Understanding ‘Al-Haqq’: The Core of Islamic Rights and Duties


1. Basic Concepts of Rights and Duties

Rights and duties are closely interrelated concepts. A right is a claim or entitlement to something. And duty is an obligation to do something. Together, they form the basis of our moral and legal systems and form the basis of our social relationships with each other.

Rights are guarantees of certain opportunities or privileges, such as the right to life, the right to religion, the right to express, the right to move, etc. Duties are what we must do to uphold rights. The concepts of rights and duties are closely related and they exist in a reciprocal relationship. For a right to be meaningful, there must be associated duties that ensure that the right is protected and upheld.

Everyone has a right to personal dignity and privacy in our daily lives, even within families. Accordingly, society and family members have a duty to respect each other’s personal dignity and privacy, recognizing the importance of individual dignity and privacy. Every family member has the right to express their thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Accordingly, the family should listen to, consider, and follow the principles of mutual understanding.

Here is another example within an organization, the rights and duties of the employee and the employer are closely interrelated, and this serves as the basis of the mutual relationship in the work environment. Employees have a right to be paid for their work and employers have a duty to pay that salary. Similarly, employers have a right to have their employees perform the tasks assigned to them and employees have a duty to perform their tasks properly. As another example, an employee has a right to work in a safe environment, but this right can only be achieved if the employer provides a safe work environment. Similarly, employers demand from their employees to maintain a safe working environment. This right can only be achieved when employees fulfill their responsibilities to protect and maintain a safe environment.

In general, it can be said that rights and duties are complementary and interdependent. Without the performance of duties, rights cannot be fully realized. In short, where there is a right there is a duty. Because the concepts of rights and duties are closely interrelated and they exist in a reciprocal relationship. A right is a claim or entitlement to something, while a duty is an obligation or responsibility to do something. For a right to be meaningful, there must be associated duties that ensure that the right is protected and upheld.

2. Islamic Concept of Rights and Duties

2.1 Meaning and Analysis of the word “Haqq” 

Rights and duties have been interpreted in different contexts and perspectives throughout Islamic teachings. In our case, we will explain the concept of rights and duties by analyzing Allah’s name and attribute “Al-Haqq”. Al-Haqq, is an adjective meaning True, Real, Right, Proper, and a noun meaning Truth, Reality Rightness, or Properness. “Al-Haqq” encompasses both the essence of Allah and the inherent nature of creation. Therefore all creation is indebted to “Al-Haqq” i.e. Truth. “Al-Haqq” indicates that Allah is the Absolute Truth, the Ultimate Reality, and the sole source of all existence. This concept forms the basis of the interrelationship among the rights of Allah, the rights of creation, and our duties towards them.

Various verses in the Holy Qur’an state that the creation of the heavens and the earth, the sending of messengers, and the revelation of the heavenly book are all done in truth (Haqq), emphasizing the significance of recognizing and adhering to this ultimate reality. The following are some verses in the Qur’an that are quite clear about the Haqq or Truth of Allah and His creations. 

Surah Al-An’am [6:73]: “He is the One Who created the heavens and the earth in truth (Haqq). On the Day He will say, ‘Be!’ And there will be! His command is truth…”

Surah Al-Ankabut [29:44]: “Allah created the heavens and the earth in truth (Haqq). Surely in this is a sign for the people of faith.”

Surah As-Saffat [37:37]: “In fact, he (the Prophet) came with the truth (Haqq), confirming messengers.”

Surah Az-Zumar [39:2]:  “Indeed, We have sent down to you the Book in truth. So worship Allāh, [being] sincere to Him in religion.”

Surah Az-Zukhruf [43:29]: “In fact, I had allowed enjoyment for these ˹Meccans˺ and their forefathers, until the truth (Haqq) came to them along with a messenger making things clear.”

From the above verses, we understand that Allah is the Truth and all that is affiliated to Him is truth. His promises are the truth, His words or Book is the truth, and His messengers are the truth. That is why the Prophet (pbuh) used to make this supplication when he would wake up for Tahajud prayer:

[Al-Bukhari 1120] “O Allah! All the praises are for you, You are the Holder of the Heavens and the Earth, And whatever is in them … And all the praises are for You; You are the Truth and Your Promise is the truth, And to meet You is true, Your Word is the truth And Paradise is true And Hell is true And all the Prophets (Peace be upon them) are true; And Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is true, And the Day of Resurrection is true…..”

