The Legitimate Scope of Freedom of Expression in Islam

  • Muhammad Yasar,
  • Hassan Shakeel Shah
Keywords: rules and regulations, freedom of expression, brotherhood


Any system of a country has its specific principles, rules and laws upon which the system runs. No system can be governed without establishing some rules and regulations in accordance of ethical, cultural, legal and religious values or norms of that particular society. A total neglect of anyone of the previous values could lead to the total collapse of that system. However, the spectrum and scope of those rules and laws varies from society to society but when it is the case of international level then their scope caries global responsibility with it. The right to freedom of expression is the case of the like sort as it has acquired central position in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and also a part of European Convention on Human Rights (1950). Similarly, Islamic legal system not only guaranteed the right to freedom of expression but by broadening its concept special consideration has been taken with regard to serious concerns globally. The legitimate functional scope of this right and determination of its limits is being aimed by the Islamic legal system which gives a free chance to confused and scared people to enjoy their right generously. Regarding freedom of expression some Islamic principles and rules have also been established in global context which closed almost all the possible ways to its abuse. All other religions, religious beliefs and religious sacred personalities are protected from any kind of defamation. The honor and dignity of Muslims and non-Muslims is maintained equally.[i] The Islamic manners of the particular right to freedom of expression also help people to enjoy their legal right honorably on legitimate tracks. The idea of global peace and global brotherhood is also one of the salient features of Islamic freedom of expression. Great variety of expressions has been introduced in Islamic legal system but provided their compatibility with universal legal standard. Thus Islam deals with the particular right of freedom of expression as a universal right rather than communal or national. Islam held it as a responsibility which often followed by the accountable process.


[i] “The concept of freedom of expression is valued in Islam; however, there are also limitations when it comes to freedom of expression, as it is not permissible to abuse this right to taint someone’s honor or incite any form of hatred.”  Dr. Mohamed Mattar and Fareeda Wael Abou al-Maged, Human Rights in Islam, p. 12.

Author Biography

Hassan Shakeel Shah

Assistant Prof. University of Management and Technology, Lahore

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