Essay No. 161:
Eye For Eye And Tooth For Tooth Has Gone On Too Long In The World: The maxim has been in operation in the world since time immemorial. If someone damages you’re an eye or breaks a tooth of yours, then in retaliation you should pay him in the same con. However, you are forbidden to cross the limit. You must not cross the limit in excess.
When an individual having the power and strength pounces upon the weak, he crosses all possible limits. He makes the weak target of his aggression. He can go to any length to harm the weak. He forgets about all canons of morality as he wishes to cause maximum harm to the weak specie. Similar is the behaviors of the nations that are economically, technologically strong.
Not to talk of destroying an eye or a tooth of the weak, they unleash forces of aggression against the weak to annihilate it completely. The survival of the fittest is the inexorable law of nature which has been holding its sway in a jungle and human society. The strong does not care about the harm that would come to the weak. The weak is to be punished for being weak.
That is the punishment that can be awarded to the weak in the form of its elimination. The mighty nations like the US have been steamrolling over the weaker ones without any let, hindrance or fear. They do not care about ethics or morality. Morality is thought to be a weapon of the weak. At the practical level, one sees morality being flouted at the individual, national, international levels.
It is a grim and dark picture one sees all around oneself. All religions give the message to man that he should avoid committing aggression against his weaker species. The latter have also the right to exist in life. However, keeping in view the fighting instinct of man, religions bear upon man to act on the spirit of the maxim given above. One is morally justified to retaliate against the enemy.
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If he destroys your eye and tooth. You could also damage has one eye and a tooth if you have the power to do so. But the revenge should not exceed the genuine limit. However, the best course is to forget and forgive. Islam exhorts the believes to follow this course.
But when the enemy is in a serious mood to inflict aggression on you, then you must rise to the occasion and give a befitting response to him. That is why preparedness on the part of nations-big or small, is considered as a prerequisite of peace in the world. All the same the message of the maxim must be taken seriously.