Contemporary Fatwas and Human Rights

Author : Dr. Hassan Abu_Arqoub

Date Added : 18-09-2022

Contemporary Fatwas and Human Rights


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created on 10 December 1948. Its preamble says :  "the inherent dignity of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

The foundation upon which the Universal Declaration was built is that human dignity is shared by all people, no matter who they are or where they live. This exact meaning is reflected in the Message Islam came with and called people to. Here, Allah the Almighty says {What means}: "We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of our creation." {Al-Israa`, 70}. A person deserves to enjoy human dignity because he/she is a human being, regardless of any differences.

Sharia has established its rules upon this solid foundation of respecting a human being and honoring him/her. This was and still is the basis of the Jurists` Fatwas.

One example in the old Fiqh is that the Hanfi jurists ruled that it isn`t permissible to sell human hair and bone despite the fact that they are pure. The illah (the effective or operative cause behind a law) is the that, as reflected in the texts of Sharia, a human being is dignified. 

If we take a close look at the contemporary Fatwas delivered by the General Iftaa` Department, we will notice that they respect human rights and take them into consideration. This is reflected in the following examples:

The Department has issued Fatwas addressing several issues. One Fatwa prohibited discharging guns in celebration of different occasions. Another forbade taking a life under the pretext of honor and forbade suicide to preserve life.

A Fatwa prohibited chastising with fire, opposing torture because it violates human dignity. It also banned filming people injured or killed in accidents to stop violating their privacy and dignity. Moreover, a Fatwa was issued allowing a Muslim to work for organizations concerned with protecting the rights of the vulnerable and war prisoners to support such groups.

There is a Ftawa that prohibit the surgical removal of the uteri of the mentally challenged girls since this constitutes an act of aggression against human body through unnecessary surgery and incision. 

The Department has also delivered several Fatwas forbidding the right hand possession to preserve and respect human dignity. For instance, it forbade taking Yazidi women as war prisoners. It also called for claiming rights through the proper legal channels to be granted the right to a fair trial.

The Department has also confirmed that the wife is financially independent, none has the right to take her money without her consent, and has the right to inherit and it is forbidden to deny her that right.

The Department permitted giving Zakah to the poor student to encourage learning as an inherent human right. As a right to participate in cultural life, the Fatwa of the Department confirmed the rights of intellectual property and creativity.

At the practical level, the Department has organized a discussion session on human rights within the Iftaa` Cultural Forum under the heading "Human Rights: Concepts and Roots"delivered by the Commissioner General for Human Rights Dr. Mousa Braizat. 

In collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, the Department established a training course for its staff entitled "Media and the Environment" to train them to spread environmental awareness because a sound environment is a human right. This is in addition to the training workshop entitled (How to Deal with Disabled Persons). Another training workshop entitled "Learning Sign Language" was established for the staff of the Department to facilitate dealing with the deaf and mute. This is in addition to many Fatwas and activities that go in line with human rights in Islamic and international law, which indicates that Department pays attention to human aspects and isn`t far from the legislation that guarantees human rights and preserves human dignity.