Being Muslim, it is obligatory for us to accept wholeheartedly all the tenets/laws of Islam.
Islam has ordained three kinds of punishments namely Hadd, Qisas and Tazir for different offences and crimes subject to fulfillment of certain prerequisites. Hadd is an Arabic word which literally means limit and its plural is Hudood. According to Islamic law, Hadd means those punishments whose limit has been prescribed in the Holy Quran. Generally the punishments under Hadd relate to fornication/adultery, slander, drinking wine, apostasy and theft/robbery.
The punishment of Hadd for adultery is Rajam i.e. stoning to death for those who are married and for those who are un-married/bachelors the punishment is 100 stripes. This sentence was not introduced by Islam but even before Islam, this sentence was present in other divine books like Torah that was revealed to the Moses. However, certain strict requirements are needed for the enforcement of this punishment such as confession of the accused or the testimony of four witnesses who fulfill the strict requirements of Tazkiaatusshaood, which is the procedure for ascertaining credibility and the veracity of witnesses in Islamic law. In this regard, Almighty God says in verse number 2 of Surah Noor, ‘Those who fornicate whether female or male’ flog each one of them with 100 lashes. And let not tenderness for them deters you from what pertains to Allah’s religion, if you do truly believe in Allah and the Day of Judgment and let a party of believers witness their punishment’.
The punishment of Hadd for Qazf or slander is whipping 80 stripes and a person who has been convicted for the offence of Qazf is liable to Hadd, his evidence shall not be admissible in any court of law. Qazf means accusing any person of adultery/zina with the intention of harming the reputation of that person or to hurt the feelings of that person. In this regard, Almighty God says in verse number 4 of Surah Noor, ‘Those who accuse honourable women (of unchastity) but do not produce four witnesses, flog them with 80 lashes, and do not admit their testimony ever after. They are indeed transgressors’. The requirement for the enforcement of Qazf is that either the accused confesses before a court of law of the commission of Qazf or the accused commits Qazf in the court and at least two Muslim adult male witnesses who fulfill the strict requirements of Tazkiaatusshaood give direct evidence of the commission of Qazf.
The punishment of Hadd for theft is amputation of right hand from the joint of the wrist if the theft is committed for the first time. In this regard, Almighty God says in verse number 38 of Surah Maidah, ‘As for the thief ‘ male or female ‘cut off the hands of both. This is a recompense for what they have done, and an exemplary punishment from Almighty Allah. Allah is All-Mighty, All-wise. The requirement for enforcing Hadd for theft is that either the accused confesses before a court of law of the commission of theft or at least two Muslims adult male witnesses who fulfill the strict requirements of Tazkiaatusshaood testifies against the accused. There are also some other requirements for the imposition of Hadd in respect of theft such as the property stolen is of the value of Nisab or more, the property is removed from Hirz i.e the arrangements for the custody of property, etc. The Nisab for theft liable to Hadd is 4.457 grams of gold or other property of equivalent value at the time of theft.
The punishments of Hudood are the fundamental and integral part of Islam and cannot be done away with or abolished on the demand of certain elements.
Qisas is also a kind of punishment in Islamic law, meaning ‘retaliation and follows the principle of an eye for an eye. In this kind of punishment, Islam allows retaliation by the next of kin of the deceased person. In lieu of it, the next of kin of the deceased may demand and accept blood-money which is called Diyat. Islam allows retaliation and gives the right of pardon to the wronged’ person and not to the state. The wronged’ person may also forgive the accused. In this regard, Almighty God says in verse 45 of Surah Maidah, ‘And therein We had ordained for them (Jews): A life for a life, and an eye for an eye and a nose for a nose, and an ear for an ear, and tooth for a tooth, and for all wounds, like for like. But whosoever foregoes it by way of charity, it will be for him expiation. Those who do not judge by what Almighty God has revealed are indeed the wrong-doers. Similarly, in verse No. 178 and 179 of Surah Baqara, Almighty God declares, ‘Believers! Retribution is prescribed for you in cases of killing: if a freeman is guilty then the freeman; if a slave is guilty then the slave; if a female is guilty, then the female. But if something of a murderer’s guilt is remitted by his brother, this should be adhered to in fairness and payment be made in goodly manner. This is alleviation and a mercy from your Lord; and for him who commits excess after that there is a painful chastisement (178). People of understanding, there is life for you in retribution that you may guard yourselves against violating the law (179).
Tazir is also a kind of punishment. Its literal meaning is to punish. According to Shariah, Tazir comprises those punishments which are not covered by Hadd or where the conditions necessary for enforcement of Hadd are not fulfilled. In such cases, the qazi or judge is authorised to fix the term, nature and extent of punishment. Tazir may be inflicted by imposition of fine, imprisonment, death, compensation, admonition or reprimand, etc. Due to the strict and fool proof requirements needed for the imposition of Hadd, the Islamic criminal system is based on a large extent on the doctrine/system of Tazir. The objective of punishment is to prevent the recurrence of crimes and the rectification/reformation of offenders and society.
The punishments of Hudood are the fundamental and integral part of Islam and cannot be done away with or abolished on the demand of certain elements. If there are some deficiencies in our investigative, procedural and prosecution system, then instead of criticising the Hudood laws we should use our energies and make all-out efforts for removing those lacunas and for ameliorating our administrative, police and legal systems, as the Hudood laws are based on the verses of Holy Quran and sayings/practices of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Being Muslim, it is obligatory for us to accept wholeheartedly all the tenets/laws of Islam and to have a concrete belief that these are for the well-being of humanity. In the garb of liberalism and modernism, the Muslims are not allowed to accept some injunctions of Islam and to discard and desecrate others as per their worldly whims and wishes.