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ISLAMIC VIEWPOINT ON PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY POLICING AS A PANACEA TO SECURITY CHALLENGES

Authors:

Abstract

Islam as a religion and complete way of life has provides a divine guidance for the safety, protection, peace and stability of individuals and society which if properly followed, the society and its individual members become safe and well protected. However, no matter how religious, pious and godly a society becomes, some pockets of crimes will still be committed by some of its members which if not properly checked could rise and eventually devastate the security and peace enjoyed by the community. One of the ways to check the escalation of such crimes is through personal and community policing. Therefore, this paper is an attempt to analyze some of the Islamic viewpoints on personal and community policing for the prevention and controlling of criminal activities in the society. The research uses the divine commandments contained in the glorious Qur’an, Ahadith (traditions of Prophet Muhammad SAW) and practices of the early Muslims. The findings of the paper reveal that over 1400 years ago Islam provided perfect guidelines for effective policing at personal and communal levels when it enjoins its followers to be extra –ordinarily vigilant and sensitive in safeguarding their community, conscious and watchful against evil deeds, brave and courageous in defending themselves as well as proactive and preventive against any kind of criminal activity by using their authority, hand, tongue or heart. The paper also discovers that the stability and security of any community depends heavily on how much it strives to establish sound society on the basis of true faith, dignity of life, commitment, brotherhood, unity, solidarity and justice in accordance with Islamic injunctions. The paper calls all and sundry regardless of their religious inclination to contribute their quota for building sustainable peace and security as Islam views the issue of security and policing a shared responsibility between the state, community and individuals. Keywords: Personal, Community, Policing, Security, Islamic View
ISLAMIC VIEWPOINT ON PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY POLICING
AS A PANACEA TO SECURITY CHALLENGES
BY
AMMARU UMMARU
G.SM. +2348139146591
E-MAIL: ammaru004@gmail.com
ammaru.umaru@umyu.edu.ng
DEPARTMENT OF ISLAMIC STUDIES
FACULTY OF HUMANITIES
UMARU MUSA YAR’ADUA UNIVERSITY, KATSINA, NIGERIA
0
ABSTRACT
Islam as a religion and complete way of life has provides a divine guidance for the safety,
protection, peace and stability of individuals and society which if properly followed, the society
and its individual members become safe and well protected. However, no matter how religious,
pious and godly a society becomes, some pockets of crimes will still be committed by some of its
members which if not properly checked could rise and eventually devastate the security and
peace enjoyed by the community. One of the ways to check the escalation of such crimes is
through personal and community policing. Therefore, this paper is an attempt to analyze some of
the Islamic viewpoints on personal and community policing for the prevention and controlling of
criminal activities in the society. The research uses the divine commandments contained in the
glorious Qur’an, Ahadith (traditions of Prophet Muhammad SAW) and practices of the early
Muslims. The findings of the paper reveal that over 1400 years ago Islam provided perfect
guidelines for effective policing at personal and communal levels when it enjoins its followers to
be extra –ordinarily vigilant and sensitive in safeguarding their community, conscious and
watchful against evil deeds, brave and courageous in defending themselves as well as proactive
and preventive against any kind of criminal activity by using their authority, hand, tongue or
heart. The paper also discovers that the stability and security of any community depends heavily
on how much it strives to establish sound society on the basis of true faith, dignity of life,
commitment, brotherhood, unity, solidarity and justice in accordance with Islamic injunctions.
The paper calls all and sundry regardless of their religious inclination to contribute their quota
for building sustainable peace and security as Islam views the issue of security and policing a
shared responsibility between the state, community and individuals.
Keywords: Personal, Community, Policing, Security, Islamic View
Introduction
It will be imperative to introduce this paper by analyzing the correlation between Islam
and policing. The Arabic word “Islam” is derived from the Arabic root word Salam which
means, among other things peace, safety, submission, surrender, obedience and comfort1. In
religious sense, the word “Islam” means submission to the will of Allah and obedience to His
laws in all aspects of personal and public life.2 Islam has five articles of faith which comprise of
testimony that there is no deity worthy of worship besides Allah and that Prophet Muhammad
(SAW) is His Messenger, performing five daily prayers, giving Zakat (alms) and performing
pilgrimage for those who have the ability.3
The testimony that there is no deity worthy of worship besides Allah comprises three
elements, viz: Believe in His Oneness, Believe in His lordship and Believe in His beautiful
Names and attributes. Allah (SWT) has ninety nine notables (beautiful) Names which every
Muslims must believe in.4 Some of these names have direct bearing on policing and other related
issues such as security, peace, safety and protection. He SWT is al-Salãm, (the source of peace),
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al-Mu aimin (the protector), al-Mu’min (the source of safety), al- Alimՙ (the all-knowing), al-
Sami (the all-Hearing), al-Ba ir (the all-Seeing), al-Khabir (the all-Aware), al-Hafiz (the
Preserver), al-Raqib (The all-Watchful), al-Shahid (the Witness, Omnipotence), al-Walĩ (the
protecting Friend) and al-Mãni (the Preventer). Therefore, Muslims believe that it is only Allah
(SWT) who frees his servants from all sorts of dangers, protects and watches all His servants,
knows, hears and sees their movements, He witnesses, observes and preserves all actions of His
creatures in details. He prevents, protects and emancipates His creatures from all sorts of dangers
and fear.5 Allah (SWT) says:
He is Allah, beside Whom none has the right to be worshipped but He, Al-Maliku (the King), Al-
Quddusu (the Holy), As-Salam (the source of peace), Al-Mu`min (the giver of security), Al-
Muhaymin (the the protector), Al-`Aziz (the Almighty), Al-Jabbar (the Compeller), Al-Mutakabbir
(the Supreme). Glory be to Allah! Above all that they associate as partners with Him. (Q59:23)
Another Verse says:
Is then He (Allah) Who takes charge (guards) of every person and knows all that he has earned. (Q13:33)
In another place Allah SWT says:
If you two turn in repentance to Allah, your hearts are indeed so inclined; but if you help one
another against him, then verily, Allah is his Protector, and Jibril, and the righteous among the
believers; and after that the Angels are his helpers (Q66:4)
Simimlarly, Imam al-Bukhari recorded a hadith in which Prophet Muhammad SAW says:
Allah said: I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the
most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and
My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing supererogatory prayers or doing extra
deeds besides what is obligatory, till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears,
and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he
walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (Refuge), I will protect him; (i.e.
