RIGHTS OF DEPENDENTS, RELATIONS AND NEIGHBOURS
Islam is a practical Religion. Its principles, social and economic, political and religious have been formulated on realistic and rational lines, which gave birth to a healthier society based on equality and brotherhood.
Like the Bible and the Taurat the entire ethical teachings of Islam may be summarised in the phrase "Love and service of humanity"--but this is not enough and Islam being a complete religion has given the details of this service mentioning the priorities to be given to individuals or groups in such a service. This order in the social system formulated by Islam is its greatest achievement which is unparalleled in the annals of various religions of the world. The social order of Islam is not guided by sentiment but by justice and has fully taken into consideration human psychology and nature. The great Prophet of Islam once said, "It is the height of faith that you should like for your brother whatever you like for yourself". This amply explains the duties and rights prescribed by Islam for various groups and individuals which is based on the relations and connections among thein.
Such a prescription of rights according to relationships-is quite natural and does not lead to internal and social conflicts which is too prevalent among members of other religions and which has led some of the religions, e.g., the Hindu religion tb revise its social order and hereditary rights in accordance wlth the light shown by Islam, Recently the Hindu code has been revised and its hereditary system in which the women had no right has been formulated along the lines of the Islamic hereditary system. Islam while awarding rights has laid greater stress on their utility and relationships--one should prefer a man to an animal, a friend to a stranger, a relation to an acquaintance and amongst relations those who are nearest should be helped first. But it forbids uncalled for or illegal help even to one's dearest and nearest relations. Such a scientic classification of rights as formulated by Islam is non-existent in other religions of the world. Some religions like the Buddhist and the Hindu have kept man and animal in the same category in terms of help and treatment. The Jews and Christians have emphasised the respect due to parents, but are silent on the rights of other relations, Islam has given in detail the rights of various relations and has prepared a list of the recipients of rights giving priority to those who are closest. Such a division is psychological and is based on philosophy. If a man can help only one individual and has a poor sick mother, a poor sick relation, a poor sick neighbour-then he should naturally advance his help to his sick mother who is closest to him and this is what Islam says. Anything other than this would be cruelty and totally against nature. The Holy Quran in sura Nisa has laid down clear injuctions on the matter when it says, "Be helpful to your mother, father, relations, orphans, destitutes, related neighbours, stranger neighbours, friends, travellers and slaves" The rights of various groups and individual as graded by the Holy Quran is natural and practical but almost all other religions of the world are silent on the matter.
Islam on the other hand preaches universal brotherhood and enjoins its followers to be kind to all of humanity and make the best use of the worldly things which have been created for them by discharging their duties to needy persons. According to the reliable Hadith of Bukhari the holy Prophet once said, "The man who. plants a tree is blessed when people and birds are benefitted with its fruits. A man was sent to Paradise, because he saved a thirsty dog from death by offering him water and the other was condemned because he tied and starved to death a cat".:,"The Muslims", says a Hadith, "are a single hand like a compact wall whose bricks support each other". 'These ideas are found in every part of the law--both public and private.
Of all the worldly beings, a mother should receive the greatest attention of her son and she tops the list recipients of rights in Islam. Even the Christian religions have upheld and given the highest parents after God.. · "Paradise lies under the your mother says the Holy Prophet of Islam. The mother deserves the help and attention of her children as it was she who nourished them with her blood, Islam has quite naturally given her the greatest right. The Holy Quran, in no less than 12 places enjoins upon the faithful to fulfil their duties toward their parents. Once in reply to a companion the Prophet said, "your mother has the greatest rights on your resources and then your father"--and he further said, "Disobedience to one's mother is against Islam" This superiority of parents is quite psychological, as, after God, man is most grateful to his mother for his physical birth, nourishment and early growth and to his father for his education and financial support. Islam says that the pleasure of God rests on the pleasure of parents and a faithful should try to please his parents by his obedience. The great Prophet Abraham prayed to God for the forgiveness of his father, though he was a non-believer (Kafir). Even a Muslim cannot go on Jihad (holy war) without the permission of his mother and once the Great Prophet asked a Muslim to serve his aged mother rather than go on holy war, The mother, after the death of her son is entitled to 1/8 of the property left by her son.
