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Clarification Of Harsh Punishments In Islam (Must Read)

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Crime and Punishment in Islam

By The Editorial Team of Dr. Abdurrahman al-Muala (translated by Islamtoday.com)

 

 

Introduction

Part 1: Introduction and the Islamic approach to combating crime

 

Security and stability are basic human needs, no less important than food and clothing. Without security and stability, a human being is not able to properly conduct his daily life, let alone come up with new ideas or contribute to the development of a high level of civilization.

 

Man has been conscious of the need for security since the beginning of his life on Earth, and he has continuously expressed his awareness of this need in many ways. With the formation and evolution of human society, he has expressed this and other needs through the establishment of a state and the formation of laws. This was accomplished in order to ensure general security, settle disputes and conflicts that threaten society, and oppose external threats to its security posed by other nations. The development of these man-made laws did not come to completion except in the last few centuries as the result of a long process of trial and error.

 

By contrast, the Law of Islam was sent down to Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, in its complete form as part of His final message to humanity. Islamic Law pays the most careful attention to this matter and provides a complete legal system. It takes into consideration the changing circumstances of society as well as the constancy and permanence of human nature. Consequently, it contains comprehensive principles and general rules suitable for dealing with all the problems and circumstances that life may bring in any time or place. Likewise, it has set down immutable punishments for certain crimes that are not affected by changing conditions and circumstances. In this way, Islamic Law combines between stability, flexibility, and firmness.

From what angle does Islam approach combating crime? What are the principles that the Islamic penal code is based upon? What are the distinguishing features of this code? What are the measures that it employs to combat crime? What types of punishments exist in Islam? What are the objectives behind their being legislated? These are the questions that will be dealt with in the following pages.

 

The Islamic Approach to Combating Crime

 

The ultimate objective of every Islamic legal injunction is to secure the welfare of humanity in this world and the next by establishing a righteous society. This is a society that worships God and flourishes on the Earth, one that wields the forces of nature to build a civilization wherein every human being can live in a climate of peace, justice and security. This is a civilization that allows a person to fulfill his every spiritual, intellectual, and material need and cultivate every aspect of his being. This supreme objective is articulated by the Quran in many places. God says:

 

“We have sent our Messengers with clear signs and have sent down with them the book and the criterion so that man can establish justice. And we sent down iron of great strength and many benefits for man...” (Quran 57:25)

 

And He says:

 

“…God wants ease for you, not hardship...” (Quran 2:185)

 

And He says:

 

“God wants to make things clear for you and to guide you to the ways of those before you and to forgive you. God is the All knowing, the Wise. God wants to forgive you and wants those who follow their desires to turn wholeheartedly towards (what is right). God wants to lighten your burdens, and He has created man weak.” (Quran 4:26-28)

 

And He says:

 

“God commands justice, righteousness, and spending on ones relatives, and prohibits licentiousness, wrongdoing, and injustice…” (Quran 16:90)

 

Since the Islamic legal injunctions are aimed at achieving human welfare, they can all be referred back to universal principles which are necessary for human welfare to be secured. These universal principles are:

 

1. The preservation of life.

2. The preservation of religion.

3. The preservation of reason.

4. The preservation of lineage.

5. The preservation of property.

 

The Islamic penal system is aimed at preserving these five universal necessities. To preserve life, it prescribes the law of retribution. To preserve religion, it prescribes the punishment for apostasy. To preserve reason, it prescribes the punishment for drinking. To preserve lineage, it prescribes the punishment for fornication. To preserve wealth, it prescribes the punishment for theft. To protect all of them, it prescribes the punishment for highway robbery.

 

It should therefore become clear to us why the crimes for which Islam for which the Law has prescribed fixed punishments are as follows:

 

1. Transgression against life (murder or assault).

2. Transgression against property (theft).

3. Transgression against lineage (fornication and false accusations of adultery).

4. Transgression against reason (using intoxicants).

5. Transgression against religion (apostasy).

6. Transgression against all of these universal needs (highway robbery).

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Forms of Punishment in Islam

Part 2: Distinguishing features of the Islamic penal system, and an introduction to the three forms of punishment which Islam has legislated for certain crimes.

 

Distinguishing Features of the Islamic Penal System

 

In the aforementioned principles, Islamic Law and contemporary law coincide, though Islamic Law has the distinction of being first. However, the Islamic penal system also has unique virtues and distinguishing features, among the most important of which are the following:

 

1. The inner deterrent of man’s moral conscience is fully integrated with external supervision. This is due to the fact that Islamic Law, when dealing with social problems such as crime, does not rely merely on legislation and external deterrents. It focuses more on the internal deterrent, placing the greatest emphasis on man’s moral conscience. It endeavors to develop this conscience within a person from childhood so that he can be brought up with the noblest moral character.

 

It promises success and salvation for those who work righteousness and warns wrongdoers of an evil fate. In this way, it stirs up emotions, making a criminal renounce his ways by inspiring him with faith in God, hope for divine mercy, fear of divine punishment, adherence to moral virtues, love for others, and a desire to do good to others and refrain from causing injury and harm.

 

2. It has a balanced outlook with respect to the relationship between the individual and society. This becomes clear from the fact that while the Divine Law protects society by legislating punishments and preventative measures against crimes, it does not marginalize the individual for the sake of society. On the contrary, its priority is the protection of the individual, his freedom, and his rights. It provides every safeguard to leave no excuse for a person to have to resort to crime. It does not set out to punish without first preparing for the individual a situation conducive to a virtuous and happy life.

 

Forms of Punishment in Islam

 

Islamic Law, in confronting the problems of life and setting down solutions for them, is established on two complimentary principles. These are: the stability and permanence of its basic tenets on the one hand and the dynamism of its subsidiary injunctions on the other.

