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Broadly speaking, human rights center on equality and freedom. Caliph ‘Umar reprimanded the governor of Egypt, whose son had struck a Copt (an Egyptian Christian), with the following instructive words: “Why have you enslaved men who were born free by their mothers?” Again, his instructions to establish equality among people demonstrate the best egalitarian features: highly placed people cannot take advantage of their position, and the weak are not made to despair of their condition.

All people are God’s servants. The only permissible characteristic by which one can claim superiority, distinction, and preeminence over others is the virtue of piety. All people are equal in social status. This is fully manifested in the congregational prayers, where there is no room for rank and special privilege. All are equal in God’s sight, whether one happens to be a caliph or a slave. The Messenger declared that all people were equal, like the teeth of a comb.

The Qur’an says:

O humanity, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily, the most honored of you in God’s sight is (the one who is) the most righteous of you. (49:13)


Senturk, Omer Faruk. “Charity in Islam” Tughra Books Press. January 2007.