TREATISE ON RIGHTS (RISALAT AL-HUQUQ)
KNOW - God have mercy upon you - that God has rights against you
and that these encompass you in every movement through which you
move, every rest through which you rest, every waystation in which
you reside, every limb which you employ, and every instrument which
you put to work. Some of these rights are greater and some less.
[A]  The greatest of God's rights against you is the right
which He has made incumbent upon you for Himself and which is the
root of all rights, then  those which He has made incumbent upon
you in yourself, from your crown to your foot, in keeping with the
diversity of your organs. He has given  your tongue a right
against you,  your hearing a right against you,  your sight a
right against you,  your hand a right against you,  your leg a
right against you,  your stomach a right against you,  and
your private part a right against you. These are the seven organs
through which acts (af'al) take place.
[B] Then He gave your acts rights against you: He gave  your
ritual prayer a right against you,  your fasting a right against
you,  your charity a right against you,  your offering a
right against you, and your acts a right against you.
[C] Then these rights extend out from you to others who have
rights against you. The most incumbent of them against you are the
rights toward your leaders (a'imma), then the rights toward
your subjects (ra'iyya), then the rights toward your womb
From these rights branch out other rights. [C1] The rights of
your leaders are three: The most incumbent upon you is  the
right of him who trains you through authority, then  of him who
trains you through knowledge, then  of him who trains you
[C2] The rights of your subjects are three: The most incumbent
upon you is  the right of those who are your subjects through
authority, then  the right of those who are your subjects
through knowledge for the man of ignorance is the subject of the man
of knowledge then the right of those who are your subjects through
property, such as  wives and  what is owned by the right
[C3] The rights of your womb relatives are many; they are
connected to you in the measure of the connection of the womb
relationship. The most incumbent upon you is  the right of your
mother, then  the right of your father, then  the right of
your child, then  the right of your brother, then the next
nearest, then the next nearest - the most worthy, then the next most
[D] Then there is  the right of your master who favours you
[by freeing you from slavery], then  the right of the slave
whose favours reach you [by the fact that you free him], then 
the right of him who does a kindly act toward you, then  the
right of the muezzin who calls you to the ritual prayer, then 
the right of the imam who leads the prayer, then  the right of
your sitting companion, then  the right of your neighbour, then
 the right of your companion, then  the right of your
partner, then  the right of your property, then the right of him
who has a debt he must pay back to you, then  the right of him
to whom you owe a debt, then  the right of your associate, then
 the right of your adversary who has a claim against you, then
 the right of your adversary against whom you have a claim, then
 the right of him who asks you for advice, then  the right
of him whom you ask for advice, then  the right of him who asks
your counsel, then  the right of him who counsels you, then 
the right of him who is older than you, then  the right of him
who is younger than you, then  the right of him who asks from
you, then  the right of him from whom you ask, then the right of
 him who does something evil to you through word or deed, or
 him who makes you happy through word or deed, intentionally or
unintentionally, then  the right of the people of your creed,
then  the right of the people under your protection, then all
rights in the measure of the causes of the states and the occurrence
Therefore happy is he whom God aids in the rights which He has
made incumbent upon him and whom He gives success therein and points
in the proper direction!
[A. RIGHTS OF GOD AGAINST ONESELF]
 The greatest right of God against you is that you worship Him
without associating anything with Him. When you do that with
sincerity (ikhlas), He has made it binding upon Himself to
give you sufficiency in the affair of this world and the next.
 The right of your self (nafs) against you is that
you employ it in obeying God; then you deliver to your tongue its
right, to your hearing its right, to your sight its right, to your
hand its right, to your leg its right, to your stomach its right, to
your private part its right, and you seek help from God in all that.
 The right of the tongue is that you consider it too noble for
obscenity, accustom it to good, refrain from any meddling in which
there is nothing to be gained, express kindness to the people, and
speak well concerning them.
 The right of hearing is to keep it pure from listening to
backbiting (ghiba) and listening to that to which it is
unlawful to listen.
 The right of sight is that you lower it before everything
which is unlawful to you and that you take heed whenever you look at
 The right of your hand is that you stretch it not toward that
which is unlawful to you.
