Prof. Abdulrazaq KIlani: SECURITY CONSCIOUSNESS: A Religious Obligation in Islam

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All praises and thanks are due to Allah Who grants safety and security to His servants by promising that He will never be unjust to them. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the noble Prophet Muhammad (salla Allah alaihi wasalaam), his household, his companions and all those who follow his footstep till the day of judgement.  Allah says:

Q 3:102- O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.

Q 4:1-O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;-reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.

Q 33:70-1- O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right: That He may make your conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins: He that obeys Allah and His Messenger, has already attained the highest achievement.

Verily, the best speech is Allah’s speech; the best guidance is Muhammad’s (saw) guidance: and the worst matters (in creed or worship) are those innovated (by the people), for every innovated matter is bid’ah ( prohibited innovation), and every bid’ah is an act of misguidance that(whoever initiated it) will reside in the Fire

WHAT IS SECURITY?

The quest to have secured world has moved to the global stage due to threat from various angles. There is no gain saying the fact that insecurity is a major global challenge confronting humanity. The UN sustainable development goals identified peace and security as one of its goals. By security,  it is defined as the safety of a state or organization against criminal activity such as terrorism, theft, or espionage. It also implies the  prevention of and protection against assault, damage, fire, fraud, invasion of privacy, theft, unlawful entry, and other such occurrences caused by deliberate action. Similarly, it is also the degree of resistance to, or protection from, harm. 

ISLAM IS A UNIVERSAL AMNESTY

Islam as religion and a way of life offers a permanent security in all ramifications to its adherents and by extension those who recognise its divine blessings. Islam envisage a society where there would be no fear, assault or molestation, it envisages a free and egalitarian society for all irrespective of language, creed or colour of skins. In Q 21:107, Allah  says, “And We have sent you not but as a mercy for the `Alamin(humankind and all that exists)”. This verse informs humanity of the mercy of the message of Islam given to Prophet Muhammad(salla Allah alaihi wasalaam). The implication of this is that whoever accepts this mercy and gives thanks for the blessing, will be happy in this world and in the Hereafter.    

ALLAH IS THE ABSOLUTE GURANTOR OF PEACE AND SECURITY

In Islam, it is a cardinal teaching that Allah is the absolute guarantor of peace and security. There are two  names  of Allah that explain  Allah as source of security  and they are Al-Salam-  the source of peace  and Al-Mu’min-  the giver of security. In Q 59:23, Allah says:

He is Allah, beside Whom La ilaha illa Huwa, Al-Malik.) Al-Malik, meaning "The Owner and King of all things,'' Who has full power over them without resistance or hindrance. Al-Quddus,- "The Pure,'' /"The Blessed As-Salam,- "Free from any defects or shortcomings that lessen or decrease His perfect attributes and actions. Al-Mu'min- "Who has granted safety to His servants by promising that He will never be unjust to them, Al-Muhaymin,- "The Witness for His servants actions,'' that is, the Ever-Watcher over them, Al-`Aziz,- "He is the Almighty, Dominant over all things, Al-Jabbar, Al-Mutakabbir- "The Only One worthy of being the Compeller and Supreme.' Glory be to Allah! (High is He) above all that they associate as partners with Him.

As-Salaam also  includes: 

i. a sense of security and permanence, which is unknown in this life; 

ii. soundness, freedom from defects, perfection as in the word salam; 

iii. presentation, salvation, deliverance, as in the world sallamah; 

iv. salutation, accord with those around us; 

v. resignation, in the sense that we are satisfied and not discontented; besides 

vi. the ordinary meaning of peace, i.e. freedom from any jarring element.

Again in Q106:3-4, Allah says, “So, let them worship the Lord of this House.. Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe   from fear. 

In addition, the Shari’ah  which is the divine law of Allah to humankind is also a source of security. The Shari’ah aims to promoting good (Maslahah) and removal of corruption(mafsadah).  Allah says in Q 45:18  thus, “Then We have put you on a (legal) way of commandment. So follow you that, and follow not the desires of those who know not”. The five objectives of the Shari’ah called the Maqasid khamsah as enunciated by scholars of Islam are:

i. Protection of the Religion of Islam ('Hifz al-Deen),

ii. Protection of Life (Hifz al-Nafs), 

iii. Protection of  the Human Intellect/Sanity (Hifz al-Aql), 

iv. Protection of Property ('Hifz al-Maal), and finally,

v. Protection of Progeny (Hifz al-Nasl). 

Islam wants believers to view insecurity as test and trial from Allah. They are meant to straighten us in our relationship with our Creator (Allah). In Q 2:155, Allah says:                     

And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient,

In order for all humanity to pass the test and trial, there must be concerted efforts to unravel the root causes of the problem and provide solution with divine help to them. It is in this respect again that Islam considers helping others from harm/injury/insecurity as part of faith. The Prophet (salla Allah alaihi wasalaam) said:

"Verily, the Prophet (s,a.w) said: "Faith has seventy something, and in Bukhari's version sixty something, branches. The highest is the pronouncement of La ilaha illa Allah, and the lowest is the removal of harmful ( object/material/item/thing) from the road. And certainly, modesty is a branch of faith"( Imam al-Bukhari, no.9; Muslim, no. 152.).

