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Praetorius

[laws] Killing An Armed Robber

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(salam)

I live in a city ravaged with street thugs and armed robbers, and I'm now considering keeping a pistol in my car so I can shoot robbers that try to rob me.

This is how I see it: When they point the gun at me, I surrender everything to them, and they (probably two guys on a motorcycle) ride off. I grab the pistol from underneath my seat, step out and shoot them in the back.

What I wanted to ask was whether it is permissible to kill someone right after they rob you at gunpoint. Only then will I do it. So what do our scholars say?

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(salam)

I live in a city ravaged with street thugs and armed robbers, and I'm now considering keeping a pistol in my car so I can shoot robbers that try to rob me.

This is how I see it: When they point the gun at me, I surrender everything to them, and they (probably two guys on a motorcycle) ride off. I grab the pistol from underneath my seat, step out and shoot them in the back.

What I wanted to ask was whether it is permissible to kill someone right after they rob you at gunpoint. Only then will I do it. So what do our scholars say?

Yes, I know how it's like there, it's a huge problem. Technically, you could get away with murder, but if it transgresses religious injunctions then it's not permissible. I understand how you feel, it seems like the most practical thing to do.

What you could do is this: keep a pistol or, preferably, a gun with rubber bullets in your car and when you get nicked, step out and shoot the thieves in the leg or arm in order to disable them, not kill them.

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(bismillah)

(salam)

The amount of time you will spend in jail, talking with your lawyer, traveling to court, and going to trial, etc. will be traumatic and a waste of your precious time. God forbid you are found guilty and do a substantial amount of time in prison! Not worth the hassle you would have to face, not to mention the trauma for your family and friends.

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(salam)

I live in a city ravaged with street thugs and armed robbers, and I'm now considering keeping a pistol in my car so I can shoot robbers that try to rob me.

This is how I see it: When they point the gun at me, I surrender everything to them, and they (probably two guys on a motorcycle) ride off. I grab the pistol from underneath my seat, step out and shoot them in the back.

What I wanted to ask was whether it is permissible to kill someone right after they rob you at gunpoint. Only then will I do it. So what do our scholars say?

Kill of them! Start shooting randomly I support you!

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What would have happened if you did not give them what they wanted? In most cases they shoot you to kill for a cell phone or a wrist watch or a wallet.

Protecting ones life, property, and honor is wajib, and it is ok to shoot them in return. Strategically taking care of them after they are flying off with your possessions is ok too. Same goes for sectarian violence. Had I been in Karachi, I would start shooting at the 1st sight of a mustache less yard long beards pillion riding on a bike. Why to give them a chance to get shot first before they start shooting. It's about the time dude.

Verify it with your Marja telling him exactly what the situation is. Those who are living in civilized peaceful societies such as USA, Iran, UK can't even fathom what is going in your city.

Edited by Waiting for HIM

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Salam,

I have no knowledge of whether it is permissible or not.

However, why kill them? They will get their punishment, so no need to bother punishing them yourself and then getting into trouble yourself in the eyes of the law.

However if you do feel you need to act upon it then I would advise you to get a stun gun or something less lethal, that would disable your attacker, but not kill them.

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Well, the OP raises a good point. Self-defense is a natural right and is promoted by Islam. I grew up in Windsor and across the border in Dearborn there is a huge Shi'a Muslim population. I personally know of at least two families who have lost loved ones in random, indiscriminate acts of violence. One of them was shot dead at his car at a gas station by a thug who wanted to steal from him; the other was shot dead in his own store by a thief. Others are routinely harassed and threatened within the confines of their own businesses by shoplifters, who take what they want and leave. Due to the gang-related violence of the Detroit Metropolitan region, I know many people who are deeply afraid. Couple that with the corrupt justice system of that region and I think people like the OP have considerable cause for concern.

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(bismillah)

(salam)

In the US you must register your gun with the police. I suppose they want to know where all the guns are in the city, but they want to know if you have had sufficient training in how to use the weapon safely. Shooting someone in your home or your shop, in self-defense would probably convince the jury that you were under threat and did so to save your life or others with you.

However, shooting a man in the street, in the back, when he is running away, might convince a jury that this was attempted murder. Even if the man had something that belonged to you in his posession, if he was still alive he could tell the police that he was begging and you gave that item to him as a charity, so you must have changed your mind and shot him in the back. The jury could find you guilty of attempted murder.

