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Human Rights in Islam - Essay Example

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Compare the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the human rights that are established by Islam, explaining their differences and similarities in content and scope. NAME Number 30th March 2012 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was originally drawn up in 1948, and stipulates thirty articles which are an attempt to categorize rights that it is believed every human being should have access to…
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Human Rights in Islam
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Human Rights in Islam

The purpose of this paper is to explore the UDHR and compare it to the stipulations of Islam, finding similarities and differences between the two. This will show that, whilst the majority of the articles represent facets of Islam, there are a number of areas in which the UDHR fails to represent this religious tradition. One of the most obvious similarities between Shariah law and the UDHR is that they both oppose discrimination based on race, gender, language, nationality or religion. The Quran suggests that ‘when the Trumpet is blown, no ties of kinship will exist between them on that day, nor may they question one another’ (The Quran, 23:101). This essentially makes reference to the fact that Allah will not discriminate based on these things on judgement day. The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI) is essentially an Islamic version of the UDHR, and also includes this sentiment as the very most important thing, which suggests that there is a high amount of compatibility between the two. Islam itself is seen to be a very all-encompassing religion, as it encourages people of all races to convert to the religion, again suggesting that the UNDR and Islam are similar in content in this department. Another element that is common to both the UNDR and Islam is the focus on women’s rights and equality between genders. For example, the CDHRI suggests that women have ‘equal human dignity’ (Hashimi, 1997) and therefore should be treated as well as men are. Islam and the CDHRI also both place emphasis on the fact that men and women both have the right to choose their own spouses regardless of race or pressure from outside parties. The UDHR also expresses this, suggesting that ‘Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution’ (United Nations, 2012, Article 16). The reference to dissolution is also important, as Islam is well-regarded for being one of the first religions to allow women the right to divorce their own husbands by choice (Hashimi, 1997). Both Islam and the UDHR place an emphasis on living quality. It seems sensible to both parties to encourage living standards to be the best possible, as all humans have the right to live cleanly and safely. The Quran puts this sentiment very nicely, suggesting that ‘he who saves a life will be as if he had saved the lives of all humankind’ (The Qur’an, 5:32). There are further quotes which support the fact that Islam is for the preservation of human life, rather than destroying it, and saving a life is incredibly important in the religion. The aim of Islam is to ensure that everyone lives a long and happy life (Hashimi, 1997). Similarly, the UDHR suggests, in article 25, that ‘everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family’ (United Nations, 2012). This is yet more evidence for the fact that the UDHR and Islam stand for several similar principles in a number of matters. There are, however, a number of times in ... Read More
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