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Speech by A. Majid Parekh on Concept of Rights and Duties in Qur’an
In UNESCO Conference, Tehran. (Islamic Republic of Iran) Date 5 & 6 Nov 2012


Respected Elites! May the ALMIGHTY ALLAH shower HIS Blessings and Bounties on all of us.
I pray for peace, serenity and tranquility for all the inhabitants of this globe by saying
Asalamoalaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu.

I request you to accept this salutation which is commonly recognized as “Salaam” as my duty towards you and very much related to my today’s topic also. I find this in The Last and Final Commandments revealed from on high to the last Messenger of ALLAH, The owner of this earth and whole universe as HE is One Who has Created the humanity. It is in The Qur’an chapter 6 verse 54:

Salaam, if it is taken in its true spirit, conveys an assurance from my side to you all, every kind of safety also. Your dignity, belongings and person are safe from any kind of ill intention from my side. Unfortunately millions of people exchange this dialogue without its real spirit behind, without knowing even its meanings and the human blood on earth is still flowing like water by the hands of the humanity itself. If it is taken in its real sense and not as Muslim tradition only, it means that I am assuring you and all that I am bound by my Salaam that I will not hurt you in any way. And you also responded my Salaam, then why there are mindless shoot-outs among Muslims! As I feel it is obligatory on us to cross-check as it is said in the Qur’an in 4/94:

“O you who have attained to faith, whenever you go forth in ALLAH's cause,
discriminate carefully and someone who offers you Salaam,
never say to him that you are not a Muslim….”


And I would also like to quote a Hadees in the elaboration of the Ayat.

“Some people asked the Prophet (s.a.w.s) to whom they should treat Muslim or Momin, the Prophet provided three principals.
1: One who prays like us.
2: One who respects and follows our Qibla.
3: One who consumes our slaughtered animal.
He is Muslim and has the authority from ALLAH and HIS Rasool (s.a.w.s).”

Let all of us once again repeat the Shahadah that all praises are due only for the ALMIGHTY ALLAH Who is the LORD of the entire Universe. HE is the Lone SUSTAINER and CHERISHER of all that exists. HE is the ORIGINATOR of every natural process; HE is the source of all natural cycles. HE is the sole Designer of all seen and unseen. HE is the Alfa and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. HE is the Apparent and the Inherent. For the guidance of the Mankind, HE has revealed HIS Books on his Messengers. And finally HE revealed HIS Last Testament, The Holy Qur’an, the final Book in the series of Divine Revelations on the last of HIS Messengers Janabe Mohammadur Rasooloullah (s.a.w.s). This book will remain the Guidance for all human beings till the end of this world. It is complete in itself, with no alteration, confusion, contradiction, puzzle or perplexity. It contains self-explanatory statement, as clear as crystal.

Here, I should be thankful to my RABB Who has given me this opportunity to express my views in front of highly acclaimed International intellectuals. And I would also express my gratitude towards the esteemed University of Shaheed Behesht, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran who has given me this honor to speak in the UNESCO Chair for Human Rights and Democracy. From the various topics of this conference, I have selected the topic as “Concept of Rights and Duties in Holy Qur’an”. I will try to sum up this topic Insha-ALLAH within the prescribed time of 20-25 minutes.

As regard to the topic, I would like to draw the attention of the venerated gathering towards a small but specific verse of Holy Qur’an 70/24…


“(The true Momins) are the ones who know their duty that in their possessions
and belongings there are the RIGHTS of other people also.”

This verse carries a clear message for a Muslim to be conscious of the Rights of other human-beings on him. It becomes obligatory on Muslim to feel it as duty lay down by ALLAH. In this world, we can easily observe that the vital needs of a human-being such as Oxygen, Water, Sunlight, Air and many more. It is distributed by the SUSTAINER of the Universe equally to every one without any discrimination and parity among age, caste, creed or gender. But there are many such innumerable bounties of ALMIGHTY ALLAH to human beings which are blessed abundantly. The attitude of such a person who is enjoying the abundant bounties is described in the Qur’an…

“Whenever his Lord tries him by HIS generosity and by letting him enjoy a life of boon,
he feels, My Lord has been very generous towards me;”

In this verse ALMIGHTY GOD makes a direct reference to human psychology in respect to the worldly gains and achievements. By the use of word ‘human’ we can justly conclude that ALMIGHTY GOD here speaks of the entire humanity, of all ranks and of all ages. How can we exclude ourselves from HIS remarks? Over and over again, instead of considering any situation with all its co-relatives, a man concentrates only on its solitary aspects. For instance, when GOD ALMIGHTY grants man abundantly, he feels that GOD is pleased with him. But the verse categorically states that it is his test.

