This article covers:
1. Rights of Child
2. Rights of Parents
3. Rights of Family
4. Rights of Women
5. Rights of Orphan Girls
6. Rights of Relatives
7. Rights of Neighbors
8. Rights of non-Muslims
8. Rights of Animals
10. Rights of Dead
11. Environmental Balance
12. Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) on Knowledge and Education
13. Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) on showing Mercy & Forgiveness
Islam is a religion of mercy to all people, both Muslims and non-Muslims.
“I hope all the sane minds will spread this light wherever there is darkness and misconceptions.”
The Prophet (ﷺ) was described as being a mercy in the Quran due to the message he brought for humanity:
“And We have not sent you but as a mercy to all the worlds.” (Quran 21:107)
When a person analyzes the legislations of Islam with an open mind, the Mercy mentioned in this verse will definitely become apparent. One of the aspects constituting an epitome of this Mercy is the way the legislations of Islam deal with people of other faiths.
Islam had established these rules and rights 1400 years ago when western world was still in dark ages. Islam has come with best possible guidance but it is on followers, how they follow it.
1. Rights of child:
(1) An-Nu’man bin Bashir delivered a Khutbah and said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Treat your children fairly, treat your children fairly.'”
[Sunan an-Nasa’i : Vol. 4, Book 31, Hadith 3717], [Status : Sahih (Darussalam)]
(2) Narrated `Abdullah bin ‘Abi Qatada:
My father said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘When I stand for prayer, I intend to prolong it but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short, as I dislike to trouble the child’s mother.’ ”
[Sahih al-Bukhari : Vol. 1, Book 11, Hadith 675]
(3) Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“Be kind to your children, and perfect their manners.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah : Vol. 5, Book 33, Hadith 3671]
(4) Abu Huraira reported that al-Aqra’ b. Habis saw Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) kissing Hasan. He said: I have ten children, but I have never kissed any one of them, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: He who does not show mercy (towards his children), no mercy would be shown to him.
[Sahih Muslim : Book 30, Hadith 5736]
2. Rights of Parents:
(5) It is reported on the authority of ‘Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) observed: The best of’ the deeds or deed is the (observance of) prayer at its proper time and kindness to the parents.
[Sahih Muslim : Book 1, Hadith 155]
(6) Mu’adh said, “Bliss belongs to someone who is dutiful towards his parents. Allah Almighty (سبحانه و تعالى) will prolong his life.”
[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad : Book 1, Hadith 22]
(7) Ibn ‘Umar said, “Making parents weep is part of disobedience and one of the major wrong actions.”
[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad: Book 1, Hadith 31], [Status : Sahih]
(8) Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said. “It is one of the greatest sins that a man should curse his parents.” It was asked (by the people), “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! How does a man curse his parents?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “‘The man abuses the father of another man and the latter abuses the father of the former and abuses his mother.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 4]
(9) Anas narrated from the Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) about the major sins. He (the Holy Prophet) observed:
“Associating anyone with Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), disobedience to parents, killing a person and false utterance.”
[Sahih Muslim Book 1, Hadith 159]
(10) It was narrated that ‘Ubaidullah bin Abi Bakr said:
“I heard Anas say: ‘The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: The major sins are: Associating others with Allah (Shirk), disobeying one’s parents, killing a soul (murder) and speaking falsely.'”
[Sunan an-Nasa’i Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4015], [Status : Sahih (Darussalam)]
3. Rights of Family:
(11) Narrated Al-Aswad:
I asked `Aisha (رضي الله عنها) what did the Prophet (ﷺ) use to do at home. She replied. “He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was time for the prayer, he would get up for prayer.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari : Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 65]
4. Rights of Women:
(12) It was narrated from Abu Hurairah (r.a) that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“O Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), bear witness that I have issued a warning concerning (failure to fulfill) the rights of the two weak ones: Orphans and women.'”
[Sunan Ibn Majah : Vol. 5, Book 33, Hadith 3678], [Status: Hasan (Darussalam)]
(13) Narrated `Aisha (رضي الله عنها):
(the wife of the Prophet) A lady along with her two daughters came to me asking me (for some alms), but she found nothing with me except one date which I gave to her and she divided it between her two daughters, and then she got up and went away. Then the Prophet (ﷺ) came in and I informed him about this story. He said, “Whoever is in charge of (put to test by) these daughters and treats them generously, then they will act as a shield for him from the (Hell) Fire.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Book of Good Manners and Form (Al-Adab), Book 78, Hadith 26)
(14) Narrated ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها):
The Prophet (ﷺ) called ‘Uthman b. Maz’un. When he came to him, he said: ‘Uthman, did you dislike my practice ? He said: No, by Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), but I seek your practice. He said: I sleep, I pray, I keep fast, I (sometimes) leave fast, and I marry women. Fear Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), ‘Uthman, your wife has a right on you, your guest has a right on you, your self has a right on you ; you should keep fast and (sometimes) leave fast, and pray and sleep.
