Mariam Sanda, the Nigerian citizen convicted for the murder of her late husband would have escaped the death sentence pronounced on her by the Nigerian federal court, if she was tried in a competent Islamic shari’a court.
I must mention emphatically the fact that, Mariam’s case had nothing to do with the religion of Islam.
Her case is just one of the many spousal murder cases which happen in many societies and all jurisdictions. And but for the uninformed pronouncements by our so call ulamas (scholars), this case wouldn’t have gained the Islam tag it has now.
I don’t believe there’s justification for murder even if it is in retaliation for murder since two wrongs never make a right.
Amongst the speculations as to what led Mariam to commit this heinous crime is polygamy which is part of African culture.
There’s overwhelming evidence that this practice dates back to before the advent of Islam, thus polygamy as a possible reason why Mariam did what she did can not be tied to Islam and therefore the verdict cannot be linked to Islam. Further, it is a fact that in Nigerian culture particularly, regardless of whether the religious practice is Islam, traditional, Christianity etc polygamy is embraced and practised without limitations which is not the case in the real Islam which sets limits for polygamy.
In fact in Nigerian culture (not Islam), it is dignifying and prestigious for men of certain stature to have many wives as portrayed in many if not all of their movies.
Further evidence is the fact that recently a parliamentarian in Nigeria took his four wives to their Parliament House to show to them that he’s not only powerful in the House of Parliament but also powerful at home.
Muhammadu Bello Abubahkar Masaba Bida also known as Mohammed Bello Abubakar (28 January 1924 – 28 January 2017) was a Nigerian moslem who married 86 wives and challenged the entire Islamic world to show him where Islam limits marriage of men to four (4) wives and the punishment of the one who married beyond four.
These facts as outlined above are to show that polygamy in Nigeria is nothing new.
Considering that our Muslim scholars have in their lack of understanding made pronouncements that have made people loose sight of the fact that Mariam was tried in a “circular” court and not in an Islamic court, thus the outcome cannot be attributed to Islam, I’m writing this piece: examining the case under Islamic jurisprudence.
Let me start by quoting these interesting verses from the Quran:
Quran 5: 44-48
IN THE TORAH
44: “ We have sent down the TORAH ( a collection of all scriptures revealed to all prophets of Jews including that of Moses prior to Jesus) containing guidance and light. Ruling in accordance with it were the JEWISH prophets, rabbis and priests…
45: “ And we decreed for THEM (JEWS) in it that:
1. The life for the life
2. The eye for the eye
3. The nose for the nose
4. The ear for the ear
5. The tooth for the tooth
6. And an EQUIVALENT injury for any injury. IF ONE FORFEIT WHAT IS DUE HIM AS CHARITY, it will atone for his sin ..,”
Maybe you’re wondering if I am the one saying these injunctions stated above are meant for the Jews and not everyone? In actual fact, I am not the one saying it but it is what it is per the above verse.
Anyway, my focus is on ALLAH’S CONCERN ABOUT EQUALITY AND EQUITY IN CIRCUMSTANCES OF RETALIATION.
A critical look at the verse above will reveal that even in the ‘tooth for the tooth’ scenario My MOLARS CANNOT BE REMOVED FOR SOMEONE’S INCISOR because that defeats the equality and equity stands.
Let’s continue with the next verse:
CONFIRMATION OF THE TORAH BY THE GOSPEL (injeel)
46: “Subsequent to them (still to the Jews) we sent Jesus the son of Mary CONFIRMING THE TORAH, we gave him the GOSPEL (injeel) ..,”
47: “The people of the GOSPEL shall rule in accordance with GOD’s revelations therein…”
48: “Then we revealed to you ( PROPHET MOHAMMAD) truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, AND SUPERSEDING THEM. You shall rule them in accordance to God’s revelations….”
A look at the Quran vis-a-vis the other scriptures will conclude that the Quran amended and in many cases brought clarity on the previous injunctions out of HIS mercies.
Therefore the question is what is revealed in the Quran concerning justice in retaliation, particularly in murder situations?
