Islamic Punishments

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Mirza Yawar Baig

Channel: Mirza Yawar Baig

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Episode Transcript

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Okay,

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the question you asked is what about cutting up the hand for stealing as an example, as an example? So now, let's look at it from the I'm glad you asked the question because it helps to illustrate some very important aspects of Islamic law.

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Now, any law if you want to answer the question, you have to study the law. So it'd be tried to give you a brief thumbnail picture of it. Allah subhanaw taala said about the laws about the Hadith, which are the punishments for various crimes. Allah subhanaw taala said filthy sassy hyah tuya.

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Allah says, In the punishments in the in the face as there is life for you, or people of understanding. Now you might say, Well, you know, punishment for murder is execution. And you are saying there is life in it? How can they be life in something where you are executing somebody.

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punishment for adultery, between two married people, is not just execution and death, but stoning to death. Now, what can be more horrific and more barbaric and more, you know, regressive, and whatever you want to call it, then stoning somebody to death,

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punishment for stealing is you cut off the hand of the person. What kind of barbarism is this? I mean, these are general questions just. So that's why I'm saying we one has to understand the law in its totality. First, the first thing to understand about Islamic law is that the law is decreed by Allah subhanho wa Taala, who is Rahmani Raheem, He is the Most Merciful and his mercy does not decrease it continues. So we have to understand is that here is somebody who's the most merciful? And then you say, Well, I mean, away added to your confusion, because that's how you will clearly say if the if Allah is most merciful, how does he allow somebody to be stoned to death? If Allah is

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most merciful? How does he allow someone's hand to be chopped? Right? So how is the most merciful and that's the that is the understanding, that's where we have to understand. So Allah subhanaw taala, is first of all the law is from Allah subhanho wa Taala.

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There are of course, if you take Islamic law, there are two aspects to the law, there is what is the Quranic law, which is what Allah subhanaw taala sent up. And there is the juristic law,

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which again is provision give Allah subhanaw taala to evolve principles and so on and so forth based on need. So, jurists who are people who are skilled in law and who are learned in law, they can get together and they can by a process of deduction, or whichever way they can evolve rulings on certain things, which are not given in the Quran and Sunnah. So both are part of Islamic law at the level of

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sanctity of these two, obviously diverse what is decreed by the Quran is decree by the forum, there is no change that nobody can can can alter it. But juristic law is open to also interpretation also open to changing. So when we look at the Sharia of Islam, the entire Sharia is not directly the result of Revelation.

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That is, does not mean that I'm saying it is not important. No, it is not, it is important, but just to understand the the root of it. So part of the Sharia is direct revelation, part of the Sharia is interpretation and understanding and so on, which we call dualistic law. And this is the sign of the dynamism of Islamic law. Islamic law is not something which game 14 centuries ago and has stuck like that, like a written in store and nothing can be changed. That's not true at all.

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Surely the book Yeah, exactly, exactly. There is where there is what the book? Yeah, there is not just one book, there are plenty of books. So if the problem people have people ask these questions as if they are experts, they don't understand the go study, before you ask questions go study sorry. So there is this tour. Now take the become to this issue of cutting the hazard. Now. Islamic law is the only law in the world where there is a legal place and legal sanctity for forgiveness.

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In any other law. For example, if you in Indian law, for example, if somebody murders another one person murders another person, right. case is,

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is investigated. There is evidence,

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the case comes before the judge, the judge will sentence will pass a sentence depending on the IPC and crpc, which is the Indian Penal Code of the Federal penal code. And he has to pass centers according to that. Now, at that point in time, if the son of the person who was killed comes to the judge and says, Please, I want to forgive this person. I don't want this person to face a sentence that can't do anything. There is no place for forgiveness.

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This in the law,

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you understand I'm saying

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a thief stole something from me. Right? And he ran away. Now he got caught, evidence is there. Now I feel sorry for the guy saying, Oh, I want to forgive this guy, you can't forgive the guy, there is a sentence which has to be passed. But Islam gives has this because this is the sign of the fact that the law comes from Rahim, Allah subhanaw taala, who is the most forgiving and most merciful, therefore, there is a place for forgiveness in Islamic law. So, for example, in somebody something as serious or highness as a murder, there are several options. One is of course, the straight option, which is to say the person is convicted, and the person is sentenced in Islam is life for

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right therefore, the person was sentenced to be executed. But that person,

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the family of the person who was killed, can

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forgive the person by taking money, which is called blood money. So, they say they can say we know he will not execute it, we, we are willing to accept blood money. So that amount of money is given to them, which is a fixed amount, and the amount is free. So maybe it was a case where there was no pre It was not a premeditated murder, it was you know, some other kind of thing or whatever, even if it made it mother wasn't in house or whatnot. So there is a scoffer there is also scope for a person being completely forgiven totally without even any blood money by the dependence of the of the person who was killed. And unless mantle actually gave procedures to that. And he said this is

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better for you if you understood.

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So now you are actually promoting forgiveness even among the people. Number one, number two, there is no concept in Islamic law of imprisonment.

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Now think about what happens. This is one of the major flaws in all other laws.

