Islamic perspectives on human rights: a brief socio-historical overview

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By exploring a Muslim view of human rights in an historical context, this paper enhances mutual understanding between diverse faith communities. In Islam, justice is a moral virtue and an attribute of human character, as it is in the Western tradition.However, the problem of human rights in the modern age became among the most challenging in Islam. The juristic articulations of Islam bear the influence of history and time, which may not be integral to its essence and must, therefore, remain open to evolution and improvement. Islamic tradition has created concepts which can be applied in a systematic engagement to develop contemporary commitments to human rights. The paper gives an emphasis on wasaṭiyyah, which is a commitment to justice and a balanced approach to all aspects of human life leading to the integration of all good in the world. It reveals this concept as one of the greatest losses of the Muslim world whose value needs to be re-affirmed. By doing so, it highlights the plurality of Muslim views on the UDHR and some Islamic human rights declarations, but also the ongoing cosmopolitanism implicit as a recurring theme in Islamic culture from earliest times.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberZadok Papers, Spring 2020
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalZadok Papers
Issue numberS245 Spring, 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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