By Sikandar Azam

With the remission of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case, the issue of rape-cum-murder has once again come to light. The issue in fact has never died down. Early this month, Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, said, “Due to the law on the hanging of culprits after the Nirbhaya case, the incidents of murder after rape have increased.” He argued, “The rapist feels that the victim will become a witness against the accused. In such a situation, the accused finds it right to kill the victim. The reports that are coming from all over the country show a very dangerous trend. The situation in the country is not good.”

Mr. Gehlot however did not mention any solution his government might have been taking to arrest this trend, which is reaching an alarming level. The Qur’ān (17:32) prohibits rape or adultery. It says: “Do not come near adultery. It is indeed an abomination and an evil way.” This Divine commandment is meant for both individuals and society as a whole. It warns each individual not only to guard against adultery or fornication itself but against all those things that can lead him to commit this outrageous act. As it is a social menace, the commandment enjoins the society to make such arrangements as can prevent adultery and eradicate the means and sources that can lead to this crime. Therefore, it would be in the fitness of things that the society employs all the legal and educative means that help develop such social ambience as prevents and eradicates indecency.

Adultery entails killing in various ways. Besides wasting life matter, it is often followed by a desire to get rid of its natural consequences, which Mr. Gehlot is referring to without suggesting any solution.

Islam preserves life and ensures peace. This is why it recognises the sanctity of human life which cannot be violated at whims, and considers the killing of any human being to be a crime of the highest order. In the very next verse (17:33), the Qur’ān says: “Do not kill anyone, for God has forbidden killing, except in (the pursuit of) justice.

In order to eradicate all means leading to adultery, Islam has prohibited adultery and false accusation thereof and treated them as criminal offences. It has also prohibited publication of indecent and obscene material, and restricted music, dancing and pictures which are conducive to adultery. Islam facilitated the institution of marriage and promulgated regulations about hijab. Laws were made to ensure all these rulings of dos and don’ts. All this aimed at cutting at the root of adultery and fornication and thus creating a peaceful society.

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