Capital Punishment...

When Allah says, "In the law of Equality (qisas), there is (saving of) life to you", He encourages people to think by addressing them as" O ye men of understanding!"; He also encourages them to use their minds properly to find the answer to the question, "Since qisas means killing, how will death and life be together? "

One of the evidences of the divine call being appropriate is the fact that the people who think they are clever have not been able to agree whether to abolish the capital punishment or not though they have discussed it. I hope one day they will agree that capital punishment is necessary.

Those who oppose qisas (retaliaiton) and capital punishment in general or the crime of killing base their views on the following evidence:

1. Human nature hates and his conscience refuses qisas and capital punishment even if it is carried out based on the idea of the benefit of humanity.

2. Killing is a loss of a human being; similarly, capital punishment is also a loss of a human being.

3. Killing a person through retaliation originates from the feelings of mercilessness and revenge in the heart. These feelings are bad and they should be removed from the heart through education. Killing a person is also bad but instead of killing another person, it is more appropriate to put the killer in prison, to train him by making him do hard tasks in order to prevent crime. It is also possible to regard the killer as a mentally ill person. For, a person cannot kill another person unless he is mentally ill. Mentally ill people are treated in mental hospitals; so, killers need to be treated there, too.   

4. When laws are made, they are made in compliance with the community that exists, the conditions and necessities of that community. Therefore, it is not appropriate for a law to be effective continuously. The law of retaliation is like that, too. Today, the community needs its individuals. The relatives of the person who is killed want the murderer to be punished. The solution that will satisfy these two requests and needs is to punish the murderer through life imprisonment, etc, not to kill him.    

The Quran answers those objectors as follows:

"If anyone slew a person―unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land― it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people." (al-Maida 5/32)

According to this verse, which recognizes the right to live without any discrimination and emphasizes its importance, it is wrong to regard killing a person as an issue between two people or an act toward an individual. Either killing a person unjustly will be prevented and right to live will be ensured or the right to live will always be exposed to dangers. The structure called community consists of individuals and what are essential are individuals. If it is not possible to protect the life of the individual, it will not be possible to protect the life of the community. 

It is possible to state the following one by one while answering the claims listed above:

a) Almost anybody prevents a person who wants to kill or attempts to kill him at the cost of his life. As a matter of fact, all legal systems regard self-defense as a state in compliance with law. Communities declare war against other communities that want to possess and attack their country, lives and vital interests and fight actually. These two realities show that it is not contrary to human nature and conscience to kill people when to protect life and its requirements is in question.  

b) If education becomes successful in a community and people stop committing the crime of killing without severe penalties being in question, and if this state is determined based on scientific data, different penalties and measures can be considered for the crime of killing. Islam opens this door by giving the relatives of the person who is killed the right of giving up retaliation and demanding blood money. Until it is determined scientifically that the measures and sanctions apart from retaliation prevent the crime of killing or makes it very rare, the penalty of retaliation will continue being obligatory.

c) Mercy and compassion are nice feelings but if they are not used properly, they cause oppression, violation of rights and elimination of security of life; if they make the person who is killed forgotten and if they are used in favor of the murderer, it will no longer be accepted and it will be regarded as weakness.

d) If the tendency of punishing a crime with something of the same kind stops being a personal feeling and serves to realize justice and if it is regarded as a means of preventing crime, it will not be viewed as something bad.   

e) To attribute murder to mental illnesses and to offer to send murderers to mental hospitals instead of prison and gallows will do nothing but encourage murders. As a matter of fact, most of the experts do not agree with this opinion and they regard murder a crime necessitating punishment, not an illness. 

f) Today, many countries have capital punishment in their legal system. Those who imposed these laws regarded it more appropriate to apply the capital punishment for important murders than to keep the murderer in prison and to benefit from him; they found capital punishment necessary in order to protect the right to live. The economic contribution of the murderer cannot be more important and useful than protecting human life (hence the human life that will be protected thanks to retaliation).  

g) When there exists a slight doubt, Islam wants certain penalties to be applied instead of capital punishment in order to eliminate the possibility of executing a person by mistake.

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