 The right of your two legs is that you walk not with them
toward that which is unlawful to you. You have no escape from
standing upon the narrow bridge (al-sirat [over hell]), so
you should see to it that your legs do not slip and cause you to
fall into the Fire.
 The right of your stomach is that you make it not into a
container for that which is unlawful to you and you eat no more than
your fill (shib').
 The right of your private part (farj) is that you
protect it from fornication and guard it against being looked upon.
[B. RIGHT OF ACTS]
 The right of your ritual prayer (salat) is that you
know that it is an arrival before God and that through it you are
standing before Him. When you know that, then you will stand in the
station of him who is lowly, vile, beseeching, trembling, hopeful,
fearful, and abased, and you will magnify Him who is before you
through stillness and dignity. You will approach the prayer with
your heart and you will perform it according to its bounds and its
 The right of the hajj is that you know it is an
arrival before your Lord and a flight to Him from your sins; through
it your repentance is accepted and you perform an obligation made
incumbent upon you by God.
 The right of fasting is that you know it is a veil which God
has set up over your tongue, your hearing, your sight, your stomach,
and your private part to protect you from the Fire. If you abandon
the fast, you will have torn God's protective covering away from
 The right of charity (sadaqa) is that you know it
is a storing away with your Lord and a deposit for which you will
have no need for witnesses. If you deposit it in secret, you will be
more confident of it than if you deposit it in public. You should
know that it repels afflictions and illnesses from you in this world
and it will repel the Fire from you in the next world.
 The right of the offering (hady) is that through it
you desire God and you not desire His creation; through it you
desire only the exposure of your soul to God's mercy and the
deliverance of your spirit on the day you encounter Him.
[C1. RIGHTS OF LEADERS]
 The right of the possessor of authority (sultan) is
that you know that God has made you a trial (fitna) for
him. God is testing him through the authority He has given him over
you. You should not expose yourself to his displeasure, for thereby
you cast yourself by your own hands into destruction and become his
partner in his sin when he brings evil down upon you.
 The right of the one who trains you (sa'is) through
knowledge is magnifying him, respecting his sessions, listening well
to him, and attending to him with devotion. You should not raise
your voice toward him. You should never answer anyone who asks him
about something, in order that he may be the one who answers. You
should not speak to anyone in his session nor speak ill of anyone
with him. If anyone ever speaks ill of him in your presence, you
should defend him. You should conceal his faults and make manifest
his virtues. You should not sit with him in enmity or show hostility
toward him in friendship. If you do all of this, God's angels will
give witness for you that you went straight to him and learned his
knowledge for God's sake, not for the sake of the people.
 The right of him who trains you through property is that you
should obey him and not disobey him, unless obeying him would
displease God, for there can be no obedience to a creature when it
is disobedience to God.
[C2. RIGHTS OF SUBJECTS]
 The right of your subjects through authority is that you
should know that they have been made subjects through their weakness
and your strength. Hence it is incumbent upon you to act with
justice toward them and to be like a compassionate father toward
them. You should forgive them their ignorance and not hurry them to
punishment and you should thank God for the power over them which He
has given to you.
 The right of your subjects through knowledge is that you
should know that God made you a caretaker over them only through the
knowledge He has given you and His storehouses which He has opened
up to you. If you do well in teaching the people, not treating them
roughly or annoying them, then God will increase His bounty toward
you. But if you withhold your knowledge from people or treat them
roughly when they seek knowledge from you, then it will be God's
right to deprive you of knowledge and its splendour and to make you
fall from your place in people's hearts.
 The right of your wife (zawja) is that you know
that God has made her a repose and a comfort for you; you should
know that she is God's favour toward you, so you should honour her
and treat her gently. Though her right toward you is more incumbent,
you must treat her with compassion, since she is your prisoner (asir)
whom you feed and clothe. If she is ignorant, you should pardon her.
 The right of your slave (mamluk) is that you should
know that he is the creature of your Lord, the son of your father
and mother, and your flesh and blood. You own him, but you did- not
make him; God made him. You did not create any one of his limbs, nor
do you provide him with his sustenance; on the contrary, God gives
you the sufficiency for that. Then He subjugated him to you,
entrusted him to you, and deposited him with you so that you may be
safeguarded by the good you give to him. So act well toward him,
just as God has acted well toward you. If you dislike him, replace
him, but do not torment a creature of God. And there is no strength
save in God.