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I do something wrong. Right. So now the court takes me and puts me 15 years imprisonment, 20 years imprisonment. Now we've, for us it looks like this is fair, how is it fair? First of all, who's paying for that guy to be in prison, you are paying as a taxpayer. So now you have taken a criminal, and you have made him into a guest of the state for which you are paying as a taxpayer. So now all taxpayers in the country are burdened with the expense of this prisoner. And you're not talking about when we talk about millions. Second thing is I committed the crime. My wife didn't come into the crime, my children did not come into the crime. My parents didn't come into crime. But moment I

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am centers important prison, my wife and children have lost the means of livelihood. So they are on the street, parents, everyone else is,

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you know, is affected by my crime. Everyone looks at them and they say oh my god, look at this girl's father, her criminal mother of a criminal or Okay, so now with this one imprisonment, you are punishing an entire family who have done nothing wrong.

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They probably did not even know that this person was engaged in whatever they're doing

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is happening out today. And he will get convicted of terrorism, crimes and so on. So parents are the last ones to come to know that their son or daughter was was involved in this thing. Every So effectively, not everyone in Islam, there's no punishment, the Islam the punishment is for the individual, then the person comes back into society is a changed person to rehabilitation and so on is not an issue, there are no prisons, the state does not have a huge burden of prisons, so on and so forth. So this is the second thing, theft. In Islam, there is no punishment at all, for somebody who steals out of need.

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Right? To the contrary, that if a person steals out of need and is convicted of stealing, the state is punished to the state is responsible because the law says how is it you are running a country where somebody has to steal bread because he's starving. So, this is the fault and this is a crime by definition with the ruler has committed that you are running a country in such a way that people are are they have to steal in order to live. So therefore, the ruler is responsible to not only the person not punished, but the state is responsible for this state of affairs, then who therefore gets actually had gets chopped, once again, somebody who's a habitual

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thief, so professional thief, who is you know, breaking into houses and this and that and the other and committing crimes, maybe some violence also involved with that all of this if it is completely proved, then the person becomes liable for amputation of one hand now even and that even in their states, the people affected have a right to forgive him. In which case he is free. He is not loving. Let's say you stole from you so

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even that can be done so there's leeway for there is leeway. Yeah, let a lot of leeway for all kinds of alternatives. Pay me back work for me until you until you pay back just by the judge. So just we'll just have the right

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We'd have to do all of this work in the absence of all of that the pauses and discard, even there, see the mercy of that, instead of locking him up in a prison where he now what actually happens in a prison, people get criminalized, because in the prison, they are collaborating with other prisoners and other other criminals. So they actually become criminal. prisons create criminals. I mean, this is a known fact, globally. This doesn't have his back in society, he's and his job. So he's now people also know who he is, and it is a salutary effect on him. But he is back inside, he is now earning and working, and so on and so forth, there's a chance for him to reform himself instead of

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being stuck in a prison.

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The prison system is, of course, a failed system. Essentially, it's the result of societies not knowing what to do with convicted criminals.

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If a person is convicted, even in the case, in India, this is a big thing that prisoners are called people in judicial custody, which means that this person has committed a crime, or apparently, allegedly committed a crime. The crime has not been proved. He hasn't come before the court yet. But the police don't want to lose him. So they just lock him up, as the recent case in the Supreme Court and Supreme Court,

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expressed great astonishment, that a person has been in prison for seven years for stealing saris from a store. And in this entire seven years period, the person has not yet come before a judge. So the Supreme Court says, Well, he's already served seven years imprisonment, without even being convicted or sentenced to how it happened. But it happened because there is no other solution. We just have the prisons, we locked them up. And we sometimes just forget about them, especially if they're poor people, and nobody to, you know, root for them, check for them, and so on. This is what happens. Second thing is that there are in India, there are millions of people who are in prison,

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who are eligible for bail, but they can't get bail, because there is no one to pay that bail money, the poor people. So now you've got a bunch of people sitting in prison. If they had the money, they would have got bail, and they would have got out but they can't get out because there is no money. So this is the second issue. This is what prisons, jails, or prisons basically criminalize people, the guy commits a first time

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criminal if for want of a better word, the first time he commits a crime, he's committed a crime, maybe he's very afraid. He's very sorry for what he what has happened. He really, you know, he's in a mess he is, it's possible to rehabilitate him, to correct him, but he is put into a prison and his companions, there are seasoned criminals, people who have been in prison for, in some cases, many times, and in some cases, many years.

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So what does he learn from them? Definitely not how to be a law abiding citizen. So this is what prisons do. The Islam therefore, the Islamic law, does not have this concept of prisons. So by putting somebody in the prison, you are

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not adding injustice to injustice.

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Instead of that, you sentence them to something and then as I am explaining, there is a huge score for forgiveness in the whole thing, which is the backdrop of all these laws.

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Come to adultery.

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Very heinous, very barbaric punishment. Yes, I agree. Absolutely nothing. Nothing nice about strolling somewhere. But what is the required evidence for adultery? For witnesses of what?

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four witnesses?

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With what are they supposed to be very cautious about?

