What is it that we are standing up for when we talk about human rights in Islam?
Lately, it seems that the focus for Muslim advocates is the establishment of values contrary to Islam. Not only are certain restrictions (for example, against sex outside of marriage and same sex relationships) condemned, but these Muslim individuals and organizations openly campaign for such causes to be legalized and promoted.
Such social activists claim that Islam is oppressive to the interests of the individual and unduly restrictive against the right to absolute personal freedom. In the name of Islam, they would like a new world order where people can behave without rules and boundaries: dictated by feelings and passions even if it destroys the very fabric of society.
Yet, this attitude does not have the establishment of human rights as its main objective, but rather, the establishment of personal values driven by a belief system based on personal desires, including the anxiety to be seen as "progressive" or "liberal" Muslims (whatever that means) and to garner the approval of non-Muslims.
While claiming to be Muslim and speakers for Islam, the truth is anything but.
The question is, why are the majority of these "progressive" Muslims stonily silent about genuine human rights issues plaguing Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world?
The inhuman immigration policies in certain super power nations?
The refugee crisis?
The plight of the homeless?
The increasing gulf between the rich and the poor?
The rights of those living below the poverty line?
The unjust imprisonment and torture of those who oppose tyrannical leaders?
Modern day slavery?
Universal rights to education?
Within the Muslim sphere, why are the same activists reluctant to speak up against the Palestinian occupation, the Rohingyan genocide or the Syrian refugee crisis? Why are these Muslims unwilling champion causes for the eradication of poverty within their own neighbourhoods? Or even defend the fundamental rights of Muslim women to dress in accordance with the Muslim creed?
There are many human rights issues which are a matter of life and death, but these are not given much attention. Are the causes not trendy enough? No rainbow coloured flags, no joyous parades in fancy costumes, no celebrity endorsements? Afraid of being in the "wrong" social and political camp, perhaps?
Hence the sheer hypocrisy of it all – when such Muslims speak of human rights, they are less interested in the betterment of humanity in accordance to Islam, but rather, in imposing their own personal and political ideologies under the guise of Islam. The astonishing thing is, many of them don't even lead such lifestyles to begin with, but leap on the bandwagon because it is the politically correct thing to do under the current social climate.
Hence, even if professing to speak as a Muslim, there is no concept of Allah in what they are campaigning for. True Islamic teachings do not form any component of the thought process. Religious scripts are quoted out of context to make them appear barbaric and outdated. To the point that such self-appointed Muslim spokes persons imply that the only way to achieve social liberation is to be "less" of a Muslim. As if Islam itself, rather than its misinterpretation, is the problem. The rights of the individual are promoted above the rights of the society. These people flagrantly challenge and defy the orders of Allah, but would retaliate if anyone ever questioned the integrity of their Islamic faith.
On human rights issues in which they should, as Muslims or even as human beings, speak up on, their silence is deafening. On issues which disobey Allah, their voices are the loudest.
This is hypocrisy of the highest order and is truly despicable.
Yet, this condition is not a surprise. We are living in the age of deception and trials, where truth and falsehood are indistinguishable to many, except for those on whom Allah has bestowed guidance and vision to see the truth. We live in an age where hypocrisy is open and rampant. We live in an era where Islam is inherited, without the process of education or voluntary and conscious submission to Allah. We are in a period of Islamic ignorance, where many of us do not take the effort to truly educate ourselves on the teachings of our glorious deen, much less live the message. In many Muslim societies across the globe, through our own arrogance and ignorance, we have lost our foothold on Islam: we have let go of the rope of Islam, and we have lost our way.
When our values, moral compass, lifestyles and even sense of self-worth are defined by what the non-Muslims dictate, and not by what Allah tells us, this is the tragic and humiliating consequence.
The Qur'an has warned us against seeking the approval and alliance of the non-believers, and numerous Hadith have warned us against imitating the actions and values of the non-believers. To the extent that if one supports their values and imitate their lifestyles, they are one of them. Yet, whether due to a sense of inferiority or the legacy of colonialism, Muslims still prefer to glorify non-Muslims and the ethos they promote, above Allah. Astaghfirullah.
As Muslims we are to champion human rights. The correct causes. The ones which benefit humanity, the ones that offer enlightenment in the darkness, the ones that elevate the status of the down trodden and alleviate the suffering of the oppressed. The ones which are likely to invoke the blessings of Allah. Not to champion the rights of people to worship their own values and desires to be disobedient to Allah. Not to endorse causes which would make one an enemy of Allah and His messenger, dunia and akhirah.
The next time you want to pick a cause to champion, please think hard:
What is my intention?
Are these in line with Islam?
Does it benefit humanity as a whole?
Most importantly: Will Allah be pleased with me?
May Allah guide us all in what we stand for, ameen.