بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Essential Rights

One of the most attractive, appealing and just characteristics of Islām is justice for all.  People regardless of colour, creed, race, ethnic background, social status, political status or otherwise must be treated fairly and justly.  No exaggeration or short-sightedness should be applied to any person regardless of who he/she is.  Allāh, the Almighty, commands with justice for all, doing good to all and granting favours to the close relatives.
 
Allāh, the Almighty, has sent down his books and established fair measurements and accurate, just scales for both this world and the hereafter.  Justice is to give to every one what he/she is entitled to completely.  It is to place everyone in the position for which they are entitled.  In order to achieve such a stage, one must know what are the rights to which people are entitled.  These rights can be summed up as follows:
 
1.      The right of Allāh, the Almighty
2.      The right of the prophet (sallAllāhu `alayhi wa sallam)
3.
      The right of parents
4.      The right of children
5.      The right of relatives
6.      The right of husband and the wife
7.      The right of the governor and the people
8.      The right of the neighbours
9.      The right of the muslims
10.    The right of the non-muslims 
 
The First and Foremost Right: The Right of Allāh, the Almighty 
 
 
The most essential right that man must fulfil first is the right of his Creator, Cherisher and Care Taker, Allāh, who has the most important right of all.  Allāh, the Almighty, is the King of all kings, the Omnipotent, the Just, the One Who has neither wife nor a son, the One Who creates from nothing, and returns His creations again to the earth to become like soil and dirt once again.  He is the One who grants all the graces since man was a fātus in his mother’s womb where no one was capable of providing sufficient food and nourishment, except Him. 
  
And Allāh has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and hearts [i.e., intellect] that perhaps you would be grateful.  [Al-Qur’ān, 16:78] 
  
The mercy, blessings, care, gifts and grants of Allāh unto us, lead us to think that Allāh is entitled the most important right of all.  He, the Almightily, created us from nothing, prepared us for whatever we shall become while realizing we are completely incapable of doing anything, and provided us with all that we have in terms such as health, strength, senses, food, shelter, abilities.  Yet, Allāh dās not ask anything in return for all His gifts, grants and bounties, as He grants to all who believe in Him, follow His teachings and commands, and to those who do not.  He requires no favours from us.  He demands no provision of food or drink, as He, the Almighty, is neither in need of nourishment, nor in need of us for any reason. Allāh, the Almighty, stated in the glorious Qur’ān: 
  
And enjoin prayer upon your family [and people] and be steadfast therein. We ask you not for provision; We provide for you, and the [best] outcome is for [those of] righteousness.  [20:132]
 
 
The only thing that Allāh, the Almighty, demands from His creation, which is again for man’s interest, if applied, fulfilled and practiced, is to worship Him, and Him alone without any association of others with Him.  Allāh, the Almighty, stated in the glorious Qur’ān: 
  
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.
I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me.
Indeed, it is Allāh who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength.  [51:56-58] 
 
 
Allāh demands complete, thorough and unrestricted submission to Him, in respect of His unique position as Lord, Cherisher and Care Taker.  Man must present himself before His Creator and Cherisher in full humiliation, obedience and submission to His Commands and Will without questioning the validity of the rule, or even the wisdom behind it, as He, the Almighty, knows well what it is good for His creation as a sole Creator.  Man is required to fully believe, wholeheartedly, in that which is reported soundly and truly of His Creator through His Prophets, Messengers and Books or scriptures.  Man could easily see, touch and feel all the graces of Allāh surrounding him in his life.  Therefore, it is extremely impolite, rude and inconsiderate to deny all these gifts and graces. 
  
If any provided you with a fraction of what Allāh has provided, you would give him a proper respect, consideration to whatever he demands of you (as long as such request are within reason, of course).  All good that comes to man is definitely from His Lord and all evil or bad things dismissed from man is also due to the mercy of Allāh. 
  
And whatever you have of favour – it is from Allāh. Then when adversity touches you, to Him you cry for help.  [16:53]
 
 
In reality, this right that Allāh commands for Himself from man is very easy to observe, simple to respect, clear to understand and practical to apply.  The Crux of the matter is that Allāh did not make this right a difficult task to achieve, impossible to live by, hard to apply, or even tough understand.  Allāh, the Almighty stated in the glorious Qur’ān: 
  
And strive for Allāh with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. He [i.e., Allāh] named you "Muslims" before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakāh and hold fast to Allāh. He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper.  [22:78]
  
This right of Allāh is an ideal belief, truthful faith and belief in justice and fairness.  This right results in fruitful and excellent quality, good deed and actions.  The essence of this belief is love, reverence and respect.  Meanwhile, the result and fruit of this belief is dedication, sincerity and full devotion to truth, justice, and good ethical and moral practice.  In fact, the daily prayer of Muslims is but a simple result of the application of this right of Allāh.  However, such daily prayers are for the benefits of man himself. They will abolish the minor sins committed during that day, increase the rewards  of man for his good actions, improve morals, practices and devotions of the heart of man while improving various situations of man, such as patience and perseverance, concentration, dedication, steadfastness, devotion, commitment to time, production and excellence, and so forth.  Although this required from all, it is in accordance with every individual’s abilities as Allāh stated in the glorious Qur'an:
  
So fear Allāh as much as you are able and listen and obey and spend [in the way of Allāh]; it is better for your selves.  [64:16]
  
The prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told a man called ‘Imran bin Al-Hussain, who was ill at that time: "offer your obligatory prayer while standing, but if you cannot do that, then offer it while sitting, and if you can not do that, then, offer it while laying down on your side."  (Reported by Bukhari and Others)   
  
Furthermore, man as a result of his belief in Allāh and his religion of Islām, is to pay Zakāt (Charity).  That is a small percentage of the entire Wealth given to man, but yet, it benefits the poor and the needy individuals in the society.  It dās not benefit Allāh, the Almighty.  Zakāt benefits the poor, but by the same token, it dās not harm or burden the rich person who gives of his wealth. 
  
As a believing, obedient Muslim, one must observe siyām (fasting) during the month of Ramadan every year, in fulfilment of the right of Allāh.  However, if one is unable to fulfil this duty for legitimate reason or excuse, then one may make it up some other time of the year, or pay necessary compensation (in charity) for missing it, as Allāh stated in the glorious Qur’ān: 
  
So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up].  [2:184]
  
Also, as a result of the application, observation and adherence to this immense right of Allāh, the Almighty, a believing Muslim must perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the Ka’ba at Makkah one time in ones life as a requirement for those who are physically and financially able. 
  
The natural right of Allāh is to be fulfilled wholeheartedly.  Consequently, all the matters related to it in terms of full belief, Salāh (prayer), Zakāh (charity or poor dues), Siyām (fasting) and Hajj (pilgrimage) must be practiced, observed and maintained on regular basis.  All other facts, duties and requirements from the believers are only required when there is a need for them, such as Jihād (fight and struggle) for the cause of Allāh, supporting the cause of justice to men (and opposing injustice) when it occurs and needs support.
  
Examine this right of Allāh, the Almighty. It is easy to fulfil, maintain and observe.  It is also insignificant in terms of required applications; yet, it is so great in value and reward for those who observe it and perform whatever it entails.  Observers of such right will live happily in this life, the hereafter, salvaged from the Hell-fire and will be rewarded with permanent abode in Jannah (paradise) as Allāh, the Almighty, stated in the glorious Qur’ān: 
  
Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.  [3:185]
 
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[Source: Adapted from Essential Rights by Muhammad Salih ibn Uthaymeen]