The West mistakenly ascribes the Magna Carta as the ‘first’ charter of rights. It was in 1215 CE that English Landlords forced King John to put his signature on it – 600 years after Islam had established rights. Then came the American Constitution with the Bill of Rights which gave no rights to the black people in the USA.
Today the politicians of the World claim to adopt the Charter of Human Rights adopted by the U.N.O. in 1948 but it is a well known fact that when the rights are not to their advantage, the very charter becomes a Charter of Human Injustice. It shows the ineffectiveness of man made laws as compared to those which are set by Allah.
The ‘Treatise of Rights’ has been narrated in Al-Khisal, Al-Amili, & Man La Yahdhuruhu Al-Faqih, all by Shaykh Al-Suduq (died 381 AH/ 991CE). The first narrator of it is Abu Hamza Thimali, a trustworthy and respected companion of Imam Ali Zaynul Abedeen (A.S.) Imam Zaynul Abideeen’s ‘Treatise on Rights’ is the only work attributed to him other than supplications or relatively short sayings and letters. The ‘Treatise on Rights’ seems to have been written at the request of a disciple, since, in one of its two versions, it is prefaced by the words: ‘This is the treatise of Ali ibn al-Husayn to one of his companions.’
Although the word haqq translates best as ‘rights’, it has a number of other closely related meanings such as justice, truth, obligation, duty, responsibility. On reading the ‘Treatise of rights’ one immediately realises that the word ‘rights’ is much better translated as duties, obligations or responsibilities.The body organs have ‘rights’ because they share in the destiny of a person for the body will be resurrected. The following short video clips are 4 examples of the 51 rights that Imam Zaynul Abideen listed..
Right of Allah
Right of Hajj
The right of your mother
The Right of your wife
THE RIGHTS OF THE SELF
Imam Ali Zaynul Aabedeen (A.S.)
Charter of Rights
It is the right of your person upon you that you should use your body fully in obedience to Allah, by giving to your tongue it’s right,to your hearing it’s right,to your sight it’s right,to your hand it’s right,to your leg it’s right,to your stomach it’s right,to your private parts it’s right,seeking the help of Allah in this task.
It is the right of the tongue that you should consider it too respectable to utter obscene language; and you should accustom it to good (speech), and discipline it with good manners, and keep it silent except in time of necessity and for spiritual and material benefit, and keep it away from useless talk which may cause much harm with little benefit; and you should be kind to people and say good things about them.
It is the right of your hearing to keep it pure from listening to gheeba (backbiting) and listening to that which is unlawful to listen to. You should not turn it into a way to your heart except for noble talk which may create some good in your heart, or which may earn you a noble character,because it is a door which allows a talk to get to the heart, carrying to it different types of ideas, whether good or evil.
It is the right of your eyesight to lower it before that which you are not allowed to see; and not use it except in a place which gives you a lesson by which you may increase your knowledge, because sight is the door of
It is the right of your hand that you should not stretch it to what is forbidden to you; otherwise you will earn punishment from Allah in the life hereafter, and condemnation from people in this life. And you should not hold it from that (actions) which Allah has made wajib on you. And you should increase the honour of your hand by withholding it from unlawful things and by extending it for good deeds which are not even wajib, because if the actions of your hands are based on wisdom and nobility, surely you will get a good reward in the hereafter.
It is the right of your two feet that you should not use them to go to that which is forbidden to you. You should not make them your mount to pass through a disreputable road; because your feet are your transportation and are to take you on the path of religion and advancement. Remember you have to stand on the bridge (sirat) over Jahannam, so make sure that your feet do not slip and cause you to fall into the fire.
It is the right of your stomach that you should not turn it into a container for that which is haram, whether it be a little or a lot; ….and you should keep it under control when hungry and thirsty because overeating causes laziness, hinders a person from work.
