Rights of Citizens in an Islamic State

We’d like to cite the following article published by The Institute of Islamic Information and Education (III&E): “Since Allah is the absolute and the sole master of men and the universe, He is the sovereign Lord, the Sustainer and Nourisher, the Merciful, Whose mercy enshrines all beings; and since He has given each man human dignity and honour, and breathed into him of His own spirit, it follows that, united in Him and through Him, and apart from their other human attributes, men are substantially the same and no tangible and actual distinction can be made among them, on account of their accidental differences such as nationality, colour or race. Every human being is thereby related to all others and all become one community of brotherhood in their honourable and pleasant servitude to the most compassionate Lord of the Universe. In such a heavenly atmosphere the Islamic confession of the oneness of Allah stands dominant and central, and necessarily entails the concept of the oneness of humanity and the brotherhood of mankind.
Although an Islamic state may be set up in any part of the earth, Islam does not seek to restrict human rights or privileges to the geographical limits of its own state. Isla
m has laid down some universal fundamental rights for humanity as a whole, which are to be observed and respected under all circumstances whether such a person is resident within the territory of the Islamic state or outside it, whether he is at peace or at war. The Qur’an very clearly states:
“O believers, be you securers of justice, witness for God. Let not detestation for a people move you not to be equitable; be equitable – that is nearer to God-fearing.” (Al-Ma’idah: 8)
human blood is sacred in any case and cannot be spilled without justification. And if anyone violates this sanctity of human blood by killing a soul without justification, the Qur’an equates it to the killing of entire mankind.
“…Whoso slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, should be as if he had slain mankind altogether.” (Al-Ma’idah: 32)
It is not permissible to oppress women, children, old people, the sick or the wounded. Women’s honor and chastity are to be respected under all circumstances. The hungry person must be fed, the naked clothed and the wounded or diseased treated medically irrespective of whether they belong to the Islamic community or are from among its enemies.
When we speak of human rights in Islam we really mean that these rights have been granted by Allah; they have not been granted by any king or by any legislative assembly.
Rights of Citizens in an Islamic State:
1. The Security Of Life And Property:
In the address which the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, delivered on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj, he said: “Your lives and properties are forbidden to one another until you meet your Lord on the Day of Resurrection.” 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., Dhimmi) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise.”
2. The Protection of Honor:
the Glorious Qur’an lays down:
• “You who believe, do not let one (set of) people make fun of another set.”
• “Do not defame one another.”
• “Do not insult by using nicknames.”
• “Do not backbite or speak ill of one another.”

(Al-Hujrat: 11-12)
3. Sanctity and Security of Private Life:
the Qur’an has laid down the injunction:
• “Do not spy on one another.”
(Al-Hujrat: 12)
• “Do not enter any houses unless you are sure of their occupant’s consent.”
(An-Nur: 27)
4. The Security of Personal Freedom:
Islam has laid down the principle that no citizen can be imprisoned unless his guilt has been proven in an open court. To arrest a man only on the basis of suspicion and to throw him into a prison without proper court proceedings and without providing him a reasonable opportunity to produce his defense is not permissible in Islam.
5. Freedom of Expression:
Islam gives the right of freedom of thought and expression to all citizens of the Islamic state on the condition that it should be used for the propagation of virtue and truth and not for spreading evil and wickedness. The Islamic concept of freedom of expression is much superior to the concept prevalent in the West. Under no circumstances would Islam allow evil and wickedness to be propagated. It also does not give anybody the right to use abusive or offensive language in the name of criticism. It was the practice of the Muslims to enquire from the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, whether on a certain matter a divine injunction had been revealed to him. If he said that he had received no divine injunction, the Muslims freely expressed their opinion on the matter.
6. Freedom of Conscience and Conviction:
Islam has laid down the injunction: “There should be no coercion in the matter of faith.” (Al-Baqarah: 256)
7. The Right to Basic Necessities of Life:
Islam has recognized the right of the needy people for help and assistance to be provided to them: “And in their wealth there is acknowledged right for the needy and the destitute.” (Adh-Dariyyat: 19)
8. Equality Before Law:
Islam gives its citizens the right to absolute and complete equality in the eyes of the law.
9. Rulers not above the Law:
a woman belonging to a high and noble family was arrested in connection with theft. The case was brought to the Prophet, and it was recommended that she might be spared the punishment of theft. The Prophet replied: “The nations that lived before you were destroyed by Allah because they punished the common man for their offenses and let their dignitaries go unpunished for their crimes; I swear by Him Who holds my life in His hand that even if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, had committed this crime, I would have amputated her hand.”

10. The Right to Participate in the Affairs of State:
“And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves.” (Ash-Shura: 38)
The Shura or the legislative assembly has no other meaning except that the executive head of the government and the members of the assembly should be elected by free and independent choice of the people.”