give him My Refuge and security)." 6
It is Allah SWT who ultimately supervises and polices all the affairs of the entire
creatures. He perfectly watches and hears the speeches, actions, intentions, meetings and
movements of all creatures whether uttered or done in public or secret and His angels keep it in
record. Allah SWT says in the Qur’an:
Have you not seen that Allah knows whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth. There
is no private meeting of three but He is their fourth nor of five but He is their sixth nor of less than that
or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be. And afterwards on the Day of Resurrection He
will inform them of what they did. Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything. (Q58:7)7
He (SWT) also said:
Surely, Allah is always watching over you. (Q4:1)
Another verse says:
And Allah is Witness over all things. (Q58:6)
:And
And moreover Allah is Witness over what they used to do. (Q10:46)
An authentic Hadith states,
Worship Allah as if you see Him, for even though you cannot see Him, He sees you.8
Therefore, Allah SWT is well acquainted with all the affairs and conditions of His
servants at all times, during every hour and second. He is Well-Aware of the movement of the
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trees and other inanimate objects, birds, animals and other creatures. Everything small or big is
within the Knowledge, supervision and policing of Allah SWT. Nothing slips or escapes from
His knowledge and observation. He (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
And with Him are the keys of the Ghayb (all that is hidden and unseen), none knows them but He. And
He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a
grain in the darkness of the earth or anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record. (Q6:59)
He SWT also says:
And no moving creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling
place and its deposit. All is in a Clear Book. (Q11:6)
And in another verse:
There is no moving creature on earth or a bird that flies with its two wings, but are Umam
(communities) like you. We have neglected nothing in the Book and then unto their Lord they (all) shall
be gathered. (Q6:38)
The foregoing Qur’anic verses and ahadith emphasize the certainty of all-encompassing
power of Allah SWT as the ultimate provider of security, peace, tranquility and safety. He is also
the only one that possesses the power of policing all the creatures in the most perfect manner. In
fact, a number of Allah’s Beautiful Names symbolizes protection, monitoring, supervision and
policing. Therefore we can deduce from the foregoing texts of the Qur’an and ahadith that a real
security and policing emanate from the Allah (SWT), but, it should be noted that man as the
representative of Allah (SWT) on the earth, who is charged with the responsibility of
Implementing Allah’s laws. He is, therefore, bound to accomplish Allah’s will of protecting,
monitoring, supervising and policing at both personal and community levels by employing
certain strategies. The Qur’an and Sunnah (Prophet Muhammad’s way of life) have provided
clear guidelines and strategies that will assist man to accomplish this goal. It is, therefore, the
aim of this paper to analyze some of them for proper accomplishment of personal and
community policing with a view to tackle security challenges at national and international levels.
But before that the paper expatiate on some basic Islamic concepts on policing such as Iman
(faith), brotherhood, unity, life, community and Amr bil Ma’ruf wa Nahyi Anil munkar,
(commanding righteous deeds and forbidden wrong deeds).
Islamic Principles and Concepts on Personal and Community Policing
The Concept of Iman (Faith)
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Iman is considered the most important aspect of Islam. It is often translated as faith, or
belief. Iman comes from the Arabic root ãmana, which literally signifies freedom from fear.9
Technically it refers to the belief in Allah, His Prophets, His revealed Books, Angels, the
Hereafter, and Allah’s divine decree.10
The Islam and Iman are interrelated and used interchangeably because they are
independent and in essence they are the same. True Iman consist embracing Islam while Islam
calls for true faith. Without true Iman, one’s claim to Islam is hypocritical. Likewise, one’s claim
to Iman if he did not embrace Islam is null and void. Therefore, Iman relates to basic beliefs and
their affirmation which serve as the foundation religion (Islam).11 Iman and good deeds are
intertwined. In almost every instance of exhorting people to believe in Islam, the Qur’an
simultaneously asks them to perform good and righteous deeds.12 Some ahadith of Prophet
(SAW) have explained some of those good deeds that form part of the necessary requirements of
complete faith (Iman). The Prophet (SAW) was reported saying:
Let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day speak good, or keep silent; and let him who
believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his neighbor; and let him who believes in Allah
and the Last Day be generous to his guest.13
Speaking good words comprises revealing whatever may lead to improvement of one’s
personal and community policing, and conversely concealing whatever may be threat against it.
And being generous to the neighbors and guest encompasses guarding them against the people or
anything that will endanger their security. It also entails preventing all sorts of crimes and evils
against them. The Qur’an likens Iman to a fruit-bearing tree with its roots deeply embedded and
branches spreading out, bearing fruits in all seasons. Allah SWT says in the Qur’an:
See you not how Allah sets forth a parable. A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly
fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky. Giving its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord, and
Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember. And the parable of an evil
word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth, having no stability. (Q14:24-26)
The good tree in the above verse refers to Iman (faith), its roots being firmly fixed
signifies the faith penetrating deep into the heart of a believer. Its branches (reach) to the sky
giving its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord, means its outspread branches provide shades
and refuge to everyone. This indicates the blessings and benefits accruing from true faith. Those
in contact with a believer also derive many benefits from his genuine faith.14 The benefits are
manifest in practical life as he attains real peace with his Lord, his fellow men and the society in
general. He personally becomes secured from any harm and assists in reducing evils and crimes
in the community thereby making his community a crime free society.15 In fact, performing good
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deeds that are beneficial to oneself and his community such as personal and community policing
are part of the requirements of true Iman (faith) in Islam.
