ONE of the important objectives of Islam is to safeguard people’s life, property and honor. It is in this light that Islam prohibited aggression against innocent people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The Qur’an and the Sunnah are abundant with provisions that crystallize and emphasize this principle. In the Sunnah we read that a woman entered Hell Fire because she tied a cat until it starved. Then, what will be the fate of those who shed innocent people’s blood and violate their rights?
Shedding more light on the issue of violence, intolerance, and aggression against innocent civilians, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states:
No doubt, aggression against innocent people is a grave sin and a heinous crime, irrespective of the victim’s religion, country, or race. No one is permitted to commit such crime, for Allah, Most High, abhors aggression. Unlike Judaism, Islam does not hold a double-standard policy in safeguarding human rights.
Following, I would like to highlight some relevant Islamic principles based on the Glorious Qur’an and Sunnah:
1. Islam forbids aggression against innocent people
Islam does not permit aggression against innocent people, whether the aggression is against life, property, or honor, and this ruling applies to everyone, regardless of post, status and prestige. In Islam, as the state’s subject is addressed with Islamic teachings, so is the ruler or caliph; he is not allowed to violate people’s rights, lives, honor, property, etc.
In the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) declared the principle that people’s lives, property, and honor are inviolable until the Day of Judgment. This ruling is not restricted to Muslims; rather, it includes non-Muslims who are not fighting Muslims. Even in case of war, Islam does not permit killing those who are not involved in fighting, such as women, children, the aged, and the monks who confine themselves to worship only.
This shouldn’t raise any wonder, for Islam is a religion that prohibits aggression even against animals. Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, quoted the Prophet, (peace be upon him), as saying: “A woman (was made to) enter (Hell) Fire because of a cat which she tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.” (Al-Bukhari)
If such is Islamic ruling concerning aggressive acts against animals, then, with greater reason, the punishment is bound to be severe when human being happens to be the victim of aggression, torture and terrorism.
2. Individual responsibility
In Islam, every one is held accountable for his own acts, not others’. No one bears the consequences of others’ faults, even his close relatives. This is the ultimate form of justice, clarified in the Glorious Qur’an, as Allah, Most High, says : Or is he not informed with what is in the pages (Scripture) of Musa (Moses), and of Ibrahim (Abraham) who fulfilled (or conveyed) all that (Allah ordered him to do or convey): That no burdened person (with sins) shall bear the burden (sins) of another. (An-Najm 53: 36-38)
Therefore, it’s very disgusting to see some people – who are Muslims by name – launching aggression against innocent people and taking them as scapegoats for any disagreement they have with the state’s authority!! What is the crime of the common people then?! Murder is one of heinous crimes completely abhorred in Islam, to the extent that some Muslim scholars hold the opinion that the repentance of the murderer will not be accepted by Allah, Most High. In this context, we recall the Glorious Qur’anic verse that reads : “…if any one 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…” (Al-Ma’idah 5: 32)
3. Ends do not justify means
In Islam, the notion “End justifies the means” has no place at all. It is not allowed to attain good aims through evil means, and, therefore, alms collected from unlawful avenues are not halal (lawful). In this context, the Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him) said, “Surely, Allah is Good and never accepts but what is good.”
Thus, in Shariah, with all its sources, the Glorious Qur’an, the Sunnah, consensus of Muslim jurists – aggression and violation of human rights are completely forbidden.
Besides, it is the duty of the Muslim scholars to do their utmost to guide the perplexed people to the straight and upright path.