Is a 13 Year Old Who Carries Out Acts After Watching Pornography a Victim?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: Recently, I was discussing a news article with someone very close to me. The article was about a 13-year-old boy who raped his little sister after watching pornography. I explained that I thought it was horrible.
The shock came when I added that I felt there were TWO victims in this crime. I felt that the main victim was the little girl, and she needed the help and support of her family/community. I also felt that the young boy was a victim, in that (1) he got a hold of pornography, (2) it took a hold of his heart to the extent that he “wanted to try it out,” (3) that he acted on his desires; ultimately committing a heinous crime. I added that I think he is old enough to be held accountable for the crime, and needed some serious help.
The person I was talking to became angry and said my thinking was [Islamically] unsound; even calling me a “pervert.”
la qadr Allah, but if anything like this had happened to one of my family members, I might not feel as merciful to the perpetrator… but I just want to know if my “mercifulness” is really perverted and unsound thinking, or if it is congruent with the teachings and conduct of Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah upon him).
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
We do not condone such actions, particularly if the person was legally an adult.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) “was sent a mercy to All creation, not only friend but also foe… He wanted the good for them. And the thing that saddens me as someone who teaches the religion, is how badly people misunderstand the prophetic guidance both non Muslims and Muslims themselves who don’t really appreciate the tremendous mercy that is the Messenger. His teachings and example are nothing but a manifestation of mercy. And any understanding of religion that is lacking in mercy is lacking in understanding and it is lacking in being true to the teachings of the Prophet, upon him peace and blessings.” [see: Celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s Birth – and an Interview with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani of SeekersGuidance]
We hate the action, not the person. Thus, there wouldn’t appear to be anything inherently wrong in considering someone so young to also be a “victim,” yet whilst affirming that they need professional or medical help.
May Allah grant us all safety and well-being.
Please also see: Mercy, The Stamp of Creation by Dr Umar Faruq Abd’Allah and: Mercy Expressed in Active Concern: Remembering the Muslim Umma in One’s Prayers (dua) – Ma`ruf al-Karkhi
Tabraze Azam
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani