Is killing sinners more important in Islam than saving lives?

Image via Wikimedia Commons: Two Moons

The news in Pakistan has brought forth two stories that makes you wonder whether some aspects of Islam place a higher value on saving innocent lives or getting a sinner killed. The first tells of two children starved to death in the Sindh province where torrential rains caused considerable destruction, particularly to the poor part of the population. The children, both girls, were aged 7 and 5 years and their village was virtually cut off from the neighboring towns due to heavy rain in the recent days.

The plight of these children and their families is indescribable. They are forced to live in the open while no one is aiding them as they suffer from lack of food and an abundance of disease-causing germs all around them. The choppers and planes in the country and the so-called emergency management bodies kept watching, and these children had to die while more like them are at risk. No one is coming to their immediate rescue on an altruistic basis or by getting them some emergency aid from charities — not from within this country at least. Perhaps their lives don’t matter to the many segments of this land with sores of poverty erupting beyond the concern of the well-off and the zealots.

The callousness of the latter is worth noting because this clerical segment is not just lost in spiritual apathy, but in moving against the blasphemers. That is how an angry cleric protesting against the controversial film Innocence of Muslims came to place a bounty of 10 million rupees on the filmmaker’s life. Ten million! This amount means a lifetime fortune for an average Pakistani person. It can save hundreds of lives like those of the two innocent children in Sindh who have nothing to eat, nowhere to live, and no hope to experience what security and comfort mean. How much sense, if any, does it make to let your poor Muslim kids die of hunger and helplessness while you are placing bloody bids on a man thousands of miles away, of whom you are almost sure that you can’t hurt him (and hence the bounty)?

Some time in past, and to this day too, at least some sane Muslims believed that serving humanity is the greatest virtue. Sadly, we live in a different world now – a world where millions are spent not on saving numerous lives but destroying one life deemed unworthy. So the job assigned to men – serving humanity – lies undone while men waste time and money in doing the job of God – punishing the sinner. No wonder then that innocent lives are lost next door while the crowd is busy out there, leading madness. Sorry Islam, some of your followers failed you again!