God forbid if you shot the man and he died, because you could be charged with premeditated murder. If you are a Muslim living in the west, why would you want a gun and get involved in a shooting? Who wants to go to court and have a jury of non-Muslims deciding your guilt or innocence?

Even if you never used the gun for the rest of your life, do you know the statistics for accidental shootings by children and other people in a home or business who handle the gun improperly? If you are in the military or law enforcement, you can handle a gun properly. If you are a regular person, please stay away from the guns.

So what do our scholars say?

(bismillah)

(salam)

Does anyone have the email addresses of the different scholars to ask?

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^Not really... I've got a job for the next 6 months in Karachi (besides being in my hometown with my family), perhaps the one of the most violently ravaged cities in the world right now.

Waiting for HIM spoke my mind. Don't I have the right to exercise lethal force on the person who robs me intentionally and forcefully?

I'll send the question to the Maraja offices tonight, mainly those of Ayatullah Sistani, Khamenai and Shirazi. Perhaps others can send it to more? Appreciated. Thanks.

Edited by Replicant's Nemesis

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In an Islamic society, highway robbers would be liable to get a horrible punishment.

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be banished from the land; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement. Except those who repent before you have them in your power; so know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Qur'an 5:33-34, Shakir]

Tafsir al-Mizan:

(al-Kulayni) narrates through his chain from Sawrah Bani Kulayb that he said, "I said to Abu 'Abdillah (a.s.), 'A man comes out of his house, proceeding to mosque or for some other work; another man meets him and going behind him, beats him and takes away his clothes?' (The Imam) said, 'What do they say about it those who are in your place?' I said, They say that it is open immorality; and war mongering happens in the towns of polytheists.' He said, 'Which has more sanctity, the house of Islam or the house of polytheism?' I said, The house of Islam.' Then (the Imam) said, 'Such people are covered by this verse: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be killed...'" (al-Kafi)

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In an Islamic society, highway robbers would be liable to get a horrible punishment.

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be banished from the land; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement. Except those who repent before you have them in your power; so know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [Qur'an 5:33-34, Shakir]

Tafsir al-Mizan:

(al-Kulayni) narrates through his chain from Sawrah Bani Kulayb that he said, "I said to Abu 'Abdillah (a.s.), 'A man comes out of his house, proceeding to mosque or for some other work; another man meets him and going behind him, beats him and takes away his clothes?' (The Imam) said, 'What do they say about it those who are in your place?' I said, They say that it is open immorality; and war mongering happens in the towns of polytheists.' He said, 'Which has more sanctity, the house of Islam or the house of polytheism?' I said, The house of Islam.' Then (the Imam) said, 'Such people are covered by this verse: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be killed...'" (al-Kafi)

It's not really that simple, though. You can't just arbitrarily give every thief a death sentence, a certain thief may be desperate or have reasons for perpetrating such an offense. They would first have to go on trial and be adjudicated appropriately through an analytical approach that ascertains the gravity of the offense, whether or not it deserves punishment according to how and why it was done. After this, the thief can then either be executed, punished or be given counseling, regardless of what land it takes place in. There is no such thing as a proper Islamic country, after all.

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(wasalam)

First, you are lucky if you get permission from parents for this, speaking from experience, it's easy to get a license made than convincing them...since they would not like you to take the risk for some belongings which they wouldn't care about, in most cases at least...Ask around and avoid the places/areas that are more risky than others esp. during the night since if you are in a car, some robbers would also prefer taking the car it self from you.

Second, if you have got good nerves and can control yourself if such a situation were to come up then get a pistol (license too ofcourse) as these things happen...sometimes even in traffic jams... I don't know whether or not it will be a good idea to do what you mentioned though, depending on 'your reach', you may or may not get in further trouble by shooting the robbers. For example, a shop owner killed someone who would harass him month after month for money, he decided he had enough one day, that he would not pay anymore and shot the guy next time he came and threatened for money. Everyone knew who was on fault but still the shop owner had to run for his life and he was the one who had to make a 'deal' with family of the lowlife he killed.