TO HONOUR THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS
The Prophet (S.A.W.) has said:
“Allah has made seven rights Wajib upon a mu’min towards another
1. To respect him
2. To love him
3. To share his property with him
4. To consider doing his gheebat haram
5. To visit him when he is sick
6. To escort his funeral procession
7. To say nothing but good about him after his death.”
One day the Prophet (S.A.W.) was sitting alone in the masjid. A man came near him and the Prophet (S.A.W.) moved aside to make place for him. The man said:
“Ya Rasulallah! The masjid is empty and there is so much space available,
why have you moved aside?”
The Prophet (S.A.W.) replied:
“A Muslim has a right on another Muslim – when he wants to sit near him
the latter should move aside as a mark of respect”.
In ‘Risãlãtul Huquq’ (A charter of rights) attributed to Imam Ali Zaynul
Abedeen (A.S.) ; Imam lists 51 rights.
The 51 rights listed by Imam Ali Zaynul Aabedeen (A.S.)
There are 51 rights and these have been split into 6 categories.
A) Rights of Allah against oneself
1. The greatest right of Allah is to worship Him without associating anything with Him.
2. The right of your nafs against you is that you employ it in obeying Allah.
3. The right of your tongue is that you use it to express kindness and refrain from using it for useless talk.
4. The right of your ears is to keep them from listening to backbiting and other unlawful hearings.
5. The right of sight is that you lower it to unlawful things.
6. The right of your hand is that you stretch it to good and not towards anything which is unlawful to you.
7. The right of your legs is that you don’t walk towards anything unlawful. Remember you have no escape from walking on the narrow bridge (alsirat) so make sure you do not let your legs slip and cause you to fall into the hell-fire.
8. The right of the stomach is that is does not become a container for anything haraam to you and that you do not eat more than you need.
9. The right of the private parts is that you guard them from on-lookers.
B Rights of Acts
10.The right of Salat is that you realise that you are before Allah. If you realise this you will stand in such a way that you will be lowly, trembling, fearful, hopeful, and you will magnify His greatness through through your stillness and dignity.
11. The right of the hajj is that you recognise that it is an arrival before Allah and a place where your sins will be removed if your repentance is genuine. Also you perform an act made wajib by Allah.
12.The right of fasting is that you put veil over your tongue, ears, eyes, stomach to protect you from the Hell-fire.
13.The right of charity (sadaqa) is that you know that it is a deposit with Allah for which you need no witnesses. You should know that it helps against enemies and illness in this world and repel against fire in the next world.
14.The right of hady (offering/gift) through it you desire only exposure of your soul to Allah’s mercy.
C Rights of Leaders
15.The right of the possessor of authority (sultan) is that you know that Allah is testing you through the leader’s authority. It is important that you please the leader and hide your displeasure.
16.The right of onewhotrainsyou(sa’is)is that you do not raise your voice, or speak ill of him. conceal faults and manifest virtues. Remember knowledge has elevated him and learn for sake of Allah and not for people.
17.The right of one who trains you through property is that you should obey him and not disobey him, unless obeying him displeases Allah.
D Rights of subjects
18.The rights of your subjects through authority is that you have made them subjects because they are weak. It is obligatory for you to act with justice and compassion. You should forgive them for their ignorance and not hurry to punish them.
19.The right of your subjects through knowledge is that you should know that Allah has made you a caretaker over them only through the Knowledge He has given you. So teach them well and Allah will reward you.
20.The right of your wife is that you know that He has made her a repose and a comfort for you. She is God’s favour toward you,so honour and treat her gently. You must treat her with compassion , since she is your asir and if she is ignorant pardon her.
21.The right of your slave is that you should know that he is a creature of the land -son of your father and mother, and your flesh and blood. You may own him but you did not make him. You do not provide his sustenance, Allah gave sustenance to you to give to your slave. If you dislike him replace him but do not torment him.
E Rights of womb relatives.
22.The right of your mother is that you know that she carried you where no one has carried you. She gave to you the fruit of her heart which she has not given to anyone else. She did not care if she went hungry/thirsty as long as you you quenched your hunger and thirst. You will not be able to show her gratitude, other than through Allah’s help.