 

For the unchanging aspects of life, Islamic Law brings fixed statutes. For the dynamic aspects of life that are affected by social development, broadening horizons, and advances in knowledge, Islamic Law comes with general principles and universal rules capable of being applied in a number of different ways and in a variety of circumstances.

 

When we apply these principles to the penal system, we find that Islamic Law has come with clear texts prescribing fixed punishments for those crimes that no society is free of, crimes that do not vary in their forms because they are connected with the constant and unchanging factors of human nature.

 

Islamic Law confronts other crimes by stating the general principle that decisively indicates their prohibition, leaving the punishment to be decided by the proper political authority in society. The political authority can then take the particular circumstances of the criminal into consideration and determine the most effective way to protect society from harm. In accordance with this principle, punishments in Islamic Law are of three types:

 

1. Prescribed punishments

 

2. Retribution

 

3. Discretionary punishments

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‘Hudood’-Prescribed Punishments

Part 3: The first form of punishment – Prescribed punishments or ‘Hudood’, and the types of crimes for which it has been legislated, as well as the wisdom behind it.

 

1. Prescribed Punishments

 

Crimes that fall under this category can be defined as legally prohibited acts that God forcibly prevents by way of fixed, predetermined punishments, the execution of which is considered the right of God.

 

These punishments have certain peculiarities that set them apart from others. Among these are the following:

 

1. These punishments can neither be increased nor decreased.

 

2. These punishments cannot be waived by the judge, the political authority, or the victim after their associated crimes have been brought to the attention of the governing body. Before these crimes are brought before the state, it may be possible for the victim to pardon the criminal if the damage done was only personal.

 

3. These punishments are the ‘right of God’, meaning that the legal right involved is of a general nature where the greater welfare of society is considered.

 

 

The following crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the fixed punishments:

 

 

1. Theft

 

Theft is defined as covertly taking the wealth of another party from its secure location with the intention of taking possession of it.

 

2. Highway Robbery

 

Highway robbery is defined as the activity of an individual or a group of individuals who go out in strength into the public thoroughfare with the intention of preventing passage or with the intention of seizing the property of passers-by or otherwise inflicting upon them bodily harm.

 

3. Fornication and Adultery

 

This is defined as any case where a man has coitus with a woman who is unlawful to him. Any relationship between a man and a woman that is not inclusive of coitus does not fall under this category and does not mandate the prescribed, fixed punishment.

 

4. False Accusation

 

This is defined as accusing the chaste, innocent person of fornication or adultery. It also includes denying the lineage of a person from his father (which implies that his parents committed fornication of adultery). False accusation includes any claim of fornication or adultery that is not backed up by a proof acceptable to Islamic Law.

 

5. Drinking

 

One of the most important objectives of Islam is the realization of human welfare and the avoidance of what is harmful. Because of this, it “permits good things and prohibits harmful things.” Islam, thus, protects the lives of people as well as their rational faculties, wealth, and reputations. The prohibition of wine and the punishment for drinking it are among the laws that clearly show Islam’s concern for these matters, because wine is destructive of all the universal needs, having the potential to destroy life, wealth, intellect, reputation, and religion.

God says:

 

“O you who believe! Verily wine, gambling, idols, and divination are but the abominations of Satan’s handiwork, so abandon these things that perchance you will be successful. Satan only wishes to cause enmity and hatred between you through wine and gambling and to prevent you from the remembrance of God and prayer. Will you not then desist?” (Quran 5:90-91)

 

6. Apostasy

 

Apostasy is defined as a Muslim making a statement or performing an action that takes him out of the fold of Islam. The punishment prescribed for it in the Sunnah is execution, and it came as a remedy for a problem that existed at the time of the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. This problem was that a group of people would publicly enter into Islam together then leave Islam together in order to cause doubt and uncertainty in the hearts of the believers. The Quran relates this event to us:

 

“A group from the People of the Scripture said: ‘Believe in what is revealed to those who believe at the beginning of the day, then disbelieve at the end of the day, so perhaps they might return from faith.” (Quran 3:72)

 

Thus, the prescribed punishment for apostasy was instituted so that apostasy could not be used as a means of causing doubt in Islam.

 

At the same time, the apostate is given time to repent, so if he has a misconception or is in doubt about something, then his cause of doubt can be removed and the truth clarified to him. He is encouraged to repent for three days.

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Retribution and Discretionary Punishments

Part 4: The second and third types of punishments, retribution and discretionary punishments, the types of crimes for which they have been legislated, as well as the wisdom behind them.

 

 

2. Retribution

 

This is the second type of punishment in Islamic Law. This is where the perpetrator of the crime is punished with the same injury that he caused to the victim. If the criminal killed the victim, then he is killed. If he cut off or injured a limb of the victim, then his own limb will be cut off or injured if it is possible without killing the criminal. Specialists are used to make this determination.

Important Rules Regarding Retribution

 

1. Retribution is not lawful except where the killing or injury was done deliberately. There is no retribution for accidentally killing or injuring someone. God says:

 

“O you who believe, retribution is prescribed for you in the case of murder...” (Quran 2:178)

 

And He says:

 

“…There is retribution in wounds...” (Quran 5:45)

 

2. In the crimes where the criminal directly transgresses against another, Islam has given the wish of the victim or his family an important role in deciding whether or not the punishment should be carried out. Islam permits the victim to pardon the perpetrator, because the punishment in these crimes is considered the right of the victim. Islam even encourages pardon, promising a reward in the hereafter for the one who does. God says:

 

“If anyone waives the right to retaliation out of charity, it shall be an expiation for him.” (Quran 5:45)

 

The pardon can either be to the payment of blood money, a fixed, monetary compensation, or can be total, where no worldly compensation is demanded. God says:

 

“To forgive it is closer to piety...” (Quran 2:237)

 

3. The punishment must be carried out by the government. The family of the victim cannot carry it out.

The Wisdom behind Retribution:

 

With regard to Islamic punishments in general, and retribution in specific, we find that they have two complementary characteristics. The first of these is the severity of the punishment. This is in order to discourage the crime and limit its occurrence.

