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Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)" Champion of Human Rights"

A brief Description of the Time before the Birth of the Prophet:
The whole concept of Human Rights was far away from the minds of the population. Some of the examples were: Burying the girls alive or killing them. Discrimination of the poor by the rich. Torturing. Slavery and many other things.

Year of the Elephant
There was a king in Yemen, his name was Abraha. Abraha was jealous because everybody was going to Mecca and not coming to Yemen. Well, Abraha had an idea, he built a beautiful temple in Yemen called Sancia. His main aim was to attract people to Sancia, but his plan didn't work out. Abraha wanted to destroy the Kaaba in Mecca. As the army was moving in Mecca, the sky turned black and there was a roaring sound; Allah sent thousands of birds, each bird had three stones. These birds threw the stones on the army of Abraha. This incident was 50 days before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).

Birth of Prophet Muhammad
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was born in Mecca in the 570 A.D. In the Islamic year, he was born on the eve of 17th Rabi-ul-Awwal. He was born in the year of the Elephant.

Brief Life of the Prophet and true way he outlined the principles of human rights
Family: The Prophet's teachings of the rights of parents and duties of children towards the parents. In the Qur'an in chapter 7, verse 23-24, it says:
Verse 23: And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve (any) but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you; say not to them (so much as) "oof" nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.
Verse 24: And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion, and say: O my Lord! Have compassion on them, as they brought me up (when I was) little.
There is a hadith of the Prophet that the parents should give their children good upbringing and teach them swimming, horse riding, archery and the needs of the future.

Society:
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) clearly denounced the current society which was crushing the human rights to be brought equality in society. Black slave Bilal was equal to the Arabs. Salman-e-Farsi who was trained so well by the Prophet that one day in the market place of Median, Salman was sarcastically told by the local Arabs "Salman, are you better or this dog wandering in the streets of Medina?" Salman replied "if on the day of Judgment, I fail and don't pass heaven, then this dog is better than me."
There is a verse in the Qur'an about being equal to others, in chapter 49, verse 13, it says: "O Mankind, we have created you from male and female and we set you up as nations and tribes so that you may be able to recognize each other."

Women's rights in Islam:
There are lots of rights and there are women's rights too, in the Qur'an in chapter 2, verse 228, it says: "And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three courses; and it is not lawful for them that they should conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the last day; and their husbands have a better right to take them back, in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation and they have rights similar to those against them and Allah is mighty, wise.
In another place in the Qur'an, it says in chapter 4, verse 34:
"Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is high, great.
There was only one person in the whole mankind who stood up for women's rights. This person was Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.).

Rights of Neighbors:
"And (be good) to the neighbor who is your relative and to the neighbor who is not a relative...."(Qur'an; 4:36)
Islam has great respect for the mutual rights and duties of neighbors. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has said "Gabriel always used to advise me to be generous with the neighbors, till I thought that Allah was going to include the neighbors among the heirs of a Muslim."
The rights of neighbors are not meant for Muslim neighbors only. Of course, a Muslim neighbor has one more claim upon us - that of Islamic brotherhood. As for the rights of neighbors are concerned, all are equal. Explaining it, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said "Neighbors are of three kinds;"
That one who has one right upon you; That one who has two rights upon you; That one who has three rights upon you.
The neighbor who has three rights upon you is the one who is also a Muslim and a relative. The neighbor who has two rights upon you is the one who is either a non-Muslim relative or a non-relative Muslim. The neighbor who has one right upon you is neither a Muslim nor a relative. Still he has got all the claims of neighborhood rights upon you.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has said "The man is not from me who sleeps contentedly while his neighbors sleep hungry."

Rights of People at war
When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and his followers were going to go to fight their first battle, the Battle of Badr, he said to his followers about the rights of people at war. Some of these rights are:
Torture with fire. In the hadith, there is a saying of the Prophet that "Punishment by fire does not have anyone except the master of the fire."
Punishment of the wounded. "Do not attack a wounded person" thus said the Prophet. This means that the wounded soldiers who are not fit to fight, nor actually fighting, should not be attacked.
The Prisoner of War should not be slain. "No prisoner should be put to the sword" a very clear and unequivocal instruction given by the Prophet (s.a.w.)
No one should be tied to be killed The Prophet has prohibited the killing of anyone who is tied or is in captivity.
The Prophet has said a lot things about the rights of people at war. The Prophet has even said not to attack women, children and those who are not fighting in the war.

Written By: Shahid Juma


REFERENCES
Al-Tawhid Vol. IV No.3 Rajab-Ramadhan 1407 (April-June 1987)
Family life in Islam By Seyyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi
A Glance at life of the Prophet of Islam By N. Tawheedi
Muhammad, Man of Allah By Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Prophet Muhammad, a brief Biography By the Al-Balagh Foundation
The Holy Qur'an

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