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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Abdul_Wahid
Full Name: Abdul Wahid Osman Belal
User since: 21/Nov/2008
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Islamic Punishments: A Complete Code For Law And Order
By: Prof.Ziauddin Ahmad

Islam consists of two parts. One of them, which is the physical part of the religion, deals with the human body, while the second part deals with the human heart. The part of the religion which deals with the heart is called the faith. In other words, a man confirms by the depth of his heart about the monotheism of Allah, The Prophethood of His Mess-ngers, the Day of Judgement and about the life after the Day of Judgement. The part of religion which deals with the body of a human being is called the action. That, is why we see that a lot of emphasis is given to faith and good deeds in the Holy Qur'an and in the Tradi-ions of the Holy Prophet (Salallah-o- Alaihi Wassallam).

Moreover, this action has different aspects. One aspect deals with the relation of Allah with the human beings. It is called the mode of worship such as the prayers, the fast, the Zakah, the Hajj, the sacrifice, etc.

The second aspect of action is that which deals with mutual relationship and affairs of the bondmen among themselves.

The object behind these introductory lines is to show that Islam is the perfect religion which gives complete guidance for establishing the relationship between Allah and His bondmen alongwith the relat-ons between the members of the society and the daily affairs.

In connection with the relations of the human beings among themselves, Islam teaches us to deal with justice and equality and to remain steadfast upon these principles. And if tyranny and oppression take place by leaving the path of justice and equality and any person is committing oppression upon any other person's life, property or honour, then Islam has given a complete way of compensation and expiation. A part of these codes of law is called the "Hudood and Qisas".

What do we mean by Islamic Hudood and Qisas? It can be explained in brief that it deals with different types of crimes and punishment. The details of these crimes are lengthy. However, we shall take a bird's eye view of these crimes and their punishment individually in the light of the Holy Scripture and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet (Salallah-o- Alaihi Wassallam).

We must keep two points in mind before dealing with the punishments of the crimes. First, what is the definition of a crime in the light of the Shari'ah? A crime is the committing of an action which is prohibited by the Shari'ah or not to perform an action which has been made necessary by the Shari'ah. In other words, to indulge in a prohibited action and to abandon an action which is a must, both are crimes in the Shari'ah's point of view. For example, the Shari'ah has prohibited the commitment of theft. Therefore, the stealing will be called as a crime. Similarly, the Shari'ah has declared the offering of the prayers a must, hence, to abandon the prayers is a crime in the Shari'ah's point of view.

The second point which should be kept in mind is that what is the idea behind the punishment of a certain crime? In other words, are these punishments sanctioned by Allah and His Holy Prophet (Salallah-o- Alaihi Wassallam)? Are they fully dependent upon the will of the people? Are the people the final authority to give any punishment of a certain crime to a criminal at their own will? The answer to these questions is that there are two kinds of punishments in the Islamic Shari'ah. The first kind consists of those punishment whose conditions, quantity and numbers have been fixed by the Shari'ah and which are called the "Hudood and Qisas" Hence, if it was proved that some body has committed the crime, he be awarded the punishment which has been awarded by the Shari'ah for this crime. Neither a Judge or Qazi is authorized to reduce these punishments nor the ruler of the country has the authority to increase or decrease these punishments.

For example, the punishment of thief is to have his band cut off or adulterer (if he is unmarried) may b given the punishment of 100 lashes. These are the kind of punishments in which no increase or decrease is possible.

The second type of crimes are those whose punishments have not been fixed by the Shari'ah. But the decision of these punishments rest on the judgement of the ruler of the state or a Judge or a Qazi. These are called 'Ta'ziri' punishments and should be decided by keeping in view the circumstances under which a certain crime was committed and the condition and extent of the crime and under what conditions and circumstances the criminal was passing through at the time he committed the crime. In this connection, the ruler of the country shall have to keep in view the interests and the benefits of the people in general. For example bribery is a crime according to the Shari'ah, but the Shari'ah has not fixed a punishment for this crime. Instead, it has been left on the sense of the authority.

Hence, it is the duty of the authority to look into the conditions of the crime, the conditions of the criminal and the circumstances under which he could be given even the most severe punishment.