[Sunan Abi Dawud : Book 5, Hadith 1364], [Status : Sahih]
(15) It was narrated from Ibn Abbas (r.a) that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“There is no man whose two daughters reach the age of puberty and he treats them kindly for the time they are together, but they will gain him admittance to Paradise.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah, Book of Etiquette, Vol. 5, Book 33, Hadith 3670, Grade: Sahih/authentic by Darussalam)
(16) Narrated Ibn `Abbas (r.a):
Regarding the Qur’anic Verse: ‘O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will.’ (4.19) The custom (in the Pre-lslamic Period) was that if a man died, his relatives used to have the right to inherit his wife, and if one of them wished, he could marry her, or they could marry her to somebody else, or prevent her from marrying if they wished, for they had more right to dispose of her than her own relatives. Therefore this Verse was revealed concerning this matter.
[Sahih al-Bukhari : Vol. 9, Book 85, Hadith 81]
(17) Abu Hurairah (r.a) narrated that The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character among them. And the best of you are those who are best to your women.”
[Jami` at-Tirmidhi : Vol. 1, Book 7, Hadith 1162], [Status: Hasan/good by Darussalam]
5. Rights of Orphan Girls & Women:
(18) Narrated Az-Zuhri:
`Urwa bin Az-Zubair said that he asked `Aisha about the meaning of the Qur’anic Verse:– “And if you fear that you will not deal fairly with the orphan girls then marry (other) women of your choice.” (4.2-3) Aisha said, “It is about a female orphan under the guardianship of her guardian who is inclined towards her because of her beauty and wealth, and likes to marry her with a Mahr less than what is given to women of her standard. So they (i.e. guardians) were forbidden to marry the orphans unless they paid them a full appropriate Mahr (otherwise) they were ordered to marry other women instead of them.
Later on the people asked Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) about it.So Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) revealed the following Verse:– “They ask your instruction (O Mohammed!) regarding women. Say: Allah instructs you regarding them…” (4.127) and in this Verse Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) indicated that if the orphan girl was beautiful and wealthy, her guardian would have the desire to marry her without giving her an appropriate Mahr equal to what her peers could get, but if she was undesirable for lack of beauty or wealth, then he would not marry her, but seek to marry some other woman instead of her. So, since he did not marry her when he had no inclination towards her, he had not the right to marry her when he had an interest in her, unless he treated her justly by giving her a full Mahr and securing all her rights.
[ Sahih al-Bukhari : Vol. 4, Book 51, Hadith 25]
6. Rights of Relatives:
(19) Narrated Jubair bin Mut`im:
That he heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “The person who severs the bond of kinship will not enter Paradise.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari : Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 13]
7. Rights of Neighbors
(20) Narrated `Aisha (رضي الله عنها):
The Prophet (ﷺ) said “Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbors Kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs.
[Sahih al-Bukhari : Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 43]
(21) Narrated Abu Shuraih:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “By Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!” It was said, “Who is that, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?” He said, “That person whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 45]
(22) Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Anybody who believes in Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor, and anybody who believes in Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet. (i.e. abstain from all kinds of evil and dirty talk).
[Sahih al-Bukhari : Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 47]
8. Rights of non-Muslims
(23) Narrated `Amr bin Maimun:
`Umar (after he was stabbed), instructed (his would-be-successor) saying, “I urge him (i.e. the new Caliph) to take care of those non-Muslims who are under the protection of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) and His Apostle in that he should observe the convention agreed upon with them, and fight on their behalf (to secure their safety) and he should not over-tax them beyond their capability.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari: Vol. 4, Book 52, Hadith 287]
The tolerant attitude of Islam towards non-Muslims, whether they be those residing in their own countries or within the Muslim lands, can be clearly seen through a study of history. This fact is not only purported by Muslims, but many non-Muslim historians also accept it.
Patriarch Ghaytho wrote:
‘The Arabs, to whom the Lord has given control over the world, treat us as you know; they are not the enemies of Christians. Indeed, they praise our community, and treat our priests and saints with dignity, and offer aid to churches and monasteries.’
