Human rights and guilt by association: Said Nursi’s renewal approach

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Violating human rights, committing crimes and mass killings due to guilt by association is as old as human beings. Most genocides in human history are committed because of guilt by association. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the most important steps regarding human rights, however, no article explicitly bans committing crime and killing due to guilt by association. Although guilt by association is considered unlawful in modern legal systems, it exists in all cultures, among adherents of religions and nations including Muslim countries. Despite the strong objection within the Qur’ān, violating human rights due to guilt by association is common, in the past and present, across the Muslim world. Disregarding such important moral principles has caused great injustices and barbarous acts in the world.
In this paper, I will analyse the word haqq, in its sense of meaning “right” in the sacred texts of Islam, focusing on its relation to guilt by association. Second, I will examine how the Qur’ānic verse “No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another” bans guilt by association in exegetical works. This is shown to take on significance within Said Nursi’s (1877-1960) renewal approach. Finally, this paper argues guilt by association causes great injustice, tyranny and crime. This study proposes it must be added to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and banned by the UN.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-33
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Islamic Studies
Issue number3
Early online date19 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2019


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