An angry mob lynched a woman in Kabul on Thursday, beating her to death and then setting her body on fire. The incident happened in the centre of Kabul and under the watch of Afghan police. At the time she was accused of burning the Quran but it is unclear whether she had actually burned it or not. A government statement from ministry of Haj and religious affairs dismissed the account and added she was an attendant at the shrine, according to Tolo News. It has also become apparent that the victim later identified as Farkhunda suffered mental illness, “Farkhunda had a mental malady, and we have been seeing many mullahs and doctors to seek a cure for her mental illness,” her mother told reporters.The last couple of days I have been thinking why such a barbaric and anti-Islamic travesty happens yet a large number, but not all, Afghans support it. The New york times in a story reflects on Afghans Reaction reporting approval. Reuters Report of support from cleric who in a sermon broadcast by loudspeaker told devotees that the crowd had a right to defend their Muslim beliefs at all costs.
Before we lose perspective and infer bile stereotypes of Afghans and slash any hope for this nation where a mob of angry men bludgeon to death an innocent woman, lets remind ourselves of murder and death in the state of nature. No other word depicts the human condition than the visionary masterwork of Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel, The Triumph of Death, it is not of course a work of realism, but Breugel certainly did not have to rely entirely on his imagination to depict a scene of stomach wrenching death and destruction. In a land ruled by an army of skeletons, a king lies dying, his treasure of no avail, while a dog gnaws on a nearby corpse. In the background two hanged men on gibbets, four men broken on wheels, a man about to be beheaded. Armies clash, houses burn, men and women young and old soldier and civilians are all driven pell-mell into a narrow tunnel. No one is spared. The artist himself died in his early forties. The portray.
Much of human history is some version of agony depicted by Bruegel in the state of nature. Islam as cultural framework lifts the state of nature by creating an individual value system conducive to peaceful coexistence and as subjects of a legitimate Islamic state that is tasked to be a vessel of collective decision-making and enforcement. The laws of Islamic State of Afghanistan is based on Islamic values and principles. The basis for a judgment in Islamic law is the jurist’s ability to carefully apply knowledge to theory and practice. In order to be qualified to interpret the sources of law, a jurist should master many branches of knowledge such as logic, Quran, Hadith, history and general knowledge as well as specialised areas like commerce or international relations. This approach adopted by Islamic law to reach judgement through Fiqh, Ijma, Qiyas, Urf and Istisahan is to ensure due processes and streamline justice. Mob justice undermines due process of Islamic justice and is a manifestation of Jaliyat, it undermines Islamic foundations of Afghan society. It also shows obsession and compulsion with icons and symbols of religion that is only valued for its physical material. From the onset Islam opposed Icons and Statues in Kaba that were worshiped by the pagans. Islam is world-affirming by construing the created world as fundamentally a good place and placing responsibility on individual action. For such a system of belief conduct and laws are fundamental than icons and symbols.
I believe for such barbarism is a failure of state policy and structures. The state should create a monopoly on the means of violence. In practice, this criterion has often been reduced; first to a simple monopoly on violence and then to little more than control of capital city. However, it is the legitimacy of the state’s monopoly on violence as perceived by the citizens of the state that is the key to using this monopoly as a criterion of statehood. If the polity rejects the legitimacy of the state’s monopoly on violence, then that monopoly is inherently unstable. Hence the state’s monopoly on the means of violence must be balanced by the presence or creation of credible institutions that provide checks and balances on the use of force; that the state itself must be constituted through, and accountable under, the rule of law. The rule of law is undermined by the very same leaders and clerics who are high-level functionaries of the state. The powerful men and the current patronage system of state power distribution are impediments to rule of law and the real reason for the troubles that ravage Afghanistan. The violence of gangs and mobs are unnerving but they are nothing more than symptoms of an ailing system.