Islamic values are mercilessly defeated in Pakistan everyday. It was a country that was supposed to be ‘show-case’ of Modern Islam.
Sarabjit was killed in Pakistan’s Kot Lakpat Jail. He died the brutal and barbaric death and with him died a part of humanity, a part of centuries of love, trust and common heritage. Sarbjit was a prisoner and that reminds me another prisoner of Imam Ali. His name was Ibne Muljim. Fourteen Hundred years ago, he had attacked Imam Ali in Masjid-e-Kufa with a poisoned sword. He was caught soon after the attack and put into the prison which was near the home of Imam Ali. As a safety caution the hands of the prisoner were tightened hard. Imam Ali, who was facing excruciating pain the following night as a result of the severe wound and approaching death, heard the wails of prisoner. He inquired why the prisoner was crying. Having come to know that his shackles were tight he ordered to loose the ropes around the prisoner’s hands. Next morning Imam died but he left behind a beacon how to treat a prisoner.
I’m not arguing here whether Sarabjit was innocent when and where he was caught. My argument is what the Prophet (PBUH) and the Sharia says about the ‘treatment of the prisoner.’
In pre-Islamic-period, upon capture, those captives not executed, were made to beg for their subsistence. During his life, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) changed this custom and made it the responsibility of the Islamic government to provide food and clothing, on a reasonable basis, to captives, regardless of their religion. If the prisoners were in the custody of a person, then the responsibility was on the individual. Historically, Muslims routinely captured large number of prisoners. Aside from those who converted, most were ransomed or enslaved.
Pasquier writes, “It was the custom to enslave prisoners of war and the Islamic state would have put itself at a grave disadvantage vis-a-vis its enemies had it not reciprocated to some extent. By guaranteeing them [male POWs] humane treatment, and various possibilities of subsequently releasing themselves, it ensured that a good number of combatants in the opposing armies preferred captivity at the hands of Muslims to death on the field of battle.”
According to accounts written after the ‘Battle of Badr’, some prisoners were executed for their earlier crimes in Mecca, but the rest were given options: They could convert to Islam and thus win their freedom; they could pay ransom and win their freedom; they could teach 10 Muslims to read and write and thus win their freedom. William Muir wrote of this period:
“In pursuance of Mahomet’s commands the citizens of Medina and such of the refugees as possessed houses received the prisoners and treated them with much consideration. ‘Blessings be on the men of Medina’, said one of these prisoners in later days, ‘they made us ride while they themselves walked; they gave us wheaten bread to eat when there was little of it, contenting themselves with dates.”
During his rule, Hazrat Umar, the second Caliph of Islam, it was made illegal to separate related prisoners of war from each other, after a captive complained to him for being separated from her daughter. Upon capture, the prisoners must be guarded and not ill-treated. Islamic law holds that the prisoners must be fed and clothed, either by the Islamic government or by the individual who has custody of the prisoner. This position is supported by the verse (Quran 76:8). The Qur’an also urges kindness to captives and recommends, their liberation by purchase. The freeing of captives is recommended both for the expiation of sins [ and as an act of simple benevolence.
What the barbaric perpetrators in Pakistan did was the Death of Religion and the Burial of Humanity. Islam is a good Religion and they have tarnished the image of my religion.
Today’s life is complicated and demanding. While we have discovered the panaceas of horrible diseases we have created new kind of diseases in the name of Religion, Culture, Races and Regions. We have turned life demanding monster for humans.
There is a lot of confusion when I see the intermixing of Kassab and Kashmir; Kargil and Chinese Intrusions; from Sarabjit to Afzal Guru. All that is happening in the name of a unnatural divide which cut across the hearts and across the paddy fields. My father was an ardent Congressman, a follower of Moulana Abul Kalam Azad. He refused to go to Pakistan. My eldest brother was looking for job and better life. He took all with him that he could and moved to Karachi. He died in 1948 there leaving behind a widow and two kids. He was never a supporter of Muslim League. He was looking for a job.
India was divided in the name of religion. But why do we need religion if it divides? We are creating wars and hatred in the name of Religion throughout history. In the name of religion we are closing our windows and doors and all the chinks upon our fellow human beings. It took thousands of years for civilizations to settle while most of religions are 3000 years old. We have successfully limited our domains and our lives and now we are Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Jews. We are on our way of eliminating the roots of humanity in the name of religion from our daily lives.
Let us declare the horrendous death a turning point in the history of our common civilization and go for the positives of Religion. Life is not perfect and no religion is giving the solutions of the problems of everything in life. However, each offers its lessons. What is the point is considering myself spiritual if I can’t embrace humanity.
Will the fanatic Pakistani Mullahs who are poisoning the planet earth listen !
Islam has taught us to “treat others in the way we want to be treated.”