Now let us deal with the crimes whose punishments have been fixed by the Shari'ah. These are of two kinds: The first kind of these punishments is about the crimes in which somebody's life, property or honour has been subjected to an oppression, such as a murder or a theft or an allegation of adultery. Whereas, the second kind of these punishments deals with the crimes in which no oppression is done with another's life, property or honour. According to the Shari'ah, such actions are also treated as a crime in which a person is involved by himself, such as drinking, adultery, etc.

The crime in which an oppression is done on somebody's life such as a murder or an oppression in which a part of his body is lost or injured, if this crime is committed intentionally, then its punishment is the "Qisas". For example, the criminal should be given the same punishment which he has committed as a crime. If he has murdered someone, then it is the demand of justice that he may also be given capital punishment. And if he has deprived a man of any part of his body intentionally, it would be justified to deprive him of the same part of his body, It has been commanded by Allah Ta'ala that the 'Qisas' had been made obligatory upon them in connection with the person murdered, hence, a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth and similar is the punishment of other injuries which had been fixed."

According to the Shari'ah, it is the right of the heirs of a person murdered to take the 'Qisas' of their murdered person. However, if a part of the body of a certain person is subjected to an oppression and he is still alive, then the 'Qisas' is his right, If he forgives

his right of the heirs of a murdered person willingly forgive their right of Qisas and pardon the criminal, then they have a right to demand the 'Diyat'. In fact, it is a compensation in the form of money. The Shari'ah has fixed the quantity of this financial compensation, the details of which can be seen in the books of 'Fiqah' (Islamic jurisprudence) .

The crime in which the property of somebody has been subjected to an oppression is basically divided into several types. For example, hoarding, bribery, wrong weighing of commodities and different types of financial irregularities, etc. Although the Shari'ah has not fixed any specific punishment for each of these crimes, but Shari'ah punishments can be given in these cases, which are subject to the will of the Qazi or the Judge. A particular type of oppression on someone's property is called a 'Sarqa' in Arabic and theft in English. It is the punishment of this crime in the Shari'ah that the hand of a thief should be amputated. The definition of theft is that a mature and sensible person steals the duly guarded property of a person confidentially. Hence, if somebody steals in this way and the crime is proven against him with all the evidence, then the punishment of this crime should be amputation of his hand. In this connection, Allah Ta'ala has commanded:

'Amputate the hand of a man or a woman who has stolen something. It is the punishment of their deed."

In another type of crime, in which both the life and property are subjected to an oppression due to the behaviour of the criminal at the time of that crime, was as such that he had. pre-planned that if he found an obstruction in robbing the wealth and valuable articles, he will not spare even the life of the protector. For this purpose, the criminal attacked like an organised party. showing their deadly weapons and committed the crime in broad daylight in a bank, on an insurance company, or he attacked a formation of a trade caravan or created problems of law and order for the Government. For this purpose, they used an armed group. This crime is called 'Harabah' in Shari'ah's term, which is also called dacoity or terrorism in modern language. Keeping in view the dangerous consequences of this crime, the Shari'ah has fixed severe punishment for this crime. Allah Ta'ala has commanded:

"The people who fight against Allah and His Messenger (Salallah-o- Alaihi Wassallam) and create disturbance on the earth, they should be given four types of punishments:

1. The criminal should be sentenced to death.

2. He may be hanged upon the gallows.

3. His one hand of one side and one leg of the other should be amputated.

4. He should be exiled.

A majority of the religious scholars have opined that it is upto the will. of the ruler to award any of the above mentioned four punishments, while others say that these four punishments are meant for four different types of. Crimes" For example, if a criminal looted one's property and killed him also, then he may be put to death as well as hanged at a public place so that the others may be awed and may learn a lesson. And if he has murdered a person only, but has no looted anyone, then he may be put to death. And if he has not killed any one, but has only looted someone then his hand of one side and the leg of the other side should be ampultated. But if someone has neither killed nor looted anyone, but has diplayed his weapons only and has been a cause of terrorism in any way or the other, then he should be exiled

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