How did the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) judge criminals?
The kindness and holiness of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) were for all mankind. He is a prophet of justice, grace and love. The criminals of society were not deprived of his kindness, grace, and love; instead, he had extra empathy and generosity for them. If anyone had a criminal tendency, he’d try to correct him first.
The Qur’an says about the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), “There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.” (Surah At-Tawbah, verse: 128)
Warning from sin
Abdullah b. Amr b. al-As reported: “Allah’s Messenger (SAW) saw me wearing two clothes dyed in saffron. Whereupon he said: These are the clothes (usually worn by) the non-believers, so do not wear them.” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 49)
Psychological treatment to overcome crime
The Prophet (SAW) encouraged psychiatric treatment to prevent crime. He exposed the nature of the crime in such a way that people’s guilt would vanish.
Not to hurt the self-esteem of the offender
In the time of the Prophet (SAW), if anyone committed a crime, he would warn the people without revealing his name, so that the criminal’s self-esteem would not be hurt. Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: “When the Prophet (SAW) was informed of anything of a certain man, he would not say: What is the matter with so and so that he says? But he would say: “What is the matter with the people that they say such and such?” (Sunan Abi Dawud 4788)
The propaganda of crime is inappropriate
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) forbade the spreading of the crime of a criminal to give the person a chance to confess and return. It was narrated from Ibn `Abbas that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Whoever conceals the (hidden) fault of his Muslim brother, Allah (SWT) will conceal his faults on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever exposes the fault of his Muslim brother, Allah will expose his faults, until (so that) He shames him, due to it, in his (own) house.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith: 2546)
The Qur’an says, “Allah does not like the public mention of evil except by one who has been wronged. And ever is Allah Hearing and Knowing.” (Surat An-Nisa [verse 148])
Given the opportunity to correct
If a person commits a crime, he or she should be given a chance to self-correct before making a final decision, according to Islamic law. Narrated Abu Huraira: “I heard the Prophet (SAW) saying, “If a slave-girl of yours commits illegal sexual intercourse and her illegal sexual intercourse is proved, she should be lashed, and after that nobody should blame her, and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse the second time, she should be lashed and nobody should blame her after that, and if she does the offense for the third time and her illegal sexual intercourse is proved, she should be sold even for a hair rope.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2234)
Criminals will also get basic human rights
The hadith said that even if a person is found guilty, he will not be deprived of basic human rights.
Punishment for welfare
Although the Prophet (SAW) wanted human rights and a better life for the criminals, he was determined to establish justice for the common good. Once the crime was proven, he wouldn’t tolerate the criminal.
“The Prophet (SAW) said, what destroyed the nations preceding you, was that if a noble amongst them stole, they would forgive him, and if a poor person amongst them stole, they would inflict Allah’s Legal punishment on him. By Allah, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut off her hand.” (Sahih Bukhari Hadith No. 3475)
The Prophet’s dealing with the criminals (SAW) was very fair and just. The Qur’an says, “So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].” (Surat Ali ‘Imran [verse 159])