Hijacking - A Crime

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Hijacking in certainly a crime, more so from Islamic point of view and to prove it justified is to add gravity to it. It is an all embracing crime, and is categorised along with highway robbery, war by deceit, usurping anybody's land/property, murdering without any cause etc.

Highway robbery, prevalent in ancient times, was to attack a vulnerable person, cause loss to his life and property. But in present times, hijacking has replaced the ancient highway robbery. All these types of robberies are forbidden in Islam. Anyone indulging in these crimes directly or indirectly is a great sinner. He is exonerated only when he apologizes publicly from the persons involved.

To take a hostage is to catch hold of innocent persons by availing of some opportunity and then start bargaining from there. This practice was prevalent in ancient times but it has now assumed a tactical form/shape. This is a great sin and cowardice and is entirely forbidden in Islam as you tend to take revenge from persons for your grievances other then from the concerned person/persons. To bully any innocent person/persons on the basis of some excuse is entirely unjustified in Islam.

The 'Haditia Agreement' in Islam concluded by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) proves conclusively that if a second party makes a hostage of our persons even then it is not legitimate to make hostage if their men, which means avenging of innocent persons which is undoubted by unjustified in Islam. It implies inflicting atrocities on the innocent for the sake of vendetta.

Those indulging in hijacking often kill innocent persons just to achieve their criminal ends. Such killing is an extremely heinous crime. It is said in the Holy Qu'ran that anyone killing any other person unjustifiably kills the entire humanity. Despite this Qur'an edict, those killing/bullying innocent travelers are bereft of the faith of Islam. Those travelers in the aircraft (IC-814) were explicitly innocent. In such a situation, putting obstacles in their traveling, bullying them or killing them was exclusively forbidden in Islam. Even it any traveler committed a mistake, the right for punishing him lies with the court. No non-judicial person has even the right to punish the guilty one. Thus, punishing innocent travelers becomes all the more Un-Islamic.

It is exclusively forbidden in Islam to deceive anyone for any other purpose whatsoever. The present day hijacking is completely an act of deceit. The hijackers indulge in deceitful acts with people at every stage right from making fake passports, using counterfeit currency, making use of deadly weapons in the airbus by deluding the passengers, entering the airbus by deluding the concerned airport staff. All these acts are committed on the basis of falsehood and delusion which are serious crimes in Islam.

Islam permits open deals. There is no scope for criminal acts in Islam for achieving criminal ends by deluding the persons. Proxy or undeclared war is prohibited in Islam. To achieve one's ends through telling a lie of deluding is a despicable act from human point of view and a heinous crime from Islamic point of view. It is said in the Hadith that those indulging in delusion are not amongst us.

Hijacking entails both lose of life and property. The very threat to blow up aircraft and also the passengers in it involved loss of crores of rupees that went into making of the aircraft and also is tantamount to perpetuating atrocities on innocent people. Moreover, every such act amounts to suicide, which in itself is so vicious that the Islamic Shariat says that anyone killing himself intentionally, dies an illegitimate death. No other crime in Islam is as vicious as the suicide.

Those indulging in the gory drama of hijacking are dubbing it as an act of Islamic Jehad, but this is erroneous. The following factors explain this:

Islamic Jehad is undertaken as defensive measure in the path of God whereas these people are undertaking the so-called Jehad for property and acquisition of land.

Secondly, Jehad is an act of an established state and not of the common people. The present day war is triggered by the common people who have no right to start of any war from the Islamic point of view. It is perpetuation of a forbidden act, started off by common people.

An established state can fight a defensive war in case of aggression. This would be a defensive war when fought publicly. To trigger off a proxy war without declaration and to continue it on the basis of falsehood is entirely forbidden in Islam.

In Islam, there are two kinds of rights - God's rights and the people's rights. God's rights are those responsibilities incumbent upon the individual by God. If a person shows slackness in responding to God's rights, forgiveness for the same is sufficient enough. The individual's rights are serious concerns. If the individual commits a crime in the people's right, it is not sufficient to seek apologies from God for making amends. Besides, apologising to God, it is incumbent upon that individual to ask for forgiveness from the concerned persons for what he has committed.

Hijacking, undoubtedly relates to people's rights. It is perpetuation of an atrocity as far as individuals/persons are concerned. Therefore, it is obligatory upon the hijackers to make amends for the tyrannized persons - otherwise they would be deemed as unforgivable criminals despite their being apparently performing 'Nimaz' or observing 'fast' (Roza).

Date: 15 February 2000