By Sheikh Salman Al-Oadah at IslamToday.net
History is replete with human violence and iniquity, going all the way back to Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. Allah says:
فَطَوَّعَتْ لَهُ نَفْسُهُ قَتْلَ أَخِيهِ فَقَتَلَهُ فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ
But his mind imposed on him the killing of his brother, so he slew him and became one of the losers.
[Sûrah al-Mâ’idah 5:30]
The context of this verse emphasizes both his deep regret and his spiritual loss for the great sin that he had committed. Allah says:
فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ غُرَابًا يَبْحَثُ فِي الْأَرْضِ لِيُرِيَهُ كَيْفَ يُوَارِي سَوْءَةَ أَخِيهِ قَالَ يَا وَيْلَتَا أَعَجَزْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِثْلَ هَٰذَا الْغُرَابِ فَأُوَارِيَ سَوْءَةَ أَخِي فَأَصْبَحَ مِنَ النَّادِمِينَ
مِنْ أَجْلِ ذَٰلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْسًا بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعًا
Then Allah sent a raven scratching up the ground, to show him how to hide his brother’s naked corpse. He said: Woe unto me! Am I not able to be as this raven and so hide my brother’s naked corpse? And he became repentant. For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.
[Sûrah al-Mâ’idah 5:31-32]
The murderer faces two punishments. The first is a legal punishment – the loss referred to in the verse above. This includes both the legal retribution in the world and the chastisement in the Hereafter. Allah says:
وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا
Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his punishment is hell; he shall abide in it, and Allah will send His wrath on him and curse him and prepare for him a painful chastisement.
[Sûrah al-Nisâ 4:93]
The second punishment is the acute sense the murder has of his sin and its magnitude; the shame and blame that the murderer feels after the rage of the moment has subsided and his normal frame of mind is restored.
Murder is sometimes committed because of conflicts related to worldly gain, like the quest for wealth and power. This stark reality is something that sincere people strive to curtail or at least minimize in society thought education, social guidance, and reform. The laws of nations seek the same through their penal codes and police forces.
The very worst murders are committed by zealots who wrongfully and unjustly commit their crimes in the name of religion. This is the worst form of murder, since it takes the very faith that came to establish justice and to preserve human life and human welfare and misuses it in order to achieve the very opposite of the religion’s noble objectives. It perverts some people who should be upholding human life into the very ones who commit murder.
This murder is the worst kind of murder, since the murderer is far removed from regret or from penitent feelings. A person who kills someone else out of bigotry, greed, or other worldly desires, might hear the word of Allah and the teachings of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, about the sanctity of human life and the sacredness of the human being. He might hear about the great punishments that await the murderer in this life and the next. If his heart has any faith, he might be seized by fear for what he has done. He might feel regret, which can lead him to repentance and to mend his ways.
As for the one who kills in the name of religion, he is filled with falsehoods that come from his baser self and that have been made fair-seeming for him by Satan and which are supported and encouraged by his associates. These falsehoods have been embellished by words that are bereft of truth until the person is utterly blinded to the truth and kept away from the Book of Allah. He is led to propound arguments so banal and false that he who utters them would not accept their like from someone else in the most trivial of matters.
Some people are amazed by the sheer nerve of the murderer. It is the courage born of ignorance, which was seen in the times of ignorance before Islam. Abû Jahl displayed such courage during the Battle of Badr, when he was thrown down to the ground, covered in his own blood and seeing his imminent death before his face, was able to ask, “So who is winning the battle now?” He was able to insult Ibn Mas’ud, saying, “You have risen to a difficult status, haven’t you little shepherd?”
Every manner of conduct or action that is not kept aright by the values of Islam will tend either to extremism or to crass neglect. Targeting public places where people converge – like markets, hotels, and airports – is the epitome of wrongdoing. All manner of people are found in such places, both Muslim and non-Muslim, whose lives are inviolable. For someone to detonate a bomb in such a place is a grievous evil. It is clearly a most heinous sin, a transgression against others and against the law of Allah. It is most appalling that anyone would have the presumption to call such a depraved act a “jihad.” Where is the “jihad” in killing innocents? This is clear misguidance.
It is the obligation of all of us – everyone who has access to a pen or a podium – to condemn such acts in clear and unequivocal terms. We must not mix our condemnation with anything else. It is not necessary for us whenever we speak about such crimes against humanity to, in the same breath, bring up the wrongdoings of America or Israel. Instead, we must confront these heinous crimes being perpetrated by Muslims with our particular condemnation, and do so with the direct and unambiguous evidence of our sacred texts and by clarifying the objectives of Islamic Law. Other crimes that were perpetrated by other people should not be brought up in the same discussion.
We must steer clear of giving any justification to these crimes. Though it is the responsibility of specialists in security issues, political analysts, and social scientists to study any phenomenon and investigate its causes, at this time it is particularly necessary to put forth a clear message of condemnation of these crimes being carried out by Muslims and to declare their unlawfulness in Islam. The Muslim youth need to be made to understand how clear the matter is, so that they will not slip into error.
The perpetrators of these acts are generally a few, isolate individuals. They are the ones who have to carry their sin and meet their Lord with its great burden weighing down their backs. They will have to face their victims grabbing them by the shoulders and saying, “My Lord! My Lord! Ask this man why he killed me unjustly!”
If this is the grave state of the murderer, then those who Allah spares from the blood of such murders should be careful not to meet their Lord bearing the guilt of having ever said anything in support of those crimes, or encouraging them, or of sympathizing with or applauding the perpetrators. We should be careful not to ever utter such statements that might be said inadvertently by some people on account of personal prejudices, or by the idea that some supposed objectives were realized, or from malicious joy at the expense of one group or another. All of that is impermissible. Nothing should ever be said to justify, trivialize, or excuse those crimes. We should always imagine that it was ourselves, or our parents, or our children who were the victims and think: for what purpose were they killed?
We must not remain silent until those crimes strike us in our own homes. Our Lord tells us that in the Hereafter the infant girl who was buried alive will be asked for what sin was she killed. This will be asked as a means of condemning and humiliating her murderer. This girl will have been from the age of paganism before Islam, when the custom of burying infant girls used to be practiced. Her Lord will, nevertheless, come to her defense on that grave day. How much worse it will be for those who murder en masse?
O Allah! These unjust acts are a crime against the religion of your Prophet, peace be upon him, who You sent with mercy. They are a transgression against Your servants.
O Allah! Protect the Muslims from these crimes. Guide them by their forelocks to what is right. Save them from corruption. Give them insight and clear vision so that they will not love that which You despise, nor despise that which You love. Bestow upon them mercy, peace, and prosperity.
(www.faithinallah.org / 11.05.2012)