HAQOOQ-UL-IBAD DUTIES TOWARD EVERY LIVING CREATURE IN ISLAM
As a Muslim, we are concerned more about our religious obligations toward Allah ignoring the fact that in certain situations Allah has given priority to the rights of people (haqooq-ul-Ibad) over obligations we owe to Allah (Haqooq-Allah). Allah (SWT) if he pleases may forgive any sin related to haqooq-Allah except shirk (associating other deities with Allah) but he will never forgive the violation of people’s rights until the oppressed himself forgives. So, if a Muslim only cares about his obligations owing to Allah neglecting or violating the rights of fellow beings, is committing the patent violation of Islamic injunctions.
Both haqooq-Allah and haqooq-ul-ibad are interlinked with each other. Prayers, fasting, Zakat, and hajj are individual actions which we perform for our own selves to be rewarded. We are concerned more about ourselves that’s why we do not prepare ourselves to do much for others. Moreover, it is understood that after toheed (belief in the oneness of Allah), by performing the 4 rituals (Salah, fasting, zakat, and hajj), all our obligations and duties are fulfilled. These 4 rituals are not the ultimate goal. If other obligations (haqooq-ul-ibad) are not fulfilled properly then the act of worship is incomplete.
Allah’s Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) told his companions about a woman who was punished due to keeping a cat tied until it expired, and (as a punishment of this sin) she was thrown into Hellfire. She had not provided it with drink or food and had not set her free so that she could eat the insects of the earth (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, and Number 5570).
While Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) told in another incident,
“A prostitute saw a dog turning around a well on a hot day; due to thirst, it was panting. She took off her shoe, filled it with water and provided the water to the dog. She was forgiven due to this act of kindness.” [Muslim, Tawba 155, (2245)]
Actually, Islam came to make people able to recognize their creator and to promote welfare and brotherhood among them. The word Salat (prayer) appears 36 times in the Quran while haqooq-ul-ibad (rights of people) under different names has been stated 121 times in the Holy Quran.
Allah (SWT) says,
“By the Time man is in the loss, except those who have faith and do righteous deeds” (Surah Asr verse#1).
Similarly, in Surah Hajj, verse#14 Allah says,
“Verily Allah will admit those who believe and do righteous deeds to gardens beneath which rivers flow”.
The meaning of good deeds in Islam is wide. Good deeds can be divided into three major subheadings which are as follows:
- Ritual worship
- Dealings with other people (ref: Seerat-ul- Nabi S.A.W. by Shibli Noumani & Syed Suleiman Nadvi)
Ritual worship (ibadat) includes Toheed (Oneness of Allah), Salah (Offering prayer), Saum (Fasting), Zakat (Charity), and Hajj (Pilgrimage) is directly related to Allah (SWT) while non-ritual act which includes morality and dealings are related to Allah’s creations. Of this morality (equity, piety, honesty, patience, truthfulness, standing up for Right, respecting others etc.) is a duty imposed upon people while dealings (Rights of parents, spouse, teachers, poor/orphan, neighbors, patients etc.) are related to our responsibilities towards others.
Once Prophet (ﷺ) was asked, “Who is the best Muslim?” He replied the one from whose hand and tongue all other Muslims are safe (Sahih Bukhari). If we have been strictly following this beautiful Hadith then hatred, slandering, bloodshed, backbiting, and injustice will not be prevailing in our society.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in another hadith mentioned “‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself (Sahih Bukhari).
Hazrat Abu Hurairah, (may Allah be pleased with him), narrated that the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ), said, “Do you know who a bankrupt person is?” The Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) replied, “A bankrupt person among us is one who has neither money nor property.”
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“A bankrupt person in my Ummah is one who will come on the Day of Judgement with a record of prayers, fasting, and Zakat (charity), but he will also come having abused one person, cursed another, taken the money of someone else, taken the life of another, and beaten another. Thus, one person will be given from his good deeds, and another will be given from his good deeds, and in this way his good deeds fall short to clear his account, so their sins will be taken and cast upon him, and then he will end up going into Hellfire” (Sahih Muslim).
On the Day of Judgment, no one will have wealth in the form of money or property. Only the wealth they possess will be good deeds. That’s why the person has to pay off his good deeds to those he used to behave badly in the worldly life and if the good deeds are not enough he will start receiving sins of those people and will end up going to hellfire.
This clearly explains that good conduct is much valued in Islam. We will be held accountable for our behavior not only towards humans but towards animals too. Islam being a complete code of life teaches us to be careful about our conduct towards Allah’s every living creature. That’s why every person should be treated in the best and fair way. As obedient believers, we should keep both haqooq-Allah and haqooq-ul-ibaad side by side. The life of our Prophet (ﷺ) is the Best example to help us how to fulfill our duties and rights towards Allah’s creation. May Allah (SWT) guide us toward the right path and help us to fulfill haqooq-Allah and Haqooq-ul-ibad in the best way (Ameen)…!!!