Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem!
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Merciful!
Crime in Trinidad:
An Instrument of Personal Protection
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
© 2005 Syed Husain Pasha
(Originally written for Trinidad where crime has been rampant for the past several years.)
Crime in our society continues to rise. And so long as anyone of us is unsafe, we are all unsafe. And when one of us is robbed, raped, kidnapped, mugged or murdered, we all are. In Islam, unjust taking of a single life is tantamount to killing all of humanity.
Therefore, while our lovely land is an island, none of us is, as a poet once put it. We are all a part of a magnificent human whole - the boundless human cosmos that lies beyond race, color, creed, wealth and gender.
Crime is a creature of many causes - some personal and psychological; some social and family related; some economic and political; some moral and spiritual; some alcohol and drug induced; and so on. But regardless of the complexity of its causes, crime in a civilized society is completely and totally unacceptable.
Crime is not something to be tolerated and explained away, but rather it is an evil that must be immediately stopped and its perpetrators vigorously pursued, apprehended and prosecuted to the limit of the law.
At the same time, no matter what the more visible, natural, scientific and immediate cause or trigger of crime or any other phenomenon, all that happens in this world is a part of divine will and dispensation.
That means things happen in this world because and how God Almighty wants to them to happen. But why and how that is so - Why and how does God allow these terrible things to happen to people? - is a complex and difficult question and requires an elaborate answer.
The short form of that answer, however, is that terrible things happen to people when:
- People persistently misbehave and live a life of pervasive and flagrant sin.
- They deliberately disregard divine teachings and commandments brought to them by the prophets of God.
- They repeatedly ignore warnings from God and from people who understand and care.
- They create glaring disparities of opportunity, wealth and status among them.
- They permit injustice and oppression to make serious inroads in society.
- They fail to admonish and stop those among them who are bent on wrongdoing.
- They fail to reach out to the poor and offer them a helping hand.
- They fail to respond quickly to help victims of crime.
- They allow evil, wrongdoing and sinfulness to take hold of the collective ethos of the society and the environment.
- Their media, rather than crusade against crime, content themselves with reporting it.
- Those in positions of leadership among them, rather than working to stop crime, sermonize about it.
When that happens, God’s wrath and displeasure descends on such a people and such a society. Then those people and that society are subjected by God to punishment and retribution of increasing severity.
If people, upon perceiving the signs of God’s punishment, repent and mend their ways, then God forgives them and allows them respite. But if they return to their wicked ways, then God’s punishment also returns.
And that precisely is what may be happening to our beautiful Trinidad. And our beautiful little Tobago does not appear to be too far behind. In both places, the fabric of our society is becoming seriously frayed. In Trinidad, it is crime - at least that is what most people would say. And in Tobago, it is HIV exposure and infection - at least that what seems to meet the eye.
No one, however, is talking about serious, pervasive and blatant violations of God’s law among us such as alcohol abuse or sex outside marriage that have reached epidemic proportions in our society. Nor is anyone talking about the sometimes questionable means of amassing wealth by individuals and corporations or its often conspicuous and irresponsible use and consumption.
We have gone down this slippery slope so far that what should be abnormal and unacceptable has now become the norm and the acceptable for our society.
But God’s law does not change to please and accommodate people. When we flout his laws and commandments to a point where we lose all sensitivity to their violation, we invite and tempt God’s wrath and punishment. I am afraid we may be approaching that point very fast.
I will let specialists in each area - psychologists, sociologists, economists, educators, law enforcement personnel, judges and lawyers, politicians, civic leaders, social activists, government officials, others - deal with their own domain and come up with their own answers. Because, these are the people whose job it is to find answers for the rising crime tide in our society.
Below, however, I offer a solution to our worsening crime situation in Trinidad at a very different level - your own personal level. The solution I propose here does not replace their efforts, it only seeks to support and strengthen them. It is in addition to all the action and practical steps that the government, the experts, the media and the individuals must take to stop crime in our society.
That means regardless of what all the authorities, specialists and experts do or don’t do, it is my view that we must all turn to God Almighty for help. And we must all do so in the most direct and personal way.
Here therefore is what each one of you can do at your own personal level to seek God Almighty’s protection from untoward things happening to you, whether at home, on the road, at work or anywhere else:
Know that to a large extent you are what you believe. That is because it is generally your belief that tends to shape and drive your entire life. While conditions and circumstances are important, belief often has the power to negotiate, overcome or change them. So,
a. First of all, believe in one God - the Almighty; the one who has neither offspring nor spouse, neither parents nor siblings; the one who has none equal to him. Believe in him as the only one with any real power over you or over any other part or aspect of this world.
Believe that if he wants to protect you, no one can hurt or harm you, and if he wants to hurt or harm you, no one can protect or save you.
That is because his is the kingdom in this world, as well as in the next world, and you are nothing but one of his slaves - a slave like the rest of everything else in this universe, bound by his universal and immutable laws and totally and utterly dependent on his everlasting grace for everything.
b. Then believe in the blessed Prophet Muhammad as the last and final messenger that God Almighty sent to guide you to his path.
c. Then believe that the Qur’an is God’s word and that it contains things that are a cure for all that ails human societies and individuals.
d. Then believe that God is the one who made you and made heavens and earth. And he is the one who keeps the world going.
e. Then believe that life and death, sickness and health, are entirely in God’s hands and they occur based on a meticulously arranged calculus of time, place and circumstance.
f. Then believe that after death you will be resurrected and meet your master and will be called upon to give a full account to him of the life you lived in this world.
g. Then believe that while you must turn to God in humble supplication for your protection, it is also your right and duty as a believer in God, and as a civilized citizen of a free and democratic society, to take every precautionary and protective measure allowed you by the law of the land to protect yourself from crime.
h. Then believe that it is also your right - as well as your duty in a free and democratic society - to induce, encourage, lobby, pressure and persuade those in positions of power and authority in society to take prompt and effective measures to rid society of the scourge of crime and to offer you the protection of life, liberty and property that is every citizen’s most basic, fundamental, inalienable and non-negotiable right.