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The Quran => Q&As with Joseph Islam - Information Only => : Reader Questions August 06, 2012, 06:28:41 PM

: Fasaad fil'ard (Corruption in the Land)
: Reader Questions August 06, 2012, 06:28:41 PM
Question received on Facebook

Hello Joseph, hope you can help me with this one:

Under the light of the Quran, which actions could be understood as "corruption in the land" mentioned in 5:32?
"Anyone who kills a person for other than murder, or corruption in the land; then it is as if he has killed all the people! And whoever spares a life, then it is as if he has given life to all the people."

Thanks in advance
: Re: Fasaad fil'ard (Corruption in the Land)
: Joseph Islam August 06, 2012, 06:31:31 PM
Salamun Alaikum,

'Fasaad fil ard' (corruption in the land) is generally a transgression, or an ill which affects the wider fabric of society.

It causes chaos and disorder and would arguably include transgressions such as destroying people's livelihood (2:205), piracy (30:41), robbery (29:29), rape, looting, prostitution, open lewdness, paedophilia, actions which cause indiscriminate deprivation to others, slaying innocent souls etc.

Life, property, wealth, honour and decency in its widest remit must always be upheld and a conscious effort by an individual or group of people which actively seeks to disharmonise such equilibrium is expected to be curtailed by the Quran.

It is also useful to remember that those in authority / rulers can often misconstrue any challenge to their abhorrent ways as a transgression. We note that even Pharaoh tried to quell legitimate challenge by Prophet Moses and accused him of 'fasaad fil ard' (40:26) when it was actually Pharaoh that was the tyrant (89:12).

I hope that helps, God willing.
: Re: Fasaad fil'ard (Corruption in the Land)
: Reader Questions August 08, 2012, 02:25:31 PM
[Posted on Facebook]

Thanks Joseph, the expression is indeed subjective then? Whoever "corrupts in the land" would deserve the death penalty? If the verse above confers such a high importance to human life, why is the same human life left unprotected by a term so open to personal interpretation? For example: one can argue that a woman who wears a low cut shirt is spreading corruption in the land, and would therefore deserve to be killed. What is the flaw in this reasoning? I am rather confused.
: Re: Fasaad fil'ard (Corruption in the Land)
: Joseph Islam August 08, 2012, 02:26:48 PM
[Posted on Facebook]

Salamun Alaikum

It remains a fact that the Quran does not explicitly provide a definitive list of what constitutes ‘fasaad fil ard’ and nor does it intend to. It only provides guidance.

It is in the remit of Quranic wisdom to allow it to be left as a timeless piece of Divine guidance which can be applied to the changing needs of societies, cultures and circumstances.

However, the criteria of 'subjectiveness' is not intended to be provided by an individual or a minority, but by those in governance who represent the majority given the Quran’s overarching guidance. Even the Prophet in the capacity of a leader was asked by God to CONSULT with his contemporaries when dealing with his worldly affairs.

"It was by the mercy of God that you (Muhammad) were lenient with them, for if you had been rude and harsh of heart they would have dispersed from round about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and CONSULT (Arabic: watamiru) AMONG YOURSELVES. And when you have decided, then put thy trust in God. Indeed! God loves those who put their trust (in Him)"

This is no different to how modern day countries in the West would contend with what is a transgression worthy of more extreme state imposed punishments such as terrorism, drug dealing, rape, or other ills which cause wider deprivation or disharmony. This would arguably be ‘fasaad fil ard’ (Corruption in the land).

One can of course assert what they so desire, but it is not the opinion of an individual or minority which matters, but the consensus opinion of a rational minded society and those in governance. A true Quranic society would arguably be no different.

Examples of 'fasaad fil'ard' have been stated in the Quran to govern EXTREME TRANSGRESSIONS some of which I have shared in my post. It is not intended for perceived demeanours of the kind you respectfully share and albeit a Quran based society may attempt to curtail extreme immodest dress-codes, it is inconceivable that it would ever consider it to be a punishment worthy of the death penalty.

Rational minded societies are based on consultations and here a Quranic based society which primarily values the integrity of human life would be no different [1].

I hope that this helps, God willing.