BBC ‘The Big Questions Show’ Appearance

I attended a LIVE studio discussion for the BBC Program ‘The big Questions’ which is one of BBC’s flagship religious programs. Unfortunately, i didnt get a chance to make a comment despite having my hand up for all three topics which were the following

– Should Burglars be given tougher sentences
– Does the earthquake in Haiti confirm/negate the belief of a God?
– Is it wrong to live beyond your means?

My comments for each topic would have been as detailed below

 

Topic 1-  Should Burglars be given tougher sentences?

I would have focused on the crime culture which is protected by the law. Are the existing punishments a deterrent or an incentive? I ask this as we see example after example of how teenage crime amongst youth is seen as an easy alternative. You steal, get caught, put into prison for a couple of months where you socialise  with like minded individuals, no rent to pay, free food, Nintendo Wii’s to fill your time with, free holidays for repeat offenders to Blackpool and most importantly you keep the money made out of the theft. How are these measures supposed to curb crime?

In 2003 when a farmer shot a burglar who was stealing from his home, despite 12 previous break -ins reported to the police, an opinion poll on Sky News revealed that over 65% of people would said the Burglar deserves it. Such a harsh view, yet Shariah punishments are the ones which make it to press for being too ‘barbaric’

Even David Cameron once remarked “I’m contemplating introducing Sharia law for bicycle theft” when hoodies stole his bike from outside a Tesco store in London which had been chained to a 3ft high bollard and the thieves simply lifted it up and over the bollard for an easy steal.

The Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan also hailed the Islamic penal code saying they were effective in deterrence against the criminal offenders. “People say the laws in those countries were harsh but it is a fact that because of the harsh punishments, the crime rate in those countries is very low”.

 

Topic 2- Is it wrong to live beyond your means?

In the late 18th- and 19th-century English philosophers and economists Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill  stated that an action is right if it tends to promote happiness and wrong if it tends to produce the reverse of happiness (versus suffering or pain),

Known as Utilitarianism, the idea  states “that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its utility in providing happiness or pleasure meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome”.

We live in a society which promotes that happiness = maximising your sensual pleasures which each person defines for themselves. This is not an abstract idea but a life philosophy. We hear people say “live it large before you bite the dust”. This simply means that take advantage and go for it because once your dead, its finished.

Hence this secular view allows people to run towards material adventures even if they get in debt.

Islam orders a balance in this life and the next and we will be asked about all our actions for definite in the courtyard of the Almighty. Therefore we do not engage in interest based transactions and are still responsible fo repaying off debts to debtors even after we die (unless the debtor defaults)

 

Topic 3- Does the earthquake in Haiti confirm/negate the belief of a God?

Allah created the world, the universe and man. He placed laws like gravity, life, death, inability for humans to see around corners or view mile off objects with the naked eye. If we overeat, it is because iur stomachs are full. If something sinks in water, it means it is designed in a way in which it cannot stay afloat. If you jump from a building, you wont be able to fly

Such laws are therefore acting in their due course with full knowledge of the Lord.

Hence an Earthquake are a result of the laws of the universe taking their course.

How can we judge if God is responsible when he as a diety is not perceivable to the senses except through his signs and how the mind concludes from rational evidences that there is design behind the universe?

The question also presumes that God is loving which is based on an idea that humans are loving- therefore God must be loving. A defied logic indeed. This argument if followed makes God Human like with human qualities so how can he remain God, the eternal when humans are born and die? Does that mean God will cease too?

In Islam we belive in Qadr (attributes) which Allah has placed in the universe and we believe that he has knowledge of the past, present and future.

Allah also tests his creation too in different ways and forms and this is nothing new.

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Comments

  1. As’salamualaikum,
    Masha’Allah this is one of the greater pieces; my humble ideas on this,

    1) I agree; people-made laws are brittle and prone to cracks therefore in comparison to the ‘shariah’ lifestyle, the shariah ‘harsh’ laws act as a greater deterrent. Unlike governments too the shariah is flexible – those ‘barabaric’ laws which the planet is against are contextual, stoning this, cutting off that hardly takes place in most countries where the shariah is not applied universally. Further, heck yes we’d advocate ideas from shariah into UK law – it WOULD reduce the crime rate magnigificently.

    2) The balanced moderate view is always best. (Quran, 2:143) Society knows this too, balance in diet, in emotion, in relationships and in expense. In Islam living according to your socio-economic status is advocated, as with marriage you aim to find somebody who understand and can provide that same lifestyle. The problem, as you said, is that secular media promotes that commercial living, buy all, live to the max, you have only one life so go! go! go! The Quran is against excess (6:141) and Muslims are responsible for their earned work, the environment and people. Let’s face it, the root to problems is love for money. Money is not the end, but a means to the end. Abusing status, power and wealth is plain denial.

    3) I studied this yesterday. BBC news had a similar article {http://blogs.muxlim.com/Zaufishan/why-does-god-allow-natural-disasters-haiti/}. In the Quran (31:10) God has full control & power and causes ‘natural disasters’. He is a loving God and by allowing the planet to crumble and shake he isn’t contradicting his mercy – he is reminding the planet that He owns it and us (67:16). He made it, he can take it away. Allah’s ‘Qadr’ – will, is superior to the second point – living to satisfy the self. Muslims live to satisfy their spirituality by worshipping God. It should be a big wake up call to our current situation and our inevitable end.

    Jazak’Allah khairan for this brother, awesome seeing you *again* and on the teevee, woot.

    http://www.muslimness.com <- Will get back to you about writing here. I particularly like this piece. Remind me, email me.

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