Social and Moral Measures to Avert Crime
The Islamic Law did not comprise only punitive laws to combat crime but also included precautionary measures which would help combat crime.
It is a fact that most of the crimes are motivated by proverty and, realising this, the Islamic Law tried to bring various social classes close to each other and protect the toiling classes from committing crimes of pecuniary character, such as theft and highway robbery. To achieve this goal, the Islamic Law had enacted legislation for payment of the poor-rate (Zakat) which is a specific amount of money taken from the rich to be paid to the poor. Payment of the poor-rate is different from the other utilities provided by the State to tax-prayers. Money raised for this institution is to be spent only on the objects for which the poor-rate would be spent. According to the Holy Quran, eight heads of expenditure in this con- cern are recognised. It says : "Poor-rate is only for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer it! and those whose hearts are made to incline to truth, and to free the captives, and those in debt, and in debt way of Allah and for the wayfarer an ordinance from Allah. And Allah is Knowing, Wise." [Surat Al-Taubah (The Immunity) : 50 he administrators are those who are employed to administer the funds those whose hearts are made to incline to truth are those who are paid by the ruler to help him, such as the soldiers and agents or whose mischief would not be avoided except by payment Poor-rate could also he spent to free slaves, and In re-payment of debts of people who incur debts for right purposes. Expenditure in the way of Allah is made to please God and the wayfarer is he who is stranded in a country.]
Among the social laws whereby Islam tried to prevent committal of a large number of crimes was polygamy. Anyone who is displeased with his wife is entitled to marry another wife, even a third and a fourth. If one marries more than one wife, he, surely, would not commit the crime of adultery. For the protection of a wife from the same sin, Islam has recognised and approved several reasons allowing a wife to ask for a divorce. If a wife is no more pleased with her husband and asks for divorce but was denied this right, she may commit adultery.
According to Islam, a wife can ask divorce from her husband if she anticipated physical or moral danger on his side. The religion must take all precaution to protect such a wife against adultery. Similarly, the Islamic Law has allowed the husband to divorce his wife even without giving reasons for that A husband might not afford marry two wives at one time, and if such a husband is disallowed to divorce his former wife, he would commit adultery. The Islamic Law, therefore, allows the husband to divorce his only wife and re-marry another one instead of keeping unwillingly this wife, a matter which might encourage him to commit adultery.
One of the Islamic social legislations also was the prohibition of display of beauty by women. Addressing the Prophet's wives, God said "And stay in your houses and display not your beauty like the displaying of the ignorance of yore ; and keep up prayer, and pay the poor-rate, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah only desires to take away uncleanness from you, O people of the house folk, and purify you a thorough purification." [Surat Al-Ahzab : 33]
There is no doubt that if a pretty young girl displays Her beauty strange men might be seduced and encouraged to establish with her improper relations.
It is impossible for a writer to explain in detail in such a small booklet the noble principles of Islam which call for strengthening of solidarity and other relations of familities, prohibition of deceit, cheating, lies and hypocrisy, and for helping the neighbour and the needy. The Holy Quran and the Prophet's sayings and traditions had comprised a large number of principles and teachings for social solidarity and ideologies which speak volumes. By ordaining worships, Islam did not want man only to make submission to God, but also to refine his own self, to always remember and fear God, and to obey His orders and injunctions. In the Quran God explains "Surely prayer keeps one away from indecency and evil; and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest force." [Surat Al-Ankabut (The Spider) : 45] The Prophet Muhammad said : "Some people keep up prayers, but in vain, and some people keep fasting, but get nothing except hunger and thirst."
Worships, in fact are not an end, but a means by which one feels the presence of God and the necessity to obey His orders and injunctions. When one realises that his deeds and behaviour are overseen by a great super visor, that is God, he would certainly refrain from committing offences. In decreeing the Friday congregational prayers and the two Eidd prayers, and the urge on every one to say his prayers in congregation, and in demanding that some prayers be made openly and not secretly, religious and moral awakening would certainly prevail all classes of people.
The democracy of the congregational prayer, when the rich and the poor stand in one line, would remove from the poor's soul any grudge which might be created by his poverty. The poor would also be restrained by receiving the poor-rate or the voluntary charity. More than any other social subject, the treatment of the poor with kindness and generosity, in addition to the payment of the poor-rate, was extensively called for by the Quran and the Prophet. By this, the Quran and the Sunnah wanted to eliminate all traces of poverty which might motivate crime and give rise to spite against the wealthy.
Crime is not fought only by deterrent punishment, but also by provoking the desire to do good and desist from committing any offence. In so doing, the legislator and the moral instructor are required to do their utmost to see that crime would be shunned and disallowed to take place with punishment imposed later.