Huqquq-ul-Allah and Huqquq-ul-Ibaad


When the Ayah, “Do not eat up each other’s property by false means”(2:188) was revealed, the Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet were hesitant to eat with the blind, lame and sick. This was not because they disliked sitting next to them, but rather they considered that a sick person will eat less than the normal person and there could be a possibility that the Sahaba may unknowingly eat up their share of food as well.

Similarly, a blind cannot differentiate between the good and the ordinary food and lame is slow to eat because of his posture. Sahaba considered this as depriving others of their due share, when justice demands equality. Apparently this level of Taqwa or God consciousness made them the noble companions of our Prophet (upon him be the peace and blessing of Allah). These were the ones with whom Allah subhanuwa’tala was pleased and they were pleased with Him, despite the harsh and rough trials they went through.

Being just and fulfilling the rights of our fellow humans is a major part of our faith. If the Huqquq-ul-Allah (Rights of Allah ta’ala on us) form the roots of the tree of Imaan (faith), Huqquq-ul-Ibaad(Rights of His servants) forms its trunk. Whenever Allah ta’ala commanded any nation to disassociate anything, which they have ascribed as partner unto Allah ta’aala the most exalted, He has commanded them to be careful about fulfilling the rights of others on them;this includes both believers and non believers.

If a Muslim falls short in fulfilling the rights of Allah ta’aala, and later, if he repents and seeks forgiveness sincerely, then there is a possibility that Allah ta’ala may forgive him out of His infinite mercy. But on the contrary, if the rights of Allah’s slaves are wrongfully devoured, then Allah’s forgiveness cannot be procured until the oppressed person forgives.

Historic evidences suggest that whenever man forgets his basic obligation towards his Creator, he falls short in fulfilling his duties towards the creation of his Lord. This very fact can be judged by these words of Shuai’b (a.s) when he addressed his nation saying:

“Oh my nation!Worship Allah; there is no God for you other than Him, and do not decrease in measuring and weight. Indeed, I show you the good, and indeed, I fear for you punishment on the Day of Judgment. You must be loyal in measuring and weighing with equality, and you must not cheat people in their matters and you must not make mischief in earth like the ones who are corrupt”(75: Surah Hud)

Similarly when Musa (asws) was ordered to go to Firawn, he was commanded by Allah ta’ala to remind Firawn about oneness of Allah along with the consequences he shall face for his tyranny. Unfortunately today, we oppress many by taking away their rights and hardly realize the sin.

We commit and do not bother to fulfill the commitment. People are not careful with the measurement and weight, and yet take it lightly. We want the best for ourselves even if we are stepping on the rights of others.

Occupying the space of others making them uncomfortable is a violation of right as well, and in the same category falls the habit of parking vehicles on path way of others,and also those instances, where people form groups on pathways denying the right of way of others, putting them in difficulty.

In yet other situations to prove ourselves better we ridicule others and find faults in them, this has been strictly prohibited in the Qur’an in Ayah 11 of Surah Hujurat, where prohibitions are also made on mocking and revealing the weakness of others. Mocking either by mimicking or making pointed references or laughing at a person for his work or his appearance or his dress or defects, is prohibited.

In the same Surah, Ayat 12 prohibits entertaining suspicion which does not have any strong evidence to it. For example a wife cannot suspect husband with an affair or vice versa without clear evidence to it, and so is spying based on ones doubt. Husband or wife cannot check the mails and messages of the other with the intention of spying and finding faults, this is a sin. Similarly listening to the conversation of people without their permission or eavesdropping is a sin too.

Another major violation, which unfortunately is common among the women and not so much in men, is backbiting. Ayah 12 of Hujurat further clarifies the similarity of this action to be like eating the flesh of one’s dead brother. According to the hadith recorded in Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud :

“Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Backbiting is worse than adultery”. So the noble companions inquired, “How so messenger of Allah?” Prophet replied: “A person may commit fornication, repent for it and his sin may get forgiven, but the sin of backbiting is not forgiven unless the injured party forgives”.

There is prohibition on backbiting about children, insane and non-Muslim living in an Islamic country as well. However if one is complaining about a woman to her husband or, about children to their father, so that they be corrected, then it is permitted.

Further, verse 13 prohibits the believers from giving preference based on the skin color. As it usually happens in the sub-continent countries of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, a fair-looking girl is more sought after for a prospective groom. Nor is it allowed to take pride based on one’s race and descent and degrade others.

We have been created with different skin colors and different features just so that we are recognized and identified. If all of us were to look the same, it would be difficult for us to carry on our daily normal lives.

There are many strong ahadith defining the rights of neighbor, one such is, our Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He is not from us who eats full stomach and his neighbor goes hungry”.

There are many more obligations binding upon us, the believing slaves of Allah, towards our fellow beings, but I would like to conclude with a hadith of our Prophet on rights of our servants on us, our Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Your slaves are your brothers, and Allah has put them under your control. So whoever has brother under his command should feed him of what he eats, and dress him of what he wears. Do not over burden them to do things beyond their capacity, and if you do so, then help them.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and others)

This hadith applies to female servants as well.