 

The second characteristic is the difficulty of establishing guilt, reducing the opportunities for carrying out the punishment, and protecting the accused. In this vein, we see the principle that punishments are waived in the presence of doubt, and that the benefit of the doubt is always given to the accused. Some prescribed punishments are even waived on the grounds of repentance, as we can see in the case of highway robbery. This is also seen in the permissibility of pardon in the case of retribution and the fact that pardon is encouraged and preferred.

 

These two elements complement each other in that crime is effectively discouraged, protecting society, and the rights of the accused are safeguarded by the fact that speculation and accusations cannot be grounds for punishment, and that the accused enjoys the greatest guarantee of justice and being spared the punishment whenever possible. Most people will abstain from committing crime, because of the severity of the punishment, and the punishments for these crimes will rarely be carried out. In this way, the general security of society and the rights of the individual are equally realized.

 

3. Discretionary Punishments

 

These are punishments that are not fixed by Islamic Law, for crimes that either infringe on the rights of God or the rights of an individual, but do not have a fixed punishment or a set expiation.

 

Discretionary punishments are the broadest category of punishments, because the crimes that have fixed punishments are few in number and all other crimes fall under the scope of this last category.

 

They are the most flexible type of punishment, because they take into consideration the needs of society and changing social conditions. Consequently, they are flexible enough to realize the maximum general benefit to society, effectively reform the criminal, and reduce the harm that he causes.

 

Islamic Law has defined different types of discretionary punishments starting from exhortations and reprimands to flogging, to fines, and to imprisonment. These discretionary measures are left to the decision of the legal authorities within the general framework of Islamic Law and the universal purposes of Islam that balance between the right of society to be protected from crime and the right of the individual to have his freedoms protected.

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The Objectives of the Islamic Penal System

Part 5: A discussion of what the legislation of these types of punishment seeks to bring about in a society.

The Objectives of the Islamic Penal System

 

The Islamic penal system has many objectives, the most important of which are as follows:

 

The First Objective: Islam seeks to protect society from the dangers of crime. It is common knowledge that if crimes are not countered with serious punishments, then society will be in grave danger. Islam seeks to make social stability and security widespread, making life in society secure and peaceful. It has made this consideration a platform for action, legislating punishments that will discourage crime. This purpose has been articulated by the following verse that discusses retribution and its effects on society:

 

“There is (preservation of) life for you in retribution, O people of understanding, that you may become pious.” (Quran 2:179)

 

If the murderer, or any other criminal for that matter, knows the extent of the negative consequences for himself that his crime will cause, he will think a thousand times before committing it. Awareness of the punishment will cause the criminal to abstain from committing the crime in two ways. The criminal who has already been subject to the punishment will most likely not return to the crime again. As for the rest of society, their awareness of the effects of this punishment will keep them from falling into the crime. To realize a general effect from the punishment, Islam has established the principle of publicly announcing when it will be carried out. God says:

 

“…A group of the believers should witness the punishment.” (Quran 24:2)

 

The Second Objective: Islam seeks to reform the criminal. The Quran often makes mention of repentance in association with the crimes that it deals with, making it clear that the door to repentance is open whenever the criminal abandons his crime and behaves properly. It has made repentance a means of waiving a fixed punishment in some instances, like the punishment for highway robbery. God says:

 

“…except for those who repent before you take hold of them. Then know that God is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Quran 5:34)

 

God says regarding the punishment for fornication:

 

“It they both repent and mend their ways, then leave them alone. Verily, God is the Accepter of repentance, the Merciful.” (Quran 4:16)

 

God says after mentioning the punishment for false accusation:

 

“… except for those who repent afterwards and makes amends, then verily God is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”

 

God says after mentioning the prescribed punishment for theft:

 

“Whoever repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, then verily God will accept his repentance and verily God is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Quran 5:39)

 

This objective is seen more frequently with regard to discretionary punishments, whereby it is incumbent upon the judge to take into consideration the circumstances of the criminal and what will insure his betterment.

 

The Third Objective: The punishment is a recompense for the crime. It is undesirable to treat a criminal lightly who threatens the security of society with danger. The criminal should receive his just recompense as long as he is pleased with taking the path of evil instead of the path of righteousness. It is the right of society to be secure in its safety and the safety of its individual members. The Quran has asserted this objective when mentioning a number of punishments. God says:

 

“The thieves, male and female, cut off their hands as a recompense for what they have earned...” (Quran 5:38)

 

“The recompense for those who wage violent transgression against God and His Messenger and who go forth spreading corruption in the Earth is that they should be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet should be cut off on alternate sides or that they should be sent into exile…” (Quran 5:33)

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Can Taking a Life be Justified?

The death penalty in Islam

 

By Aisha Stacey

.

 

The religion of Islam includes a basic set of rules designed to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals and communities. It is a doctrine concerned with respect, tolerance, justice, and equality. The Islamic concepts of freedom and human rights are imbedded in and guaranteed by the Sharia (Islamic Law). Islam establishes a legal framework, and embodies a code of ethics, designed to protect the rights of an individual including his or her right to live in a secure community.

 

Prophet Muhammad said, “Whosoever wakes up (in the morning) feeling that he is secure in his community, free from ailments and diseases in his body, and has enough provision for a single day, it is as if he owns the entire world.”[1]

 

The Sharia is concerned with preserving five basic rights: the right to practice religion, the protection of life, the safeguarding of the mind or intellect, the preservation of honour and family, and the sanctity of wealth and property. It is a moral and ethical base in which individual rights are upheld but not permitted to overshadow the rights of the community.