[C3. RIGHTS OF WOMB RELATIVES]
 The right of your mother is that you know that she carried
you where no one carries anyone, she gave to you of the fruit of her
heart that which no one gives to anyone, and she protected you with
all her organs. She did not care if she went hungry as long as you
ate, if she was thirsty as long as you drank, if she was naked as
long as you were clothed, if she was in the sun as long as you were
in the shade. She gave up sleep for your sake, she protected you
from heat and cold, all in order that you might belong to her. You
will not be able to show her gratitude, unless through God's help
and giving success.
 The right of your father is that you know that he is your
root. Without him, you would not be. Whenever you see anything in
yourself which pleases you, know that your father is the root of its
blessing upon you. So praise God and thank Him in that measure. And
there is no strength save in God.
 The right of your child is that you should know that he is
from you and will be ascribed to you, through both his good and his
evil, in the immediate affairs of this world. You are responsible
for what has been entrusted to you, such as educating him in good
conduct (husn al-adab), pointing him in the direction of
his Lord, and helping him to obey Him. So act toward him with the
action of one who knows that he will be rewarded for good doing
toward him and punished for evildoing.
 The right of your brother is that you know that he is your
hand, your might, and your strength. Take him not as a weapon with
which to disobey God, nor as equipment with which to wrong God's
creatures. Do not neglect to help him against his enemy or to give
him good counsel. If he obeys God, well and good, but if not, you
should honour God more than him. And there is no strength save in
[D. RIGHTS OF OTHERS]
 The right of your master (mawla) who has favoured
you [by freeing you from slavery] is that you know that he has spent
his property for you and brought you out of the abasement and
estrangement of bondage to the exaltation and comfort of freedom. He
has freed you from the captivity of possession and loosened the
bonds of slavehood from you. He has brought you out of prison, given
you ownership of yourself, and given you leisure to worship your
Lord. You should know that he is the closest of God's creatures to
you in your life and your death and that aiding him with your life
and what he needs from you is incumbent upon you. And there is no
strength save in God.
 The right of the slave (mawla) whom you have
favoured [by freeing him] is that you know that God has made your
freeing him a means of access to Him and a veil against the Fire.
Your immediate reward is to inherit from him-if he does not have any
maternal relatives-as a compensation for the property you have spent
for him, and your ultimate reward is the Garden.
 The right of him who does a kindly act (dhu l-ma'ruf)
toward you is that you thank him and mention his kindness; you
reward him with beautiful words and you supplicate for him sincerely
in that which is between you and God. If you do that, you have
thanked him secretly and openly. Then, if you are able to repay him
one day, you repay him.
 The right of the muezzin is that you know that he is
reminding you of your Lord, calling you to your good fortune, and
helping you to accomplish what God has made obligatory upon you. So
thank him for that just as you thank one who does good to you.
 The right of your imam in your ritual prayer is that you
know that he has taken on the role of mediator between you and your
Lord. He speaks for you, but you do not speak for him; he
supplicates for you, but you do not supplicate for him. He has
spared you the terror of standing before God. If he performs the
prayer imperfectly, that belongs to him and not to you; but if he
performs it perfectly, you are his partner, and he has no excellence
over you. So protect yourself through him, protect your prayer
through his prayer, and thank him in that measure.
 The right of your sitting companion (jalis) is that
you treat him mildly, show fairness toward him while vying with him
in discourse, and do not stand up from sitting with him without his
permission. But it is permissible for him who sits with you to leave
without asking your permission. You should forget his slips and
remember his good qualities, and you should tell nothing about him
 The right of your neighbour (jar) is that you guard
him when he is absent, honour him when he is present, and aid him
when he is wronged. You do not pursue anything of his that is
shameful; if you know of any evil from him, you conceal it. If you
know that he will accept your counsel, you counsel him in that which
is between him and you. You do not forsake him in difficulty, you
release him from his stumble, you forgive his sin, and you associate
with him generously. And there is no strength save in God.