23.The right of your father is that you know that he is your root. Without him you would not be here. If you see something good within yourself, you should know that it is beacuse of your father.
24.The right of your child is that you should know that he is from you and you are liable for both his good and his bad. You are responsible for educating him and pointing him in the right direction. Reward him for his good doings and punish him for the bad.
25.The right of your brother is that you know that he is your hand, your might and your strength.
F Rights of others
26.The right of your master (mawla) is that you know that he has favoured you by freeing you from slavery, and given you the freedom to worship your Lord. You should know that he is the closest of God’s creatures to you in your life and your death.
27.The right of your slave whom you have favoured by freeing him is that you know that by freeing him Alah has given him access to Him and a veil against the fire. Your immediate reward is to inherit from him if he does not have any maternal relatives.
28.The right of one who does a kindly act (dhul l-maruf) is that you thank him and mention his kindness; reward him with your lind words and pray for him (dua). If you can repay him one day, do so.
29.The right of the muezzin is that you know that he is reminding you of your Lord and is helping you acheive what Allah has made wajib for you.
30.The right of the imam in your ritual prayer is that you should know that he acting as a mediator between you and Allah. He speaks for you, but you do not speak for him. He supplicates for you, but you do not supplicate for him. So protect yourself through him, protect your prayer through his prayer and thank him in that measure.
31.The right of your sitting companion (jalis) is that you treat him mildly, fairly and you do not stand up from sitting with him without his permission. But it is alright if he stands without asking your permission. You should jorget his slips and highlight his good qualities
32.The right of your neighbour (jar) is that you guard him when he is absent and honour him when he is present.
33.The right of the companion (sahib) is that you act as his companion with generosity and fairness. Honour him as he honours you and restrain him from any act of disobedience he might attempt.
34.The right of your partner is that you look after his affairs when he is absent and you make no decision without his decision and you do nothing on the basis of your own opinion.
35.The right of your property (mal) is that you take only which is lawful and spend what is proper.
36.The right of him you owe a debt to is that if you have the means you pay him bacj, but if are unable to pay, try and satisfy him with good words.
37.The right of the associate (khalit) is that you neither mislead him, nor
act dishonestly toward him.
38.The right of the advesary(khasm) who has a claim against you is that, if that, if what he claims against is true you give witness to it. If what he claims against you is false, you behave with kindness with him.
39.The right of the advesary against whom you have a claim is that, if your claim against him is true, you maintain polite moderation when speaking to him and you do not deny his right. Hoever, if your claim is false, you seek forgiveness from Allah
40.The right of him who asks you for advice (mustashir) is that if you consider that his opinion is correct, you advise him to follow it, and if you do not consider it so, you direct him to someone who may consider it so.
41.The right of whom you ask for advice (mushir) is that you do not insult him if his opinion does not conform to your own opinion. If it conforms to it, praise Allah.
42.The right of him who asks your counsel (mustansih) is that you give him your counsel.
43.The right of your counselor (nasih) is that you act gently toward him and listen to him.
44.The right of him who is older than you is that you show reverence toward him because of his age and honour him because he entered Islam before you. Do not go ahead of him on a path and avoid confronting him in a dispute.
45.The right of him who is younger than you is that you show compassion toward him through teaching him, pardoning him and covering your faults.
46.The right of himwhoasks(sa’il)from you is that give to him as much as he requires.
47.The right of him whom you ask is that you accept from him with gratitude and recognisition of his bounty if he gives and accept his excuse if he witholds.
48.The right of him through whom Allah makes you happy is that you praise Allah first, then you thank the person.
49.The right of him who does evil to you is that you pardon them. But if you know that the pardon will harm him, you defend yourself. see (42:41)
50.The right of the people of your creed is that you keep them safe and show compassionfor them. The old men should stand in place of your father, the youths in place of your brothers, the old women in place of your mother and the young ones in place of your children.
51.The right of the people under the protection of Islam (dhimma) is that you accept from them what Allah has accepted from them and do not wrong them as long as they fulfill Allah’s covenant.