 

Islamic law contains comprehensive principles and general rules that take into consideration the changing circumstances of society, as well as the constancy and permanence of human nature. While the Sharia combines stability, flexibility, and firmness, it has set down immutable punishments for certain crimes, that are not affected by changing conditions and circumstances. One of these punishments is the death penalty.

 

There are only two categories of crimes for which the death penalty can be applied under Sharia law. One is murder and the other is for crimes against the community (sometimes known as spreading mischief). One of the core principles of Islam is that a cohesive and secure community is absolutely paramount. Crimes that threaten the community include treason, apostasy (when one leaves the religion of Islam and actively turns against it), piracy, rape, adultery, practising magic and homosexual activity.

 

“We ordained to Children of israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” (Quran 5:32)

 

One of the most grave sins is the intentional taking of a life. When Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was asked what the major sins were, he said, “Associating others with God, disobeying one’s parents, murder and bearing false witness.”[2] God says,

 

“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein; and the Wrath and the Curse of God are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him” (Quran 4:93)

 

It is important to understand that there is no place for vigilantism in Islam. A person accused of a crime must be properly convicted in an Islamic court of law before any punishment can be meted out. In the case of the death penalty the severity of the punishment requires that very strict evidence standards must be met before a conviction is found.

 

There are three categories of punishment in the Sharia. Hadd punishments, for crimes against the community are those that are divinely prescribed in the Quran or the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad. They cannot be changed. These punishments can only be carried out by a Muslim ruler or his deputy. It is not permissible for individual Muslims to carry out the hadd punishments (which sometimes include the death penalty) because of the chaos and tribulation it would cause in the community.

 

The second form of punishment, specifically for murder or serious assault, is called Qisas. Whenever a person causes physical harm or death to another, the injured or family of the deceased has the right to retaliation. A unique aspect of Qisas, is that the victim’s family has the option to insist upon the punishment, accept monetary recompense, or forgive the offender, which could even avert the death penalty.[3] Quran urges families and victims to forgive and show mercy even in the direst of circumstances.

 

“And there is (a saving of) life for you in Al-Qisas (the Law of Equality in punishment), Oh men of understanding, that you may become pious.” (Quran 2:179)

 

All other crimes fall into the third category, Tazir, which is a discretionary punishment decided by the court.

 

God sent down His book of guidance the Quran, He gave humankind Islam, the final message and completion of all religions, He sent Prophet Muhammad, a man capable of leading humankind into a new era of tolerance, respect, and justice. The words of Quran and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad contain rights and responsibilities granted by God to humankind. They are not subject to the whims and desires of men and women or the changing allegiances of governments and corporations.

 

Islamic law, the Sharia, God’s laws are embed with justice, mercy and forgiveness; it does not involve taking human life unnecessarily.

 

“We sent our messengers with clear signs and sent down with them the Book and the Balance so that men may conduct themselves with justice.” (Quran 57:25)

 

“O you who believe, be upholders of justice, witnessing for God alone.” (Quran 4:135)

 

Even on the rare occasions when the death penalty is called for it is carried out under humane conditions and holds the promise of forgiveness and eternal paradise.Prophet Muhammad said, “Swear allegiance to me that you will not worship anything besides God, Will not steal, and will not commit illegal sexual intercourse.” And then (the Prophet) recited from the Quran and added, “And whoever among you fulfils his pledge, his reward is with God. Whoever commits something of such sins and receives the legal punishment for it, that will be considered as the expiation for that sin. Whoever commits something of such sins and God screens him, it is up to God whether to excuse or punish him.”

 

 

Postscript. It must be noted that individuals, groups and countries have perpetrated great crimes in the name of Islam and in the name of Sharia law. Men women and children have been condemned to death without the benefit of the strict evidence standards demanded by the Sharia and without the sense of justice and forgiveness that are characteristic of the teachings of Quran and the authentic traditions of Prophet Muhammad.

 

 

Footnotes:


[1] At-Tirmidhi

 

[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim

 

[3] Punishment in Islam: An Eye For An Eye?” Al-Haramain Online Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 8, July 2000.

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Arrogance and Tyranny will not Remain Unpunished

Lessons learned from Pharaoh’s body.

 

By Aisha Stacey

 

 

The Quran is a book of guidance. It is a road map to success and eternal happiness, a gift from the Creator to the creation. It is a book full of signs; God calls them evidences, proofs and lessons. They prove the existence of God and warn humankind of a Day of Judgement, when each one of us will stand before God weighed down, or held high, by our deeds.

 

One of the most manifest signs is the story of Moses[1]. It is a story that holds many lessons for humankind. One part of the story in particular has intrigued people for centuries – the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of the Egyptians. All three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam tell relatively the same Moses story, however Quran is able to fill in details and correct misinterpretations. While all versions include the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh, Quran tells us that Pharaoh’s body will be preserved for all time, as a sign.

 

“So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our signs.” (Quran 10:92)

 

When Pharaoh had power, wealth, good health and strength he refused to acknowledge God. He denied the signs and condemned himself. At the last minute, as the waves crashed over him and his heart constricted in fear, Pharaoh acknowledged God. Pharaoh’s arrogance fell away, but alas it was too late, he saw death approaching and cried out to God with fear and horror. Renowned Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir describes Pharaoh’s death.

 

“The curtain fell on Pharaoh’s tyranny, and the waves threw his corpse up to the western seashore. The Egyptians saw him and knew that the god whom they worshipped and obeyed was a mere man who could not keep death away from his own neck.”

