Quran has laid down the injunction:

  1. “Do not spy on one another” (49:12).
  2. “Do not enter any houses except your own homes unless you are sure of their occupants’ consent” (24:27).

The Prophet has gone to the extent of instructing his followers that a man should not enter even his own house suddenly or surreptitiously.

  1. He should somehow or other inform or indicate to the dwellers of the house that he is entering the house,
  2. so that he may not see his mother,
  3. sister or
  4. daughter
  5. in a condition in which they would not like to be seen.

Peering into the houses of other people has also been strictly prohibited.

The Prophet has even prohibited people from reading the letters of others,

  1. so much so that if a man is reading his letter

  2. and if another man casts sidelong glances at it

  3. and tries to read it, his conduct becomes reprehensible.

This is the sanctity of privacy that Islam grants to individuals. The espionage on the life of the individual cannot be justified by the government. The injunction of the Prophet is: “When the ruler begins to search for the causes of dissatisfaction amongst his people, he spoils them” (Abu Dawud). The Amir Mu’awiyah has said that he himself heard the Prophet saying:

“If you try to find out the secrets of the people, then you will definitely spoil them or at least you will bring them to the verge of ruin.”

The meaning of the phrase ‘spoil them’ is that_

  1. when spies are spread all around the country,

  2. then the people begin to look at one another with suspicion,

  3. afraid of talking freely even in their houses.

  4. In this manner it becomes difficult for a common citizen to speak freely, even in his own house and society begins to suffer from a state of general distrust and suspicion.

Chapter 3: Rights of citizens in an Islamic State

Chapter 3:

Rights of citizens in an Islamic State

Ch 3:1. The Security of Life and Property 

In the address which the Prophet delivered on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, he said:

“Your lives and properties are forbidden to one another till you meet your Lord on the Day of Resurrection.”

God Almighty has laid down in the Holy Quran:

“Anyone who kills a believer deliberately will receive as his reward (a sentence) to live in Hell for ever. God will be angry with him and curse him, and prepare dreadful torment for him” (4:93).

The Prophet has also said about the dhimmis (the non-Muslim citizens of the Muslim State):

“One who kills a man under covenant (i.e. a dhimmi) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise”          (al-Bukhari and Abu Dawud).

Islam prohibits homicide _

  1. but allows only one exception, that the killing is done in the due process of law.

  2. Therefore a man can be killed only by the order of the court of law.

Along with security of life, Islam has with equal clarity and definiteness conferred the right of security of ownership of property, as mentioned earlier with reference to the address of the Farewell Hajj.

On the other hand, the Holy Quran goes so far as to declare that the taking of people’s possessions or property is completely prohibited :

“Do not devour one another’s wealth by false and illegal means” (2:188).