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Punishment in Sharia Law
Islam on the whole accepts capital punishment.
...Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command
you, so that you may learn wisdom
But even though the death penalty is allowed, forgiveness is preferable. Forgiveness, together with
peace, is a predominant Qur'anic theme.
Muslims believe that capital punishment is a most severe sentence but one that may be commanded by
a court for crimes of suitable severity. While there may be more profound punishment at the hands of
God, there is also room for an earthly punishment.
Methods of execution in Islamic countries vary and can include beheading, firing squad, hanging and
stoning. In some countries public executions are carried out to heighten the element of deterrence.
Each case is regarded individually and with extreme care and the court is fully able to impose more
lenient sentences as and when they see fit.
Islamic countries that practise a very strict Sharia law are associated with the use of capital punishment
as retribution for the largest variety of crimes.
At the other end of the spectrum are countries such as Albania and Bosnia, which still retain the death
penalty as part of their penal system, but are abolitionist in practice.
In Islamic law, the death penalty is appropriate for two groups of crime:
Intentional murder: In these cases the victim's family is given the option as to whether or not to insist on
a punishment of this severity
Fasad filardh ('spreading mischief in the land'): Islam permits the death penalty for anyone who
threatens to undermine authority or destabilise the state
What constitutes the crime of 'spreading mischief in the land' is open to interpretation, but the following
crimes are usually included:
Treason/apostasy (when one leaves the faith and turns against it)
Piracy of any kind
Whilst Islam remains firmly retentionist, there is a small but growing abolitionist Islamic view. Their
argument is as follows:
The Ulamas (those who are learned in Islamic Law, constitution and theology) do not always agree on
the interpretation or authenticity of the sacred texts. Neither do they agree on the social context in
which these texts should be applied.
Sharia law is often used by repressive powers that attack women and the poor.
There are incidences of these states summarily executing those who are accused whilst denying them
access to a lawyer. These acts are totally contradictory to the concept of Islamic justice.
In Geneva, on 28th April 2005, there was a call for a moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and
death penalty. This was, however, rejected by the Legal Research Commission of the AlAzhar
University in Cairo, the world's leading Islamic learning centre.
In classical Islamic law, Shari'ah, offenses against the person, from homicide to assault, are punishable
by retaliationthe offended being subject to precisely the same treatment as the victim. For six specific
crimes the punishment is fixed (hadd): death for apostasy (renunciation of religious faith) and for
highway robbery amputation of the hand for theft death by stoning for extramarital sexual relations
where the offender is a married person and 100 lashes for unmarried offenders 80 lashes for an
unproven accusation of unchastity/adultery, or for consumption of any alcoholic beverage.
Sharia Law and sexual Relationships
Within Sharia law, there are a group of "Haram" offenses which carry severe punishments. These
include premarital sexual intercourse, sex by divorced persons, postmarital sex, and adultery, false
accusation of unlawful intercourse, drinking alcohol, theft, and highway robbery. Haram sexual offenses
can carry a sentence of stoning to death or severe flogging. An eyewitness account of Soraya M, a
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Iranian web site. Caution: do not read this if you
have a weak stomach it is quite graphic.
Muhammad's sexual antics are an embarrassment to those Muslims who are aware of them. This is
particularly so for their prophet's marriage to Aisha when she was 9yearsold. The thought of a
52yearold man sleeping and bathing with a young girl is intensely unpleasant and it reflects the
disgusting character of a sexual glutton rather than a holy man. Critics even allege that Muhammad was
a paedophile.…read more