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That doesn't happen? Have you seen them? What submit the meaning what they must have seen? If you see me if four people see me, right? with a woman who's not my wife, hugging her lying in bed?

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Does that constitute evidence for adultery for storing death?

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Ah, exactly. No, because you don't know what happened. Four independent witnesses of the actual act of copulation?

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Which is

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exactly which is something which is practically impossible. The only way that will happen is if you were doing it in a public place in a park or movie where a Bond movies a definition right one movie, otherwise, no other way, is it possible to actually have four independent witnesses witnessing the actual act of copulation. There is a very famous case

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Where a very famous person was actually seen with a woman. Somebody saw them through an open window, but the case was thrown out of court where they said, Did you actually see the penetration happening? He said, No, he said, no case, not only no case, in Islam, if you accuse somebody of that, if you accuse a person of adultery, and that case cannot be proved, then you are liable for 80 lashes and you are then branded a liar. And your witness is not accepted in court for the rest of your life.

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So this is where there's a counter punishment on the person making the accusation. There is no parallel of for this in any law in any country in any time.

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So yes, people are being strong, but it the only way it comes to that is in a public Now, you might say well, okay, so what is so bad about people you know, having sex in the in public in a park happens to go to every Mardi Gras, it happens go to any any music festival that happens in the West. point is that Islamic view on morality is that if these kinds of things are done in public, then they corrupt all of society, and therefore there's a salutary punishment for that. Now, what about a person or what about people who have committed adultery, and they repent? Nothing.

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Make Toba and you are home and dry? Allah subhanaw taala will forgive. Obviously, I'm not promoting that. No one should go and do that. But I'm saying if that happens, and there are cases of this random number of catalana is said I committed eartips whacked him. I said get out of here. Allah subhanaw taala hid something from the world. Why are you telling the world go make toward Allah subhanaw taala that's it. He didn't send us the sentence into stoning or death or anything. Nothing. He did nothing. He said Just go. Allah has hidden it. Nobody knows. You have no need to go talk about it. Just make Toba don't do it again, finished matters or so in Islam. That's the reason why

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is the result of a sassy, higher tone. Yeah. In the US, there is life for you. Because in the punishments, the punishments are salutary, the punishments are, you know, they they prevent people from aspiring to do those things. That's the whole point of Islamic punishment, that people who are an aspiring criminal will think twice, oh, my God, if I get caught with this thing, I'm going to have some serious problem. So let me not do that. That is the whole point. It's a deterrent, more than anything else that returns Yes, there is a punishment. Yes, if all of those boxes get ticked, you will actually get into a situation where you will be liable to be stoned to death or you're

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liable to have your hand amputated or liable to be hanged or whatever. But then that is a risk that the criminalist take. final point of it is Islam takes a view that the victim of the crime is more entitled to mercy and more entitled to justice than the perpetrator of the crime, who decided to commit the crime in the first place. Now in our modern law, the this is a completely absurd on an on its head, people are saying no, no murderers must not be must not be hanged. What about the guy who died? I mean, they the murderer is alive and well. And you are rooting for him saying you know, remove capital punishment. It is a it is inhuman, blah, blah, how come What is not inhuman? So the

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guy who went and did the murder, that guy to marry? The guy died completely. Now what are you going to bring him back to life, you can't do anything. Now he said, this one is a salutary punishment, it's a deterrent. If you if the person gets hanged, then other people will think twice before murdering. You want to have a problem with that. In South Africa, the classic case, because South Africa does as soon as the new government came in 1995, when Mandela said they abolished capital punishment, but today, the South Africans they're begging to bring back capital punishment. There is so much crime, there's so much and the reason is people are saying they don't care. I mean, I go

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chop anyone I want. I know there's no capital punishment to go to put me in prison or I go and relax in prison for our viewers out again. So they say there's no such a bring it back. Now the whole point is, you just you check something out without thinking about it. Now you're saying bring it back, bring it back. It's not easy. Bring it back is not easy. So Islam, Islamic law comes from Allah Subhana Allah, Allah knows what is right or wrong. Islam therefore gives a lot of importance to the victims of crime.

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Because they deserve that they deserve the victims of crime, they deserve our sympathy they deserve. They deserve mercy. They deserve the you know all of this. So Islam gives a lot of focus to that. Islam tries to address the criminal in as humane way as possible, keeping in mind that he committed the crime. Therefore he is responsible for the consequences of the crime. Nobody forced you to murder someone. You decide to do it. Well, but there is a punishment involved. There is some music that has to that listen to the music also. You can't say well, you know, I did it and I'm free. You're not free. No one told you. Why did you do that? No one told you to steal. No one told you to

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commit adultery. Why do you do that? So if you did that, then there's a music to face. However, having said that, there is a lot of scope for altar.

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At waste, there's a lot of scope for mercy. There's a lot of scope for forgiveness. There's a lot of scope for repenting, all of which is not there in our standard law. So I'm the lead this is why these punishments are which are from Allah subhanaw taala. We definitely we support them and we also support the whole tool. We also support the fact that one must look at it in the context of the whole Islamic social and cultural environment, which is what we should try to bring into the picture. That is the story