So, if we are conscious of the inherent risks, we will be cautious enough to pass through the situation successfully by adopting a positive approach. We will realize that with limited resources we had little responsibilities and duties. As our LORD has stated in HIS Book 2/286

“ALMIGHTY ALLAH does not overburden any person, but what he can endure…”


But with an increment in the resources, the liabilities also increase. And this is the test about how sincerely we accomplish our duties. Whether we utilize these resources according to the will of our Lord or we follow our own greed, arrogance and impulses that keep on provoking us! By this distribution we are being taught a lesson that the Man with wealth or talent or opportunity has the further responsibility of contribution to his fellow creatures.

In the contrast, the consecutive verse gives us an idea about a person who is placed in an adverse situation. How does he react to the test? 89/16

“Whenever The Lord tries him by restricting his means of livelihood, he says,
"My Sustainer has disgraced me!”  

But ALLAH declares “no and certainly not” Man is wrong on both the counts! Both the conclusions are incorrect! The affairs of the world are not random or accidental occurrences. Nothing moves unless GOD ALMIGHTY wills so. ALLAH gives good reasons for this divergent treatment to different persons and also provides us an insight into the human nature…89/17-20

“But no and never! (O men, consider all that you do and fail to do :) you are not generous towards the orphan, and you feel no urge to feed the needy, and greedily devour to possess unsecured things and inheritance, and you love worldly wealth with boundless love!”

Now we can very well understand the reason for this deprivation. When ALLAH showered HIS blessings, the man takes it as a special favor, thinking himself to be a chosen one. In his enjoyment, he behaves arrogantly not realizing that it was nothing but an examination, a trial of his faithfulness, his integrity, his devotion. The Lord has illustrated this phenomenon with a fine example of Prophet Sulaiman. He was endowed with such a vast kingdom that no one on this earth has ever been granted before or after him. But how did Prophet Sulaiman respond to those favors of ALLAH? With his control over land and sea, over humans, jinn, beast and birds, did he behave carelessly or arrogantly? No, not at all, Holy Qur’an narrates in 27/40


“…..Prophet Sulaiman said, with all this Supremacy, my Sustainer wants to test me, whether I act gratefully or ungratefully! However, he who is grateful (to ALLAH) is but grateful for his own good; and he who is ungrateful (should know that), verily,
my Sustainer is not in need of any thanks! HE is self- sufficient, the most generous!”



This verse certainly carries a lesson for us. If we evaluate ourselves, according to the Sunnah of the Prophet Sulaiman, we will enjoy the bounties of our Lord not only in this earthly sojourn, but also in the hereafter.

As our RABB informs us, any crises in the life of any individual or society are caused by the following four reasons. While playing in plenty, he must have forgotten these 4 obligations.

1. Carelessness regarding the orphans, or the deprived ones.
2. Negligence of duties towards poor, needy and helpless.
3. Misappropriation of property of orphans or unclaimed and unsecured properties.
4. Strong urge for worldly wealth and gains.

In broad sense, ‘orphan’ means a member of the society, but deprived by a natural patronage. ALLAH has entrusted us with the responsibility to provide him the basic needs, safety and patronage, and treat him respectfully with due honor. Not to be greedy to capture unsecure gains and properties. Many verses in the Qur’an specially deal with the matters pertaining to the ‘Orphans’. Addressing the Benefactor of Humanity Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.s) in verses 93/9 to 11 ALLAH states:

“Therefore, the orphan must not be exploited, and the help-seeker should not be brushed aside, and of your Sustainer's blessings shall ever be recollected.”

If The Lord has provided any one of us in abundance, it is to test whether we take these riches as the blessings of The Lord or our personal efforts. A truly faithful servant of ALLAH will always remember that all these resources are not his personal belongings. In fact all the treasures in the Universe invariably belong to ALLAH alone. So man shall remember that The Lord has made him only a custodian of these riches. It is just a test whether he contributes to those who are needy and helpless or he treats as miser! The ALMIGHTY says in verses 70/24 and 25.

“And the truly faithful people should know that in their possessions, income and wealth, there is a due share for such who asked for help, and for such who are deprived.”

The reason for economic downfall deals with the wicked desire of a man to misappropriate the unsafe or unclaimed property. The one who embezzle the property of others does not realize that, on the Day of Final Judgment, he will be accounted for his all misadventures.

According to our RABB, another reason of hardship after enjoying riches is the deep adoration of worldly wealth. The one must have been tightfisted when asked to spend in the way of ALLAH. He must not have used it for charitable deeds with a fear of losing his wealth, whereas ALLAH says…30/39

“ Those who spent their wealth in charity for the sake of ALLAH; they lose nothing.
It certainly gets credited and multiplied to their account for the Hereafter.”

Respected Elites! In my view the Holy Qur’an guides a person to be sensitive for his duties towards the fellow beings. He should be always ready to pay the dues of fellow beings; the Holy Qur’an enjoins to pay the Rights of other people before being demanded.

Now I would also like to draw the attention of the esteemed gathering towards the injunctions regarding Rights in Holy Qur’an. In this regard I would narrate a verse of chapter 17…

“ Your RABB has ordained that you shall worship none but HIM, and be ever kind to your parents. Should they attain to old age in your presence, never say uff to them,
never repel them and address them very honorably.”


