Introduction: Human Right. Definition, Issues, and Prospects: An Overview
Although one might have expected that in the XXI century, the issue of human rights would finally be resolved, the reality proves wrong. Granted that much has been done to give rights to national minorities, women and children, this population remains in the risk group.
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Analyzing the key steps that the humankind has made so far in human rights recognition and comparing these achievements to the ones mentioned in Quran, one might possibly find the ways to improve the current state of affairs and evaluate how far the humankind has reached.
Revolutions Against Absolute Monarchies: Fighting for the Good Cause
Needless to say, the humankind had to go a long way to the recognition of people’s rights and freedoms, as well as proclaiming equality as the key principle of relationship between people and nations. That being said, it will be a good idea to take a closer look at the major steps towards the recognition of human rights.
France: long lives the First Republic!
When it comes to speaking of the fight for human rights, the French Revolution is the first thing that comes to people’s minds – and for a good reason.
The first nation to dethrone and decapitate their own king, Frenchmen were also the first to come up with the principles of “Freedom, Equality and Fraternity” (Censer and Hunt).
England: the Glorious Revolution and the constitutional monarchy
Although in the United Kingdom, the state is still governed by the principles of monarchy, it is quite obvious that the monarch plays a token role in governing the state (Wasserstorm 215).
After the Glorious Revolution, the fact that all people should enjoy their rights and freedoms has become obvious.
USA, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights
Historically dependent on a number of states, including Britain and France, the USA of the XVIII and XIX century have proven that they deserve to be treated like a sovereign state.
The recognition of the rights and freedoms of its citizens, however, came a bit later, i.e., in 17991, when the Bill of Rights was issued.
The rights and freedoms of the rest of the USA population, i.e., Africa Americas and Native Americans, after the Great Migration and the Civil Rights Movement (Marsh).
Eastern Europe: abandoning the serfdom principle
Eastern Europe has also faced a number of issues before coming to the idea of equal human rights. Started in the middle of the XVIII century (Watson 61), the emancipation of serfdom has finally led to the recognition of human rights in every Eastern European country nowadays.
Although high rates of racism are still registered in the region, the Eastern Europeans have doubtlessly come a long way to recognizing people’s freedoms.
Rise of Democracy and Human Rights: Still in the Process
Despite the above-mentioned evidence concerning the acknowledgement of human rights all over the world, a number of people still suffer from their rights being infringed.
Women, children and national and sexual minorities are currently in the “risk group” (Stacy). Since child labor, racial profiling and gender inequality still remains an issue, it must be admitted that the current laws on human rights should be reinforced.
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Quran: The Most Ancient and Sacred Islamic Book as the Basis for the Laws on Human Rights
Considering the Issue from a Different Perspective: The Fifteen Postulates
Security of life and property: bi-al haqq and other details
One of the basic rights established in Quran, the security of people’s property has also been mentioned in a number of documents establishing the rights of people in other countries.
Protection of honor: echoing with the Western Law of Defamation
Weirdly enough, in the present-day European world, the emphasis is rarely made on one’s good name or on one’s virtues, for that matter.
In fact, a number of famous people, including politicians, for the lack of better methods, use the so-called negative PR strategies to remain in the limelight of public attention.
Therefore, though the laws concerning honor and its protection exist in almost every legislative system of the world, they are rarely put into practice. In the Islamic countries, on the contrary, the protection of honor is considered the second most important law of Quran.
Sanctity and security of private life: an iron curtain in one’s own house
Likewise, the Quran guarantees sanctity and security of private life. It is worth mentioning, though, that when it comes to discussing one of the most topical issues in the rights for a personal life, i.e., the rights of homosexual people, Quran does not provide a clear answer. Some theorists, however, claim that Quran “never addressed homosexual people directly” (Habib 259).
Security of personal freedom: the benefit of the doubt
According to the Quran postulates, every single person must be given the benefit of the doubt.
Right to protest against tyranny: when rebels have a cause
Quran also states that tyranny goes against human nature; moreover, it oppresses the latter, which means that tyranny does not have the right to exist.
A very legitimate point, it should be taken into account nowadays, especially in the light of such phenomena as technocracy, which is often considered as a tyranny of technology over people (Wood).
Freedom of expression: they will not excuse your French
As Quran postulates claim, every person has the right to voice his/her opinion, which also aligns with the major democratic ideas.
Freedom of association: political initiatives
The right to partake in political activities is also granted to people by Quran, which means that Quran encourages people to partake in the state affairs.
Freedom of conscience and conviction: choosing one’s own path
According to Quran, converting to the Muslim faith must be allowed for all those who would like to become Muslim.
However, it is important to stress that conversion from the Muslim faith to another one is not considered in Quran, which presupposes that it cannot be considered a barometer for evaluation of justice system.
Protection of religious sentiments: paying due respect to the Muslim religion
Quran makes it clear that Muslim religion is to be respected by both its followers and the rest of the world. Therefore, the ideas expressed in Quran can be considered the rules for establishing trustworthy relationships with the people of other beliefs.
Protection from arbitrary imprisonment: responsibility issues
Quran also gives its followers credit for being responsible for their actions, which could set a good example for promoting people’s rights all over the world.
Right to basic necessities of life: bread and cheese
It seems that the need to provide people with the basic life necessities must be communicated in every state’s constitution, yet in a number of countries, people are beyond the poverty line. Perhaps, the eleventh Quran principle might help introduce more justice into the existing human rights system.
Equality before law: no privileges for anyone
In Quran, everyone is equal before the law. The given idea is also conveyed in the constitutional law of a number of other cultures.
Rulers not above the law: equality at its best
It is crucial that, according to Quran, the people at the helm should be judged on the same merits as the rest of the population, which is a manifestation of democracy.
Right to avoid sin: the roads that we take
Quran also recognizes people’s rights to lead a righteous life.
Right to participate in the affairs of the state: encouraging political awareness
As it has been mentioned, being politically aware is welcomed in the Muslim countries.
Lex Talionis in Quran: Qusas for the Children of Israel
One of the most peculiar specifics of the Islamic legislation, the principle of Lex Talionis, is rarely used in the other states, yet remains a tradition in the East.
Guided by the principle “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Winspear 91), the given principle is one of the specifics of the Muslim criminal law.
One might argue that the given law is far too vague; others might say that this is an epitome of justice. It is important to stress, though, that the Lex Talionis principles are the privilege of Asia; most European and American states deny it.
Conclusion: Human Rights and the Cultural Specifics of the Islamic States
That being said, it is necessary to give credit to the human race – even in the face of such huge mistakes as slavery, people of every single nation have managed to keep with the basic principles of human rights. However, there is still a long way to go. Women’s rights still remain a problem as well as the rights of minorities. Perhaps, to provide a more reasonable approach, one has to consider the Quran postulates mentioned above in order to provide equal rights for everyone.
Habib, Samar. Islam and Homosexuality. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. 2010. Print.
Marsh, Carole. The Fight for Equality: The U.S. Civil Rights Movement. New York, NY: Gallopade International. 2004. Print.
Stacy, Helen. Human Rights for the 21st Century: Sovereignty, Civil Society, Culture. Stanford, CT: Stanfrod University Press. 2009. Print.
Wasserstorm, Jeffrey N. Human Rights and Revolutions. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield. 2007. Print.
Watson, Hugh Seton. Eastern Europe Between the Wars: 1918-1941. Cambridge, UK: CUP Archive, 1945. Print.
Winspear, Alban Dewes. The Genesis of Plato’s Thought. Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. 2011. Print.
Wood, Richard H. Technocracy. New Lincoln, NE: iUniverse. 2005. Print.