Nuruddeen Lemu, the director of research and training at the Islamic Education Trust and Da’wah Institute of Nigeria in Minna, has in effect condemned the extra-judicial killing of Deborah Samuel by explaining in detail why Muslims should not defend it. Read the explanation below:
CONSEQUENCES OF EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS
If we continue to defend and justify people who take the law into their own hands, because we feel so hurt by the words and actions of others (against Islam or our beloved Prophet – pbuh), and because we don’t trust the justice system, we will find it very difficult to blame any violent ethnic or religious group in Nigeria who also take the law into their own hands because they feel aggrieved by the words and actions of others, and because they too don’t trust the justice system.
Extrajudicial punishments and killings that are justified for one crime, soon become justified for other crimes. There is nothing new or surprising about that! What justified killing one person, soon justifies killing 20. If instead of focusing on and improving the justice system, we decide to justify taking legal authority out of their hands, and putting it in the hands of angry mobs, we risk a state of anarchy/ fitna .
If things go further out of hand, there will be no state apparatus that can control the anarchy because we would have done what was needed to disempower the state completely. We run the risk of sliding into a state of emergency ( darurah ) that will force the government to curtail more freedoms and rights in the name of “national security”. It takes us into a future that is far worse than the bad situation we are already in.
We will, with all our love for Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) end up creating a society that is the exact opposite of what we hoped our faith would lead us towards. We will instead if we are not careful have more blasphemy – the very thing that has aggrieved us! We will probably have more imprisonments and more extra-judicial deaths by more mobs. We will have more angry congregations, more social disorder and some mosques and churches closed down. Definitely more security challenges. We will endanger the freedom to practice our faith, which we currently have, if we do not choose to handle cases of blasphemy, in a manner that is consistent with Islamic law.
And if the recent past has lessons for us, it would be that we could easily create the perfect environment, religious narratives and grievances needed, for the rise and support of more violent extremist groups. Who else, besides Shaitan and opportunists, happily benefits from the fitna/civil strife of anarchy?! Who gains?!
How can our anger and indignation about blasphemy, be a justification for throwing away a system for dealing with crimes and offences.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and all the great classical jurists (fuqaha) of all schools of Islamic jurisprudence, have categorically asked us to maintain and follow the rule of law, and respect for constituted legal authority.
And if the system is imperfect and cannot be trusted, how is it a better idea to start a new “system” that is far far far worse than what we currently have?!
How can placing legal, judicial and executive authority in the hands of mobs be a solution?!?
How does it help to replace an imperfect justice system with the anarchy of angry mobs?!?
How can we pray for peace, while simultaneously perpetuating a system that will most effectively destroy it?!
How is it Islamic to replace bad with that which is far worse and evil?
How is it more Islamic to choose the greater of two evils?!?
Is it not even an Islamic legal maxim that states, “avoiding harm takes precedence over accruing benefits”?!? And what exactly is the clear benefit of permitting extra-judicial punishments and mob action?!?
Should we not instead do all within our power to address the flaws of the judicial system; to call upon those vested with the judicial authority to deal with hate speech and acts of blasphemy?!? Let us seek and support Islamically acceptable ways of seeking redress for all wrongs and crimes. And mob action is definitely not one of them!
Let us please focus on improving the justice system. Let’s call upon them and only them, to do what only they should do. “And beware of a tribulation that may not be limited to the wrongdoers among you… ” (Qur’an 8:25)
Peace be upon you. Peace be upon Nigeria.