 

God calls it a sign for those “who come after”

 

Many of the Pharaoh’s of Egypt behaved as if they were gods. If a Pharaoh reigned for thirty years there was a ceremony called a Sed festival where the king was officially turned into a god. Many Pharaoh’s especially those who reigned during what is known as the Second Kingdom built numerous monuments and statues to themselves. Some, particularly Amenhotep III and Ramses II wanted to leave a mark, a reminder of their great strength, wealth and divinity.

 

(God said to Moses), “Go to Pharaoh; verily he has transgressed all bounds (he is arrogant and too proud and has refused to believe in God). And say to him: “Would you purify yourself (from the sin of disbelief by becoming a believer)?” (Quran 79: 17 & 18)

 

Then he (Pharaoh) gathered his people and cried aloud, “I am your lord, most high. “So God seized him with punishment for his last and first transgression. Verily, in this is an instructive admonition for whosoever fears Allah. (Quran 79: 24 & 25)

 

Pharaoh said: “O chiefs! I know not that you have a god other than me. So kindle for me (a fire), O Haman, to bake (bricks out of) clay, and set up for me a lofty tower in order that I may look at (or look for) the God of Moses...” (Quran 28:38)

 

The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt were known for their excesses, their beliefs in multiple gods and at times their cruelty and oppression of slaves, and ordinary citizens. When a human being believes himself to be a god, he is arrogant and tyrannical, yet as in this case of the Pharaoh of Moses (whoever he may, or may not have been) who was at the height of his arrogance, God was still willing to forgive him. He sent sign after sign and proof after proof of His existence, but Pharaoh chose to live as if there was no tomorrow. Pharaoh chose to reject the offer of forgiveness and for him and those like him, there is always a tomorrow and inevitably a judgement.

 

Go you and your brother with My signs and do not, you both, slacken and become weak in My Remembrance. Go, both of you, to Pharaoh, verily he has transgressed (all bounds in disbelief and disobedience and behaved as an arrogant and as a tyrant). And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (God). (Quran 20: 43&44)

 

The signs sent by God to Pharaoh were meant to be a reminder, but he rejected those signs out of his arrogance and became one of the losers.

 

We are able to look at the preserved body of a Pharaoh, any pharaoh, and be reminded of God’s words. We can also look at the behaviour of people today, who behave as if they were 21st century pharaohs and remember how God punished the pharaohs of the past. The end result of Pharaoh is a reminder for all of humankind.

 

It reminds us that those who knowingly choose not to worship God in the manner He rightly deserves, risk never being guided to the right path. How many signs will God send? One, one million? Is it worth giving up eternal bliss for moments of happiness based on arrogance and ego? In the Hall of Mummies, in the Cairo Museum lie a group of men and women who just may have discovered the answer.

 

Footnotes:


[1] (http://www.islamreli.../articles/3366/)

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The things we must remember every time the Punishment in Islam topic is mentioned are:

 


These punishments can only be carried out by a Muslim ruler or his deputy in a well established Muslim autonomous region based upon the unequivocal evidence (which most often can only be achieved through self-confession). If any doubt remains, the punishments can not be applied. It is not permissible for individual Muslims to carry out the hadd punishments (which sometimes include the death penalty) because of the chaos and tribulation it would cause in the community.


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    • By AhmadAbdulla
      Assalamu' Alaykum Muslim brothers and sisters.
       
      My sister and I live with my mother in Kuwait, I started university 2 years ago and when I came home this year during summer break in July I found that my sister had been talking to a boy on Instagram who was sending her heart shapes and inappropriate material via her private chat. I confronted my sister about it and she told me that he was just a friend from school and that I didn't need to worry about him, she begged me not to tell our mother and I said I'll think about it. I, of course, had to tell my mother about it, later on in the day, but made her promise beforehand not to do anything irrational before I got to the bottom of it and she left the matter in my hands. I told my sister the day after to stop talking to the boy at once and to un-follow and block him, she agreed to the former part not talking to him but she didn't want to un-follow him because he was her friend and he would probably be sad if she did, and so out of compassion I let her. Two months later in September, she started her university education in Canada, when I went to her university once I asked for her password so I can have access to the internet and so she sent it to me. Today (December) I was scrolling through Facebook and found that she'd made an account even though she always said she despised Facebook, I went through her friends list and found that the boy whom I told her to stop talking to had become friends with her, I scrolled through her page even further and found that it's only been 2 months since she made her Facebook. The thought occurred to me that she didn't hold her end of the bargain and so I decided to try her e-mail and password combination on Facebook and it worked. I went through her messages and found that she was still talking to the boy, not only that, but she once texted one of her boy friends that she met in college: "If you meet my brother please don't tell him that I drink and hug boys because he's gonna kill me if he finds out." Please I need help, I want to tell my mother but I don't want to ruin her education or our relationship. Me and my sister are practically best friends so if I do this she will probably detest me for the rest of her life.
       
      Thank you for reading,,,
    • By Aysha27
      Dear all,
      Hello and As-salamu-alaikum-wa-rahmatullah.