The Concept of Life
Life is a brilliant demonstration of the wisdom, knowledge and power of the Almighty
Allah. It is a precious gift from Allah (SWT) to man, hence, very sacred in Islam that it cannot be
taken for granted. It is only Allah (SWT) that creates, gives and takes life. The Qur’an says:
Read! In the Name of your Lord Who created. He has created man from a clot. (96:1-2)
If anyone murdered a human being, it is as if he has slain the entire human beings and if
he saves it from destruction, it is as if he saves the entire human race. The Qur’an says:
We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or
(and) to spread mischief in the land - it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a
life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. (Q5:32)
Therefore, it is incumbent on every Muslim to preserve and protect lives of others. One
of the effective ways to accomplish this duty is by engaging himself in policing his community
against mischief. Similarly, Islam forbids all kinds activities that may lead to self destruction.
The Qur’an says:
And spend in the cause of Allah and do not throw yourselves into destruction, and do good. Truly,
Allah loves Al-Muhsinin (those who do good) (Q2:95)
We can understand from the foregoing verses that Islam viewed the life of a human being
as a trust from God which must be protected by individuals and community in general
irrespective of his or her ancestry, color, or language. Therefore, it is incumbent upon every
Muslim and Muslim community in general to protect and preserve human life from destruction.
They should employ any possible and lawful means to achieve this noble cause. One of such
means is through personal and community policing.
The Concept of Brotherhood and Unity
Brotherhood and Unity are also two relevant Islamic concepts on the issues of personal
and community policing. The Qur'an states that all Muslims are brothers and sisters to each other
and if a disagreement erupted among them they solve it through reconciliation. It says:
The believers are but a brotherhood. So make reconciliation between your brothers. (Q49:10)
Islamic brotherhood entails helping each other to avoid what God forbids and perform the
righteous deeds in all aspects of life. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
…Help you one another in Al-Birr (righteousness) and At-Taqwa (piety), but do not help one another
in sin and transgression. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment. (Q5:2)
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Furthermore, the Almighty Allah enjoins Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the entire
Muslims to consult their fellow humans before undertaking any serious decision. Because it may
brings more unity and cooperation among them. The Qur’an says:
…And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from you; so pardon
them, and ask forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. (Q3:159)
Another verse says:
And those who answer the Call of their Lord, and perform the Salah (prayer), and who (conduct)
their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them. (Q42:38)
A true Muslim should always cooperate and unite with others in helping the community to
live in peace and harmony. The Qur’an says:
If you two turn in repentance to Allah, your hearts are indeed so inclined; but if you help one another
against him, then verily, Allah is his Protector, and Jibril, and the righteous among the believers; and
after that the Angels are his helpers (Q66:4)
The above verse calls on the Muslims to protect the innocent people from the dangers of
the criminals. The Prophet (SAW) describes the unity and brotherhood that existed among the
Muslims with a single body when he (SAW) says:
The believers resembles one body with regard to showing mercy, love and kindness among
themselves, if any part of the body is not well then the whole body shares the sleeplessness
(insomnia) and develops fever.16
Allah (SWT) enjoined the Muslims to be united, not allow themselves be divided or
become enemies against one another. The Qur’an says:
And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah, and be not divided among yourselves, and
remember Allah's favor on you, for you were enemies of one another but He joined your hearts
together, so that, by His grace, you became brethren, and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and
He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His signs clear to you, that you may be guided. (Q3:103)
Another verse says:
And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and
your strength departs, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with the patients. (Q8:46)
Therefore, if humanity were to apply the Islamic injunctions on unity and brotherhood
among themselves they could be able to solve their bedeviling problems of insecurity, terrorism,
armed robbery, thurgery, uprising and insurgency through individual and collective policing of
the communities. An example could be cited with the life of the early Muslims who were very
few and weak but were united and supportive to each other against the persecutions, boycott,
dangers and threat posed by Makkan idolaters. Likewise, the unity and brotherhood that was
formed between the Muslims who migrated from Makkah and Madinite Muslims who assisted
them to secure their community against internal and external dangers posed by the enemies such
as “Muslim” hypocrites and Jews in Madinah. In a nutshell, the Islamic concepts of unity and
brotherhood are paramount to the issues of personal and community policing.
The Concept of Community (Ummah)
The concept of community in Islam is not founded on race, nationality, occupation,
locality, or kinship. It does not take its name after a leader, neither restricted by national borders
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nor political boundaries. It is based on the principle of total submission to the wills of Allah
(SWT) and obedience to His laws. Its missions comprise preventing all sorts of crimes and
encouraging good deeds.17 The Qur’an says:
You are the best of community ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma`ruf (all that Islam has
ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah. (Q3:110)
Another verse says:
Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma`ruf
(all that Islam orders) and forbidding Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are
the successful. (Q3:104)
Based on the above verses, the community in Islam must be a true embodiment of nobility,
righteousness, and virtues. A true Islamic community is always a guardian of morality and bitter
enemy of vices and crimes. Likewise, what is required from the community at large is also
required from its individual members. This is because the whole community is single entity and
every member is accountable before Allah (SWT). The Prophet (SAW) says:
Beware, every one of you is a shepherd and everyone is answerable with regard to his flock. The
Caliph is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned about his subjects (as to how he
conducted their affairs). A man is a guardian over the members of his family and shall be questioned
about them (as to how he looked after their physical and moral well-being). A woman is a guardian
over the household of her husband and his children and shall be questioned about them (as to how
she managed the household and brought up the children). A slave is a guardian over the property of
his master and shall be questioned about it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, every one
of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust.18
In another hadith, the Prophet (SAW) says:
Whoever among you sees any wrong action let him correct it with his hand, and if that is not
possible, correct it with his tongue, and if that is not possible, he should correct it with his
heart: and that is the weakest degree of faith.19
The responsibilities referred in the above ahadith (traditions ) is for every Muslim to strive
and make others to abandon evil deeds and perform what is right by using any lawful means
available to him. Hence, we can deduce from the above textual evidences on the Islamic concept
of community that policing the community is a responsibility of all and sundry. If proper Islamic
concept of community is inculcated into the minds of citizenry, it will bring better cooperation
between the traditional police and citizens for the prevention of crimes and solve communities’
problems, promote public safety and enhance the security of life and property in the community
as well as combating contemporary security threats and crimes, drugs, and violence. It has
become clear that governments and law enforcement agencies cannot combat these threats by
employing traditional policing methods alone. Therefore, Islamic concept of community could be
used to encourage greater levels of community participation to minimize the causes of security
threats in a society.
