Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in
Islam,Aug. 5, 1990, U.N. GAOR,
Conf. on Hum. Rts., 4th Sess., Agenda Item 5, U.N. Doc.
(1993) [English translation].
The Nineteenth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers
(Session of Peace, Interdependence and Development), held in Cairo, Arab
Republic of Egypt, from 9-14 Muharram 1411H (31 July to 5 August 1990),
Keenly aware of the place of mankind in Islam as vicegerent
of Allah on Earth;
Recognizing the importance of issuing a Document on Human
Rights in Islam that will serve as a guide for Member states in all aspects of
Having examined the stages through which the preparation of
this draft Document has so far, passed and the relevant report of the Secretary
Having examined the Report of the Meeting of the Committee
of Legal Experts held in Tehran from 26 to 28 December, 1989;
Agrees to issue the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in
Islam that will serve as a general guidance for Member States in the Field of
Reaffirming the civilizing and historical role of the
Islamic Ummah which Allah made as the best community and which gave humanity a
universal and well-balanced civilization, in which harmony is established
between hereunder and the hereafter, knowledge is combined with faith, and to
fulfill the expectations from this community to guide all humanity which is
confused because of different and conflicting beliefs and ideologies and to provide
solutions for all chronic problems of this materialistic civilization.
In contribution to the efforts of mankind to assert human
rights, to protect man from exploitation and persecution, and to affirm his
freedom and right to a dignified life in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah.
Convinced that mankind which has reached an advanced stage
in materialistic science is still, and shall remain, in dire need of faith to
support its civilization as well as a self motivating force to guard its
Believing that fundamental rights and freedoms according to
Islam are an integral part of the Islamic religion and that no one shall have
the right as a matter of principle to abolish them either in whole or in part
or to violate or ignore them in as much as they are binding divine commands,
which are contained in the Revealed Books of Allah and which were sent through
the last of His Prophets to complete the preceding divine messages and that
safeguarding those fundamental rights and freedoms is an act of worship whereas
the neglect or violation thereof is an abominable sin, and that the
safeguarding of those fundamental rights and freedom is an individual
responsibility of every person and a collective responsibility of the entire
Do hereby and on the basis of the above-mentioned principles
declare as follows:
(a) All human beings form one family whose members are
united by their subordination to Allah and descent from Adam. All men are equal
in terms of basic human dignity and basic obligations and responsibilities,
without any discrimination on the basis of race, colour, language, belief, sex,
religion, political affiliation, social status or other considerations. The
true religion is the guarantee for enhancing such dignity along the path to
(b) All human beings are Allah's subjects, and the most
loved by Him are those who are most beneficial to His subjects, and no one has
superiority over another except on the basis of piety and good deeds.
(a) Life is a God-given gift and the right to life is
guaranteed to every human being. It is the duty of individuals, societies and
states to safeguard this right against any violation, and it is prohibited to
take away life except for a shari'ah prescribed reason.
(b) It is forbidden to resort to any means which could
result in the genocidal annihilation of mankind.
(c) The preservation of human life throughout the term of
time willed by Allah is a duty prescribed by Shari'ah.
(d) Safety from bodily harm is a guaranteed right. It is the
duty of the state to safeguard it, and it is prohibited to breach it without a
(a) In the event of the use of force and in case of armed
conflict, it is not permissible to kill non-belligerents such as old men, women
and children. The wounded and the sick shall have the right to medical
treatment; and prisoners of war shall have the right to be fed, sheltered and
clothed. It is prohibited to mutilate or dismember dead bodies. It is required
to exchange prisoners of war and to arrange visits or reunions of families
separated by circumstances of war.
(b) It is prohibited to cut down trees, to destroy crops or
livestock, to destroy the enemy's civilian buildings and installations by
shelling, blasting or any other means.
Every human being is entitled to human sanctity and the
protection of one's good name and honour during one's life and after one's
death. The state and the society shall protect one's body and burial place from
(a) The family is the foundation of society, and marriage is
the basis of making a family. Men and women have the right to marriage, and no
restrictions stemming from race, colour or nationality shall prevent them from
exercising this right.
(b) The society and the State shall remove all obstacles to
marriage and facilitate it, and shall protect the family and safeguard its
(a) Woman is equal to man in human dignity, and has her own
rights to enjoy as well as duties to perform, and has her own civil entity and
financial independence, and the right to retain her name and lineage.
(b) The husband is responsible for the maintenance and
welfare of the family.
(a) As of the moment of birth, every child has rights due
from the parents, the society and the state to be accorded proper nursing,
education and material, hygienic and moral care. Both the fetus and the mother
must be safeguarded and accorded special care.
(b) Parents and those in such like capacity have the right to
choose the type of education they desire for their children, provided they take
into consideration the interest and future of the children in accordance with
ethical values and the principles of the Shari'ah.
(c) Both parents are entitled to certain rights from their
children, and relatives are entitled to rights from their kin, in accordance
with the tenets of the shari'ah.
Every human being has the right to enjoy a legitimate
eligibility with all its prerogatives and obligations in case such eligibility
is lost or impaired, the person shall have the right to be represented by
(a) The seeking of knowledge is an obligation and provision
of education is the duty of the society and the State. The State shall ensure
the availability of ways and means to acquire education and shall guarantee its
diversity in the interest of the society so as to enable man to be acquainted
with the religion of Islam and uncover the secrets of the Universe for the
benefit of mankind.
