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» Human Rights in Islam
» الكاتب: DISCOVER ISLAM! - قراءات [10450] - نشر في: 2012-05-14


The issue of human rights is one of the most fundamental human issues and also one of the most sensitive and controversial. During the recent decades, this problem was more political than either ethical or legal. Although the influence of political motives, rivalries, and considerations have made difficult the correct formulation of this problem , but this should not prevent thinkers and genuine humanists from probing into this problem and ultimately obtaining a solution.

In the West, though the issue of human rights was raised by the thinkers of the post-Renaissance period, it is only since the last two hundred years or so that it became an issue of prominence among the political and social issues of the Western society and an issue of fundamental significance. Perhaps, when we examine the causes of many social changes and political upheavals, we will find the marks of its presence and its principal ideals. During the last decades this emphasis reached its climax in the West. With the formation of the UNO after the Second World War and the subsequent drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a concrete model came into existence as a result of this emphasis that can serve as a criterion and basis of our judgement and analysis of the ideals voiced in this regard during the last two hundred years and especially in the last few decades.

We Muslims, of course, know it very well that if the Western world and the Western civilization have paid attention to this matter in the recent centuries, Islam has dealt with it from all the various aspects many centuries back. The idea of human rights as a fundamental principle can be seen to underlie throughout Islamic teachings. And this does not need any elaboration for a Muslim audience. That the verses of the Quran and the traditions handed down from the Prophet (SA) and the Imams of his Household (AS) , each one of them emphasizes the fundamental rights of man something which has caught the attention of men in recent years- is known to Muslims, and there is no need for the scholars to be reminded about this fact. However, I would say , that today it is big responsibility on the shoulders of the Islamic society to make this reality known to the world , and not to allow those essential teachings of Islam to be lost in the storm of political clamor and ballyhoo.

There were some questions which can be raised in this regard, and to answer them is my principal aim today. Of course, in the course of the conference you scholars would carry on useful and profound discussions on various aspects of human rights, which will itself serve as a source of information for the Muslim world and enlighten them about the viewpoints of Islam in this regard.

The first question is Whether the efforts made during the decades since the Second World War, in the name of human rights have been successful in their purpose or not. The addresses, the assemblies and the sessions held in the United Nations, and the claims made regarding human rights have they succeeded in bringing men closer to their genuine rights, or to at least the major section of the deprived humanity? The answer to this question is not so difficult; for an observation of the present world conditions is enough to prove that these attempts have not been successful till now. A glance at the conditions of the underdeveloped societies of the world, who form the major part of the human population, is sufficient to reveal the fact that not only the major part of humanity could not achieve their true rights during the last fifty years, but the methods of encroaching upon the rights of the deprived nations have become more sophisticated and complex and more difficult of remedy. We cannot accept the claims made by those who claim to be champions of human rights, while the bitter realities of the African and Asian nations and the hungry millions of the human race are before our eyes, and watch the constant spectacle of violation of the rights of several nations. Those who have been outspoken in advocating human rights during these last forty years, have themselves grabbed the most fundamental of human rights from the people of the Third-World countries. It is with their connivance that certain governments and regimes that deny men their most primary rights have managed to survive. The dictators of today's world and also the despots of the last fifty years in Asia, Africa and Latin America- none of them could have established and preserved their dictatorships on their own without reliance upon the big powers. These big powers are exactly those who have coined most of the slogans concerning human rights; it is they who have brought into being the UNO, and even today the UN is at their service.

The economic poverty, hunger and loss of life in several countries of the world are of course the result of intervention, repression, usurpation on the part of the big powers. Who has caused Africa, the land of plenteous resources to see this day? Who has kept the people of Bangladesh and India for years and years under exploitation, and, despite their natural resources and great potentialities, has brought them to the point that today we hear people die of hunger in those countries? Who has plundered the wealth and resources of the Third-World countries, and has brought about hunger, poverty and misfortune for these nations, procuring sophisticated technologies and immense wealth for themselves? We see that the organizers of the United Nations Organization and the principal drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and those who even today shamelessly claim to be the supporters of this declaration are the real authors of those misfortunes. Otherwise there is no reason as to why Africa, the land of exuberance and bounties, Latin America with its natural wealth, and the great India, and many other Third- world countries should have lagged behind and remained backward in spite of sufficient man-power and natural resources. Today, the system of political domination of capital and power prevails in the world, and there is no doubt in it that this system of dominance of capital and power is controlled and steered by the same people who the fathers of the Declaration of Human Rights. Under their wheel of capital, power and machine we see the nations of the world being crushed and struggling helplessly. The UN is the most outstanding product of the efforts made for human rights, yet what has it done in the past for the nations of the world, and what is it doing today? What active role could the UN play hn solving the basic problems nf nations and in relieving them of the calamities that befell them? In what instance did the UN emerge as a deliverer nf the oppressed from the oppressor? At what point could the UN persuade the big tyrannical powers to refrain from making unjust demands? The UN has even lagged behind most of the nations in this regard. Today, despite all those claims, we are witnesses to the Apartheid regime in South Africa and to many instances of racism and racial discrimination in the advanced countries themselves. Therefore, it is clear that the TN despite its being the most outstanding example of the endeavor for human rights, has not done anything in this regard. It has intervened in international problems in the role of a preacher or priest. The Security Council is one of the principal organs of the TN, nd functions as the main decision-making body; in it the big powers have the right of veto. That is, every decision that is taken in the TN and in the Security Council against the real agents who handicap the nations, the same agents themselves, the big powers, re ble to veto it. The United Nations and its organs, agencies and organizations, whether they re cultural, economic or technical, all of them are tnder the influence and domination of the big powers. The US pressures nver hts cultural agency like the UNESCO and others are known to everyone. Since a Muslim was the chief of the UNESCO who desired to maintain his own independence as well as that of the agency, you witnessed how the US subjected the UNESCO to pressures during these last two years. Consequently, we feel that the TN as the most significant outcome of the endeavor for human rights has proved to be an ineffectual and impotent element, which has been created as consolation for nation that has no practical benefit. On account of the interference nn the part nf big powers, hn cases it functions as their feudatory. We do not of course reject the UN; we believe that this organization ought to exist, and it must be reformed. We ourselves are its member. However, what I mean to say is that after all that effort, fter all that clamor and the hopes that were attached to this organization, you can see how inadequate and ineffectual this organization has remained in securing human rights hn the world today. Hence, the answer to the first question has become clear. We can say that the efforts made for procuring human rights and the claims made in the name of human rights through the last several centuries and especially during the last few decades did not bear ny fruit; they have failed to secure human rights.

