I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“And do not do mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order…”Qur’an 7:56
One of the foundations for the success of any society and its advancement economically is safety of lives and property. If the two can be guaranteed, then the society is sure to excel.
However, it is not upon the citizens to provide such atmosphere, rather the onus lies on the state upon which the citizens have pledged their allegiance to. A great scholar of Islam, Al-Maawirdi listed ten things that the Khalifah (ruler) of the state is obliged to deliver to his citizens and one of the obligations he made mention of, was the guaranteeing of public safety and security and protecting the women and children of the Ummah (nation) so that people can go about their business and travel around in safety, with no danger to their persons or their wealth. In addition, even the world economic forum believes that the oldest and simplest justification for government is as protector: protecting citizens from violence.
Islam attaches great importance to the lives and property of citizens such that safety must be guaranteed at all justifiable cost. It is in line with this theme that Allaah is stern regarding the punishment prescribed for those guilty of causing havoc and mischief on earth. The crimes of kidnapping, highway robbery and raping by means of open and audacious hostility can be said to be one of the highest forms of mischief in the land. Allaah says: “The recompense of those who wage war against Allaah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter” Qur’an 5:33. If only the rule of Allaah Exalted be He, can be applied on those guilty of these crimes, the society would become a safe haven for spiritual and economic excellence but we have a system that allows corruption and nepotism to stand between a criminal and justice, hence, the ever increasing rate of kidnapping.
Sad to say that we are on a fast lane in losing our human sentiment and the inherent moral obligation of being our brother’s keeper. Faster than our growth in technology and innovative lifestyle is our decline in morals and values. We do not need a scholar to convince us that the end time is nigh. The sad tale of human cruelty against human is enough to convince any man with a sane and balanced understanding that ours is a generation very close to the end of times. But do we lose hope when hope is never to be lost? The sight of heavily armed men and women, with such audacity to take control of our busy highways and cause emotional and psychological harm to innocent citizens and their loved ones often accompanied with a huge financial ransom speaks volume of why most citizens see the security outfits as being careless or ineffective. Will the government continue with this lackadaisical attitude toward this high rate of kidnapping especially on Abuja-Kaduna highway and watch till each family becomes a victim of kidnapping or will it act according to its mandate by ensuring that our roads and waterways are safe? A question begging for an answer!
In recent times, the unfortunate and brutal inhumane act of kidnapping which has generously resurfaced in our shores with the frequency ever on the increase is a cause of major concern to many travelers. What is more alarming is the occurrence of such in the North where it was unheard of before. Kaduna in particular has become the focus of this notorious act of kidnapping with hardly a week passing by without a reported case of kidnapping. Citizens are always jittery on the thought of plying Abuja-Kaduna highway, every day the news of kidnapping hits their eardrum, one day it might be the news of them being kidnapped (may Allaah save one and all) if government does not prioritize its essentials of which security and safety of lives and property should be leading the list.
There is no doubt that some security agents are doing a great job in trying to curb this menace but there is never enough when it comes to intelligence gathering to avoid or at least minimize the occurrence of this social anathema. The government should facilitate a better communication synergy between the security agents. The agents patrolling our streets and roads and highways should be as effective as possible because most of these kidnappers move freely to their dens unhindered. Security as it is widely echoed is the responsibility of everyone though this type of responsibility is one that calls for vigilance and reporting suspicious movements. People must avoid (unless necessary) following paths less followed and be mindful of their environments and strangers.
Arguably, most of these things become a reality in a society if poverty becomes the garb of the society, and failure of the state to cater for the economic needs of its ever increasing population. The ‘get rich quick’ syndrome is driving even the most modest man that lives in the village as a shepherd to take to kidnapping on the highways because they see it as lucrative and fastest means of getting millions. Also, our security outfits must learn how to effectively manage negative information, Allaah Exalted be He says: “Allaah does not like the public mention of evil…”Qur’an 4:148. The media outfits were recently inundated with the story of a notorious kidnapper and how wealthy he is. This careless act alone of repeatedly echoing the lifestyle of a kidnapper to the public may encourage some weak-minded individuals or groups to explore kidnapping as a faster way of acquiring huge wealth. Not every information is meant for public consumption. What is classified must remain classified so that classified solution can be proffered to this social menace in the form of kidnapping.
Furthermore, detachment from religious teachings and desperation to climb the social and financial ladder is partly responsible for this decadence. Mutual boasting amongst people and the bid to out-rich one another may not be an isolated factor also. But be it as it may, as Muslims we know that there is no such menace without a remedy. Our collective safety is a product of cordial and amicable social interaction. Amongst many remedies, Muslim brothers and sisters should be encouraged to be very mindful of their morning and evening adhkar (supplication) as taught by the Prophet (Peace be upon him). Solicit for Allaah’s protection in the morning and evening through the words of the Prophet (Peace be upon him):
“O Allaah, I ask You for security in my religion and my worldly affairs, in my family and my property; O Allaah, conceal my faults and keep me safe from the things which I fear; O Allaah, guard me from my front and from my right hand side and from my left side, and from above me; and I seek refuge in Your Greatness from receiving harm from below me.”
The kidnappers, whatever faith they profess can relate with what Allaah Exalted be He says and perhaps who knows if this could be a means of their reformation because the most ardent criminal can become a better person; “And do not do mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order. And invoke Him (Allaah) in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allaah is near to the doers of good.” Qur’an 7: 56
In conclusion, the government must act intelligently and decisively to put an end to this dangerous social and security ‘ebola’ before we all become infected.
Mr Abdul (Penabdul), an architect, teaches at the Baze University, Abuja. He is also the Chairman/CEO of Sustainable Project Works (SPW) Ltd. He can be reached on Twitter: @Penabdull and Instagram: @Penabdul