Friday, August 24, 2018

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Times of Our Lives

I, buying a Quran from a shopkeeper.

I: Show me Quran with translation.
Him: I only have one Quran with translation and the rest without it.
I: Why?
Him: Nobody buys Quran with translation these days.

How Awesome.

25:30 And the messenger said: "My Lord, my people have deserted this Qur'an."

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Qisas and Diya - In Quran

Qisas is a very important aspect in Islam and specifically its implementation in the society. The real life example of it is being played out currently in Shah Rukh Jatoi and Shahzeb murder case in Pakistan. You can read the details here. To summarize: Shah Rukh Jatoi's servant teased Shahzeb's sister in a wedding, their altercation led to escalation and finally Shahzeb being shot dead by Shahrukh Jatoi. There was great hue and cry in Pakistan in 2012 since its very common in Pakistan for influentials to get away with murders by 'paying' the victims family, as an out of court settlement. The Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo muo notice. It was in media everywhere. The criminal remained behind bars but the case could not see culmination. The Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) did convict him (terrorism clauses were added in case) but it went into the appeal process. 

Up until now that is.

The lawyers successfully argued for the criminal that since he was a juvenile (he was not) when he committed the crime so terrorism clauses cannot be applied to him. A court ruled in their favour and thus only murder charges were left against Shahrukh. Then, the usual happened. The victim's family 'pardoned' the killer 'in the name of God', the court was accordingly informed about the agreement between the two parties and Shahrukh was released today on bail. 

This has become a repeat scenario. Influential people with money and links, kill someone and then force the victim's family for 'pardon' by settling out of court. The victim's family cannot naturally bear the brunt of this situation alongside threats of these influential people and in the end reach out of court settlement and get released. Its the abuse of the law and religion but its so rampant that one feels totally helpless.

Qisas and Diya in Quran

First thing first. How does Quran treat a murder?

For intentional murder...  

2:178: O you who acknowledge, equivalent execution (qisas) has been decreed for you in the cases of killings: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. Whoever is forgiven anything by his brother, then it is to be followed with good deeds and kindness towards him; that is alleviation from your Lord, and a mercy. Whoever transgresses after that, he will have a painful retribution.

and for unintentional murder...

4:92: And it is not for a believer to kill another believer except by accident. And whoever kills a believer by accident, then he shall free a believing slave, and give compensation (diya) to the family; except if they remit it. If he was from a people who are enemies to you, and he was a believer, then you shall free a believing slave. And if he was from a people with whom you have a covenant, then a compensation to his family, and free a believing slave. Whoever does not find, then the fasting of two months sequentially as a repentance from God; for God is Knowledgeable, Wise.

The State and Murder

It is argued that that homicide and unintentional homicide are considered to be an inter-party dispute in Islam and the state does not get involved in it if the parties decide to settle between themselves. I don't know where this comes from  but it does not make any sense at all. Perhaps the wording involved in it is perpetrator-victim's family specific which somehow indicates that the state will not get involved but its not the case at all. 

Quran no where states the 'Roles and Responsibility of a state'. Consider for example the issue where it asks for establishment of justice but does not ask for establishment of courts. Quran nowhere states establishment of a government, parliament, court or police - it states the basic principles and leaves the implementation of it unexplained. Why? for obvious reasons that every culture and society will find ways to implement these measures one way or the other and the establishment of a state has proved to be that mechanism where a collective will of people is established. So if a crime has been committed, then the 'state' machinery 'police' is used to arrest the parties involved, investigate the case, argue the case in 'court' by hiring 'state prosecutors' who plead in front of 'judges'. The 'court' then decides the matter and the convict is sent to 'jail' based on a 'law' devised by 'parliament'. Notice anything about where I am putting quotation marks? these are all roles devised by the collective will of the people manifested in the form of State. 

The argument that settlement of murder case is between parties involved is clearly missing the broader objective - missing the forest for the trees literally. So what is it that Quran is telling us whereas we get to face such ridiculous situations where influentials go scot-free?

Capital Punishment in Quran
In such hostile environment of today's wherein Islam and Quran are blamed for all the mess in the world, the following statement will be considered a shocker. 'Quran is Pro Life!' Yup. Unbelievable right?

Lets re-cap qisas (equivalent execution/ a just retribution) by going through another verse of Quran.

5:45: And We have decreed for them in it that a life for a life, and an eye for an eye, and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and wounds to be similar; and whoever remits anything of it, then it will cancel sins for him. And whoever does not judge with what God has sent down, then these are the wicked.

Quran focuses on forgiveness and considers it to be laudable act. But It still has a broader objective set for society:

2:179: Through equivalent execution, you will be protecting life, O you who possess intelligence, that you may be righteous.

See? Quran is against capital punishment and is pro-life. As of today, more than 150 countries have abolished the death penalty. Pakistan still supports death penalty. If we really believe in Quran, should we not be following it?

State and Murder - Revisited

So what can the State do in light of the discussion above? First and foremost, do not absolve itself of the duty of protecting the victim's family. Yes the victims have the right to pardon the murderer but only for 'life for life' - meaning thereby that the murderer will not face death penalty. Secondly, the State can devise law to incarcerate the murderer for whole life behind bars. Thirdly, the State needs to abolish capital punishment - because no matter how much we do not like this fact, the murderer's life needs protection as well. And finally, put Shahrukh behind bars because of obvious horror of horrors that an influential bought himself out of the murder.

God have mercy on all of us.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Peshawar Burns - Again

There is something about attack on students that riles me up. First it was the 2014 attack on Army Public School and today on Agricultural Training Institute in Peshawar. My city has seen around 2 dozen terrorist attacks this year; barely 2 weeks earlier an Additional Inspector General police was martyred in a suicide attack. Today, 9 precious lives of students were lost in cowardly attack owned by Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan.

The scourge of terrorism will take many years and more innocent lives to be removed. Our police, citizens and any personnel have lost lives. The core of it, the anti state extremist ideology which is religion based needs to be addressed. The mere slogan that they are terrorists and can't be muslims needs to be rephrased: these are terrorists, whose actions are anti state, whose actions are attributed to religion of islam by themselves which is totally false and that Islam does not allow it.

Down with terrorism, down with extremism, down with religious ideology that espouses hatred and intolerance, down with people who support terrorism, with people who support such ideology, with ulema who spread hatred, down with any measure that somehow supports such ideology.

Rise up Pakistanis. We need to stand up to this extremism that supports the militant ideology. Stop to hatred and intolerance. No more.

Saturday, July 09, 2016