The Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) has condemned in strong terms the jungle justice meted out to a girl (Deborah) in Sokoto state on the excuse of committing a blasphemy against the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (SAW) on Thursday, describing such action as anti- Islam, barbaric and sad.
In a statement by the National President of MMPN, Abdur-Rahman Balogun in Abuja, described the case of mob killing of the girl in Sokoto as a criminal offence in Islamic law.
Allah says in Qur’an 5 verse 32 thus: … We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one 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 any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people…”
So the punishment for any offence in Islamic law is decided by a judge. No other member of the public has that jurisdiction.
In essence, it is a criminal offence in the Shari’ah of Islam for anyone or any group to take the law into their hands.
Even if it is a crime committed against the state, it is when the specific punishment is prescribed in the Qur’an or Hadith, only a competent judge of a Shari’ah court is allowed to approve of the witnesses and evidence, and to give the sentence for the execution of the appropriate punishment.
In essence, anyone who takes the law into their hands is a criminal that should be punished for their crime.
It is in this light that we commend the immediate action of the Sultanate Council and His Eminence Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar for condemning the criminal act and call for calm pending the outcome of the investigation panel set up by the Sokoto state government.
As a body of Muslim Media Practitioners, we join all others to condemn this barbaric act and call for immediate justice on any individual or group of people found guilty of perpetrating this dastard act.
This is so because if any individual or group is permitted to judge and execute punishments on their own without recourse to the constituted authority, there will be nothing but jungle justice and anarchy on the land.
Again, what happened in Sokoto is a manifestation of ignorance on what the religion of Islam preaches, hence the need for Islamic scholars to renew their commitments to preaching peace, love, tolerance and understanding as taught by the Prophet Muhammad himself.
The Prophet (S.A.W) during his life time was maligned, insulted and attacked but he didn’t retaliate or order his people to prosecute any of them, hence, people accepted Islam during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad ( S.A.W ) because of his exemplary and worthy character.
May the soul of Deborah rest in perfect peace, may her death be avenged and may peace and justice reign in our land.
It will be recalled that a female student (Deborah) of the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto State was burnt alive on Thursday over alleged blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad name.