Controversial Questions About Islam & Comments

Controversial Questions About Islam & Comments

Prepared by: Dr. Saeed Ismaeel Sini

Why Does Islam Impose Capital Punishment?

     As long as the majority has chosen the Islamic package of laws the government has no alternative except to enforce it. And Allah says: {O you who believe legal retribution [in the form of capital punishment] is prescribed in case of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother [i.e. the killer] by his brother anything, then there should a suitable follow up and payment to him [the legal representative] with good conduct…}[1] And Allah says about the grievance of the crime of killing an innocent person purposefully: {…If any one killed a person not in relation of murder or to spread mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed all mankind.}[2] Therefore, if an Islamic government implements this law, it is only doing its duty.

     It is clear from the above verse that Islam preserves the rights of the party concerned and leaves the door open for forgiveness. Very often, forgiveness may come at the last moment, when the criminal has learned a lesson. This is fair because, even according to secular laws, a government cannot pardon the captured thief along with what he has stolen without permission of the victim.

     As a matter of fact, if we look at the reaction to the September 11 incident and the punishment approved by the Security Council, Islam capital punishment is fully justified, because it is executed only when the criminal is proven guilty beyond doubt, and he alone will receive the punishment. This is to be compared to the punishment actually carried out, which included thousands of helpless children, women and aged men who were either killed, injured or lost their shelters in the severe winter, based only on an accusation of few.

     Allah says: {And there is life for you in legal retribution [i.e., capital punishment] O men of understanding, that you may become pious.}[3]

     In other words, to kill one guilty person helps save the lives of many innocent people. Besides, it might also save the life of the criminal, who may otherwise commit homicide carelessly, to be killed himself afterwards, in addition to the punishment in Hell-Fire in the Hereafter.

     Indeed, killing one person proven beyond doubt to be a murderer of an innocent person is more merciful than allowing a criminal, or a bunch of criminals, to kill many innocent people randomly in order to fulfill personal whims, or realize some evil interest. So Islam, by enforcing this kind of punishment, is trying to protect the lives of the innocent people and relieve them from the terror of being killed by some criminals. And this is exactly what most nations do. Even on the level of the UN, international peace cannot be maintained without punishments severe enough to maintain or restore peace, which should only be used after making sure the accused is guilty.

     If the evil party uses killing and destructive means to spread evil, why can’t the good party use it to combat evil and realize public interest?

     Islam forbids killing the innocent and forbids terrorizing the

peaceful without sufficient reasons. It also forbids aggressors to occupy other people’s land and to drive the original people out of their homes.

     Islam also considers supporting the criminals a crime, regardless of the type of support, whether it is financial, military or the “Veto” in the Security Council. Allah says: {And help you one another in virtue, righteousness, and piety but do not help one another in sin and transgression.}[4]


[1] Holy Quran, 2: 178

[2] Holy Quraan, 5: 32

[3] Holy Quran, 2: 179

[4] Holy Quran, 5: 2