[Tritton, Arthur Stanley: ‘The People Of The Covenant In Islam.’ p. 158.]
Will Durant wrote:
‘At the time of the Umayyad caliphate, the people of the covenant, Christians, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Sabians, all enjoyed degree of tolerance that we do not find even today in Christian countries. They were free to practice the rituals of their religion and their churches and temples were preserved. They enjoyed autonomy in that they were subject to the religious laws of the scholars and judges.’
[Durant, Will: ‘The Story Of Civilization.’ vol. 13. p. 131-132.]
These just relations between Muslims and people of other faiths were not due to mere politics played by Muslim rulers, but rather they were a direct result of the teachings of the religion of Islam, one which preaches that people of other religions be free to practice their own faith, only accepting the guidance offered by Islam by their own choice. God says in the Quran:
“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Quran 2:256)
Not only does Islam demand their freedom to practice religion, but also that they be treated justly as any other fellow human. Warning against any abuse of non-Muslims in an Islamic society, the Prophet stated:
“Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, curtails their rights, burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet M0hammed ﷺ) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud)
How far is this mannerism than the majority of nations, to this day, which not only suppress the rights of foreign religions, but also foreign peoples and races! In a time when Muslims were being tortured to death in then pagan Makkah, Jews were being persecuted in Christian Europe, and various peoples were being subjugated due to their particular race or caste, Islam called to the just treatment of all peoples and religions, due to its merciful tenets which gave humanity the right to their humanness.
9. Rights of Animals
(24) Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “While a man was walking on a road. he became very thirsty. Then he came across a well, got down into it, drank (of its water) and then came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. The man said to himself “This dog is suffering from the same state of thirst as I did.” So he went down the well (again) and filled his shoe (with water) and held it in his mouth and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He said, “(Yes) There is a reward for serving any animate (living being) .”
[Sahih al-Bukhari : Vol. 8, Book 73, Hadith 38]
(25) Narrated Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib:
A Marfu’ narration (from the Prophet (ﷺ)), saying: “A crippled animal whose limp is obvious is not to be slaughtered as sacrifice, nor an animal with a bad eye whose blindness is obvious, nor a sick animal whose sickness is obvious, nor an emaciated animal that has no marrow (in its bones).”
[Jami` at-Tirmidhi : Vol. 3, Book 17, Hadith 1497] [Status : Sahih (Darussalam)]
(26) It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) forbade tying up animals.”
[ Sunan Ibn Majah Book 27, Hadith 3307], [Status: Sahih (Darussalam)]
Abdullah reported that the Prophet (ﷺ), may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stopped in a place and then someone took a bird’s eggs and the bird began to beat its wings around the head of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He asked, “Which of you has taken its eggs?” A man said, “Messenger of Allah, I have taken its eggs.” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Return them out off mercy to the bird.”
[Al-Adab Al-Mufra : Book 20, Hadith 382], [Status: Sahih]
(27) ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), may Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) bless him and grant him peace, said,
“A woman punished her cat by imprisoning it until it died of hunger and because of it, she entered the Fire. It was said – and Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best:
‘You did not feed it nor give it water when you imprisoned it nor did you release it and let it eat from the plants of the earth.”
[Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Book 20, Hadith 379], [Status: Sahih]
“Certainly, We have brought them a Book (the Quran) which We have explained in detail with knowledge, – guidance, and a mercy to
a people who believe.” (Quran 7:52)
Mercy is that ethereal quality that embodies gentleness, piety, care, consideration, love, and forgiveness. When these qualities are observable in this world, they are a mere reflection of God’s mercy towards His creation.
God said clearly that Prophet Mohammed (صلى الله عليه وآله وصحبه وسلم), may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was a mercy for all of creation, not just his family and friends or the Arab nation, or the people of the 7th century CE, and not for human beings alone.
“And We have sent you O Mohammed not but as a mercy for all of humankind, jinn, and all that exists.” (Quran 21:107)
Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) was the embodiment of mercy, he showed compassion to all those around him, family, orphans, friends, strangers and even enemies. He also treated the environment and animals with respect and mercy.
He taught his followers that because animals were part of God’s creation they should be treated with dignity and due care.
The traditions of Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) remind us that humankind was put on this earth to be the custodian of God’s creation. Treating animals with kindness and mercy is just one of the responsibilities embedded in that custodianship.