It is very clear that we  need security for all our religious affairs like observing our ritual prayers(salat) in the masjid (mosque), fasting in Ramadan and its related activities, giving  out zakat (Charity) and going on  hajj(pilgrimage). In case of hajj, security is needed in two ways; in your country to be able to prepare and go and in Saudi Arabia to be able to make the trip to that country. It is discernible therefore that peace and security not only have direct bearing on development but it's the back bone.

AN IMPORTANT SUNNAH

There is an important sunnah we often taken for granted which also indicates the importance of peace and security among believers and it is the sunnah of tasleem(greetings) in Islam. The Prophet (S.A.W.) in a Hadith narrated by Abu-Hurairah and reported by Imam Muslim,  encouraged us to spread widely the salutations of peace He said, “…….shall I not teach you something which if you do you would enhance mutual love in your midst? He said, “Spread the salutation of peace amongst you.”

INDIVIDUAL ANDPERSONAL SECURITY

We have earlier enunciated the objectives of the Shari’ah  and one of the objectives mentioned is protection of life. It is prohibited in Islam to take another person’s life. In Q 17:33 (also in Q6:151), Allah says, “And do not kill anyone whose killing Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause”.  Again the Qur’an compares the killing of one soul as the killing of entire humanity. Allah says in Q. 5:32:

......that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.

The struggle to attain power and have access to resources of others is the major cause of global insecurity as it is understood that access to power is access to resources. Allah warns humankind not to usurp the property of  others as mentioned in Q2:188, “ And eat up not one another's property unjustly (in any illegal way, e.g., stealing, robbing, deceiving”.

PUBLIC SECURITY IN SHARI’AH

Public security is having to do with the elimination of criminal acts that intimidate the public, cause chaos, generate fear and insecurity, and so on. These include things like organized banditry and armed robbery, brigandage and gangsterism of all sorts, violence, burglary, kidnapping. Allah describes them as waging war against Allah  in Q 5:33-34 thus:

The recompense of those who wage war against Allah 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 on opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.) (34. Except for those who (having fled away and then) came back (as Muslims) with repentance before they fall into your power; in that case, know that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)

Our role as responsible citizens that cherish public safety is to complement the efforts of government by blowing the whistle to government agencies  on breach of public security in our offices, neighbourhood and states.

In Islam, there is the culture of Ribat (Patrol) as mentioned in Q3:200, “   O you who believe! Endure and be more patient, and Rabitu, and have Taqwa of Allah, so that you may be successful”. In explaining this verse, a Hadith of the Prophet says, “ A patrol of one day is better than the world (in value and virtue ) and all that is contained there in.” (Reported by Bukhari, on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa’ad as Sa’idy).  The institution that is sometimes charged with the duty of patrol is the Hisbah under a Shari’ah administered state. However, some communities and states in Nigeria have adopted a self help local neighbourhood watch/committee. A Muslim can participate actively in this neighbourhood watch to gain the reward of this above cited Hadith.

INFORMATION  SHARING AND SECURITY

The preponderance of social media in information dissemination with its attendant menace cannot be underestimated today. There are distorted information to outright falsehood being disseminated. Every Muslim must be conscious of the fact that community or a nation can be wrecked and destroyed by means of fake information and hate speeches. Fake news and hate speeches bring inter ethnic war and interreligious crisis. It is easy to destabilise and disorganise a community that is at peace, through insinuations and insidious propaganda. Our country is a washed with fake news daily and there are many inciting ethno-religious fake news on the social media. Our idle youth have become social media warriors for ethnic and myopic religious propaganda. The Qur’an provides caution on public safety. In Q4:83, Allah says:

When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they make it known (among the people); if only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (directly). Had it not been for the grace and mercy of Allah upon you, you would have followed Shaytan, except a few of you.)

Our responsibility as Muslims is to avoid spreading fake news and hate speeches. We must not be purveyor of unverified information and falsehood. It is against the tenets of Islam.

In order to maintain suitable security architecture, our Imams must play their roles as managers and Chief Security officers of mosques and their members. The Imam must look around the mosque premises before the commencement of daily salawats, he must ensure that all entrances to the mosques are locked  during salat if no security company is available, he must observe those with strange and questionable characters before the prayers and mandate some individuals to engage them for identification. Most of the dastardly killings are done in our mosques during the prayers. It therefore means that we must step up our security architecture in the mosques to reduce the unfortunate carnage of people. It is not a luxury but a necessity to install CCTV camera and monitors in various mosques. The Imams must lead by examples. Imamul Bukhari and many others reported that one night there was a loud noise that frightened the people of Madinah. People ran out towards the direction of the sound inquiring what happened. But as they were all going they met the Prophet (S.A.W) coming back on horse with a sword hanging on his shoulder saying, “take it easy, don’t be frightened (feel safe)”. This clearly shows how the leader should be  mostly concerned with the security of his people. The Imam of the house is the father and he must close his doors and check that all doors to his house are closed. The father must ensure that all children are home by sunset. As Muslims, we must not forget the adhkar of morning and evening and let our family do that anytime they are going out.

May Allah continue to protect us and our families.

Prof. Abdulrazaq KIlani (FCAI)
                                University of Port Harcourt
                              Email: [email protected]
                              Contact: +234-803 702 9180

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2018-01-22 08:06