Conflict & Suffering, Crime & Punishment

Conflict & Suffering, Crime & Punishment

How do Muslims view justice and reconciliation?

religious studiesJihad

Jihad means struggle, and it sometimes refers to holy war, but certainly not always to struggle conducted through warfare. Jihad encompasses three types of struggle:

* The individual’s struggle to live according to the teachings of Islam as revealed to Muhammad and expressed in the Qur’an.

* The struggle to create an Islamic society

* The struggle to defend Islam, by arms if necessary

Islam allows (or, according to some, requires) Muslims to fight militarily to defend the faith. Sharia law lays out strict standrads for the pursuit of war. Reasons that can justify Jihad include self-defence, protecting Muslims against oppression and putting right a wrong.

Reasons that do not justify Jihad include forced conversion to Islam, colonising other countries and settling arguments. Most Muslims reject terrorism as being against Islam but believe in the right to peaceful protest.


Crime and Punishment

religious studiesFundamental Islam, as practised in countries like Saudi Arabia, looks to Sharia Law to determine how to punish crime. This can mean punishments like amputation for theft, stoning to death for adultery and capital punishment for apostasy. Apostasy is when a Muslim leaves Islam.

However, most Muslims, and most Muslim countries do not interpret Sharia Law in this literal way. In general, Islam allows capital punishment, but it also puts a strong emphasis on forgiveness. The death penalty can be used to punish a variety of crimes including murder, treason, terrorism, rape and adultery. In practice, few Muslim countries use the death penalty in all of those cases.