Next to parents, come the children in the matter of classification of Rights. Just as the parents have rights over their children, so the children too have some rights over their parents. Before the advent of Islam, hardly any rights of children over parents were recognised. Islam was first to formulate reasonable rules for the rights of dependents ·and relations-both hereditary and social. According to Tirmizi, the Prophet once said, "Anyone who is not kind to his youngers and obedient to his elders is not from us" If the world had acted upon this golden rule, all the Social conflicts would have disappeared long ago. The Arabs, before the advent of Islam killed their male issues because of poverty and buried alive their daughters in order to avoid the so-called humiliation of their marriage. The Hindus too sacrificed their children at the altar of the gods. Islam vehemently opposed such inhuman oppression of the sacred creations of God and recognised life as a birth right. The second right of the child in the social order of the world is its nourishment and early growth, which its parents should ungrudgingly provide for it. The child has a right to get the milk of its mother up to two years. The father should financially support his son and daughter till his or her maturity and also arrange for their proper education. Even the fostermother and foster-brothers and sisters have been given substantial rights in Islam, The Holy Prophet of Islam showed great respect to his foster-mother Halima. The Holy Quran has enjoined upon the faithful to work for the cultural, moral, physical and spiritual development of their children in these immortal words, "0, faithfuls, you should save yourself as well as your children from the Fire". According to Islamic law a female issue is entitled to 1/2 of the heriditary rights of the male issue. The Hindu religion till lately recognised no hereditary rights for female members which led to great complications and conflicts and in a recent revision of the Hindu code the claim of female issues has been recognised on the lines of the Islamic system.
The third place in the graded list of Islamic rights is occupied by wife and husband. The household happiness entirely depends on the cordial relations between husband and wife. The wife is entitled to 1/4 of the husband's properties after his death provided he leaves behind no issue. Almost all the leading religions of the world except Islam preach asceticism and abhor matrimonial fife. The highest life prescribed by Buddhist, Hindu and Christian religions is that of renunciation of the world and these have no place for the rights of women especially for a wife in their social system. The wife, if any, should work for the comforts of her husband without demanding any privileges from him, The life of an, orthodox Hindu wife is worse than that of the slave girls found in mediaeval times. Islam revolted against this inhuman treatment of the fair sex, and gave women their due right and place in society, Islam, quite naturally has acknowledged the superiority of husband over wife, as he is supposed to be her guardian and financial supporter. The wife is entitled to financial support from her husband, while her husband is entitled to all her love. Islam has divided the household life into two parts - the maintenance of internal household affairs is bestowed to woman, while the man is responsible for the management of outside works. · Once the Holy Prophet of Islam proclaimed, "If I would have alowed the worship of any one other than that of God, I would have asked the wife to worship her husband". The wife can claim financial help from her husband if she is not on good terms with him. She even can claim the charges of supplying milk to his infant child.
The fourth place in the list of rights is occupied by relatives among whom there are subdivisions--the nearest relations coming first. Of all the great religions of the world, Islam has given the greatest importance to the rights of relations, which is but natural and which if faithfully adhered to would have eliminated household and social conflicts from the world. Not less than 12 times the Holy Quran reminds the faithful of the rights of their needy relations. In sura Rum the Holy Quran says, "you should acknowledge the right of your relations". Once the Great Prophet of Islam declared, "one who is unmindful to the rights of his relations will hardly enter Paradise". 'Succour your brother, be he the aggressor or the aggrieved, so said the Prophet. The Companions enquired 'as for the aggrieved,it is alright, and,how could they help the aggressor?'
'Stop him from aggression", came the immortal reply.
Human beings are dependent upon one another in this world and the development of a healthy society is dependeht upon the cordial relations of its members. Mutual help is the key-note of all good social orders. Islam, being a practical religion has laid great stress on the assistance of neighbours. A man is generally harmed by his neighbours and if he has good relations with them, he is bound to lead a happy social life. Even before Islam, Arabs maintained good relations with their neighbours, but Islam with slight modification in its classification has enhanced the rights of neighbours. It does not behove a good Muslim to enjoy a good dinner if his neighbour is hungry. Addressing his companions once the great Prophet of Islam said, "The Muslim who has a true faith in God and the Day of Judgement will never oppress his neighbour". A Muslim must help his poor needy neighbour according to his capacities and it is the right of that neighbour to receive such help. Islam enjoins upon the Muslim women folk to send presents to their neighbours in the form of food, money and other things. The words of the Prophet had such a salutary effect upon his companions that all of them became the servants of their neighbours irrespective of caste and creed. "By the law of Islam" says Ameer Ali, "every individual is bound to contribute a certain part of substance towards the help and assistance of poorer neighbours. This portion is usually 2 1/2 percent on the value of goods, chattels, emblements, on profits of trade, mercantile business, etc." Writing in the Legacy of lslam, David De Santillana says "The Prophet uttered some charming words with regard to neighbourly relations:--"Be kind to your neighbour, Draw the veil over him. Avoid injury. Look upon him with an eye of kindness, If you see him doing evil forgive him. If you see him doing good to you, proclaim your thankfulness".
Copied from 'THE ISLAMIC SCHOLAR'