The core understanding of “Haqq” is the recognition of Allah as the Absolute Haqq, the ultimate truth and reality that underpins every other truth. It implies that every aspect of creation, by virtue of being a manifestation of Allah’s truth, has inherent rights that must be respected and protected. The only way to “verify” and “realize” Allah is to perceive Him as Truth and Reality. 

2.2 The “Haqq” or Rights of Allah

What does it mean to perceive Allah and His creation as Truth or Reality? It is not just about recognizing the truth or reality of something. Rather it is a matter of acknowledging the just claims that come with that recognition. Thus, every truth demands some actions when we acknowledge or recognize that truth. When we accept Allah as truth and every creation as truth, it demands us to believe in Allah as truth and He, the ultimate creator of all creation. The recognition of truth or “Haqq” is not a passive matter; Rather, it demands an active response, including a belief in it or a commitment to do something. The “Haqq” or right of Allah is to believe Him, the ultimate creator of all is true. Believing in Allah as the creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in between is the right or Haqq of Allah. Thus Haqq is used in both the meanings of “truth” and “right”.

Surah Luqman [31:30]: “That is because Allāh is the True Reality (Haqq), and that what they call upon other than Him is falsehood, and because Allāh is the Most High, Most Great.”

This verse states that Allah is the true reality (“Haqq”), and the other Gods who are invoked for help are false. It emphasizes the need to recognize Allah as the Ultimate Truth, Creator, and Sustainer; Including specific duties towards Allah like worship and obedience to Him. None has the right to be worshiped except Allah and we have no duty towards them. All the above verses indicate that acknowledging the right or truth is essential to understanding the rights of Allah and our duties towards Him.

All of the verses explain how the concept of “Haqq” (truth and reality) is an attribute of Allah, His actions, and at the same time serves as a basis for understanding rights and duties in Islam. Accepting Allah as the ultimate truth means acknowledging His authority over creation and understanding our duty to Him. This understanding shapes a moral framework within which Muslims place importance on duty as a reflection of truth, righteousness, and faith. This approach develops a holistic view of rights and duties, highlighting various aspects of the individual’s relationship with the Creator. 

2.3 Our divine or natural rights and duties

Now, we will discuss our divine or natural rights, and how it creates duties when we enjoy those rights based on “Haqq”.   

Surah At-Taha [20:50]: “Our Lord is He Who created everything, then guided.”

Almighty Allah, who created and guided everything in the universe. We have already discussed that the Word of Allah is “Haqq” or Truth. Allah created us means we have the right to live and the right to be guided. Therefore our life as creation is our Haqq or Right and guidance is our Haqq or Right.

Qur’anic verse Surah al-Hijr (15:19-23): “And the earth – We spread it out, and placed on it mountains, and produced in it all kinds (of life) in balance, and provided. Therein is the means of livelihood for you (O humans) and also for all (living beings) whose livelihood does not depend on you. There is no means of livelihood which we do not hold in reserve, only extracting it in precise measure. And We have sent down the wind to fertilize it, and We have sent down water from the sky and given it to you to drink: and you are not the disposer of its source – for, behold, We give life and cause death. And we are the eternal heirs.”

This passage of the Qur’an emphasizes the idea that Allah is the source of sustenance and sustenance for all living beings. It highlights the idea that everything in the world has its source in Allah and He is the one who gives life and embraces death. Therefore all creations have the right to life and livelihood. The right to life and livelihood is a Haqq or Right. At the basic level, Allah created us and provided us with guidance and sustenance. Therefore, as God’s creation, we have rights over them. These rights are associated with the absolute rights of Allah. Thus, there is a duty to acknowledge Allah as the Creator, Guide and Sustainer of all creation.

Allah is the source of all rights, in order to claim our rights we must truly believe that He is the only owner and possessor of them. Thus our rights create duties towards Allah. Since Allah created us and gave us the right to life, guidance and sustenance, it is a moral duty to believe in Allah as the Creator, Guide and Sustainer of all. It creates the reciprocal relationship that recognizing Allah as the source of our rights is also recognizing our duties to Him – these duties are primarily the rights of Allah. In essence, the belief that Allah has given us a ‘right’ to life is a right of Allah that we must fulfill. Thus the word “Haqq” creates a duality, it gives us rights on the one hand, and on the other hand, it creates duties to Allah. Thus, all our natural or divine rights come with duties towards Allah.

