Mob action is not the way of the Muslims. We are a people of law and order. There’s no where in the texts of the Sharī’ah that jungle justice is permitted even on convicted criminals, let alone mob action against a yet to be convicted accused person. Suspected criminals are to be reported to the authorities whose duty is to investigate the crime, arraign suspects before a court of competent jurisdiction and seek conviction. Yet, after conviction, it is those empowered by law to execute the judgment that are expected to do so.
It is also important to note that the social media is NOT a recognised court of law by any Constitution. Thus, throwing yet to be substantiated accusations at people, virtual arraignment, pronouncement of guilt without fair hearing, as well as e-execution of convicted felons is a reckless and preposterous attitude. An act of injustice shall not be perpetrated against anyone in the course of seeking justice. Muslims are not mobs.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُونُواْ قَوَّامِينَ لِلّهِ شُهَدَاء بِالْقِسْطِ وَلاَ يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَى أَلاَّ تَعْدِلُواْ اعْدِلُواْ هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ إِنَّ اللّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
“O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allāh, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allāh. For Allāh is well-acquainted with all that ye do.”
وَإِذَا جَاءَهُمْ أَمْرٌ مِّنَ الْأَمْنِ أَوِ الْخَوْفِ أَذَاعُوا بِهِ ۖ وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَىٰ أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ لَعَلِمَهُ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَنبِطُونَهُ مِنْهُمْ ۗ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَاتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَانَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
In his Ramadān Tafsīr of the verse above, Shaykh Umar Dada Paiko Muhibb Aslu cautioned us against spreading information without verification and ascertainment. It is the way of the hypocrites to spread sensitive information among the masses without prior verification and without considering the benefits and harms of such information.
In Islām, it is harām to make public statements of injury save for he who was wronged and oppressed. Allāh says:
لَّا يُحِبُّ اللَّهُ الْجَهْرَ بِالسُّوءِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ إِلَّا مَن ظُلِمَ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ سَمِيعًا عَلِيمًا
“Allāh does not like speaking evil publicly unless one has been wronged. Allāh is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”
However, even at that, Allāh has guided the believer who suffers injury on what to do. He says:
وَالَّذِيۡنَ اِذَاۤ اَصَابَهُمُ الۡبَغۡىُ هُمۡ يَنۡتَصِرُوۡنَ
(The believers are those) who, when a wrong is done to them, seek its redress.” (42:39)
Seeking redress in the context of the Sharī’ah is by approaching relevant authorities with legal power to exert punishment on the evil doer, and not by constituting nuisances on the social media and causing more harm to the Muslim Ummah than good.
وَجَزٰٓؤُا سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثۡلُهَاۚ فَمَنۡ عَفَا وَاَصۡلَحَ فَاَجۡرُهٗ عَلَى اللّٰهِؕ اِنَّهٗ لَا يُحِبُّ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ. وَلَمَنِ انْتَصَرَ بَعۡدَ ظُلۡمِهٖ فَاُولٰٓـئِكَ مَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ مِّنۡ سَبِيۡلٍؕ
“The recompense of evil is evil the like of it. But he who forgives and makes amends, his reward lies with Allāh. Surely He does not love the wrong-doers. There is no blame against him who avenges himself after he has been wronged.”
How can an evil act be recompensed via social media noise instead of practical steps taught by Allāh? Avenging oneself here isn’t by taking the law into one’s hand or breaking another law by violating the rights of the accused person.
The Muslim community MUST NOT shield any individual who is found guilty of perpetrating evil, no matter how level of knowledge, wealth or status. No one should be allowed to get away with evil doing. A committee of reputable persons should be set up to investigate all allegations brought against individuals, give the accused persons a fair hearing and ensure that justice is served appropriately.
Where the Muslim community has no legal power to enforce punishment, victims should approach relevant legal authorities to seek redress.
Coming to the social media to make blanket damning accusations of RAPE or Zinā on unnamed persons has far more evil for the Ummah as a whole than good. In fact, there’s no single good in it. Such weighty claims cannot be regarded as Nasīha at all. It only leads to the following evils:
ii. سوء الظن
More worrisome is the fact that it gives a leverage to those who hate Islām and those in whose hearts is a disease of hatred for the Sunnah and its adherents to launch more venomous and ferocious tirades and vituperations against innocent persons upon the Sunnah.
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اَللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا; أَنَّ اَلنَّبِيَّ - صلى الله عليه وسلم -قَالَ: “لَوْ يُعْطَى اَلنَّاسُ بِدَعْوَاهُمْ, لَادَّعَى نَاسٌ دِمَاءَ رِجَالٍ, وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ, وَلَكِنِ اَلْيَمِينُ عَلَى اَلْمُدَّعَى عَلَيْهِ” مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيْه ِ وَلِلْبَيْهَقِيِّ بِإِسْنَادٍ صَحِيحٍ: “اَلْبَيِّنَةُ عَلَى اَلْمُدَّعِي, وَالْيَمِينُ عَلَى مَنْ أَنْكَرَ
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “If people were given whatever they claimed (in disputes), some people would claim the lives and wealth of others; but the oath (of denial) must be taken by the defendant.” [Agreed upon]. al-Baihaqi has reported with a Sahih (authentic) chain of narrators: “But the proof (Bayyinah) lies on the one who is making the claim, and the other (Yamin) must be taken by the one who rejects the claim.”
In conclusion, whoever has been wronged should approach relevant authorities to seek redress, and after the suspect has been declared guilty and convicted, can then alert the general public so as to beware of such criminals. The fear of not getting justice IS NOT a reason to engage in mob actions.
Stop throwing caution to the wind. Muslims are NOT MOBS!
Mallam Sanusi Lafiagi lectures on Islamic Studies at Al-Hikmah University.