State University - Higher School of Economics
The role assigned to individuals in their relationships with the State, the place of human rights and freedoms in the legal system, the concept of right in its correlation with law - all of these constitute criteria that predetermine identity of every legal culture and confer their specifics upon it. Moslem law is no exception.
1. Origins of the Islamic Concept of Human Rights
To understand the Islamic concept of human rights, one should start with the distinction made in Shari'ah between religious principles and legal provisions proper. The regulatory segment of Shari'ah comprises two basic groups of rules of conduct, one of which is related to religious worship, execution of religious duties by the faithful, while the other regulates their secular relationships.
The former category of Shari'ah norms is naturally primarily reduced to obligations. It should also be noted that, in the fundamental Shari'ah sources, Quran and the Prophet's Sunna, these religious rules are set forth in a most comprehensive manner, which creates an outward impression of Shari'ah as a system of obligations, rather than individual rights.
As for the other category of norms, the rules of Moslems' secular conduct, Shari'ah demonstrates a predominantly different approach to these - the above said sources comprise very few concrete rules in this field, both obligations and rights, which appear to be balanced enough. A vivid example of this is the principle of freedom of commercial activities embodied in Quran - "Allah hath permitted trade and forbidden usury" (2:275), - in which the right to engage in entrepreneurship is opposed to just a single basic obligation, to avoid usury. Another example may be the right, specified by Sunna, to include in agreements whatever conditions except the ones that allow something forbidden by Allah, or forbid something permi ... Читать далее