Life is a series of choices. Every step is a choice, an option, a decision. We try our best to make these choices based on what we know. What we pick may not be based on what is right and what is wrong, but what we believe in our minds and hearts. Whatever we do decide, we have to compromise. It is always one or the other.
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Justice vs. Mercy

Garbage AlleyA homeless mother of four children has no way of feeding them. She has asked for help, but without avail, she is left in the wild to care for her children alone without money, food, or shelter. She fears for her children’s health and would never eat out of a garbage can, but she has no other choice — until — she sees the opportunity to take some food from a rich family that lives close by. She does the crime, to save herself and her children. In the process, she accidentally breaks some very valuable kitchenware.

The women is caught by the police. If you were the judge, would you prosecute this woman for her criminal behavior? Would you let her go, because she had no other choice?

This is only an example where Justice and Mercy clash. What do you have to say about this? What should be done?

32 Responses to “Justice vs. Mercy”

  1. Chirp |

    I think they should let her go, BUT with a warning that next time there will be worse consequences and that she has to go find a job etc etc etc. I know its not as easy as it sounds.
    But if God is merciful, are we better than him to not forgive?

  2. GreY |

    If i am the judge i would let her go ! and see to it to that she is taken care of . If the rich guy said something about his kitchenware i would put him in jail for not taking care of his poor nieghbour .. [ i can , because i am the judge, ]

  3. N. |

    …But What about preserving the sanctity of the law!? How can rules be broken without fully being addressed. Grey, how can you put a man in jail for not committing a crime?

    (I’m only being the advocate’s devil. It is good for debates.)

  4. Blue dress |

    I would go with mercy.

  5. chikapappi |

    I would let her go of course & try to help the woman as I can bas at the same time give her some notice- teach her a lesson… an ear twist if you will…

  6. maryam |

    Well I would let her go because she did it out of necessity. Even in Islam, it happened that someone stole out of desperation and they wanted to carry out the punishment but it was ruled that the fault doesnt lie on the person but on the society for not taking care of their own and they were released. The rich should be compensated as well for their broken dishes, you never know maybe they are good people you shouldnt judge them just because they have money. Maybe they can hire the woman or the society can provide her a job and help her stand on her feet.

  7. Shale |

    Sanctity of the law? The law was made by people, so it can be broken when those same entities feel it should be.

    I would:
    1. Put the children in an orphanage.
    2. Give the woman some time in jail, where she will get a warm bed and three square meals.

    When she gets out, ideally she can be sorted out by a good parole officer. When she finds work, then she can apply for permission to see her children, or eventually to regain custody.

  8. Maya // ???? |

    Justice vs. Mercy. Argh.. another touchy-woutchy issue.

    /mother & kids
    I agree with Shale. I wouldn’t want to keep the kids away from their mother (and vice versa) but that seems like the best thing to do- for now.

    Homes for the homeless
    I’d start ensure a bill is passed and build homes for the homeless- especially for women and children.

    Food for the poor
    I’d raise money and try and get a few soup kitchens around the place.

    Education made compulsory
    I’d ensure that education becomes compulsory for those to at least the high-school level. Education would be free for those who can’t afford it and ensure a few municipal schools would be opened. This way, people wouldn’t complain about the poor going for free when they have to fork out money. Rules out the discrimination too. Teachers will be paid like other teachers in government schools. All this by the government. Education is the best bet to the way out of poverty. Its time to put an end to the vicious cycle once and for all. Children are the leaders of tomorrow.

    While this is a very touchy and sensitive issue, I’d wonder if they are actually giving her a decent pay. Yes, while it is true that the pay is often negotiated between employers and their employees, I wouldn’t help but wonder. I would try and see if I could pass a bill to set a minimum pay but I think that would be possible. I mean some houses are hugee and some are small. Many do loads of housework while some don’t have that much to do. But yeah, I would be wondering about this one.
    Would also look for any signs of abuse- alot of house angels (don’t like use the term ‘maids’) get abused often and are often scared to speak up.

    I think its high time we start treating the root-cause of the issue and not the mere symptoms. Society is often the barometer of the effectiveness/success of the government. This is just one small issue that represents our society and thus, our government. We therefore need to work on all levels of the society for the betterment of our people- why else are we here? :)

    ♥ Maya

  9. This Lady Says |

    I would let her go with a warning, knowing her background and her circumstances.
    However, if I was the lady, sometimes the most helpful thing you can do for your children is to let them live with better families. Foster care or adoption.
    I’d probably never do it, I’d rather starve than see my children with other parents. But sometimes, desperate needs call for desperate measures..
    Iffff.. I hate issues like these! They make me sad!

  10. Angelo |

    That is tough question to answer but I guess she could have or tried to get a job…any job would do for that matter. But sometimes morality suppress the law so extreme cases like this one can be exceptional.

  11. Intlxpatr |

    I like Maryam’s solution. Get this poor woman connected with a social services agency, so she and her children can stay together, get her low cost housing, get her kids into school, get her a job and tell her that within five years she has to replace the piece of kitchenware she broke. Unless the person whose kitchenware it was shows mercy for Ramadan and forgives her and helps her, too. :-)

  12. AlleyCat |

    Hmm ok N you have a lot of free time.. you sure you and i dont work at the same place? lol

    It is true that the woman was driven to this crime under severe circumstances, yet at the same time justice and the law shouldn’t be overlooked. If exceptions are made in this manner, allowing those less fortunate (or desperate in this case) to still from those better off then wouldn’t you think that chaos would prevail? Everyone would be let off due to the fact that they could not afford some basic need, at the same time is this fair on the person who can afford it who had property in some way destroyed?

