If a person is a habitual offender, it is necessary to give capital punishment to deter heinous crimes in society
People often say that capital punishment should be abolished because it is immoral. Instead of giving capital punishment to the convict, it is better to give other punishments like imprisonment. They think studying criminals’ psyche would help them know and deter the crimes in society.
Abrogating capital punishment is risking the lives of innocent people. Capital punishment is primarily given to the criminal to give justice to the victim or family of the victim. Allah has stated in the Surah Ma’idah verse 32:
“If anyone kills a person—unless it is for murder or spreading mischief in the land—it would be as if he killed all people. And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people.”
Scrutinizing this verse, it is clear that murder (capital Punishment) is not allowed in Islam unless a person has committed intentional murder or caused fasad-fil-ard (spreading mischief in the land). Fasad-fil-ard includes crimes like apostasy, terrorism, rape, especially gang rape, and Homosexual behavior.
However, It is not compulsory to give capital punishment to the criminal; for instance, if the victim or the family of the victim wants to forgive the convicted criminal, then there is no compulsion to give capital punishment. But suppose the convict is a habitual offender. In that case, even if the victim forgives the convict, the state still has the authority to punish him. the judiciary has set four parameters to know if a person is a habitual convict, which are:
Past conduct of the offender.
Previous convictions of the offender.
Commit Offense brutally or shockingly.
The offender is a potential danger to society.
If a person is a habitual offender, it is necessary to give capital punishment to deter heinous crimes in society. But it is asked if capital punishment doesn’t decrease the crime rate compared to other punishments like life imprisonment, then what’s the point of giving capital punishment? The answer to this is that removing capital punishment is like giving the criminals a license to commit further crimes, and secondly, how the society be assured that a person would not commit a crime after completion of imprisonment time, which is 25 years in Pakistan. Thirdly if justice is about equal treatment, why should less punishment be inflicted on the convict when he inflicted greater on the victim? And this is a right given to the victim by Allah that no one should abolish. It is stated in Surah Maidah Verse 33:
“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and spread mischief in the land is death, crucifixion, cutting off their hands and feet on opposite sides, or exile from the land. This ˹penalty˺ is a disgrace for them in this world, and they will suffer a tremendous punishment in the Hereafter.”
However, the law should be there, even if the state doesn’t give capital punishment. People should know the consequence of the action. If capital punishment is abolished, no justice can be given to the victim or the family of the victim; instead, favor to the convict is done.
A law student at International Islamic university Islamabad.