      I am afraid of an issue called “Atheism”. I think everybody is surrounded with a different religion. And every religion purifies human’s nature. Though human nature is really so mysterious! If so why some of the people say there is no god? It’s a matter of sorrow that many of them are famous to their work in the world! In my country (sorry to say it is Bangladesh) recently an American atheist blogger, named Avijit Roy who spoke out against religious extremism and intolerance has been hacked to death. So my question is- what about the punishment of an atheist and is it halal to hack him cruelly…? What is the declaration of Qur’an regarding the issue…? :cry:
    • By dot
      Title:Some Sincere Advice To Every Christian
      Language:English
      Authorship:Dr. Saleh As-Saleh
      Short Discription:
       

      Most people agree to the fact that Allaah's (God’s) Word 
      cannot be contradictory. What He spoke about Himself 
      must be true. He made Himself known as The Creator, 
      The One, The Originator, and The Provider. He is the 
      First, nothing is before Him; The Last, nothing is after 
      Him; The Most High, nothing is above Him; The Most 
      Near, nothing is beyond His reach, and He encompasses 
      everything while He is above heavens, distinct and 
      separate from His creatures. Great in His Majesty and 
      Honor, Most Merciful, Severe in Punishment, AllKnower,
      Most Compassionate, All-Wise, and All-Just; 
      Most Perfect in all of His Names and Attributes. He does 
      not beget, nor is He begotten. There is no equal to Him, 
      and there is nothing like unto Him, and thus He alone 
      deserves to be worshipped. In essence, the religion as 
      revealed1
       to nations before us and to mankind up to the 
      Day of Resurrection, calls for the worship of none but 
      God (Allaah). Any Message from the Perfect God is true, 
      and cannot be contradictory. He entrusted many 
      Prophets and/or Messengers since creation began on earth. 
      Starting with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and 
      ending with Muhammad, peace be upon them all, the 
      essence of religion was and still is: people must submit 
      to their Creator and worship Him as He revealed to 
      their respective Messengers and/or Prophets.
      This is the true Message, and Jesus, peace be upon Him, is one of
      those great Prophets and Messengers who was sent to the 
      Children of israel, after Moses, confirming the revelation 
      sent down to Moses and the Gospel that he received from 
      Allaah. This same Message was confirmed by Prophet 
      Muhammad, peace be upon him, believing in the true 
      Gospel that came to Jesus and propagating the final and 
      most comprehensive revelation to mankind, the Qur'aan. 
      The Qur'aan, being Allaah's Word, confirms and attests to 
      the true nature of Jesus, and this is not known by many 
      people. This book will introduce the reader to the 
      Qur'aanic texts related to Jesus, peace be upon him, 
      hoping that the truth regarding the personality of Jesus 
      becomes clear.
      some_sincere_advice_to_every_christian.pdf
    • By Saracen21stC
      The Islamic position on Slavery: A refutation of doubts
       
      by 'Abdullâh bin Muhammad bin Humaid
       

      Question : What is the significance of the superiority of a free person to a slave if slavery is not condemned or abolished ?
       
      The way the issue of slavery is raised by Christian missionaries and critics of Islam outrages the sensibility of honest people. It is more than probable that such issues are raised with the most dishonest purposes.
       
      We say that after examining Jewish and Christian scriptures where slavery is legitimized in its worst forms. The practice of slavery is accepted and praised throughout those texts. Therefore, we may counter their attack by asking : How do the missionaries call people to be converted to Christianity, when this religion legitimizes slavery ? In other words we wonder here : why do these people express abhorrence at an issue which is clearly part of their belief?
       
      As against these beliefs, Islam presents an entirely different picture, contrasting with both the two earlier religions and with the state of slavery in the world just before the advent of Islam.
       
      Some elaboration is necessary here to exonerate Islam of the undeserved aspersion cast on it in connection with its position on slavery.
       
       
      Islam and Slavery
       
      It is an Islamic principle that God created man as a fully responsible creature to carry out all religious duties, to be accountable for doing so, having the necessary volition and free behavior. No other human may restrict that freedom, and if he does he is an oppressor.
       
      This is as plain a principle in Islam as plain can be. When someone wonders" How was it that Islam legitimized slavery?"; we reply without embarrassment: “Yes, Islam did legitimize slavery.” But fairness and on honest search for truth would demand that one follow up his inquiry and try to comprehend in detail the Islamic legislation concerning slavery. He should comprehend how a slave is treated in Islam, the equality between a free person and a slave in rights and duties, and also he should learn how many methods have been provided for in shariah for freeing slaves. Such legislation will be all the more admirable if it is contracted with other systems, and if contrasted with the modern version of slavery in the so-called civilized world.
       
      The reader will observe that there are here numerous quotations from the Qur'an and sunnah, as the practice of the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him, is of special significance here, and to emphasize the importance of separating faulty applications from the original teachings.
       
      We may say here that Islam's position on slavery is superior to that of any other creed or system. If things had developed in accordance with the teachings of the Islamic shariah the unfortunate practices that were perpetrated later on would have been avoided. One major faulty practice has been the enslavement of free people through snatching, overpowering, or trickery in both old and recent past. This has led to a horrible custom of slavery in all continents, especially in Europe and Amereica in the last few centuries.
       
      Islam takes a very strong exception to such practices. In a qudsi [1] tradition the Prophet says:
       
      “Three types of people will stand apart on the day of Resurrection as My enemies - and an enemy of Mine will be doomed; a man who vowed in My name then betrayed, a man who sold a free person as a slave and appropriated his price, and a man who employed a worker and had him do the assigned work then failed to pay him his wages."[2].
       
       
      The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, says : “
       
      Three types of people will not have rewards for their prayer : a man who forces himself as an imam[3], a man who postpones prayer until its time is out and a man who enslaves a free person.” [4]
       
       
      It is interesting to note that there is no statement in Al-Qur'an or sunnah ordering a Muslim to enslave, while statements abound in the hundreds which urge the setting free of slaves.
       
      At the advent of Islam the ways and means of enslavement were numerous while the outlets to freeing were almost nil; so Islam reversed this formula, by multiplying the outlets to freedom and drying up the sources of enslavement.
       
      One such source of enslavement were captives taken in war who were routinely enslaved or killed off.
       
      But Islam introduced a third alternative in which a prisoner-of- war is treated well and set free. This is the purport of the following verses of the Sacred Qur'an :
       
      " (The devotees of God ).. feed, for the love of God, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive, -(saying), " We feed you for the sake of God alone : no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks." (76, 8-9)
       
      The above verses indicate such sympathy and kindness that need no commentary. We may quote here a tradition of the Prophet's, peace be upon him, exhorting noble conduct :
       
      "Visit the sick, feed the hungry, and set free the captives'[5].
       