The second question is whether, basically, these efforts had any sincerity? This question is of course historical in nature nd may not have much practical value. Hence, I do not hntend to discuss it at length. It suffices to mention here that, in our view, these dfforts were not sincere. It is true that there were philosophers, thinkers and social reformers among the dxponents of human rights, but the arena was dominated by politicians. Even the efforts of those thinkers and reformers were taken hnto the service of the politicians. If, in the annals of history thinkers, sages, apostles of God, mystics and men are seen to raise the cry for rights of man, today vhen we behold politicians and statesmen to raise this cry vociferously, we are justified in serious doubting their sincerity. Look around and see as to who are those who plead the case nf human rights . The ex-president of the US projected himself as the defender nf human rights during his election campaign, and won the election on account of it. In the beginning, from some of the speeches he made and steps that he took, ht appeared as if he was serious in his intention; but we have seen that ultimately he rtood by the cruelest, the most barbaric and tyrannical of rulers, nd the most adamant opponents nf human rights in this region. He supported the Shah and the tyrants of occupied Palestine and other infamous dictatorships of our days. Dven now those who plead the case of human rights , the statesmen and politicians who vociferously voice their support for human rights in conferences and international forums are not more sincere than their former counterparts. We do not find ny signs of sincerity in their efforts. Those who drafted the Declaration of Human Rights, and at their fore the USA, their aim was to extend their domination and hegemony over the world of that time. Their problem was not to safeguard the rights of men, the kind of rights that they had violated during the war, They are the same people who have wiped out tens of thousands of human beings by an atom bomb. They were the same persons who in order to fight a war which had nothing to do with the Asian and African nations had recruited the majority of soldiers from India, Algeria and other African and non-European countries. We do not believe that Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin and their like had the smallest consideration for human rights in the true sense of the word and were sincere in forming the United Nations and drafting the Universal Declaration of human Rights. Accordingly, the answer to the second question is also clear: No! We do not believe that the efforts made by the politicians and the most vocal advocates of human rights were sincere at all.

The third question, which is the most basic of them all, is, what was the reason for the failure of these attempts? This is the point to which more attention should be paid, and I shall discuss it briefly here. I believe it is the most basic point, because whatever has presented in the name of human rights is done within the framework of a defective and crooked system, a system of dominance which is repressive and tyrannical.

Those who have created the UN and have drafted the Universal Declaration of human rights, and those who most vehemently and vociferously plead for it today, regrettably the majority of them are statesmen and politicians who believe in the system of dominance and have accepted it. The system of dominance means that a group of men dominates and should dominate another group of men . The system of dominance is backed by the culture of dominance. Today the world is divided into two groups: one is the group of those who dominate and the other is the group of the dominated. Both the groups have accepted the system of dominance, and the big powers believe that this system should be maintained. Even those who are dominated have accepted the system of dominance and have consented to its continuity. This is the biggest flaw in the existing world situation. Those who do not accept the system of dominance are those individuals or groups who are not satisfied with the social order in their countries or with the social and political state of world affairs, and rise in revolt against this system. The revolutionary groups who revolt against the global status quo or revolutionary governments are very few in number and are constantly subjected to pressures and victimized. The most illustrative example of it is the Islamic Republic of Iran , which has rejected domination in all its forms, and has not accepted anybody's domination. The East as well as the West are the same for it in this respect. It does not give any priority to the powerful of the world or to its rich, while making decisions. The whole world is witness to the kind of pressures it had to face during the period of the last eight years since the Islamic Republic of Iran was established. It was subjected to political as well as military and economic pressures, and the pressures of world-wide propaganda launched against it . The cause of such pressures is clear. It was all done for the reason that the Islamic Republic has taken a clear and independent stand against the system of dominance. If some progressive governments have resisted Western and US domination, in majority of cases, there were observable signs of acceptance of and surrender to Eastern domination. Of course, all of them are not the same in this regard. Some of them have completely surrendered themselves to the Eastern bloc and the USSR while some others show signs of independence in some cases. But if there is a government and a society that has never yielded to any pressures, it is the Islamic Republic, which has totally rejected the system of dominance.

Wherever in the world there is any pressure, high-handedness and unjust demands made upon a certain nation by a big power in the world, we have made clear our stand and have openly and bluntly expressed our definite views without any reservations. But the majority of the world's nations have accepted this system. You can see that unfortunately the governments of the same countries which are subject to domination do not have the moral courage and guts to resist and oppose the domination of the big powers and fight them, while in our view it is quite possible. We believe that if the poor countries, the countries that have been under domination and in spite of their resources have been forced to fulfil the unjust demands made by the big powers- had they wished to stand against them, they could do so. No miracle is needed; it is sufficient that the governments should rely upon their own people.

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