How will people forgive one another about the violation of rights?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Two kinds of basic rights are mentioned in the Islamic literature: the first one of is huququllah, that is, Allah's rights, and the other is huququlibad that is, the rights and duties of slaves (people) related to one another.

Taqwa, love of Allah, tawakkul (reliance on Allah), sincerity, keeping away from hypocrisy and conceit, purifying our souls from evil, belief in Allah and worshipping Allah are among Allah's rights on us.

Rights of people are the material and spiritual opportunities and interests of people toward others and the duties of Muslims toward others.

People’s being social beings and living in a society bring about numerous rights and responsibilities toward one another. Muslims, who are obliged to show respect to mutual rights and responsibilities, formulated those responsibilities with the phrase "rights of slaves (people)" and tried to show respect to them.

Abu Hurayra narrates: the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,  

"A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. He will not betray other Muslims and will not lie to them. He will not avoid helping them. The honor, wealth and blood of a Muslim are haram for other Muslims. Fear of Allah is here (He showed his blessed heart). It is enough as evil for a person to despise his Muslim brother." 1

A slave does not have the right to say to Allah Almighty on the Day of Judgment about a person who violated his right, "I have rights to take from this person. He violated my rights. Burn him in Hell." For, the wisest of the wise (the judges) there is Allah Almighty. Is it possible to intervene in the decree of the judge? Decree belongs to Him. There is no need for it because Allah Almighty will never bestow a privilege on the oppressor. As a matter of fact, the following hadith related to the reflection of the violation of people’s rights on the Day of Judgment makes our blood run cold:

Abu Hurayra narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked the Companions:

Do you know who a bankrupt person is?" The Companions said:

"A bankrupt man amongst us is one who has neither any money with him nor property." The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"The bankrupt of my ummah would be he who would come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers and fasts and zakah but (he would find himself bankrupt on that day as he would have exhausted his funds of virtues) since he hurled abuses upon others, brought calumny against others and unlawfully consumed the wealth of others and shed the blood of others and beat others, and his virtues would be credited to the account of one (who suffered at his hand). And if his good deeds fall short to clear the account, then his sins would be entered in (his account) and he would be thrown in the Hell-Fire." 2

Abu Qatada Harith b. Rib'iy narrates. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"Jihad in the way of Allah and belief in Allah are the most virtuous deeds." Somebody stood up and asked,

"O Messenger of Allah! Will my sins be forgiven if I am killed in the way of Allah?" The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"If you show patience and are killed while facing the enemy without turning your back, all of your sins except violation of others’ rights will be forgiven. Jibril told me about it." 3

Abu Hurayra narrates: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following:

"Whoever has oppressed another person concerning his reputation or anything else should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no gold and silver to compensate for wrong deeds. However, if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to his oppression which he has done; and if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him. "4

As it is understood from the hadiths we have mentioned, violation of others’ rights is an important drawback for the spiritual life of a Muslim. The right of every Muslim to live, the right of the protection of his personality and honor, the right of his privacy, the right of his religious and conscientious thought, the right of settlement, travelling, learning, obtaining information, freedom of thought and expression, obtaining property, working, spending and saving are natural rights and they are protected by the religion of Islam; they are declared to be untouchable. To slander a Muslim, to backbite him and to offend him unjustly are definitely regarded as violation of his rights.

The only way to get rid of the sin and responsibility of the violation of others’ rights is to show respect to those rights and to ask forgiveness from the people whose rights one has violated. If a person repents and asks forgiveness from Allah after he is forgiven by the people whose rights he has violated, it will be seen inshallah that God Almighty is the Forgiver and Merciful.

References:

1. Riyadus-Salihin, 234;
2. Muslim; Birr wa Sila, 59.
3. Riyadus-Salihin, 217;
4. Bukhari, Mazalim, 10, Riqaq, 48.

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