Comment, Featured

Islam: Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime

London is experiencing a surge in violent crime with 56 murders in this year alone. Yesterday six young men were stabbed within 90 minutes. In response politicians and media have blamed lack of police, poverty, closing of youth clubs, social media and dysfunctional families. However, what is never addressed are the concepts and values which drive someone to commit these crimes.

The values underpinning this growing lawlessness is rampant individualism due to society’s belief in freedom and liberalism.

Tony Blair alluded to this at the launch of his 5-year strategy on crime back in July 2004 when he said: “The 1960s saw a huge breakthrough in terms of freedom of expression, of lifestyle, of the individual’s right to live their own personal life in the way they choose… But with this change in the 1960s came something else, not necessarily because of it but alongside it. It was John Stuart Mill who articulated the modern concept that with freedom comes responsibility. But in the 1960’s revolution, that didn’t always happen.”

This often-cited doublespeak of ‘freedom with responsibility’ has no reality for most people. Secularism has eroded religious morals of responsibility and as such the growing trend is ‘freedom from responsibility’, where freedom is mandatory and responsibility at best is optional, and at worst totally ignored. Muslims in Britain are not immune from this trend. The call for Muslims to integrate and adopt the secular culture of Britain has led to the same criminal behaviour being found in the Muslim community as found in wider society.

Would a future Caliphate fair any better in its approach to crime or is criminal behaviour just a fact of modern life?

The Islamic Caliphate takes a two-pronged approach to crime.

Firstly, it creates a culture of God Consciousness (taqwa) and community responsibility among the society. Even when no police are watching them, Muslims will still obey the law because they know Allah is watching them and will account them for all their actions no matter how small when they die.

Allah (Most High) says,

وَنَحنُ أَقرَبُ إِلَيهِ مِن حَبلِ الوَريدِ

“And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein”

(Qaf, 50:16)

فَمَن يَعمَل مِثقالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيرًا يَرَهُ

وَمَن يَعمَل مِثقالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ

“Whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.”

(Az-Zalzala, 7-8)

Islamic law (sharia) contains many edicts about the rights of neighbours and responsibility to the community at large. There is no concept of turning a blind eye to criminal behaviour or ignoring those in distress.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said,

كُلُّ سُلَامَى مِنْ النَّاسِ عَلَيْهِ صَدَقَةٌ، كُلَّ يَوْمٍ تَطْلُعُ فِيهِ الشَّمْسُ تَعْدِلُ بَيْنَ اثْنَيْنِ صَدَقَةٌ، وَتُعِينُ الرَّجُلَ فِي دَابَّتِهِ فَتَحْمِلُهُ عَلَيْهَا أَوْ تَرْفَعُ لَهُ عَلَيْهَا مَتَاعَهُ صَدَقَةٌ، وَالْكَلِمَةُ الطَّيِّبَةُ صَدَقَةٌ، وَبِكُلِّ خُطْوَةٍ تَمْشِيهَا إلَى الصَّلَاةِ صَدَقَةٌ، وَتُمِيطُ الْأَذَى عَنْ الطَّرِيقِ صَدَقَةٌ

“On every person’s joints or small bones (i.e. fingers and toes), there is charity every day the sun rises. Doing justice between two people is charity; assisting a man to mount his animal, or lifting up his belongings onto it is charity; a good word is charity; every step you take towards prayer is charity; and removing harmful things from pathways is charity.” (Agreed upon)

Secondly, the Caliphate has a strong and effective criminal justice system. Islam is known for its harsh punishments and these act as a deterrent for those weaker individuals tempted to disobey the law. Those accused are afforded full judicial rights in a court of law. Islamic courts do not accept circumstantial evidence as a legal proof, and only trustworthy witnesses, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, are allowed to give testimony. Confessions extracted under torture or duress are inadmissible.

One of the principles underpinning the judiciary is that it’s better to let a guilty person go free than punish an innocent person. This attitude together with a high burden of proof will minimise miscarriages of justice in the Caliphate.

People in Britain and elsewhere are crying out for a society where people have respect, responsibility and play by the rules. This is evidenced by one in five people thinking of emigrating. As Tony Blair said, “They know there is such a thing as society. They want the society of respect. They want the society of responsibility. They want the community where the decent, law-abiding majority are in charge. Where those who play by the rules do well, and those who don’t get punished.”

Secular liberal democracy has not and cannot deliver this. Only a future Caliphate can do this as it did for over 1300 years.