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Islam views community as one entity that focuses on building ties and working closely
with other communities. The concept of community in Islam entails working in a proactive to
identify and solve all sorts of problems in a society. Islamic concept of community gives room
for building good relationships among the members of the community that paves way for
partnerships and cooperation with security agents and strategies for reducing crime and disorder.
Qur’an and hadith encourage the Muslim community to help in preventing crimes by providing
advice and guidance. Islamic concept of community provides effective room for clear
communication between the traditional police and the communities on the security issues in the
community.
If Islamic concept of community is implanted well into the hearts of the citizens it will
assist in reducing crime and raising the sense of security in a community. Thus Islamic
community can play greater role in reducing contemporary problems of drugs and other criminal
activity in the community.
The Concept of Peace
Peace and Islam were derived from the same root and may be considered synonymous. The
routine greetings and concluding words of the daily prayers of the Muslims is peace. The adjective word
“Muslim” in essence means peaceful person. This is how dominant and fundamental the issue of peace is
to Islam. Therefore, a person who seeks to draw near to Allah by practicing Islam will be at peace with
Him, with himself, his fellow men and the entire community. He will at the same time try as much as he
can to preach and work toward establishing peace and security in his community.20
In conclusion, taking the aforementioned Islamic principles and concepts in to proper practice
may result to the production of men of sincere faith, universal brotherhood, unity of human kind, dignity
of human life, higher commitment and solidarity what will help in overcoming the security challenges not
only in Africa but the whole world.
Islamic Viewpoint on Personal and Community Policing
The following are some of the Islamic injunctions on personal and community policing:
Guarding the Community against Enemies and Mischievous Persons
Allah SWT says in the Qur’an:
O you who believe! Endure and be more patient, and guard your territory (ribat) by stationing
army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and fear Allah, so that
you may be successful. (Q3:200)
Another verse says:
8
O you who believe! Take care of yourselves. If you follow the right guidance, no hurt can come to
you from those who are in error (Q5:105)
In his Sunan collection, Imam Ibn Majah stated that some companions like Abubakar al-
Siddiq interprets the above verse (Q5:105) as “O people, it is incumbent upon you to guard
yourselves so that those who have gone astray will not harm you if you are guided aright”21
Guarding oneself comprises personal and community policing against all sorts of crimes.
Likewise, the Prophet (SAW) has encouraged the Muslims to guard their communities against
enemies, mischievous persons and criminal activities when he stated that the reward for the
person who guards his community against criminal activities and harm is better than the whole
universe and what it contains. Sahl Bn Sa’d Al-Sa’idi reported that the Messenger of Allah says:
A day of Ribat (guarding the community) in the cause of Allah is better than this life and all that is in
it.22
In another hadith, the Prophet SAW stated that the reward of guarding one’s community is
better than voluntary fasting and voluntary night prayer for the days of a month. Salman Al-
Farisi reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
Ribat (guarding the community) for a day and a night is better (in point of reward) than fasting for a
whole month and standing in prayer every night. If a person dies (while, performing this duty), his
(meritorious) activity will continue and he will go on receiving his reward for it perpetually and
will be saved from the torture of the grave.23
Another hadith stated that the reward of a person who dies in (guarding the community) is
endless. Fadalah bin ‘Ubayd said that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying:
Every dead person will have his record of deeds sealed, except for whoever dies while in Ribat
(guarding the community) in the cause of Allah, for his work will keep increasing until the Day of
Resurrection, and he will be safe from the trial of the grave.24
Similarly, policing one’s community for the sake of Allah prevents a person from entering
Hell-Fire. Abdullahi Ibn ‘Abbas reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying:
Two eyes shall not be touched by the Fire: an eye that cried for fear from Allah and an eye that spent
the night guarding in Allah's cause.25
Precautious and Preventive Measures
Islam makes it obligatory on the individual Muslims and the community in general to
take all the necessary precautions and proactive measures against mischief and criminal
activities. This comprises adequate preparation in terms of man power and resources which
include all the necessary security apparatus that will assist in policing and securing the stability
and tranquility in the society. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
O you who believe! Take your precautions, and either go forth (on an expedition) in parties, or go
forth all together. (Q4:71)
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The above verse imply the obligation of taking all necessary possible measures that will
improve one’s personal and community policing. The policing of the community, as implied in
the above verse is a responsibility of the whole community. However, a group of people in the
community may carry out this obligation on behalf of the other members. But, if the security
threat against the community is very great, the whole community is required to stand against it in
order to defend it. Abdullah bin Abi Aufa narrated that:
We were in the company of the Prophet when he performed the 'Umra (lesser Pilgrimage). He
performed the Tawaf (circumambulation) and we did the same; he offered the prayer and we also
offered the prayer with him. Then he performed the Sa’y between Safa and Marwa and we were
guarding him against the people of Makkah so that nobody should harm him.26
The above hadith is a clear instruction for Muslims to guard themselves from the harms
of the criminals by taking proper measures as exemplified in the above hadith. Such measure
may be in terms of involving the community policing. Similarly there are many examples in life
history of Prophet (SAW) and his Companions R.A. that illustrates taking proactive measures in
order to protect oneself and his community from dangers and plots of the enemies and criminals.