Now a look again at Verse 45 above, God stated: “And we decreed for them in it that,
The life for the life
A careful consideration will reveal that these pronouncements are vague. Why so? Well,
God says: THE LIFE FOR THE LIFE. The question is, life of what?
All of us, together including the ulamas (scholars) who use this as basis for killing the murderer assume that the verse reads as follows:
“THE LIFE OF THE MURDERER FOR THE LIFE OF THE MURDERED”. That’s the assumption!!!
Now! This is my assumption; The life of the murderer for the life of the murdered dog, goat, mosquitoes, ants including plants bcos they all possess LIFE.
If my assumption does not hold, then the popular assumption above can also not hold because what was mentioned in the verse was life and nothing else.
Thankfully the Quran comes to amend and elaborate on existing or previous scriptures. Now what does the Quran say?
Quran 2:178 states and throws light on Chapter 5:45 that;
“O you who believe, EQUIVALENCE IS THE LAW decreed for you WHEN DEALING WITH MURDER:
1. The free for the free
2. The slave for the slave
3. THE FEMALE FOR THE FEMALE
If one is pardoned by the victims kin ( family) an appreciative response is in order and AN EQUITABLE COMPENSATION SHALL BE PAID*. This is an alleviation from your lord and mercy.
ANYONE WHO TRANSGRESSES BEYOND THIS INCURS A PAINFUL RETRIBUTION:”
This verse throws a little light on the previous verse but opens the flood gates for more confusion. It throws light on the question of “life of what” above, but creates more confusion to discourage capital punishment when it strongly emphasized the absolute need for equality and equivalency.
1. The free person for the free person…Very equal!!!
Quran is silent on when a free person kills a slave and vice versa because they are not equal!!! Absolutely not equal so when a slave kills his master what is the punishment? What equivalency will it serve to kill a slave who kills his master who has many dependents whereas he the slave has none? Or when some street guy who has no one depending on him kills a bread winner of a family of ten, what equality will it serve to kill him?
2. The slave for the slave also suffers the same challenge. Also when a female slave kills a male slave what is the punishment?
Interestingly, the third is where the case of MARIAM SANDA seems to fall but it will be like square pegs in round holes.
3. The FEMALE FOR THE FEMALE
What of female killing a male in Mariam’s case? What’s the punishment? Talking of equivalency, are we sure we can execute exactly the mode used to kill the victim by the murderer as retaliation to the murder since Quran earlier on lay emphasis on EQUAL INJURY?
I have my doubts. Which means that Mariam being female per the Quranic point of view, there’s no way she could be punished by death sentence .
Hence the second half of verse 2:178 talked about PARDON IN RETURN OF APPRECIATIVE COMPENSATION .This is to save the VICTIMS family and the murderer’s family and himself in case the murderer is also a bread winner or has dependents. Allah understands TWO WRONGS DONT MAKE A RIGHT
In conclusion, if there’s no verse in the Quran that will permit the execution of Mariam Sanda then the option would either be pardon or compensation for her to be freed.
As I stated earlier and have subsequently proved with Quranic evidence, Mariam Sanda’s case has nothing to do with Islam. However, Muslim scholars have ignorantly taken it upon themselves to justify the judgement passed by the Nigerian court with bogus religious lenses from one platform to the other, thereby further hurting the already bad image of Islam. Worse than it was before this case, our so called scholars have succeeded in painting a picture of Islam as a merciless, blood thirsty and barbaric religion.
As stated earlier, that Quran comes to amend the earlier scriptures, let see what Allah says after the amendments or justice:
Quran 2:179 states
“This (amendments in) EQUIVALENCE IS A LIFE SAVING LAW FOR YOU, O PEOPLE WHO POSSESS INTELLIGENCE THAT YOU MAY BE RIGHTEOUS”
How beautiful the Quran is but unfortunately it finds itself in the hands of people who are mathematically bankrupt, hence misinterpreting this beautiful verse for their continuous agenda of male hijacking of the religion. This, not surprisingly came on the back of the rumor that she (Mariam Sanda) killed her husband because he was preparing to add another wife..
©A.M.A NASIR ROOTBIYEY