The Holy Prophet--SW
is being instructed to recount to the people, the story of the two sons of Prophet Adam--AS with truth and accuracy, without any additions; for certainly the Holy Prophet--SW
has been rightfully raised, with the truth. And his reporting is based on what Allah--SWT has revealed to him which is nothing but the truth! The slightest deviation from the truth does at times lead nations to downfall. As the impact of these historical accounts is always far reaching, the truth must be carefully guarded and the reader and the listener should also carry out their own probes.
This account pertains to the time when both offered a sacrifice. The Commentators have, after much research, summarized the event as follows. When Prophet Adam--AS and his spouse met on earth, and had children, they were always blessed with twins, a male and a female. Since there were no other human beings on the earth, the twins were considered as real brother and sister and could not be married to one another. However, they could marry to the other pair born to their parents. The names of these two sons are recorded as Qabil and Habil (Cane and Abel). Qabil's twin sister was comparatively more beautiful than Habil's. Qabil insisted that he would marry his own twin sister and that the one born with Habil should be married to him. Prophet Adam--AS told him that it was impossible, as Shari'ah did not allow it but Qabil was adamant. Therefore, Prophet Adam--AS decided that the girl would stay in his custody and both the brothers should each offer a sacrifice. Whoever’s sacrifice was accepted by Allah--SWT , would get the girl. The procedure for offering sacrifice was that the animal or the goods offered as sacrifice were left in an open field and the one accepted by Allah--SWT would be burnt to ashes by a fire from the heavens.
If, on the other hand, the sacrifice was not acceptable to Allah--SWT , the offering would be left unmolested. The sacrifice offered by Habil was accepted, whereas that of Qabil remained intact. Allah--SWT had decided in favour of Habil but Qabil did not accept it from his heart and threatened to kill his brother. Habil tried to cool him down and told him that Allah--SWT accepts those actions which are done with sincerity and he had offered his sacrifice in sincerity with the intention of pleasing Allah--SWT and accepting whatever verdict Allah--SWT would give. This was not the case with Qabil; all he cared for was the girl. He was not seeking Allah--SWT ’s Pleasure and though the action looked like worship, yet the inner motive was to have the girl. That is why Allah--SWT rejected his sacrifice. This Ayah makes even the most righteous shiver and prays that Allah--SWT may accept his deeds, as the conditions of acceptance are not easy.
Habil tried his best to persuade Qabil not to transgress but when he saw his determination to kill, he addressed him: If you have decided to kill me, I will still not try to cause any harm to you as Allah--SWT does not approve of such conduct. He--SWT , Who--SWT is the Creator of the entire universe and is the Provider for all; for me it is easy to lay down my life than to annoy Him--SWT . I also think that if you transgress, you will be a sinner and if you kill me, you shall bear the burden of my mistakes too. This burden will take you to Hell which is the abode of a transgressor." Habil's gentle behaviour and the evil whispers of Qabil's soul further instigated him to kill his brother. And so he did! This was the very first murder amongst humanity; and also the first rivalry.
Now that Qabil had murdered his brother, the feelings of guilt overwhelmed him; the feeling which surrounds every sinner after committing a sin. Since at that time there was yet no knowledge how to bury the dead, Qabil did not know what to do with the dead body. Allah--SWT sent a crow to demonstrate to him how the burial was to take place. The crow dug the soil with its claws and buried a dead crow in it. Qabil ruefully realized that he possessed less sense than even a crow. He buried his brother but his conscience kept on pricking him.
Allah--SWT made it clear to the Bani Israil that anyone who kills another person without any lawful excuse, out of mischief, shall be deemed as the murderer of the entire mankind thus qualifying for the punishment for killing the entire mankind on a single killing. Similarly if a person saves a fellow being from being unlawfully killed, he saves the entire mankind. However, saving a person from execution if he has been sentenced to death by a court of law for committing a crime; or saving the life of a non-believer at war with the Muslims in the battlefield is by itself a grave sin. Allah--SWT sent a chain of Prophets--AS to the Bani Israil with clear Commandments but the majority of that nation opted for transgression and misconduct. Often they would boast of their lineage or of the meritorious deeds they never did. Although they had been told from the very beginning that the condition of acceptance with Allah--SWT is Taqwa and sincerity, neither lineage nor false pretence could impress Allah--SWT , yet these people were extremely unfortunate and did not reform themselves.
Crime And Punishment In Islam
The rule is that whoever intends to violate the laws laid down by Allah--SWT and His--SWT Messengers--AS indeed wages a war against them. Such rebels who create mischief and unrest in the land, kill and plunder people and are a menace for the public safety, must suffer three types of punishments laid down by Shariah. The first is Hadud, the second Qisas and the third is termed as T'azirat (penalties). Hadud are enforced on such crimes where the rights of Allah--SWT are injured more than the rights of the fellow beings. Here the punishment is fixed by Allah--SWT . The judge only records evidence while the punishment is already determined. Hadud are enforced on, dacoit, theft, adultery, false accusation of adultery, and drunkenness. If evidence is adequate the punishment will be awarded in full according to the Shariah. For even if for instance, in case of a robbery, the victim forgives the thief, the sentence will still be carried out.