I mention good nerves because things don't happen the way you imagine them to be and also because I have seen people who keep a weapon on them which is supposed to be for a situation you mention but with slight anger say during a conversation with just about anyone, they would pull out the weapon on the person and in most cases it doesn't end up well. The weapon just makes a man feel 'invincible' or something I guess so DO keep that in mind.

You must be aware of sadqah so no need telling give that before you leave for work.

P.S. Something else, has happened to people I know. People usually wish after an incident, where they are robbed or shot at for example, saying IF ONLY they had some weapon and could do something in return. It's natural to think that but what we don't realize is how it can change the equation completely for worst if it were like that.

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It's not really that simple, though. You can't just arbitrarily give every thief a death sentence, a certain thief may be desperate or have reasons for perpetrating such an offense. They would first have to go on trial and be adjudicated appropriately through an analytical approach that ascertains the gravity of the offense, whether or not it deserves punishment according to how and why it was done. After this, the thief can then either be executed, punished or be given counseling, regardless of what land it takes place in. There is no such thing as a proper Islamic country, after all.

Highway robbery is a very serious crime in Islam. Unless the person repents before getting caught, he deserves what he gets. If he was desperate, he could have stolen, and wouldn't be punished for it, but to threaten someone with a weapon or to actually physically harm them is not allowed in any circumstances. There is no possible reason for sticking a gun in an innocent person's face and telling him to hand over his money.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

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^Not really... I've got a job for the next 6 months in Karachi (besides being in my hometown with my family), perhaps the one of the most violently ravaged cities in the world right now.

Waiting for HIM spoke my mind. Don't I have the right to exercise lethal force on the person who robs me intentionally and forcefully?

I'll send the question to the Maraja offices tonight, mainly those of Ayatullah Sistani, Khamenai and Shirazi. Perhaps others can send it to more? Appreciated. Thanks.

More to add - Karachi does not has a functioning law and order system. Most of the time, cops are the ones running and protecting gangs who steal money and cell phones.

Islam is not a senseless Christian faith where you offer the other cheek. Islam does not want us to be those sissy sitting ducks. Islam requires to follow the law where there is law, but also requires to protect your keep (your life, your honor, your wealth) by any means possible as long as you don't transgress.

People will be shocked if I quote the hadith of Imam Sadiq (as) about treating Nasibis in a lawless land.

If massess start following this part of Islam in Karachi, all gang related crimes and Shia murdering will stop in a few days period.

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Highway robbery is a very serious crime in Islam. Unless the person repents before getting caught, he deserves what he gets. If he was desperate, he could have stolen, and wouldn't be punished for it, but to threaten someone with a weapon or to actually physically harm them is not allowed in any circumstances. There is no possible reason for sticking a gun in an innocent person's face and telling him to hand over his money.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

Perhaps, in this case, it's a justified payback. A glitch of the Islamic court of law, though, is that the repent option hardly ever works.

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There's a couple hadiths on this topic: http://www.*******.org/hadiths/hudud/defense/chapter-2

But it's best to follow the law of the land, if it does not allow you to brutally fight those who rob you, then you should find another way to deal with them.

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To people who live in Karachi:-

Do you think I will face a backlash from the families of the robbers by any chance? Should I shoot them and use my US citizenship as leverage against any prosecution or something? Suggestions regarding how to deal with the law (if one even exists in Karachi these days) and the aftermath will be taken into consideration before I proceed to buy a gun.

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(salam)

I live in a city ravaged with street thugs and armed robbers, and I'm now considering keeping a pistol in my car so I can shoot robbers that try to rob me.

This is how I see it: When they point the gun at me, I surrender everything to them, and they (probably two guys on a motorcycle) ride off. I grab the pistol from underneath my seat, step out and shoot them in the back.

What I wanted to ask was whether it is permissible to kill someone right after they rob you at gunpoint. Only then will I do it. So what do our scholars say?

Salam

I know its probably hard brother but if you can your best option is to move to a safer place.

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This is coming from someone who lives in karachi, no offence, buying a gun is one thing but using it completely different thing altogether. Random robberies do happen , mostly if you are stuck in a traffic jam or secluded part, but if you take care to avoid these places you will be probably be safe. I would rather suggest you get a gun keep it at home as you need a permission letter for carrying it with you in the city. Unless you have that you will get harassed at every Ranger`s or Police`s snap checking.

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