The religion of Islam is a complete religion. It outlines a perfect way of life for Muslims. Unlike other religions and ideologies, Islam describes things pertaining to all walks of life. In Islam, there are two main aspects of life that a Muslim must fulfill. The first is to fulfill the rights of Allah, and the second is to fulfill the rights of Allah’s creation.
In Surah Ali ‘Imran, Muslims are referred to as the best, most exemplary nation among mankind. They enjoin good, forbid evil, and possess faith in Allah. The rights we have to fulfill toward Allah’s creation can be divided into a few categories.
The rights we have to fulfill toward Allah’s creation can be divided into a few categories. The first category is the rights our fellow Muslim believers have over us. The second category contains the rights of the remaining human beings upon us. The third category consists of the rights of the rest of creation, such as animals, etc.
The rights of Muslims over us
There are a few rights that are exclusively for Muslims upon other Muslims. According to a Sahih Hadith in both Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (PBUH) said that all believers have five rights over each other. Muslims have to answer each other’s greetings, visit one who is ill, go along with funeral processions, accept invitations, and respond when one sneezes.
As a result, these things are compulsory on us… Firstly, to respond when we hear a fellow Muslim say Assalamualaikum or similar variations of the salam. Secondly, to visit sick people, especially when we are close to them. Thirdly, to take part in funerals and pray for the departed souls, and hope that Allah forgives their sins. Fourthly, to accept invitations when there is no good reason to reject them. And lastly, to respond when someone sneezes and says, Alhamdulillah. We have to respond with YarhamukAllah.
There are a few additional things that we must also do. When our fellow Muslims seek our help, and we are able to assist, we must try to help them. When believers ask each other for advice, those with knowledge must provide assistance. If two Muslims are fighting and helping them is within our grasp, we must do so.
The rights of immediate relatives over us
The most critical category in this regard is that of parents. Our parents have several rights over us, and we must respect and honor them in all circumstances.
In Surah Al-Isra, Allah commands us to treat our parents well. The importance of being good to parents can be gauged by the fact that Allah mentions it alongside worshipping Him alone. He orders us not to say uff to them, even if they are elderly. One must always speak to his parents in an honorable manner and avoid repelling them.
Next are the rights of a wife over her husband. The husband is obliged to provide for her and take care of all her financial needs. She may work if she wishes to, but the responsibility lies with the man. He must be respectful of her and spend time with her. He should help her when possible. He must ensure he never reveals any secrets about her. And of course, he must ensure that he is faithful towards her.
A husband also has rights over his wife. She must be chaste and modest. She should not divulge her husband’s secrets. She should oblige when her husband desires her. Also, she must do her best to provide a good upbringing for their children. She should respect his relatives (and he hers). She should not burden her spouse by demanding luxurious things and being materialistic.
Children also have rights over their parents. The mother and father should provide them with a good education and teach them about Islam. They must treat them with love and guide them as they grow up. They should keep an active interest in their children’s lifestyle and offer advice when they see them falter. Once children are old enough to marry, parents should help and support them in their quest for a spouse.
The rights of other human beings over us
Islam puts a lot of importance on neighbors. We should be aware of our neighbors and maintain relations with them. Neighbors should help each other and share food and drink from time to time. We must be aware of our surroundings and not do anything that will upset or disturb them.
Many types of rights apply to our fellow human beings in general. Humans must honor the lives of each other. They should avoid all negative things such as backbiting, bigotry, discrimination, jealousy, and other similar negative traits.
Those in positions of authority must ensure they carry out their responsibilities towards others. They must ensure provisions for the people of their community, city, or nation. They must ensure that justice is carried out when warranted.
Teachers and students, employers, and employees – All categories of such people have rights. Everyone should treat each other with fairness and kindness. Those who are learning or working must ensure that they do their best to carry out their tasks as required.
Other rights, such as those of sellers and buyers, businessmen, and their partners—all must be respected. The core values of Islam, which are to be fair, kind, and just, must apply in all cases without fail.
Rights of the rest of creation
Animals also have rights over humans. With pets, humans must ensure that they feed them and treat them well. They must ensure that their health is looked after, and they should not be confined in small spaces.
With wild animals, Muslims should not maim or bother them. The only valid reasons for the killing of an animal are when they are slaughtered for food, or if they pose a threat to us or our livelihood and there is no other option.
We should also be mindful of our environment. We shouldn’t unnecessarily chop down trees and plants. Rivers, lakes, and oceans must be taken care of, and not polluted, as that dirties the water and harms marine life. We should also be mindful of the different forms of pollution and try to minimize them when it’s in our hands. We must not waste resources such as water, food, etc.