In this paper, first the evolution of the Western human rights standpoint and its theoretical underpinnings are traced. Next, the current internationally-approved instruments of human rights are critiqued in terms of their relevance to the needs of individuals and groups in Third World societies. Thirdly, a review of the Islamic view of human rights is attempted. Finally, the human rights situation and Muslim responses to it is examined in the contexts of Africa, Asia and Europe. Studying the human rights situation in regions where Muslims are in a majority and dominate the state, as in some African and Asian societies, and in areas where they are a minority, as in Europe, helps us arrive at a better understanding of the practical implications of the human rights package, approved by the United Nations and other related agencies, for a religious community which faces theological and philosophical difficulties in coming to terms with it.
KEY WORDS: Africa, Asia, colonialism, democracy, Europe, Islamic state, non-Muslims, secularism, Sharia, women