(b) Every human being has a right to receive both religious
and worldly education from the various institutions of teaching, education and
guidance, including the family, the school, the university, the media, etc.,
and in such an integrated and balanced manner that would develop human
personality, strengthen man's faith in Allah and promote man's respect to and
defence of both rights and obligations.
Islam is the religion of true unspoiled nature. It is
prohibited to exercise any form of pressure on man or to exploit his poverty or
ignorance in order to force him to change his religion to another religion or
(a) Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to
enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them, and there can be no subjugation
but to Allah the Almighty.
(b) Colonialism of all types being one of the most evil
forms of enslavement is totally prohibited. Peoples suffering from colonialism
have the full right to freedom and self-determination. It is the duty of all
States peoples to support the struggle of colonized peoples for the liquidation
of all forms of and occupation, and all States and peoples have the right to
preserve their independent identity and econtrol over their wealth and natural
Every man shall have the right, within the framework of the Shari'ah, to free
movement and to select his place of residence whether within or outside his
country and if persecuted, is entitled to seek asylum in another country. The
country of refuge shall be obliged to provide protection to the asylum-seeker
until his safety has been attained, unless asylum is motivated by committing an
act regarded by the Shari'ah as a crime.
Work is a right guaranteed by the State and the Society for
each person with capability to work. Everyone shall be free to choose the work
that suits him best and which serves his interests as well as those of the society.
The employee shall have the right to enjoy safety and security as well as all
other social guarantees. He may not be assigned work beyond his capacity nor
shall he be subjected to compulsion or exploited or harmed in any way. He shall
be entitled - without any discrimination between males and females - to fair
wages for his work without delay, as well as to the holidays allowances and
promotions which he deserves. On his part, he shall be required to be dedicated
and meticulous in his work. Should workers and employers disagree on any
matter, the State shall intervene to settle the dispute and have the grievances
redressed, the rights confirmed and justice enforced without bias.
Everyone shall have the right to earn a legitimate living without
monopolization, deceit or causing harm to oneself or to others. Usury (riba) is
(a) Everyone shall have the right to own property acquired
in a legitimate way, and shall be entitled to the rights of ownership without
prejudice to oneself, others or the society in general. Expropriation is not
permissible except for requirements of public interest and upon payment of
prompt and fair compensation.
(b) Confiscation and seizure of property is prohibited
except for a necessity dictated by law.
Everyone shall have the right to enjoy the fruits of his
scientific, literary, artistic or technical labour of which he is the author;
and he shall have the right to the protection of his moral and material
interests stemming therefrom, provided it is not contrary to the principles of
(a) Everyone shall have the right to live in a clean
environment, away from vice and moral corruption, that would favour a healthy
ethical development of his person and it is incumbent upon the State and
society in general to afford that right.
(b) Everyone shall have the right to medical and social
care, and to all public amenities provided by society and the State within the
limits of their available resources.
(c) The States shall ensure the right of the individual to a
decent living that may enable him to meet his requirements and those of his
dependents, including food, clothing, housing, education, medical care and all
other basic needs.
(a) Everyone shall have the right to live in security for
himself, his religion, his dependents, his honour and his property.
(b) Everyone shall have the right to privacy in the conduct
of his private affairs, in his home, among his family, with regard to his property
and his relationships. It is not permitted to spy on him, to place him under
surveillance or to besmirch his good name. The State shall protect him from
(c) A private residence is inviolable in all cases. It will
not be entered without permission from its inhabitants or in any unlawful
manner, nor shall it be demolished or confiscated and its dwellers evicted.
(a) All individuals are equal before the law, without
distinction between the ruler and the ruled.
(b) The right to resort to justice is guaranteed to
(c) Liability is in essence personal.
(d) There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided
for in the Shari'ah.
(e) A defendant is innocent until his guilt is proven in a
fast trial in which he shall be given all the guarantees of defence.
It is not permitted without legitimate reason to arrest an
individual, or restrict his freedom, to exile or to punish him. It is not
permitted to subject him to physical or psychological torture or to any form of
maltreatment, cruelty or indignity. Nor is it permitted to subject an
individual to medical or scientific experiments without hisconsent or at the
risk of his health or of his life. Nor is it permitted to promulgate emergency
laws that would provide executive authority for such actions.
Taking hostages under any form or for any purpose is
(a) Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion
freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the
1.. Everyone shall have the right to advocate what is right,
and propagate what is good, and warn against what is wrong and evil according
to the norms of Islamic Shari'ah.
(c) Information is a vital necessity to society. It may not
be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity
of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical Values or disintegrate, corrupt or
harm society or weaken its faith.
(d) It is not permitted to excite nationalistic or doctrinal
hatred or to do anything that may be an incitement to any form or racial
(a) Authority is a trust; and abuse or malicious
exploitation thereof is explicitly prohibited, in order to guarantee
fundamental human rights.
(b) Everyone shall have the right to participate, directly
or indirectly in the administration of his country's public affairs. He shall
also have the right to assume public office in accordance with the provisions
All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration
are subject to the Islamic Shari'ah.
The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the
explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.