If a person is murdered after being attacked with the intention of looting but could not be robbed, the criminals shall be awarded death. If they had also plundered, they shall be hanged. If the victim was plundered but not killed, the assailant's hand and foot shall be amputated from opposite sides. However, if the criminal simply attacked but failed to plunder or kill he is to be imprisoned. The second type of punishment is Qisas, in which the rights of a person are predominantly affected. For example, if a person is murdered or injured, and the heir of the victim forgives the killer, there will be no punishment. However, the authorities may confine the killer or sentence him to imprisonment at their own discretion as the safety of others is also the responsibility of the Government.
The third types of punishments are known as T’azirat or penalties which are awarded on crimes, apart from those mentioned above, by the judge or the court at their discretion. The sentence is passed by the court on merits of each case. It must, however, be carefully noted that the entire code of punishments has been laid down to make the criminal earn the well deserved abasement because of the crime he has committed, rather than allowing him to put up the facade of an honourable citizen. Such pretenders will be duly punished in the Hereafter. If a group of people rebel against the Government and the law, but beg forgiveness before arrest, the Government should pardon them. But if they beg forgiveness after being arrested, they will be duly punished, while their repentance can help them in the Hereafter. The Unity of Allah--SWT and His--SWT worship can be best practiced in an environment of peace and security. Otherwise, what effect will the sermons have on people when there is loot and unrest all around? When the land is Allah--SWT's and the creation is His--SWT too, and all the blessings belong to Him--SWT , the One to be feared must also be Allah--SWT ! The foremost duty of Islamic Government is that it should not allow anyone to play with the feelings of others.
Islam has listed crimes in various categories and has suggested corresponding punishments, with reference to the severity of each. There are three levels; Hadud, Qisas and T'azirat. Where the rights of Allah--SWT as compared to the rights of humans are hurt more, the punishment has been fixed by Him--SWT . These are termed as Hadud and apply to crimes like, robbery, theft, adultery, false accusation of adultery and drunkenness. These are the five crimes, and if there is ample evidence and all the conditions are met, the court cannot alter the punishment in any form. It is not authorized to do so. Although the option of repentance is open yet the Hadud will be enforced. The repentance can however, benefit in the Hereafter, and may also become a source of better conduct in the future. The conditions of enforcing the Hadud must be fulfilled. For example, to convict someone of theft, it is a must that the stolen goods are someone else's property without any share of the person who stole them. Secondly; the goods were kept secure, as in a lock, and the person taking them away was never permitted by the owner to take the goods. If the owner had allowed the person to use the goods and he decided to take them away, the theft will not be proved.
These details are available in Fiqh. If the guilt is proven, and adequate evidence is provided, the Hadud will be enforced. If there is the slightest doubt whether or not a certain crime falls under the category of Hadud, or if the evidence is suspicious Hadud will not be enforced, though it does not mean that the criminal will be let free. Such cases will revert to T'azirat. On the other hand, if the guilt is proved, the Hadud will be enforced even if the victim or relevant person forgives the guilty.
The second category of punishments is, Qisas which applies to the rights of the human beings and includes everything from injury to murder. The punishment is tooth for tooth, and murder for murder. The murderer will be taken as an ordinary citizen even if an upper class person kills a slave. If heir of the victim forgives the killer, the sentence will be averted. If even a single heir out of many forgives the killer the Qisas sentence is suspended, and if all the heirs forgive, the entire punishment is averted. Now if the killer repents, his sins are also washed off, but the case will not be dismissed but passed on to the penal courts under T'azirat, who will decide whether to let the criminal go free or to confine him behind bars, or to fine him for admonition.
The third category of punishments is T'azirat, which applies to crimes wherein the rights of Allah--SWT as well as of the people and above all, those of the Government are affected; the punishment on such crimes is determined by the Government, which must neither violate the Divine Laws nor the Din nor the Sunnah. The real aim of punishment is to establish peace and protect the rights of people. This is why the door to repentance has been left ajar, and with every word the importance of faith in Allah--SWT , and a consciousness of His--SWT Greatness is reiterated. Together with this, the eternal life is mentioned in a very loving manner advising not to risk the eternal life over the short lived and temporary pleasures of this world. Those influenced by the West assert that the Islamic punishments are barbaric, without realizing that such an utterance is by itself an act of disbelief. They must first analyze the crime rate in Europe. In spite of the fact that the entire machinery of the government works with dedication, it fails to curtail the rate of crime. And the irony is that they do not list adultery, sodomy or gambling as crimes unless force is used. Is there still need for dynamite to blast away morality?
The Blessings of Islamic Law
Talking of murder, robberies and theft take the example of the greatest champion of human rights, the United States of America. In New York the average murder rate is two per day. Theft and mugging are rampant to an extent that it is dangerous to carry even a ten-dollar bill in the pocket. In case of a flat type, if the vehicle is left on the road unattended even for an hour, on return one may only find the frame of the car with everything else stolen. This is the security they can provide despite working with full zeal and with latest technology available. Now if you visit the Arab States, where Hadud are enforced, though not fully, there are shops laden with stocks worth millions, having only glass windows which can be smashed easily, but no one breaks in. No one dares to lay his hands on the other, or to take anyone’s’ possessions unlawfully. Today if there is place anywhere on the face for this earth; it is in the Arab States. How many people have you seen there with amputated hands and legs? I have often visited these States, sometimes thrice in a year, and over the last fourteen years I have witnessed only a single incident of Qisas. The crime is almost non-existent. Islam indeed is the only panacea of salvation and its punishments alone can help in the establishment of peace on Allah--SWT's earth.