When the word “Haqq” is related to the creation, it does not simply mean their “truth” or their “reality”. Rather, it also refers to those just and proper claims when we come into contact with other creatures or human beings. When we come in contact with people, we recognize that their rights or “Haqq” are also given by Allah; And it is a moral duty to respect and protect their rights. For example, by recognizing the God-given right to life, we also recognize the moral responsibility to respect and protect the lives of others. The word “Haqq” creates a duality, on the one hand, it gives us rights, and on the other hand, when we come in contact with other people; It creates a moral obligation to respect and protect their rights.

So the word “Haqq” refers not only to its truth or reality but also to its just and equitable claim on us. When we realize the rights of something, we not only understand its truth and reality, but also what to do about it. It not only designates the objective truth and actual reality of an individual but also creates subjective obligations and internal responsibilities for those who encounter it. Since Allah is the creator of every human being, every right given by Him is universal and applies to all of us equally. This is true of all God-given rights, the right to life, a fundamental “right” given to everyone. Recognizing one’s right to life as a “right” also means recognizing the responsibility to respect and protect that life.

The perception of natural rights and duties not only conceptualizes our relationship with the divine but also determines what our interactions with others will be. This implies that believing in Allah and respecting the right to life of others is a deep moral obligation rooted in the recognition of Allah-given “rights”. It is an understanding that every person enjoys the same rights under God’s creation, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect for life. Therefore, “Haqq” not only gives us rights but also outlines our duties to Allah, the grantor of those rights, and to humanity at large.

The concept of “Haqq” in Islam is deeply connected to the understanding of rights and duties. It establishes a broad framework that forms the basis of the relationship between the individual, his Creator, and the rest of creation. By understanding this interrelationship of rights and duties, we learn the essence of living in harmony with one another along the lines of our moral and spiritual obligations. This relationship brings each of our rights into two levels of duty: first, the duty to the Creator who gave us the rights, and second, the duty to His creation, humanity, to whom these rights are also given.

2.4 Duty to Allah

The first level of duty is towards Allah who has given rights. Recognizing Allah as “Al-Haqq” – the Ultimate Truth – is fundamental to all duties. This recognition includes not only recognition of His existence but also a deeper understanding and acceptance of His sovereignty, commandment, and the purposes He has set for humanity. The previously discussed Qur’anic verse emphasizes that everything Allah does is true (“Haqq”), from the creation of the heavens and the earth to the sending of messengers with clear instructions. This responsibility stems from the realization that all creation is a manifestation of God’s truth (“Haqq”), so Allah has the inherent right to everything. Allah is the source of all rights, in order to claim our rights we must truly believe that He is the only owner and possessor of them. Thus our rights create duties towards Allah.

2.5 Duty to creation

The second level of duty is towards creation, especially to other human beings who have also been given rights. Allah has given rights to all creation and it is our duty to respect and protect those rights of creation. These responsibilities to creation are not separate from our duties to Allah but are an extension of them. By fulfilling our duty to creation, we are also fulfilling our duty to Allah, as He has commanded kindness, justice and stewardship of the earth and its inhabitants.

In Islam, rights and duties are seen as a balanced and complementary element. Allah-given rights come with corresponding duties. This relationship confirms that the concept of human rights in Islam recognizes the rights of the individual with an emphasis on the overall, collective welfare of society. It instills in individuals a sense of responsibility not only to uphold their rights but also to fulfill their duties towards Allah and others. This balance is very important in Islamic ethics and it provides an overall framework for understanding human rights and responsibilities. 

In the next chapter we will discuss how “rights” link duties to three basic human rights: 1) the right to life and livelihood, 2) the right to liberty and guidance, and 3) the right to create. In each of these rights, “Haqq” refers not only to the truth, right, and properness inherent in these rights but also to our responsibilities and duties towards Allah and His creation. This balanced approach ensures that the exercise of one’s rights does not infringe upon the rights of others. Thus “Haqq” is a fundamental principle that guides the understanding and application of human rights in Islam. “Haqq” integrates individual freedom with divine obligation and human and social responsibility.

Shallow Insan

We strive to break the barrier of the superficial form of thinking to understand and explain complex and interrelated designed events and systems.

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