For instance, when the chiefs of pagan Quraish realized that most of the Muslims had migrated
from Makkah to Madinah and their population and influence had tremendously increased there,
they met in Dar al-Nadwah and resolved to kill the Prophet SAW. Realizing this plot, the
Prophet SAW, sneaked away and set out in the darkness of night before the time set for his
murder and made sure that nobody sees him when he was going out. He also asked Aliyu Bin
Abi Talib to sleep on his bed and cover himself so that those attempting to kill him may assume
that he was still in the house. Had the Prophet (SAW) not taken proactive and precautious
measures, the pagan Quraish could have murdered him on the planned night.27
Another strategy adopted by the Prophet (SAW) in order to divert the attention of the
pagan Quraish who might chased him up was that he first of all stayed in the cave of Thaur for
three days and three nights. At this moment the pagan Quraish announced the reward of one
hundred camels for the arrest of the Prophet SAW dead or alive and many unbelievers makes
several attempts to trace and arrest him. Following the footprints of the Prophet (SAW) some of
them reached up to the entrance of the cave but did not enter it as they assumed that a human
being could not get inside such dark and cobweb cave. After making arduous search, the infidels
got tired and returned to Makkah.28 The wise decision of the Prophet (SAW) to encamp in the
cave for three days before proceeding to Madinah was security purpose and the plan had, by the
grace of the Almighty Allah, utterly saved him from the pagan Quraish who were after his life.
10
Another important lesson from the migration of the Prophet (SAW) for our personal
security was that he had never disclose his intention to migrate except to the very few persons he
had trusted such Aliyu Bin Abi Talib, Amir Bin Fahirah, Abdullahi Bin Abubakar Asma’ Bint
Abubakar, Abdullahi Bin Uraqit even though he was infidel but trust worthy.29 Therefore, we
should not reveal our secrets, movements and activities to all and sundry. If it is necessary to do
that then the persons we are revealing the secrets to must be competent and trustworthy.
Concealing Important Secrets even in the Face Threat and Hardship
Islam forbids exposing important matters that affect the affairs of Muslims especially
issues relating to security, peace and stability. Even if a person is under intimidation, he should
try as much as he could not to expose the confidential information which if revealed would affect
individual or public security, peace and safety. When the Quraish who resolved to kill the
Prophet (SAW) met Aliyu Bin Abi Talib in the house of the Prophet SAW they asked him: Where
is the Muhammad? He replied: “You know better as you were watching him. I was sleeping the
whole night.” They pagan Quraish caught and beat him up and kept him in their captivity.
However, Ali (R.A.) refused to reveal to them where the Prophet (SAW) was. They later released
him when they realized that they cannot get the information they wanted from him and
immediately went to the house of Abubakar (R.A) with the belief that being the best friend of the
Prophet SAW, they were together. When Asma’ Bint Abubakar came out of the house, Abu Jahal
asked her where about Abubakar was. She replied that she did not know his where about.
Hearing this, Abu Jahal slapped her so hard that her ear ring fell to the ground. Nevertheless,
Asma’ never attempted to disclose to them where the Prophet SAW and her father were despite
the fact that she used to cook food and took it to where they were hiding in the cave of Thaur.30
Abubakar R.A. had already asked his son, Abdullahi Bin Abubakar to be informing him
about the proceedings and other activities of Quraish by visiting him in the night. In the same
way he had also instructed his servant Amir Bin Fahirah to take his herd of goat near the cave at
night. When Asma’ and Abdullahi returned home after discharging their duties, Amir reaches the
cave, milked the goats and supplied it to them. He used to return to Makkah with his goats late in
the night and in this way, the footsteps of Asma’ and Abdullahi used to disappear by the
footprints of the goats. After three days of hiding in the cave, Abubakar sent a message to
Abdullahi Bin Uraqit to bring two camels for him and the Prophet SAW to ride to Madinah
11
which he secretly did. Abdullahi Bin Uraqit, though a non-Muslim, maintained this secret and
never discloses it to any one despite the announcement of a reward of one hundred camels for
any person who arrested the Prophet (SAW). A point of emphasis here is that all the persons who
knew the where about of the Prophet (SAW) and his Companion, Abubakar (R.A). kept it
confidential despite the torture inflicted on some of them. The fact is that keeping secrets and
promises were general qualities of the Arabs which Islam affirms as contained in the following
verse:
O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations (Q5:1)
Another historical example could be cited with the incident that happened when the
Prophet (SAW) was returning from the battle of Tabuk when some hypocrites tried to scare his
camel from the top of a defile situated on the route between Madinah and Syria in order to make
him fall into the valley. Then Messenger of Allah (SAW) mentioned their names to Hudhaifah
Bin Yaman, but with strict injunction not to disclose it to anyone. Hudhaifah kept this secret until
the end of his life despite the attempt by some prominent Companions to persuade him inform
them the names of the hypocrites. This is why Hudhayfah was called the holder of the secret. 31
Had Hudhaifah made the names of the hypocrites public, it could have caused confusion, internal
strife and dissension among the Companions. Thus, Islam attached great importance to keeping
secret what is meant to be confidential for the purpose of lasting peace and security among the
community members.
