Contributing money to secure the release of individuals from the hands of kidnappers is prohibited in Islam, the Deputy Chief Imam of the National Mosque, Abuja, Professor Ibrahim Maqari has said.
Maqari, who gave the ruling during this year’s Ramadan tafsir, said Islam does not permit Muslims to pay money to enemies they are at war with.
The cleric added that doing so would put more resources in the hands of the enemy and provide him with the means to acquire more arms to continue with the war.
It is in the context of that rule that kidnappers should not be paid ransom so as to starve them of the funds they could use to boost their arsenal and sustain their evil campaign.
“Since Allah (SWT) has forbidden the payment of money to an enemy who is at war with you, in order not to empower them to continue to fight you, then contributing money as ransom for the release of kidnapped persons, is haram (prohibited),” he said.
Quoting a Hadith (prophetic tradition), Maqari narrated the story of a man who approached the Prophet Muhammad, asking about what to do if someone tries to rub him of his money and the Prophet told him to resist the resist the person.
The man then asked the Prophet “what if the person fights me and the Prophet told him to fight back.”
“What if I kill him,” he asked, and the Prophet said, “He goes to hellfire.” He asked again, “What if he kills me?” and the prophet said, “you enter paradise.”
The Hadith, the deputy chief Imam emphasized, upholds the impermissibility of giving ransom to kidnappers.
He also explained that Islam’s code for discouraging criminality provides that material demands imposed as conditions by criminals are to be ignored, no matter what havoc the criminals threaten to unleash, if the demands are not met.
Refusing to meet the demands of kidnappers would inevitably turn them into losers who wasted their money to feed the captive, wasted their bullets in killing him and wasted their time, he asserted.
“But he (the criminal) has been made aware that the money is never going to be paid and the one who is killed (the victim) is going to paradise,” he said.
Maqari said applying the Islamic provisions can effectively address the challenges of kidnapping currently affecting the society.
“But as long as people will continue to give ransom to secure the release of their loved ones, the recipients of the money will continue to use it to acquire more arms that they will use to perpetrate their atrocity and promote it as a business,” he advised.
Another implication of submitting to kidnappers’ demands, he pointed, is that the vice will be grow and be hard for security agents to handle.
“So the best way of stopping it, is for the criminal to know that if he kidnaps someone, he can choose to chop his body into pieces” but he will not get what he wants.
He advised Muslims that getting killed by kidnappers is a sure way of going to paradise.
This is coming at the time cases of kidnapping for ransom have become rampant in the country, while Nigerians debate the propriety of paying ransom to the kidnappers.
Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has vowed not to give money to kidnappers in the name of ransom, saying that such act could help them acquire more arms.
His stance has, however, become a subject of debate among Nigerians, especially against the backdrop of recent kidnappings of students of tertiary institutions in the state. While the governor’s position is backed by a section of Nigerians who believe that not paying ransom will make the crime unattractive, others have criticized him of being insensitive to the plights of kidnap victims.