Crime in its different forms – organized crime, street crime, State crime, social crime – is considered as a major threat to peace and security in our world. A detailed discussion of the magnitude of the problem of crime as a universal catastrophe is beyond the scope of this study. Hence, we will present the Islamic viewpoint on the matter.
A summary of statistics about the spread of crimes in the US, based on US Government references, is presented below:
One crime index offense every 3 seconds
One violent crime every 27 seconds
One murder every 24 minutes
One forcible rape every 7 minutes
One robbery every 68 seconds
One property crime every 3 seconds
One burglary every 10 seconds
One larceny /theft every 5 seconds
One motor vehicle theft every 29 seconds
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports.
The Uniform Crime Report (UCR) issued by the US Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI) revealed that the number of reported crimes in the US increased by 4.6 percent in one year, from 1984 to 1985. Arrests in 1985 totaled 11.9 million, an increase of 3 percent over 1984.
The UCR figures are widely believed by criminologists to be low. A more reliable index is probably the US Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Survey (NCS), an annual report on household crime victimization based on census surveyors. This survey under covers crimes not reported to police. Its 1985 survey showed that 25 percent of the US population (1 in every 4 households in the US) had experienced crimes against individual members of the household or against the household itself during that year.
As these statistics show, crime, in all its different forms has become a major threat to societal and individual security. Nevertheless, most of the methods used to fight against crime have backfired and fall short of meeting such a challenge. The failure of the Western methods of combating crime – as stated by the continual rise of crime rates – leads one to suggest a solution, which treats criminal activity not piecemeal but in the total scheme of life.
The Islamic solution
The Islamic concept of security is a very comprehensive one, more comprehensive than any of the other existing systems. It looks at humankind in relation to the universe and the factors influencing it. It encompasses physical, mental, psychological and spiritual domains as integral parts of an overall societal security system. Islamic teachings do not merely provide solutions to exceptional instances of criminal behavior, but emphatically focus on measures that halt their existence. In other words, Islam executes as many means as possible to avert temptation. While modern societies flaunt temptation – liquor, pornography, violence, etc. – before the people, a true Islamic society removes the sources of these temptations, and when the need for correction emerges, the punishment is serious and effective.
Crime has prospered in modern society because a completely contradictory approach is followed to controlling it. All forms of temptation are prevalent and easily accessible and when the time comes for correction or punishment of a crime, it is done leniently and without seriousness. Sentencing is often biased and protective of the criminal's rights over those of the victim.
Through the various practical forms of worship like Salah (the five daily prayers), fasting and Zakah (obligatory charity), Islamic teachings aim at implanting feelings of inner peace and security, responsibility towards others and mutual respect. In a video film by the Christian Science Monitor about Islam in America, a large portion was devoted to describing the lives of maximum-security prison inmates before and after becoming Muslims. Before reverting to Islam, many were serial killers, drug smugglers, addicts and professional criminals. When they embraced Islam while in prison, they turned into dignified, secure and contributing citizens. Western statistical indices show that in the majority of maximum-security prisons, the criminals get involved in criminal acts and end up back in prison. Such statistics are reversed when those inmates become Muslims. The success of Islam in providing the best solution to crimes in the midst of the American society, where all types of correction programs have failed, is strong contemporary evidence for the universality of Islam and the pressing need for adopting its teachings.
Note: Most of the statistical data collected are about Western societies that are due to the availability of documentation on the matter. We realize that crime is prevalent in all societies -- Eastern and Western alike. The main thrust of our topic is that adopting the Islamic solution is more fruitful than man-made solutions.
Summarized From: The Universality of Islam