Rights of the People :
There are two kinds of rights: (1) The rights of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and (2) the rights of people. The rights of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ are obligatory upon us because we are His bondsmen, He عَزَّوَجَلَّ has created us. He عَزَّوَجَلَّ is our Absolute Owner and Sustainer, therefore, obeying Him and following His commandments are obligatory upon us. But why is it essential to fulfil the rights of the people? Answering this question, Sayyiduna Imam Muhammad Bin Muhammad Ghazali رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه said: Man either lives alone or finds some company because it is very hard for a human to lead his life without his fellow humans. Therefore, it is compulsory to learn the etiquettes of living together and there are certain rights of the people who are socially connected with us.
(Ihya-ul-‘Uloom, vol. 2, pp. 699)
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Importance of the rights of People
The matter regarding the rights of people is extremely sensitive, we should always be cautious about this, if we happen to violate any Muslim’s right intentionally or unintentionally, we should immediately seek pardon from that person. The rights of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ could be forgiven through sincere repentance, but the rights of people will only be forgiven with making sincere repentance and also by asking forgiveness from that person whose rights we had violated. A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ اللهِ تَعَالٰی عَلَيْه said: No matter, what kind of right it is, it is not forgiven unless that person himself forgives. Regarding the rights of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, it is obvious that there could be no one else other than Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ who can forgive. It is stated in the Glorious Quran: وَ مَنۡ یَّغۡفِرُ الذُّنُوۡبَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ ‘And who will forgive sins except Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ.’ And for the rights of people, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has applied this law that there is no forgiveness until that person himself forgives others. As Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ is the Owner of our life, possession, property and even our rights, so, if Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, without our consent, forgives others our rights then still it is also an absolute justice and rightfulness because we ourselves belong to Him and our rights also established by Him. If Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ had not sanctified our blood, possessions, honour etc., then, no matter, how brazenly and badly anybody would violate our rights and he would not have been accountable for that violation and injustice caused to us. Similarly, if Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ wants, He can forgive others our rights, because He is the true Creator but it is His mercy that He has given the power of our rights in our hands and left no room of repentance without seeking our forgiveness so that no oppressed man may not claim for his right saying: O my Creator! I am deprived of my right.
(Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 24, pp. 460)
Rights of people and the blessed sayings of Beloved Mustafa صَلَّى اللهُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم
Everything that belongs to a Muslim is Haraam for another Muslim – his possessions; his honour and his blood. It is enough for a person to be cruel that he considers his Muslim brother inferior to himself.
(Sunan Abi Dawood, vol. 4, pp. 354, Hadees 4882)
You people will have to restore the rights to the sufferers; even the horned goat will be avenged for the hornless goat.’ (Sahih Muslim, pp. 1394, Hadees 2582)
The advantages of fulfilling the rights of people
- By fulfilling the rights of people, one attains lots of advantages in this world and the Hereafter, and in not doing so, this could be a cause of serious harm, whereas by fulfilling these rights one gets peace of mind and heart and thus he is saved from many diseases.
- By fulfilling the rights of the people, everyone comfortably receives his right, thus, peace and harmony is spread in the society and it eliminates quarrels and unrest.
- The man who fulfils the rights of people, his respect and honour increases amongst them.
- Love and affection amongst people develops by fulfilling the rights of one another which strengthens relations.
- By fulfilling the rights of people, one is saved from the sin of violating the rights of people.
The disadvantages of violating the rights of people
- Due to not fulfilling the rights of people, one can fall into the major sin of hurting the feelings of others.
- And this very epidemic of hurting others feelings can lead to other evils such as jealousy, malice and hatred etc.
- Due to falling into the abovementioned sins, the door of other major sins might open such as lying, backbiting, tale-telling, evil suspicions etc.
- In return of violating the rights of people, one will have to compensate for this with his good deeds on the Day of Judgement.
- If a person does not have any good deeds, he will have to bear the burden of those whose rights are violated and thus will be deprived of Jannah, he will have to face severe consequences.
- People show hate towards those who violate the rights of others.
Hell for those who violate rights
It is of great importance to fulfil the rights of the people and showing negligence in this regard is a cause of great loss in this world and in the Hereafter. The great religion of Islam strongly motivates us to fulfil the rights of people. Whether it is a king or minister, rich or poor, master or slave, all have been made to stand in one row and if the rights of any Muslim have been proven over any other Muslim, it also commanded to fulfil his rights. But alas! Today, heedlessness has prevailed everywhere. As the majority of the Muslims look oblivious and heedless of the rights of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, trampling on the rights of the people has also become increasingly widespread in our society. Many Muslims, without any fear of the consequences, are busy violating the rights of other Muslims by committing crimes such as inflicting cruelty, stealing mobiles etc., demanding a ransom by threatening, occupying other’s property, usurping loans, stealing, robbing, killing etc., even though trampling the rights of a Muslim, exploiting him or hurting him are Haraam actions which lead one to Hell.