Islamic Perspectives

Qur’anic Strategies for Prevention of Crime

By Prof. Zafarul Islam Islahi

The holy Qur’an, which is a complete guidance for life, also provides strategies (tadabir) for prevention of crimes which are plaguing human society all over the world. For the Qur’an, human welfare, or peaceful and pleasant life, depends on the promotion of goodness (maruf) and prevention of evil (munkar). For achieving this objective, the Qur’an has evolved a comprehensive system of fundamental beliefs, commands and prohibitions (awamir wa nawahi) or rules of the Shariah, moral teachings and pronouncement of reward for good and punishment for wrong-doers.

All these parts of the system are well- connected with each other and their working in a coherent, holistic way is the best strategy for the prevention of crimes.  Taking recourse only to any one of them would not be very effective and useful for prevention of crime. The Qur’an gives more importance to the training of mind of people against crime through its teachings and legal principles, repeatedly inviting people   to understand the dangerous consequences of crime for the individual and for society.

These strategies hinge on the belief in that Allah is Omniscient and Omnipresent ( Alim wa Basir and Hazir wa Nazir) , reminding people of the Divine system of reward on the Day of Judgment for good-doers and punishment for wrong-doers, and warning the latter  of the horrible situation of hell which they have to face, if not forgiven by Allah Almighty. Of course, firmness in this belief becomes a deterrent against the commission of crimes in public or privacy. Besides, the Qur’an has laid down strict rules and prescribed harsh punishment for those who indulge in crimes and endanger the life, honour or property of others.

The Qur’an gives a well-defined system of awamir and nawahi (do’s and do not’s) which cover every aspect of human life. In this reference, the Qur’anic commands ( ahkam) about taking care of life and property of every one, not to play with honour and dignity of any person and to show gentle, just and respectable treatment to each  member  of society (Al-Nisa/36,,58,151,Al-Maidah/8,42,Al-Nahl/90,Bani Israyil/32,37, Al-Noor/23, Al-Hujurat/11-12, Luqman/18, Al-Qalam/10-11) have great relevance.

Thus the Greatest Book of guidance trains minds of people against crime from the point of view of protection of human rights. It invites them   to keep in mind that each and every social  crime entails violation of human rights, and this ultimately creates conflict and tension in family or society and  shatters peace.

The Qur’an exhorts people to make effort wholeheartedly for the spread of virtues and eradication of evil. Collective effort of people is desirable in view of the Qur’an as this is more effective in attaining the desired goal.  The Qur’an calls upon believers to cooperate with each other for the good and not to cooperate with each other for sinful acts (Al-Maidah/2). This strikes at the foundations of organised crime. The Qur’an  declares it as part of the duties of Muslim rulers to take steps to check crime and show no leniency to criminals irrespective of their socio-economic status and political position.

     An understanding of these teachings, values and principles is required to prepare the modern mind to accept the fact that crime is destructive not only for an individual, but also for the whole society. Hence, it is their collective duty to work for their prevention sincerely. May Allah Almighty bless us with   taufiq to understand these principles and act accordingly.

The author is associated with the Deptt. of Islamic Studies,
Aligarh Muslim University