      In the first clash between Muslims and their enemies, the Battle of Badr, the Muslims won, and a number of the noblest Arabs fell captives in the hands of Muslims. If such dignitaries were punished severely they would have deserved such punishment - they had done so much harm to Muslims at the early stage of Islamic da'wah (call to Islam). Nevertheless, the Sacred Qur'an directs the Prophet and his companions in these words :
       
      "O Apostle ! say to those who are captives in your hands : 'If God findeth any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you : for God is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. But if they have treacherous designs against thee (O Apostle), they have already been in treason against God, And God is He who hath (full) knowledge and wisdom." (8, 70-71).
       
       
      Since the beginning of the Islamic da'wah and up to the battle, those men had done Muslims all kinds of injury and cruelty with the intention of overpowering and exterminating them. In a state like this, would it have been good policy to set the captives free at once ?
       
      The situation is obviously related to the state's high interests. Therefore, the Muslims accepted ransom to free prisoners-of-war after the Battle of Badr, while after the fall of Makkah its inhabitants were told (by the Prophet): "You may go, for I give you your freedom." At the Raid of Al-Mustalak the Prophet married a noble captive from the defeated tribe, thus raising her status. The result of this was that all Muslims set free all the captives in their hands.
       
      It must be clear by now how few ways of enslavement were left open through Islamic legislation. To abolish it completely would not do, since the disbelieving captives had been fierce in confronting the cause of justice and truth at least in being a tool in the hands of oppressors. To set them free as a routine would only have led to the supremacy of oppression and tyranny.
       
      After all, the chances of regaining freedom in Islam are numerous and frequent. And the rules of treating slaves are just and merciful.
       
      Let's just mention some of the ways of freeing slaves : A share of zakat (i.e. the enjoined charity) is allotted to the freeing of slaves, the atonement for unintended killing, the vow of thihar[6], atonement for broken oaths, for breaking the fast during the day of Ramadan. There is besides this a general appeal to the human sentiment of Muslims to set slaves free for the pleasure of God.
       
      As for the treatment of slaves, let's survey here some of the rules laid down by Islam to ensure a decent and kind treatment for them.
       
       
      1/ Giving them the same food and clothing as taken by their masters
       
      Abu Dawood reports on the authority of Al-Ma'roor bin Suwaid that he said : "We entered Abu Thar's house at Al-Ribthah [7] and found him dressed in a garment called 'burd', and found his slave dressed in an identical 'burd'. So we said : ' Why don't you, 0 Abu Thar, wear that 'burd' of your slaves so that you may have a full suit, and give him instead a less sumptuous garment ?' He replied : 'I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of God be upon him say
       
      : " Those slaves are your brothers, only God gave you an upper hand over them. So let that who has his brother (i.e. slave) under him give him the same food he himself eats, and the same clothing as he himself wears. The master may not give his brother a task that is beyond his ability. If he does give him such task, let him lend him a hand.".
       
       
       
      2/ Recognizing their dignity
       
      Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet of Repentance (i.e. Prophet Muhammad) said
       
      : " Any one who slanders his slave with adultery, and it is a false charge, will receive on the Day of Resurrection the same punishment his slave would have received in the world had the charge been true." [8]
       
      Abdul-Lah bin 'Umar freed a slave of his then picked a twig from the ground and said:
       
      " I shall not receive for freeing him the worth of this in the Hereafter. I heard the Messenger of Allah say : ' If a man hits or beats his slave, his atonement is the freeing of that slave."[9]
       
       
      3/ A slave is given the lead in religious or mundane matters which he is skilful at.
       
      He can be imam (i.e. to lead the prayer). Aishah had a slave who led her prayer. The believers are even ordered to heed and obey if a slave becomes their ruler, so long as he proves to be better qualified than others.
       
      Freedom is man's natural right. No one may be deprived of this right except for an exceptional reason. Although Islam recognizes slavery within the limits we have explained, it strictly warned those who have the upper hand of freedom against manipulating their position for cruel ends. Beyond that, we assert that it is justified to hold a person who falls captive as a result of his aggression, but it is necessary to treat him nicely.
       
      If someone does fall a captive and becomes a slave, then shows signs of repentance, gives up his old way of life, forsakes the way of evil and follows a well-guided life, such a person should be set free : Islam favours such response to a slave's conduct. Some Islamic jurists enjoin freeing him and other recommend it !
       
      The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, again and again ordered kindness to the slaves. For instance, when the captives taken in the Battle of Badr were distributed he directed : "Be kind to your captives."
       
      Uthman bin 'Affan once punished a slave of his by pinching his ear-lobe. But he told him later : " come and pinch my ear." And when the slave would not do, he insisted. So the slave proceeded to pinch Uthman's ear lightly, but Uthman said : "pinch more painfully, I have no endurance for punishment on the Day of Resurrection." "Well Sir," rejoined the slave, "the day you fear I fear, too."
      When Abdul-Rahman bin 'Awf walked in the company of his slaves, people would not know who is master and who is slave - nor did he have smarter clothing.
       
      'Umar bin Al-Khattab once walked in Makkah and saw some slaves standing aside waiting, while their master ate. He was angry at this and inquired of the master :
       
      "Why do some masters regard themselves as superior to their slaves ? "
       
      Then he ordered the slaves to advance and eat.
       
      A man once entered the house of Salman, may God be pleased with him, and saw him kneading his dough. "What are you doing, Abu 'Abdullah[10]? " " I have sent my servant on an errand, " he answered. " So I didn't like to give him some more work." This is some of what Islam did for slaves !
       
