Islamic criminal jurisprudence
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Islamic criminal law (Arabic: فقه العقوبات) is criminal law in accordance with Sharia. Strictly speaking, Islamic law does not have a distinct corpus of "criminal law." It divides crimes into three different categories depending on the offense – Hudud (crimes "against God", whose punishment is fixed in the Quran and the Hadiths); Qisas (crimes against an individual or family whose punishment is equal retaliation in the Quran and the Hadiths); and Tazir (crimes whose punishment is not specified in the Quran and the Hadiths, and is left to the discretion of the ruler or Qadi, i.e. judge). Some add the fourth category of Siyasah (crimes against government), while others consider it as part of either Hadd or Tazir crimes.
Sharia courts, unlike other legal systems in the world, do not use jury or prosecutors on the behalf of society. Crimes against God are prosecuted by the state as hudud crimes, and all other criminal matters, including murder and bodily injury, are treated as disputes between individuals with an Islamic judge deciding the outcome based on sharia fiqh such as Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i, Hanbali and Jafari followed in the Islamic jurisdiction.
- Drinking alcohol (sharb al-khamr, شرب الخمر)
- Theft (as-sariqah, السرقة)
- Highway robbery (qat`a at-tariyq, قطع الطريق)
- Illegal sexual intercourse (az-zinā', الزناء)
- False accusation of illegal sexual intercourse (qadhf, القذف)
- Apostasy (irtidād or ridda, ارتداد) - includes blasphemy.
The punishment for stealing is the amputation of the hand (Quran 5:38). This practice is still used today in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Northern Nigeria. In Iran, amputation as punishment was described as "uncommon" in 2010, but in 2014 there were three sentences of hand amputation, and one of eye gouging in 2015. Fingers, but not the complete hand, were amputated as punishment four times in 2012-13.
Rajm, which means stoning, is the Hudud punishment wherein an organized group throws stones at a convicted individual until that person dies. Under Islamic law, it is the prescribed punishment in cases of adultery or homosexual acts committed by a married man or married woman. The conviction requires a confession from either the adulterer/adulteress, or the testimony of four witnesses (as prescribed by the Quran in Surah an-Nur verse 4), or pregnancy outside of marriage.
Lashing is the hudud punishment for premarital sex (a type of zina) and for the accusation of rape without providing four male witnesses to the rape. This form of punishment is sometimes combined with stoning for zina-related hudud crimes.
Public beheading is one of the hudud punishments for crimes such as those related to intoxicants such as drugs and the crime of apostasy. It is in use in modern era sharia-based justice system of Saudi Arabia.
The issue of qisas gained considerable attention in the Western media in 2009 when Ameneh Bahrami, an Iranian woman blinded in an acid attack, demanded that her attacker be blinded as well. The concept of punishment under Qisas is not based on "society" versus the "individual" (the wrong doer), but rather that of "individuals and families" (victim(s)) versus "individuals and families" (wrong doer(s)). Thus the victim has the ability to pardon the perpetrator and withhold punishment even in the case of murder. Bahrami pardoned her attacker and stopped his punishment (drops of acid in his eyes) just before it was to be administered in 2011.
We have prescribed for thee therein (the Torah) ‘a life for a life, and an eye for an eye, and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds retaliation;’ but whoso remits it, it is an expiation for him, but he whoso will not judge by what God has revealed, these be the unjust.
Tazir includes any crime that does not fit into Hudud or Qisas and which therefore has no punishment specified in the Quran. Tazir in Islamic criminal jurisprudence are those crimes where the punishment is at the discretion of the state, the ruler or a Qadi, for actions considered sinful or destructive of public order, but which are not punishable as hadd or qisas under Sharia.
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