Bravery and Courageousness
Islam commands Muslims to be gallant and courageous in combating criminal activities,
misconduct, evil actions, wickedness and vices. They should avoid displaying weakness in the
face of criminals, wrongdoers and tyrants. In fact, a strong and brave Muslim is better than weak
Muslim in the sight of Allah. Abu Hurairah R.A. reported the Messenger of Allah saying:
A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is
goodness in everyone32
A brave and strong Muslim should never succumb to the whims and caprices of the
criminals who carry out crimes in the community rather he fights their heinous activities to the
last resort. This is because he knows that if he suffers or killed in the process of protecting
himself or his community he will earn the status of martyr. The Prophet SAW says:
Whoever is killed while protecting his property then he is a martyr.33
In another hadith, Abu Hurairah R.A. reported that a person came to the Messenger of
Allah and said:
12
O Messenger of Allah, what do you think if a man comes to me in order to appropriate my
possession? He (the Prophet) said: Don't surrender your possession to him. He (the inquirer) said: If
he fights me? He (the Prophet) remarked: Then fight (against him). He (the inquirer) again said:
What do you think if I am killed? He (the Prophet) observed: You would be a martyr. He (the
inquirer) said: What do you think of him if I killed him. He (the Prophet) said: he would be in the
Fire.34
In a similar hadith the Prophet (SAW) says:
He who died in protecting his property is a martyr.35
There are many instances of how Prophet SAW bravely protected himself from the
criminals (the hypocrites) who attempted to kill him. One of such occasion is when he was
returning from the battle of Tabuk. The criminals who were twelve in number rode their camels
and intercepted the Prophet (SAW) and tried to scare the camel of the Prophet from the top of the
mountain situated on the route between Madinah and Syria in order to make him fall into the
valley. When the Messenger of Allah realized that, he gallantly shouted and courageously chased
them. They all ran away and joined the Muslim army again.36
Inquiring and Investigating Unknown Persons and Suspicious Movements
In order to provide maximum security to the lives and property and proper policing of the
community, Islam recommends seeking clarification from unknown persons coming into the
society. The basis for this could be found in the story of Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) and the Angels
(A.S) when they visited him as narrated in the Qur’an Allah:
Has the story reached you, of the honored guests of Ibrahim. When they came in to him and said:
"Salaman!'' He answered: "Salamun'' and said: "You are a people unknown to me”. Then he turned to
his household, and brought out a roasted calf. And placed it before them (saying): "Will you not eat''.
Then he conceived fear of them (when they ate not). They said: "Fear not.'' And they gave him glad
tidings of a son … (Q51:24:30)
When Prophet Ibrahim A.S saw that they had no interest in the food, he felt skeptical
toward them and was fearful. He, therefore, sought for clarification from them:
(Ibrahim) said: "Then for what purpose you have come, O messengers''. They said: "We have been
sent to a people who are criminals."To send down upon them stones of clay.'' (Q31:33)
Meaning, they were sent to destroy the people of Prophet Lut (A.S) on the account of
their criminality and immoral actions of sodomy, disbelief in Allah and His Messenger, robbing
wayfarers (they used to lie on the road, kill people and loot their properties). 37 However, Prophet
Ibrahim (A.S) did not stop there as he tries to caution them on collateral damage that is going to
occur if the whole town was to be destroyed. He A.S. says to the Angels as the Qur’an put it;
(Ibrahim) said: "But there is Lut in it.'' They said: "We know better who is there. We will verily,
save him and his family except his wife, she will be of those who remain behind.'' (Q29:32)
Meaning, she will be among those to be destroyed, because she used to support
wrongdoing and criminality. Thus, Islam teaches us the avoidance of civilian casualty, collateral
13
damage or victimizing innocent persons in the process security and policing operations. It also
shows us that a criminal, no matter his position, should be sorted out and be punished by the
appropriate authority. It also teaches us to be extra –ordinarily mindful of the unknown persons
especially those with suspicious character in order to protect ourselves and the community from
being the victims of the criminals. It also coaches us to be extra vigilant, sensitive and skeptical
against suspicious movements. The practices of the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad
(SAW) also set a good example on this matter. The following incident happens when some
Companions of the Prophet R.A. were patrolling the city of Madinah:
Safiyya daughter of Huyyay (the wife of Allah's Apostle) reported that while Allah's Messenger was
observing I'tikaf, I came to visit him one night and talked with him for some time. Then I stood up
to go back and he (Allah's Apostle) also stood up with me in order to bid me good-bye. She was at
that time residing in the house of Usama b. Zaid. The two persons from the Ansar happened to pass
by him. When they saw Allah's Apostle. They began to walk swiftly, thereupon Allah's Messenger
said to them: Walk calmy, she is Safiyya daughter of Huyyay...38
The hadith shows that the Companions of the Prophet R.A. were very vigilant and
skeptical toward suspicious movements. They had never remained passive on seeing unusual
activities. And this is one of the best ways of policing oneself and the community as a whole.
Consultations and Seeking Advises of the Experts
The Messenger SAW of Allah used to consult his Companions R.A. for advices about
various matters, especially security issues, and they actively implement the decision they reach.
For instance, before the battle of Badr, the Prophet asked his Companions on whether the
Muslims should intercept the caravan (led by Abu Sufyan). They said, "O Messenger of Allah! If
you wish to cross the sea, we would follow you in it, and if you march forth to Barkul-Ghimad
we would march with you. We would never say what the Children of Israel said to Musa, `So go,
you and your Lord, and fight you two, we are sitting right here.' Rather, we say; March forth and
we shall march forth with you; and before you, and to your right and left shall we fight.'' The
Prophet (SAW) also asked for their opinion about where they should encamp at Badr. Al-
Mundhir bin `Amr suggested to camp close to the enemy, and his advice was implemented by the
Prophet SAW39
Concerning the battle of Uhud, the Messenger of Allah asked the Companions if they
should fortify themselves in Al-Madinah or go out to meet the enemy, and the majority of them
advised going out to meet the enemy, and he implemented their advice. He also sought their
opinion on the day of Khandaq (the Trench) about conducting a peace treaty with some of the
14
tribes of Al-Ahzab (the Confederates), that requires giving them one-third of the fruits of Al-
Madinah. Sa`d bin ‘Ubadah and Sa’d bin Mu’adh rejected this offer and the Prophet SAW went
ahead with their advice. The Prophet SAW also sought the advice of his Companions on whether
they should attack the pagan Quraish on the Day of Hudaybiyyah, and Abu Bakr disagreed,
saying, "We did not come here to fight anyone. Rather, we came to perform `Umrah.'' The
Prophet SAW considered his view.40
On the day of Ifk, (i.e. the false accusation), the Messenger of Allah said to his
Companions: "O Muslims! Give me your advice about some men who falsely accused my wife
(A'ishah) for adultry. By Allah! I never knew of any evil from my wife. And they accused he
from whom I only knew righteous conduct, by Allah!''. The Prophet SAW particularly sought the
advices of ‘Ali Bin Abi Talib and Usamah Bin Zaid about divorcing A’ishah R.A. In summary,
the Prophet SAW used to sought and implement the advices of his Companions on security
matters, during troubles and other important events.41 However, the person whom advice is
sought must be trustworthy.