It is a fact that a human child needs the utmost care, attention and nursing unlike other creatures of the earth. And this nursing and caring is dedicated by the sacrifices of the parents. The love, affection, adoration and tenderness are naturally imbibed into the parents. There is no need for the parents to learn these things in any college or university. And thus the CREATOR has commanded to a human to remain ever thankful to his parents by never hurting their dignity. And not only this much, but Qur’an further says …

“ Lower your wings for your parents with humility and tenderness and pray to ALLAH that O my Sustainer! Bestow your grace and mercy on them as they had cherished me
with devotion in my childhood.”

Respected Elites! Now I would concentrate on social duties. It is very much narrated in Holy Qur’an that  ALLAH never loves any kind of disturbance on this earth in any name. Any negative means used even for good causes will surely disturb the natural balance of the earth. Misuse of power will also disturb the balance. Misuse and waste of natural resources will also disturb the balance. Any type of conflict and its negative approach will cause disturbance.

One should know how much share he has in this world for the survival on this earth. In natural life support system, some items we can take like sunrays, oxygen, rains, water, air, food stuffs etc. A person like me has only one ratio of share out of the human population on this earth which is now nearly 7 billion plus. And I have to be careful for the environment so that the coming generations should also get their due shares. And I may have my share, but I cannot waste or pollute or hoard such natural life saving items. I find in the Qur’an an order 17/26-27:

“….do not waste anything. Behold, the squanderers are, indeed, of the like the shaitans - inasmuch as Shaitan has indeed been most ungrateful to his Sustainer.”

Such acts of squander will definitely be asked on the day of Qayamat. The boons & bounties are the Natural Gift by ALLAH & HE will take everything to accaount says the last verse of chapter 102…

“And on that day of Final Judgment you will most surely be called to account for boons and bounties you enjoyed in your life!”

We know that the Qur’an has been revealed 14 centuries ago as guidance for the mankind. This guide book from ALLAH also teaches us the civic sense.  how peacefully we should drive our vehicles down the street. I will narrate the verse no. 19 of chapter 31...

“ And be moderate in your pace and lower your voices.
Remain conscious the ugliest of voices is the voice of an ass.”

This verse apparently teaches us to maintain our speed in traffic, teaches us to avoid unnecessary honking for the sake of our pleasure creating noise pollution. In my view if a man even jumps a traffic signal, he violates the right of the other traffickers whose signal is green. Janabe Mohammad (s.a.w.s) has admonished the world that …

“ There are rights of others on streets, so never stay on the roads and never toilet on it while transit, as it is your duty not to violate the rights of others.”

Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.s) has admonished the mankind of such small things also as there is a verse in chapter 4 that “… ALLAH will surely take you to account for all (small or big) things.”
In conclusion, if anyone deprives the rights of others in this world, he would not be forgiven. He has to clear all his dues towards parent, spouse, children, neighbors, needies, deprived-ones, atmosphere and environment of earth and so on. Hereafter where everything will be brought to justice he has to pay. His survival on this earth was supported by lots of other elements. He is in debt of those who ever favored or helped him. But the man shamelessly tries to escape the repayment of the debt. Alas! On the Final Day of Judgment he will have no currency, no credit card and no overdraft facility to clear his liabilities. The payment will only be made by forfeiting his good deeds. Then, just think, what a great loss it would be! A catastrophe, a permanent damnation.

The Holy Qur’an enjoins to pay the dues dutifully. If everyone will pay the dues in this world no one will be deprived of his Rights. In my view the rights and duties are connected with each other. If the duties are fulfilled by everyone there will be no one who will demand his rights. One should be ready to pay the duties before the rights are being demanded as chapter 83 admonishes…

“ Woe unto those who are biased in terms of Give and Take. When they are to receive, they demand in full. And when they are to pay, they try to give less than what is due.
Are they not conscious that they will be accounted on a Mighty Day
when all will be resurrected before the Sustainer of all the worlds!”

Hazrat Mohammad (s.a.w.s)  has taught us a supplication….

 “O ALLAH! There are several rights over me in all those matters which are between me and YOU, and there are several rights in matters between me and YOUR creations.
O ALLAH! Pardon me my failure in the rights which concern YOU.
And help me to undertake the responsibilities for those which concern YOUR creation...”

We therefore pray to our Lord to enable every one of us to assess ourselves. Help us to pay all dues, financial or moral! May ALLAH bless us to make ourselves beneficial to the orphans, the poor, the needy, the have-nots, the fellow beings and total humanity! May ALLAH accept our humble efforts! May HE forgive us and grant us a place in the gardens of Paradise. That would be the real fortune, unimaginable in this world. That would be the real asset; the real richness, the real prosperity, permanent and ever-lasting.


Thank you very much for listening patiently, May ALLAH bless all of us.


Abdul Majid Parekh