Compensating for Others’ Rights

Excerpted from Faqir Abdulqadr Naqshbandi’s book Tawba: Turning to Allah in Repentance

There are five basic ways by which the rights of others may be violated.

  1. Mali – pertaining to property
  2. Nafsi – pertaining to life
  • Irzi – Pertaining to honour
  1. Mahrami – Pertaining to close relations under his authority and guardianship
  2. Dini – pertaining to religion
  3. i) Examples of human rights violations which have to do with property (mali) include theft, extortion; selling by way of fraud or lying; paying counterfeit money; causing damage to someone’s property; false testimony; treachery; bribery. Tawba and getting the wronged person’s forgiveness are necessary for this type of violation even if it is a matter of one cent or a seed of grain. Violations pertaining to property that are not compensated for before death should be paid for by the wrong doer’s children, his inheritors. If this era of worldly life comes to an end with these violations pending – that is not paid for or get forgiven, the compensation will surely take place in the Akhirah (Hereafter) by bartering the wrong doer’s good deeds. If the wronged person is dead, the payment should be to his inheritors. If there are no inheritors or the wronged person is not known specifically, the payment should be to the poor people and its reward sent to the soul of the wronged person. Even if the person wronged is a non-Muslim, it is necessary to compensate (or to) please him somehow so as to get forgiveness.
  4. ii) Rights violation type ii (nafsi) pertaining to life includes a homicide or mutilation. Forgiveness and absolution from this sin requires Tawba and the guilty person submitting himself to the Wali (executor) of the murdered or mutilated person. The Wali has the choice to forgive, to make peace in return for property or to start a legal case against the offender to ensure his punishment. The Wali, however, cannot take the law to his own hand by retaliating on his own.

iii) The violation of rights by irzi (honours) include backbiting, slander, mockery and abusing. Forgiveness of these sins requires Tawba and reconciliation with the wrong person (either by compensation, by apology or pleasing him one way or the other). This type of violation does not become rectified by any form of reconciliation with the (wrong person’s) inheritors.

  1. iv) A mahrami violation are the rights involves evils perpetrated against a person by the way of his wife or children. Violating the chastity of thers’ daughters and other mahram (close) relatives requires Tawba and istighfar. If it will surely not lead to a greater fitna – widespread enmity, vengeance and or bloodshed, one should present himself before the wrong person seeking forgiveness. However, any likehood of fitna would only require pronouncing a blessing over the wronged person in his absence or giving alms on his behalf, instead of direct confrontation.
  2. v) Religious rights violation (Dini) include the refusal to teach ones relatives or household their religious responsibilities, to prevent other people from acquiring religious knowledge or from worship, or to call Muslims disbelievers or sinners. To get their forgiveness it is acceptable to offer apology, commence teaching the neglected knowledge and refrain from hindering knowledge and ibadats. Our master and the master of all ‘alams, Rasulullah (alaihi wa ahli wa sahabihi wa sallam) once declared:

‘There are three kinds of sins: the sin that will not be forgiven in the Last Judgement (Qiyamat); the sin that is not discontinued; and the sin which will be forgiven if Allahu ta’ala wishes’

The learned of the Ummah (alaihimurridwan) said:

‘The sin which will absolutely not be forgiven is shirk (disbelief of all kinds). Sins that are not discontinued until they are forgiven or compensated for are the sins which involve the violation of others rights. And the sins which will be forgiven if Allahu ta’ala wishes are the sins which is solely between the servant and His Lord without others right coming in, Allahu Subhanahu wa ta’ala knows best.’