       
       
       

       
       
       
       
      The Jews' Attitude to Slaves
       
      According to the Jews, people are of two classes, Jews and gentiles.
       
      As for Jews, they may be enslaved in some cases within the teachings of the Old Testament.
       
      All the others are worthless gentiles. They may be enslaved through subjugation and conquest. They are condemned races who have been written off for misery since an early age. In this regard, some verses from the Book of Exodus are significant:
       
      “When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ' I love my master, my wife, and may children; I will not go out free, ' then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for life. When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed; he shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has dealt faithfully with her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money." (21,2-11.)
       
       
      As for enslaving a non-israelite, it might be effected through overpowering or snatching, because they believe that their race is superior to other races. They try to justify such enslavement by referring to texts in their Old Testament. According to that Scripture Ham, son of Noah, father of Canaan, raised the anger of his fater. That was because Noah drank wine one day and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. Ham, the Father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father. When his father knew what Ham had done to him be said:
       
      :" Cursed be Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers. " He also said, " Blessed by the lord my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. " (Genesis, 9, 24-27).
       
      Queen Elizabeth I used the above text to justify her trading in slaves in which she was, as we shall see, an active trader.
       
       
      The Christians' Attitude to Slavery
       
      There is no condemnation or prohibition of slavery anywhere in the Bible. It is surprising, therefore, that historian William Moyer should reprimand our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be on him, for failing to abolish slavery at once, while he condones the Bible's attitude. Neither Christ, nor his apostles, nor the church make any statement in that connection. On the other hand, St. Paul commands slaves to be loyal to their masters, as may be seen in his Epistle to Ephesos.
       
      St. Thomas Aquinas, for his part, added the voice of philosophy to that of churchmen. He did not object his master Aristotle who had accepted slavery as a natural state suitable for a certain type of people.
       
      The saints asserted that nature had prepared certain types of people to be slaves. In the Grand Larousse of the nineteenth century one reads : " It is no wonder that slavery lingers among Christians up to the present - the formal representatives of religion still assert its legitimacy and justify it." It also adds : " To sum up, Christianity approved completely of slavery, and it still does, so that no one can prove that this religion endeavoured to abolish slavery,".
       
      In the 'Dictionary of the Bible' by Dr. George Joseph, it is stated that Christianity did not object to slavery on either political or economic ground. It did not exhort the believers to argue with their generation about slavery, and not even to raise the issue.
       
      It said nothing against the rights of slave owners, nor did it rouse the slaves to seek freedom. It neither discussed the woes and cruelty of slavery, nor did it ordain the immediate freeing of slaves. It is unanimously agreed that Christianity did nothing to alter the relative status of master and slave - it rather endorsed the rights and duties of both parties.' So we call upon all white fathers of the church and the respected reader to contrast the Islamic legislation and the other systems in the world.
       
       
      Modern Europe and Slavery
       
      The reader would be right to inquire at this time of progress and development about the attitude of Europe, the pioneer of progress and development, toward slavery.
       
      When Europe found its way to Africa it was a disaster for the latter that lasted for five centuries. The Europeans had a genius for devising ways to ensnare the Africans, to take them to Europe or its colonies, and to force them to such drudgery that contributed to a development of economic life. Later on, America joined Europe in subjugating the Africans, and the latter had to serve one more master.
       
      The Encyclopaedia Britannica has the following to say about slavery:
       
      "The hunting of of slaves from their villages in the midst of jungles was effected by setting fire to the straw used in building barns around the village. Once the villagers ran out for their lives, the English hunted them.”
       
       
      Apart from Africans who died during their flight, or on the way to the coast for shipment, one third of the survivors died of bad weather, 45% in traspartation overland, 12% during the sea voyage, and some more died on plantations.
       
      The English companies were given the monopoly of trading in slaves by a license from the British government. But, at a later stage, all citizens were given a free hand to import slaves. Experts estimate the total number of Africans imported by the British alone to be slaves between 1680-1786 A.D. at about two million one hundred and thirty thousand.
       
      One article of the so called ' Black Code' states that any slave who attacks his master is to be executed, and if he runs away his hands and feet are to be cut off. If he runs away a second time, he is to be killed. (Although how he can do that with his hands and feet cut off beats me. Maybe he will risk it as the kind of life awaiting him is worse than death).
       
      One article prohibits education for blacks. Another prohibits a black person from professions preserved for whites. In America one of the laws decreed : It is a felony for seven slaves to meet, and if a white person passes by and sees that they have met, he has the right to spit on them and to give each twenty lashes.
       
      Another law stated : Slaves have no souls, no wit, no intelligence, and no will. The life is concentrated in their muscles. In summary: the slave had to take full responsibility for duties, and if he failed to do his full service he was to be punished; but as for his rights, he was no better than an animal without soul or feeling. It is only in this century that the Westerners felt the prick of conscience. It is great injustice on their part to feel superior to Islamic legislations, which were ordained more than fourteen centuries back. It is rather a case of ‘projection'; charging others with one's own faults.
       

      1 A tradition in which the prophet speaks for God.
      2 Reported by Al-Bukhari.
      3 A person who loads congregational prayer.
      4 Reported by Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah, both on the authority of Abdul-Rahman bin Zaid Al-Ifreegi.
      5 Reported by Al-Bukhari.
      6 A vow by which a husband would not cohabit with his wife for a known period.
      7 A village in the suburbs of Al-Madinah.
      8 Reported by Al-Bukhari.
      9 Reported by Muslim and Abu Dawood.
      10 I.e. father of Abdullah, a traditional Arabic way of calling a man as father of his eldest son.
       
      Extracted from “A Refutation of Doubts about Current Issues” published by Al-Manara Publishing & Distribution
       
       
      Source: http://www.islaam.ne...iew.php?id=1211
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