 The right of the companion (sahib) is that you act
as his companion with bounty and in fairness. You honour him as he
honours you and you do not let him be the first to act with
generosity. If he is the first, you repay him. You wish for him as
he wishes for you and you restrain him from any act of disobedience
he might attempt. Be a mercy for him, not a chastisement. And there
is no strength save in God.
 The right of the partner (sharik) is that if he
should be absent, you suffice him in his affairs, and if he should
be present, you show regard for him. You make no decision without
his decision and you do nothing on the basis of your own opinion,
but you exchange views with him. You guard his property for him, and
you do not betray him in that of his affair which is difficult or of
little importance, for God's hand is above the hands of two partners
as long as they do not betray each other. And there is no strength
save in God.
 The right of your property (mal) is that you take
it only from what is lawful and you spend it only in what is proper.
Through it you should not prefer above yourself those who will not
praise you. You should act with it in obedience to your Lord and not
be miserly with it, lest you fall back into regret and remorse while
suffering the ill consequence. And there is no strength save in God.
 The right of him to whom you owe a debt (al-gharim
alladhi yutalibuka) is that, if you have the means, you pay him
back, and if you are in straitened circumstances, you satisfy him
with good words and you send him away with gentleness.
 The right of the associate (khalit) is that you
neither mislead him, nor act dishonestly toward him, nor deceive
him, and you fear God in his affair.
 The right of the adversary (khasm) who has a claim
against you is that, if what he claims against you is true, you give
witness to it against yourself. You do not wrong him and you give
him his full due. If what he claims against you is false, you act
with kindness toward him and you show nothing in his affair other
than kindness; you do not displease your Lord in his affair. And
there is no strength save in God.
 The right of the adversary against whom you have a claim is
that, if your claim against him is true, you maintain polite
moderation in speaking to him and you do not deny his right. If your
claim is false, you fear God, repent to Him, and abandon your claim.
 The right of him who asks you for advice (mustashir)
is that, if you consider that he has a correct opinion, you advise
him to follow it, and if you do not consider it so, you direct him
to someone who does consider it so.
 The right of him whom you ask for advice (mushir)
is that you do not make accusations against him for an opinion which
does not conform to your own opinion. If it conforms to it, you
 The right of him who asks your counsel (mustansih)
is that you give him your counsel, but you conduct yourself toward
him with compassion and kindness.
 The right of your counsellor (nasih) is that you
act gently toward him and give ear to him. If he presents you with
the right course, you praise God, but if he does not agree with you,
you show compassion toward him and make no accusations against him;
you consider him to have made a mistake, and you do not take him to
task for that, unless he should be deserving of accusation. Then
attach no more importance to his affair. And there is no strength
save in God.
 The right of him who is older than you (kabir) is
that you show reverence toward him because of his age and you honour
him because he entered Islam before you. You leave off confronting
him in a dispute, you do not precede him in a path, you do not go
ahead of him, and you do not consider him foolish. If he should act
foolishly toward you, you put up with him and you honour him because
of the right of Islam and the respect due to it.
 The right of him who is younger (saghir) is that
you show compassion toward him through teaching him, pardoning him,
covering his faults, kindness toward him, and helping him.
 The right of him who asks (sa'il) from you is that
you give to him in the measure of his need.
 The right of him from whom you ask is that you accept from
him with gratitude and recognition of his bounty if he gives, and
you accept his excuse if he withholds.
 The right of him through whom God makes you happy (surur)
is that you first praise God, then you thank the person.
 The right of him who does evil to you is that you pardon
him. But if you know that your pardon will harm him, you defend
yourself. God says, Whosoever defends himself after he has been
wronged - against them there is no way (42:41).
 The right of the people of your creed (milla) is
harbouring safety for them, compassion toward them, kindness toward
their evildoer, treating them with friendliness, seeking their
well-being, thanking their good-doer, and keeping harm away from
them. You should love for them what you love for yourself and
dislike for them what you dislike for yourself. Their old men stand
in the place of your father, their youths in the place of your
brothers, their old women in the place of your mother, and their
young ones in the place of your children.
 The right of the people under the protection [of Islam] (dhimma)
is that you accept from them what God has accepted from them and you
do no wrong to them as long as they fulfil God's covenant.
Introduction to the "Treatise on Rights"