My dear Muslim bothers and sisters, we have been robbed of our basic right to be able to walk on our streets without fear. It is an indication of the severity of moral sickness in society when its law-abiding members feel tyrannized by thugs, snatch thieves, robbers, road bullies, sex offenders, murderers and all other perpetrators of lawlessness.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught us that every illness has its remedy. The Holy Qur’an says in Surah Al-Isra’, verse 82:
“We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur’an that which is a healing and mercy to those who believes to the unjust, it causes nothing but loss after loss.”
In a fully and truly Islamic world, all members of the society would be completely safe – be they Muslims, non-Muslims, men, women or children of whatever race, social background and political affiliation.
Indeed the only one who ought not be safe would be those who violate the basic rights of every human being, the right to protection of his life, property and honor.
The Holy Qur’an says in Surah Al-Maidah, verse 33 and 34:
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and run about to spread mischief in the land is this: they should be put to death, or crucified, or their alternate hands and feet should be cut off, or they should be banished from the land. This is the disgrace and ignominy in this world and there is in store for them a harsher treatment for them in the Hereafter. Except for those who repent before you have the power over them for you should know that Allah is Forgiving and Compassionate.”
“Waging war on Allah and His Messenger” means the hostile opposition to and willful disregard of the belief and actualization of Islamic principles as ordained by Allah and as explained by all His Messengers.
In a rightly guided Islamic state, an equitable system of social welfare and justice must be put in place and tenaciously preserved so that it will guarantee security to all human beings, animals, and the environment which may enable human beings to develop to the fullest of their God endowed capabilities.
As an illustration, consider the abhorrent mischief of theft and robbery that has diseased many societies in the world today. The Holy Qur’an says in Surah Al-Maidah, verse 38:
“As for the thief, whether man or woman, cut off the hand of either of them, it is the recompense for what they have earned and an exemplary punishment from Allah…”
It is the unanimous opinion of Islamic scholars that this extreme severity of the Qur’anic punishment for theft can only be implemented in a truly Islamic state where every citizen is entitled to share in the country’s economic resources, that is he or she must be assured of an equitable standard of living commensurate with the resources at the disposal of the community. In a truly Islamic state, the society collectively provides for both the spiritual needs of the human being and for his physical and intellectual needs as well.
To be truly Islamic, the society (or state) must be so constituted that every individual, man and woman may enjoy the minimum of material well-being and security. Without this, there can be no human dignity, no real freedom and ultimately, no spiritual progress.
How can there be true happiness and security in a society that permits some of its members to suffer undeserved privation while others have more than they need, and yet are unwilling to share sufficiently? If the available resources of a community are so unevenly distributed that certain groups within it live in affluence while the majority of the people are forced to use up all their energies in search of their daily bread, such oppressive poverty becomes a dangerous enemy of spiritual progress. The entire community may then be driven away from God-consciousness and instead become a victim of destructive materialism. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said “Poverty leads the believer to Kufr, that is, the denial of truth”.
In a truly Islamic society, the social legislation of Islam must be executed such that every man, woman and child has (a) enough to eat and wear (b) an adequate home (c)equal opportunities and facilities for education, and (d) access to medical care in health and in sickness, equitably priced. Implicit in these rights, is the right to productive and remunerative work while of working age and in good health. Also, a provision either by the state or the community to provide adequate nourishment, shelter, etc, in cases of disability arising from illness, widowhood, enforced unemployment, old age, or under age. Such a comprehensive social security system in a truly Islamic state is a communal obligation (fardh kifaayah).
It is against the background of this comprehensive security system envisaged by Islam that the Holy Quran imposes the severe sentence of hand-cutting as a deterrent punishment for theft and robbery. In a community where everyone is assured of full security and social justice, any attempt on the part of an individual to achieve an easy, unjustified gain at the expense of other members of the community must be considered an attack on the community, that is “waging war on Allah and his Messenger”.
So, my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, the finest of Allah’s revelation, the Holy Quran provides the remedy for the moral illness of insecurity in our society.
We make sincere dua’ to Allah that He imbues us with the strength toward the correct practice of His Religion – Islam. As always, our response is:
“We hear and we obey!” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 285)
[Reference: Muhammad Asad, “The message of the Quran”]