    What i think should be done is that the woman should receive a lighter sentence due to the nature of her situation and at the same time receive some sort of welfare or job offer that would prevent her from considering committing a similar crime to feed her children. Justice shouldn’t be ONLY about punishment but also provide preventative options to reduce crime and such from happening and laws broken.

  13. Swair |

    they should let her go but with a warning.. it’s just food and the rich family apparently has enough… aham shay she didn’t hurt anyone, she was just trying to provide for her children..

  14. Navy Girl |

    I dont wana sound harsh around here but I believe that the end doesnt justify the mean .. I mean there is always another way .. no matter how hard its seems there gotta be some other way .. I would have to be a bit compassionate though .. but after all laws knows no exceptions ..

  15. eshda3wa |

    in religion a theif gets there hand cut off
    bs etha elwa7id mayt yoo3 and had to steal to survive a less severe sentense is carried out.
    i wouldnt let her go, but i wouldnt put her away forever
    i would unish her, but then i would also help her and her children

  16. MishMisha |

    i think let her go, but with a warning or something, so that she doesn’t do it again…

    i 6agged ya btw :)

  17. Phoenix |

    In situations like this there has to be understanding.. Understanding of the desperate situation she was in, and the fact that she has four unfed kids that probably have growling stomachs by now. You just have to be humane and compassionate!

  18. N. |

    Wow, really wonderful responses from all of you! There are some that would prefer a lighter sentence, and some that would let her go with a warning only. Many of you have expressed compassion towards the children and would take responsibility as a judge for their care.

    I’d go with the light punishment, probably a form of community service for breaking the law.

    I liked the suggestion by Shale, she would have 3 meals and a warm bed, but taking her away from her children would be difficult for her. A few of you also suggested a form of Homeless shelter. In my opinion that would be best for her and her children for the time being.

  19. Noufa |

    Of course I would punish her! she committed a crime, as a judge I can not over look that ’cause she’s poor and she wanted to feed her kids. that wouldn’t be just!
    but I should consider her situation and the circumstances that led to her crime.
    and I should be easy on her but I won’t let her go!
    her kids should be taken care of as well!

  20. Shale |

    How many people here have spoken to a homeless person?

  21. Fayoor |

    oo b3dain yikhtifii blog Fayoora.

    Shasawweee now ?!!!

  22. N. |

    Shale, I spoke briefly with a couple. It wasn’t easy either..

    Fayoor, lol I’m trying to get on your blog now mako fayda! Shsawety! :p

  23. N. |

    fayoor, if it doesn’t get fixed, revert it back. We’ll see what we can do. You can e-mail me if you like, and I’ll help you with getting it all set up ok.

  24. Fayoor |

    Mayseer revert back :/ AAAH!! madri shasaweee

  25. Fayoor |

    oo i dont know where ur email is :S

  26. Marzouq |

    This is clearly a case of the circumstances she is in. I think she should be let go and something needs to be done about her situation since now she is in the limelight of it. Someone should help her and try to do something for her instead of just the situation as it is.

  27. N. |

    fayoor, afa the e-mail is in the “About” page!

    I’d like to know, as Shale has asked, has anyone talked to a homeless person?

  28. Maya // ???? |

    I’ve talked to quite a few. Ran into one of them in the hospital also- they were delighted to see someone they ‘know’. He’d never been to a hospital before and he started tearing when I touched him. I thought my acidic hands ate through his flesh but blah, the poor guy had never been touched in a nice way. He was 80+ years old. Needless to say I walked out looking like a phantom with my kohl running all over my face. Its amazing how a little love and respect goes a long way.

    Where did you meet the homeless people you spoke to, N?

    ♥ Maya

  29. N. |

    All that I have spoken to were in the U.S. I spoke to a one at the bus station there. He needed a fair, he wasn’t very old but he looked very work out. I don’t remember much of his story, but I do remember him being in such a bad situation, and being so lost. I also met someone who had just gotten out of prison after being in there for many years. He had no where to go to. No home, and no family. How would he function in society? He’d probably just go back to a life of crime, such a sad thing.

  30. Kaylie |

    I’m writing an argumentative essay for this topic in my gr. 12 correspondence university course. It’s asking me to use Shakespeare’s play “King Lear” for examples. I’m having no issue with the text or anything, I’m just finding myself putting a lot more thought into the question than i should be. I find it’s actually an amazing topic and wanted to kinda Poll out and fight for whichever side wins in my essay. the question reads something like “Justice and mercy are both fundamental to society, however if you had to choose to live in a society where either justice or mercy prevailed, which would you choose, and why” i know why, i don’t know what I’d choose!!!! anyone wanna help me?? Just keep answering the original question!!! THX!!!

  31. Nasser |

    There cannot be a society without justice AND mercy. If you remove all the mercy, then justice will sometimes destroy people and cause more bloodshed because people will be seeking justice vigorously. If you completely remove Justice and only keep mercy, then there will be manipulation and on who’s account do we allow and continue to allow to excuse people mercifully. There is no better place to be. I hope my point made it more clear for you and allow you to make a choice.

  32. John |

    Hi N.

    You make a good story. Do you have story about “Truth versus Loyalty”, “Individual versus Community”, or “Short term versus Long term”?
    If you have, can you post it for me?

    Thank you so much


Reserved, going to add something here later.