Commanding good Deeds and forbidden Evil
Allah (SWT) enjoins Muslims to abstain from evil acts and criminal activities and not to
be passive when it is committed by others. The Qur’an says:
You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma`ruf (all that Islam has
ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah. (Q3:110)
In another verse, Allah SWT says:
Help you one another in al-Birr (righteous deeds) and at-Taqwa (obedience to Allah), but do not help
one another in sin and transgression. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment
(Q5:2)
Al-Fudhail Ibn Kathir stated in his Tafsir book that any Muslim who does not acquire the
qualities mentioned in the above verses will be just like ahl al-Kitab-the people of the scriptures,
i.e. Yahud and Nasara whom Allah SWT describes in the following verses:
Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of Dawud and `Isa, son
of Maryam. That was because they disobeyed (Allah and the Messengers) and were ever transgressing
(beyond the bounds). They used not to forbid one another from the evil they committed. Vile indeed
was what they used to do (Q5:78-79)
In another verse Allah (SWT) commanded the believers to stop evil deeds from flourishing
among them, so that Allah will not encompass them all in the torment (Fitnah). Al-Qur’an says:
And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do
wrong, and know that Allah is severe in punishment.(Q8:25)
In the above verse Allah (SWT) warns His believing servants of a Fitnah, trial and test, that
encompasses the wicked people and those around them. Therefore, such Fitnah will not be
15
restricted to the sinners and evildoers alone. Rather, it will reach the others if the crime been
committed were not stopped or prevented. One of the ways of stopping and preventing criminal
activities is through personal and community policing. Similarly, the Qur’an has given us an
account of the Jews who lived in the town of Aylah on the shores of the Red Sea whom Allah
(SWT) prohibited to catch fish on Saturdays. Allah (SWT) says the people of this town divided
into three groups: those who transgressed the prohibition by fishing on Saturday, those who
preached to them to stop the transgression and those who remained passive; neither transgresses
the prohibition nor preaches against the transgression. According to some exegetes like Ikramah
those who transgressed the prohibition and those who remained silent perished and were
destroyed but those who preached against the transgression were saved by the Almighty Allah.42
There are many ahadith that commands enjoining righteousness and forbidding evil. The
Prophet (SAW) enjoined the Muslims to prevent and stop evil deeds and criminal activities by
using any lawful means available to them. Imam Muslim recorded a hadith on the authority of
Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying:
Whoever among you sees an evil let him change it with his hand, if he cannot do that, then by his
tongue, if he cannot do that, then with his heart, and this is the weakest faith.43
Changing the evil deed by hand means by using one’s authority or power, by tongue
means through preaching, advice and persuasion while by heart means psychological feelings in
one’s heart for the desire to change evil deeds which is the last resort. Therefore, we learn from
the hadith that preventing or stopping crime and evil actions is obligatory on any Muslim who
witnessed it, because the Prophet (SAW) used the general pronoun “whoever” in the hadith. In
another hadith, the Prophet SAW says:
Verily, when people notice evil but they do not change it, Allah SWT will involve all of them in His
chastisement (punishment).44
In another hadith the Prophet SAW says:
You cannot be saved from the torment till you withhold the hands of the oppressor.45
Similarly, Anas bin Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
Support your brother whether he was unjust or the victim of injustice. He was asked: "O
Messenger of Allah! We know about helping him when he suffers injustice, so what about helping
him when he commits injustice'' He SAW said: Prevent and stop him from committing injustice,
and this represents giving support to him.46
In another hadith An-Nu`man bin Bashir reported that the Prophet SAW says:
The parable of the person abiding by Allah's order and restrictions in comparison to those who
violate them, or sit idle while they are being violated, is that of those who drew lots for their seats in
a boat. Some of them got seats in the lower part, which is the most rough and worst part, and the
others in the upper. When the former needed water, they had to go up to bring water and that
troubled the others, so they said, `Let us make a hole in our share of the ship and get water, saving
those who are above us from troubling them, so, if the people in the upper part let the others do what
they suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both
parties would be safe.47
16
On the bases of the foregoing textual evidences, it is obligatory duty on every Muslim to
forbid (prevent or stop) evil and criminal activities when he sees, hears or comprehends it. And
this could be achieved through effective policing at individual and community level.
Conclusion
Islam has provided unique and excellent guidelines for personal and community policing.
The guidelines are universal in terms of scope and application. The early Muslims who applied
them in their daily life experienced a sublime atmosphere of security, peace and tranquility.
Today, the problem of insecurity is not restricted to African countries only but a global
phenomenon. The Islamic injunctions on personal and community policing if properly applied
would solve the problem of insecurity at both continental and international levels.
It is obligatory on every Muslim to take all necessary possible measures that will improve
security in the community. Therefore, the position of community policing (as implied in the
Qur’an (4:71) and other verses) is a responsibility of the whole community. However, a group of
people in the community may carry out this obligation on behalf of the other members. But, if
the security threat against the community is very great, the whole community is required to stand
against it.
