The face of the Muslim world is increasingly stained with the blood of the innocents. In the recent past, imperial interventions over a number of Muslim countries have unleashed political consequences and thereby, exacerbated sectarian tensions among different ethnic and religious groups. Trapped in the quagmire of the sectarian tensions between the Shias and the Sunnis, in many States- Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, etc- a host of terror groups are operating in the name of Islam- ranging from the Taliban in Afghanistan/Pakistan to the ISIL ( the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) under its Caliph Abu Baker al Baghdadi. These entities have poisoned the fair name of Islam by inextricably linking their quest for political power-grabbing with Islamic ethics. They make world headlines for all the wrong reasons in our times- including the destruction of historic monuments and cultural artefacts of enduring significance for the human civilization. They commit wanton and indiscriminate murders in the name of Allah. The targets of their attacks are not just the religious/sectarian/political opponents. The most brutal and heinous killing of innocents- women, children and even innocent civilians who have not taken arms against them- have been rightly described in the media as a crime against humanity. The victims of ISIL, for instance, include fellow brethren-in-faith, the Shiah Muslims and also the other religious minority groups in the region such as the ancient Yazidi community and the Arab Christians who over centuries, lived amicably among their Muslim brethren in the Middle East.
In this complex, political and religious matrix, it is important to assert and reclaim Islam and its original, peaceful teachings that holds human life as a sacred responsibility. Unlike what the ISIL in Iraq/Syria and the Taliban in Afghanistan/Pakistan assert, Islamic teachings promote social peace and tolerance of diversities under the rule of law- the maintenance of amicable relations among different, religious communities by recognizing the sanctity of life. In his Friday Sermon of February 27, 2015 the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius eloquently explains the Islamic norms for the balancing and stabilization of social life and peaceful co-existence, with the framework of Islamic law recognizing equitable retaliation only for the purpose of meeting the exigencies of justice and for preserving social order against extreme evils.
Read the Extracts from the Sermon:
The most sublime revelation, the Qur’an speaks of the excellence of divine words that have the power to bring the most pathetic man out of the most deplorable state and make him develop into a man quite capable of socializing, deep thinking and drawing within him to have access to spirituality and the ability to reach God.
No one can understand the man in the depths of his soul other than the One who created him. Indeed, Allah, the Lord of the universe, is very familiar with the nature of man. He knows his behaviour, his reaction, and what he will do on Earth throughout his existence.
The Law of Equitable Retaliation
So that we might live in peace and tranquillity, Allah has passed laws in several areas/fields. From among these laws He prescribed the Laws of Retaliation – legal retribution (Al-Qisas). In this regard, He said in the Holy Qur’an: “And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. But whoever gives (up his right as) charity, it is an expiation for him. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed - then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” (5: 46).
In the prescription of this law, there is a total justice and multiple benefits that man should know. Islam is a religion that prohibits violations in general and in relation to the human body in particular. According to Abu Huraira, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “All of a Muslim is inviolable to his fellow Muslim: his reputation, his property, his blood.” (Tirmidhi).
It is clear that these three things mentioned are sacred to a believer. Nobody has the right to venture in an illegal manner. Transgression on the human soul is certainly an abominable act from Satan. The killer becomes a rival to Allah for it is He (Allah) who breathed life into the human race, and it is He who must take this life when He wills and as He wills. But when man does not listen to the orders of his creator and obeys only his passion, he anticipates certainly his misery and destruction.
Allah reveals in the Qur’an: “On that account, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption (done) in the land - it is as if he had slain all mankind. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved all mankind. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, (even) after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.” (5: 33).
“To save a soul is to save all mankind” is a phrase that will bring a lot of changes and blessings on earth if every man meditates deeply on it. If on the contrary, he opts for transgression; a very harsh punishment awaits him: “But whoever kills a believer intentionally - his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.” (4: 94).
Certainly, the application of the legal retribution ensures a balanced society and peace within it on a perpetual basis. When others testify to the sentence which a criminal undergoes, they will not have the courage to imitate him and shall not dare to venture into similar acts at the risk of suffering the same fate. Thus Allah brings out the noble purpose in the prescription of retaliation: “It is in legal retribution that you have preservation of life, O people of understanding, so that you may attain to piety.” (2: 180).
In addition to saving and preserving lives, Allah the Most Wise of judges took into account the nature of the human race. Certainly, man aspires to revenge if a member of his family is attacked. If he dies, his family will suffer from this sudden loss. He will be missed by everyone and it shall be a great sadness for everyone. The application of legal retribution will relieve them in a legal (moral) way, because justice would have been done.
Islam is the only religion that calls for respect and preservation of human life. Allah remains eternally the Legislator par excellence. His laws are perfect and righteous. What a great Master and Boss He is! As for man, he is too weak to take on this task. Everyone should be aware and be required to apply the law of God, no matter what. Certainly, the man has been created weak in nature, but God sends to him from time to time Messengers to remind him of His commandments, especially with the advent of Islam.
Islam is the purest and most honest of religions, and it has the power to prevent men to go beyond the moral boundaries through God’s commandments found in the Perfect Book, the Holy Quran.
God revealed such verses that shall remain alive until the Day of Judgement, and thus all the laws and commandments adorning it (i.e. Quran) will last for all time. Unfortunately, not all people shall take into account these commandments. Only the people of understanding have the capacity of such perception and shall honour the laws of Allah in the most beautiful way.
May Allah help us to bow to His commandments and preserve the life He has made sacred, and that we respect our brethrens (humans like ourselves) for the cause and the love of Allah. Insha-Allah. Ameen.