Crime and Punishment in Islam

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Spring 2012
May 7, 2012
Condensed version

Application of Islamic Ethics
I. Why do we need Punishment in Islam

Answer: security and stability within the society
Since the beginning of the history of mankind, man has been conscious of the need for security.

Stability, flexibility and firmness or peace, justice and security

This complete legal system was sent down to Muhammed, peace be upon him, and without this system, there would be chaos and instability. Society needs general security
Islamic Laws provide
* General security
* a means of settling disputes and conflicts that threaten public safety * a means of opposing external threats posed by other nations.

Allah commands justice, righteousness,…

Islamic Law is aimed at achieving human welfare and these are all based on universal concerns or principles:

* 1. preservation of life
* 2. preservation of religion
* 3. preservation of reason
* 4. preservation of lineage
* 5. Preservation of property

To preserve life, it prescribes the law of retribution.  Qisas To preserve religion, it prescribes the punishment for apostasy.  Hidood To preserve reason, it prescribes the punishment for drinking.  To preserve lineage, it prescribes the punishment for fornication. Hadood  To preserve wealth, it prescribes the punishment for theft.  Hadood/Ta’zir To protect all of them, it prescribes the punishment for highway robbery. Hadood

Islam has recognized that there are crimes that occur as a result of the unchanging aspects of man’s life - FIXED LAWS No society is free of these crimes – it’s a part of human nature These are crimes like murder, adultery, fornication, theft, etc.

It also recognizes that there are crimes that are the result of social development and advances in knowledge - these crimes are solved by using general principles and universal rules by the proper authority in society. For minor felony - flexible punishment

These are crimes that harm social interest
These are crimes like: bribery, selling tainted goods or defective products, treason, usury/interest, etc. Crimes punished by Hudood:
Prescribed Punishments / FIXED Punishments حدود
Crimes that fall under this category can be defined as legally prohibited acts that God forcibly prevents by way of fixed, predetermined punishments, the execution of which is considered the right of God. 1. These punishments can neither be increased nor decreased. 2.    These punishments cannot be waived by the judge, the political authority, or the victim after their associated crimes have been brought to the attention of the governing body.  Before these crimes are brought before the state, it may be possible for the victim to pardon the criminal if the damage done was only personal. 3.    These punishments are the ‘right of God’, meaning that the legal right involved is of a general nature where the greater welfare of society is considered. The following crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the fixed punishments: 1.      Theft

Theft is defined as covertly taking the wealth of another party from its secure location with the intention of taking possession of it. 2.      Highway Robbery
Highway robbery is defined as the activity of an individual or a group of individuals who go out in strength into the public thoroughfare with the intention of preventing passage or with the intention of seizing the property of passers-by or otherwise inflicting upon them bodily harm. 3.      Fornication and Adultery

This is defined as any case where a man has coitus with a woman who is unlawful to him.  Any relationship between a man and a woman that is not inclusive of coitus does not fall under this category and does not mandate the prescribed, fixed punishment. 4.      False Accusation

This is defined as accusing the chaste, innocent person of fornication or adultery.  It also...
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