Recommendations
There is need to include Islamic security and policing courses in police, military and
paramilitary trainings, seminars and conferences. Similarly, Islamic instructions on policing and
security should be made a core subject across the three levels (primary, secondary and tertiary
levels) of our educational system. It should also be made part of the General Studies Courses
across all the levels of education. The government should made adequate provision of manpower
and resources toward this end. There is need for governments to establish Hisbah48 organization
that will complement the activities of the police and other security agents in the society.
Similarly, parents should try to educate their children and wards on how to safeguard themselves
and their communities from the evil activities of the criminals. Establishing Islamic trained
vigilante groups that would be patrolling the communities can also assist in proper policing,
preventing and stopping criminal activities in the community. Islamic scholars and media houses
also need to educate people especially the Muslims on the Islamic injunctions on personal and
community policing. However, since the issue of security is a shared responsibility between the
17
state, community and individuals persons there is need to put all hands on desk in order to meet
the security aspiration of the entire world.
Notes and References
18
1 Abdul Ati, H. (nd) Islam in Focus. Lagos, Islamic Publications Bureau, Nigeria. P.8. See also The Relationship between Islam and “Peace” (Salaam) URL:
http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/512/viewall/peace-and-security/ And See also: Safety and Faith: the Meaning of “Iman” URL
http://www.mosquefoundation.org/reading-room/islamic-articles/safety-and-faith-the-meaning-of-iman accessed on 27/04/2017
2 Abdul Ati, H. Op. Cit P.8
3 Al-Nawawi, Y.S. (2006) Al-Nawawi Forty’s Hadith Darusslam Pulishers, Saudi Arabia. P.3
4 See: Q7: 180, 60:24
And in a Hadith, the Prophet SAW says: Allah the Exalted has ninety-nine Names; whoever preserves them, will enter Paradise …
See: Al-Bukhari, M.I. (1980) Sahih al-Bukhari trans. Khan, M.M. Beirut, Dar al-Arabia. Volume 3, Book 50, Hadith Number 894.
5 See: Q2:186, 4:1,6:59, 10:61,11:6,22:63,39:62,47:11,50:16,13:10,20:7,57:1-6.
6 Al-Bukhari, M.I. (1980) Op. Cit. Volume 8, Book 76, Hadith Number 509
7 See also: Q9:78, 43:80
8 Al-Nawawi, Y.S. Op. Cit. P.3
9 The Relationship between Islam and “Peace” (Salaam) URL: http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/512/viewall/peace-and-security/
10 Al-Nawawi, Y.S. Op. Cit. P.3
11 Siddiqui, A.R. (2002) Tazkiyah: The Islamic Path of Self Development, Islamic Foundation, United Kingdom. P.133-134
12 See: Q103:3, Q95:6
13 Al-Nawawi, Y.S. Op. Cit. P.6
14 Siddiqui, A.R. Op. Cit. P.135
15 Ibn Kathir, I.U. (2nd Ed. 2003) Tafsir Ibn Kathir trans. by Mubarak Al-Puri, S. et al, Riyadh, K.S.A. Dar-al-salam. Vol. II, P. 1037-1038
16 Al-Bukhari, M.I. (1980) Op. Cit. Volume 8, Book 73, Hadith Number 40
17 Abdul Ati, H Op. Cit P.41
18 Ibn Hajjaj, M. (1978) Sahih Muslim. trans. Siddiqi, A., New Delhi, India: Kitab Bhavan, Book 20, Hadith Number 4496
19 Ibid. Book 1, Hadith Number 79
20 Abdul Ati, H. Op. Cit P.41
21 Ibn Majah, A.M. (2008), Sunan Ibn Majah, Beirut, Dar al-fikr. Vo.5 P.320-321, Hadith Number 4005
22 Al-Bukhari, M.I. Op. Cit. Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith Number 142
23 Ibn Hajjaj, M. Op. Cit Book 20, Hadith Number 4703
24 Ibn Majah, A.M. Op. Cit Vol. III P.72, Hadith Number 2767
25 Ibid. Vol. III P.72, Hadith Number 2769
26 Al-Bukhari, M.I. Op. Cit.Volume 5, Book 59, Hadith Number 501
27 Najibabadi, A.S. (2007) History of Islam, Volume I, Adam Publishers, New Delhi, India. PP. 171-177
28 Ibid. P. 178-179
29 Ibid. PP.179-180
30 Ibid. P.177-178
31 Hosain, S.S. (1993). The Early History of Islam. New Delhi, India. Adams Publishers and Distributors. P..215-216
32 Ibn Hajjaj, M. Op. Cit. Book 33, Hadith Number 6441
33 Al-Bukhari, M.I. Op. Cit.Volume 3, Book 43, Hadith Number 660
34 Ibn Hajjaj, M. Op. Cit Book 1, Hadith Number 259
35 Ibid. Book 1, Hadith Number 260
36 Ibn Kathir, I.U. Op.cit. Vol. 4. Pp.475-480
37 See: Q29:28-30
38 Ibn Hajjaj, M. Book 26, Hadith Number 5405
39 Ibn Kathir, I.U Op.Cit. Vol. 1, P.271
40 Ibid.
41 Ibid.
42 See Q7:163-166
43 Ibn Hajjaj, M. Op. Cit. Book 1, Hadith Number 79
44 Ibn Majah, A.M Op. Cit Vol. 5. P.321, Hadith Number 4005
45 Ibid. Vol. 5 Hadith Number 4006
46 Ibid. Vol. 5 Hadith Number 4026
47 Ibid. Vol. 5 Hadith Number 4056
48 Hisbah is an Islamic institution primarily concern with commanding people to good deeds forbidding them from evil deeds and making reconciliation among the people.
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