Human Rights In IslamSold Out
Many scholars are quick to point out that human rights has become a, if not the, dominant theme of the world today. For example, Ann Kent writes in Between Freedom and Subsistence: China and Human Rights, “The problem of human rights lies at the heart of modern political discourse,”Some argue that even those countries which are not completely enamored by the human rights concepts go out of their way to demonstrate that their actions do not violate human rights. Indeed, who could possibly be against a concept entitled human rights.”?
With respect to Islam in particular, Khalid Abou El Fadhl wrote; “Of all the moral challenges confronting Islam in the modern age, the problem of human rights is the most formidable.”Undoubtedly, Muslim countries, organizations, scholars and individuals feel the necessity of explaining exactly where they stand on the question of human rights. Actually, the situation has gone even beyond that to one of apparent acceptance of the concept as a whole. When many Muslims speak about political issues, such as the Middle East conflict, they speak about it in terms of human rights. In fact, many times in intra-Muslim political debates centering about rights, it is the human rights paradigm that often resonates with the audience regardless of who that audience may be.
However, in this author's view, a number of important questions have gone relatively unanswered. These questions include: Is the human rights doctrine deserving of the amount of respect and admiration that it has received? What, in detail, should be a Muslim’s attitude toward the concept of human rights and the contemporary human rights paradigm in particular? Just as importantly, what is the human rights doctrine’s attitude toward Islam? For example, does a Muslim truly have the right to practice his religion within the framework of contemporary human rights thought?