Issue No.224 – March 2023 : Shabaan 1444

South Africans commemorate Human Rights Day on the 21st March each year as a tribute to those killed in Sharpeville in 1960 for demonstrating against the draconian Apartheid establishment. It marked the foundation of the South African Human Rights commission in 1996 whose aim is to foster understanding, acceptance and a peaceful future with human rights for all.

The first truly universal charter of Human Rights, long before the one written by the United Nations, was encapsulated in the historical last sermon delivered by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) 1400 years ago. These Universal Rights were recognised and entrenched in Islam, a summary of which includes:

  • Freedom of all; irrespective of caste and colour.
  • Sanctity of life, wealth and property
  • Equality of all races and ethnicities
  • Justice as determined by the Divine Laws of God Almighty
  • The rights of both Men and Women and their respective obligations. Emphasis was placed on how women were to be treated as partners, unlike the treatment meted by the Roman and Greek civilizations.
  • No exploitation or monopoly. The rich are not to be richer at the expense of the poor
  • Rights of others are to be preserved and to be fulfilled
  • People were exhorted to take this declaration seriously. They are to preach it to others and practice it in their life and behaviour.

Islam has prescribed and elevated rights of not just people but also animals, the environment and even the inanimate. In fact, the entire life and teachings of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) revolved around the fulfilment of rights, beginning with the rights of Almighty Allah, the rights of His creation both animate and inanimate, the rights of fellow Believers, the rights of neighbours, the rights of parents, the wife and children, and the list goes on.

Amongst the many narrations of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he also specified the rights of the family, neighbours, guests and that of one’s own body. In his advice to the eminent companion Hadrat Uthmaan Bin Maz’oon (May Allah Be pleased with him). He said: “Verily, I sleep and I pray, I fast and I break my fast, and I marry women. Fear Allah, O Uthman, for your family has rights over you and your guest has rights over you. Verily, your body has rights over you, so fast and break your fast, pray and sleep.” (Sunan Abi Dawood)

For a Muslim to consume only Halaal and Tayyib is by far the most important right of the body that supersedes every other right. Consuming Haraam is a violation of this bodily right.

As a Halaal certifying body SANHA, over the past 27 years, has dedicated itself towards the fulfilment and discharge of this right with the certification of a wide spectrum of consumer goods ranging from meat to dairy products, to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and even to that seemingly insignificant toothpick, toothpaste, dental floss or the thirst-quenching bottled water that one enjoys on a scorching day.

This Human Rights Day, let us begin with focussing on the right of the body to consume Halaal and Tayyib before all other bodily rights, and Insha Allah the fulfilment of every other right placed upon our shoulders, as Muslims, will automatically fall in place. Acts of piety and righteousness emanate from a strictly Halaal, pure and wholesome diet. You are, what you eat!