Prophet Mohammed’s (ﷺ) words and behaviour make it clear that causing defenceless creatures pain and suffering is not only completely unacceptable, but we will also be answerable to God for such actions.
“If someone kills a sparrow for sport, the sparrow will cry out on the Day of Judgment, “O Lord! That person killed me in vain! He did not kill me for any useful purpose.”[Sunnan An Nasai]
The Prophet (ﷺ) , may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said, “Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, God will hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment.” The listeners asked, “O Messenger of God, what is a just cause?” He replied, “That he will kill it to eat, not simply to chop off its head and then throw it away.”[Ibid]
Islam expects humankind to treat all animals (all living creatures – birds, sea creatures, and insects) with respect and dignity.
Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) continuously advised people to show kindness. He forbade the practice of cutting tails and manes of horses, of branding animals at any soft spot, and of keeping horses saddled unnecessarily. [Sahih Muslim]
If the Prophet (ﷺ) saw, any animal over-burdened or ill fed he would speak mildly to the owner and say, “Fear God in your treatment of animals.”[Abu Dawood]
However, refraining from physical cruelty is not enough; abstaining from mental cruelty is equally as important. Even a bird’s emotional distress should be treated seriously.
One of Prophet Mohammed’s (ﷺ) companions narrates:
“We were on a journey and during the Prophet’s absence, we saw a bird with its two chicks; we took them. The mother bird was circling above us in the air, beating its wings in grief. When Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) returned he said, “Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its chicks? Return them to her.”[Sahih Muslim]
In another narration, a Companion of the Prophet (ﷺ) came to him carrying baby chicks in his clothing and mentioned that the mother bird had hovered over them. He was directed to return the chicks back to the same bush.[Abu Dawood]
In pre Islamic times, pagan superstitions and polytheistic practices included acts of torture and cruelty to animals. Islam condemned this and put a stop to all such practices.
When Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) and his companions migrated to Medina, they noticed that people cut off camels’ humps and the fat tails of sheep for food. The Prophet forbade them from them from doing this and said, “Whatever is cut off an animal while it is still alive, is carrion and is unlawful to eat.”[At-Tirmidhi]
In Islam, the rules pertaining to slaughtering animals are very strict and fixed. Protecting animals from pain and undue suffering is paramount.
“God has ordained kindness (and excellence) in everything. If the killing (of animals) is to be done, do it in the best manner, and when you slaughter, do it in the best manner by first sharpening the knife, and putting the animal at ease.”[Sahih Muslim]
When you set your dog (for the chase), mention the name of God if he catches the game, and you reach it while it is still alive, cut, its throat quickly (so it won’t suffer).”[Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim]
Humankind must strike a balance in their treatment of animals. All living creatures were put on this earth by God for our benefit. They are not at the same level as human beings but neither should they be treated cruelly. It is humankind’s responsibility to see that they have food, water, and shelter from the elements.
Living creatures must not be overburdened, abused, or tortured and doing so will surely result in God’s just punishment. A true believer in God demonstrates his or her belief by respecting the entire creation, and Prophet Mohammed’s character and actions are a shinning example of respect for all that exists.
10. Rights of Dead
(28) Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
He who attends the funeral till the prayer is offered for (the dead), for him is the reward of one qirat, and he who attends (and stays) till he is buried, for him is the reward of two qirats. It was said: What are the qirats? He said: They are equivalent to two huge mountains. Two other narrators added: Ibn ‘Umar used to pray and then depart (without waiting for the burial of the dead). When the tradition of Abu Huraira reached him, he said:” We have lost many qirats.”
[Sahih Muslim : Book 4, Hadith 2062]
11. Environmental Balance
(29) Narrated Anas:
that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “No Muslim plants a plant or sows a crop, then a person, or a bird, or an animal eats from it, except that it will be charity for him.”
[Jami` at-Tirmidhi : Vol. 3, Book 13, Hadith 1382] [Status: Sahih (Darussalam)]
(30) This hadith has been transmitted on the authority of Abu Hayyan but with this addition:
” The Book of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) contains right guidance, the light, and whoever adheres to it and holds it fast, he is upon right guidance and whosoever deviates from it goes astray.
[Sahih Muslim : Book 31, Hadith 5922]
(31) Anas b. Malik reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ – May peace be upon him) as saying: Neither nurse mutual hatred, nor jealousy, nor enmity, and become as fellow brothers and servants of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). It is not lawful for a Muslim that he should keep his relations estranged with his brother beyond three days.
[Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Hadith Number 6205]