Is there a basis for human rights in Islam? Beginning with an exploration of what rights are and how the human rights discourse developed, Abdullah Saeed explores the resources that exist within Islamic tradition that are compatible with international human rights law and that can be garnered to promote and protect human rights in Muslim-majority states. A number of rights are given specific focus, including the rights of women and children, freedom of expression and religion and jihad and the laws of war. He concludes that there is a need for Muslims to rethink problematic areas of Islamic thought that are difficult to reconcile with contemporary conceptions of human rights.
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Those who argue for an Islamic conception of human rights agree that it is essential for a connection to be made between international human rights law and Islamic values if human rights are to gain widespread acceptance among Muslims. This chapter outlines the most important Islamic textual sources of authority and legal tools that can be used in this endeavour.