Question: what is the philosophy of cutting hands in Islam?

Discussion in 'Islamic Discussion' started by saiqa-gellane, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. saiqa-gellane
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    What is the philosophy of cutting hands in Islam ? Person who has no arms how he can survive in society ? And what Islam says about the victim of this punishment? Is not Islam making people unable to get their needs?
  2. Umm Shareef
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    Assalam Aleikum,

    It serves as a reminder not to steal. Yes it is a severe punishment, but it is easily avoided and works very effectively as a deterrent. In any case, it is prescribed by Allah subhanahu wa ta'alaa in the Qu'ran so we should not question it, but be grateful that He has provided it for the protection of society. Any by the way it works.

    As far as the victim of the punishment is concerned, he should have thought about that before stealing.
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  3. saiqa-gellane
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    Assalam Aleikum
    Thanks for reply. I want to ask my question in detail . I use to chat with some non Muslims and while I was saying that Islam gives us best rules and laws in every field of life than one person questioned me "How come it's best when you 'as a punishment of stealing' cut hands of a person? OK let say it's fine but wait what for next? Without hands that person can't fill his daily life's need, in another view Islam making people society victims, without punishment stealer will not stop, Punishment will make him a society victim so how can you still say it's still best?(He has given me example of Christianity as in Christianity stealer have to add a fifth of robbing thing as compensation.)" I have made a little search about it but couldn't satisfy.
  4. Umm Shareef
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    Wa aleykum as salaam,
    The punishment is there to protect society as a whole, which it does very effectively through its deterrent effect alhumdulillah. The thief is not a victim, he has brought it on himself and deserves what comes to him. In Islam our sympathy is for the victims of crime rather than for the perpetrator, which is often the way of the disbelievers. The punishment is intended to make the thief suffer during and afterwards, and is always carried out in public so that everyone can see for themsleves the consequences of disobeying Allah subhanahu wa ta'alaa.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
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  5. T_E_S
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    I believe Islamic punishments should only be applied when Islamic virtues are being applied.

    Would a person who steals to survive be doing that if Islam's standard of charity is being applied? Islam is a flexible religion. Everyone who downloaded a movie or show, or song, should theoretically have their hand cut off. But that'd be insane.

    Islam is about responsibility. Crimes are done by bad people, or crazy people, crazy and bad people can come from my family, your family, this and that family, society as a whole. When the virtues of Islam are applied, it's outrageous that someone would steal, or commit some other such crime, so harsh punishments are there to deter it.
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  6. saiqa-gellane
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    Thanks.
    After reading your reply I am confused. Can we make an excuse on the this punishment ? Like we can set hands cut punishment at one million? Or as you said Islam should be followed all but the fact of the time is we can't avoid (generalities) robbery of 3Denar (somehow). So when should must this punishment would be applied? And trounced person can take Zakkat?
  7. saiqa-gellane
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    JaZaK-ALLAH
  8. T_E_S
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    Hi, no. It isn't about excuses, but flexibility.

    How can a ''Muslim'' country that makes no social, economic and charitable provisions to protect its society that are instructed by Islam, then inflict Islamic punishment for crimes? Harsh punishment is the second way to deter crimes, the first way should always be to minimise how many criminals our society creates in the first place. This is why you have to apply the virtues of Islam. It is just my take, that's all.

    The punishment should be applied in stable and righteous Islamic states where the correct provisions are made. Some bad things, in some places and eras, are SO common that to apply true punishment would be extremely counter-productive, hence the illegal downloads comment.
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  9. MehmetHilmi
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    Well, we should first look at issues or situations that cause people to steal. I mean, a person born into poverty is more likely to do crime than a person born in a well to do family. So a government's first task should be to eradicate those problems within society first.

    Some "Islamic" groups are hell bent on applying harsh capital punishments to countries in which poverty is rampant. And that is the image that non-Muslims get of Sharia. They think it is only based on punishments. Many times, these punishments are carried out in very extreme and harsh manners.

    Here is what I propose. Early Muslims used to be slaveholders, but Muslims have gotten rid of slavery now. So, we can get rid of some other things, right? Why don't we interpret those commands in a different light. For instance, imprisoning instead of cutting off hands. In cases where the theft is very serious, then those punishments (cutting hands) could be applied after long court processes. Plus, I am against public punishments. I do not want to see a person's hands getting cut off while just strolling around.

    But in conclusion, let's fix our own countries first. Let's fix poverty. Then we can move to the next step and argue for specific punishments.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
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  10. T_E_S
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    Careful. This is a similar thing to my illegal download comment, where it is, at a certain era, SO common that punishing it is infeasible, so rather than punish it, you make rules to phase it out. This is what the Islam did with slavery. If you or I went to a marketplace in Sudan or somewhere and brought a slave right now, we'd no doubt be doing wrong. This is the example Muslims should follow to beat rampant problems.
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  11. saiqa-gellane
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    :jazaak:
    It was helpful thanks.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  12. Umm Shareef
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    Whatever our personal opinions are about the rights and wrongs of this punishment may be - and yes it may seem severe and even horrific to some - we should not forget that it is from the Qu'ran, was practiced by the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and is there as a small part of a much wider package of laws created by Allah subhanahu wa ta'alaa to preserve a safe society and protect the innocent. Therefore we should be grateful for it alhumdulillah.
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  13. cabdixakim
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    from Allah we are and to him is our return.as far as the rulings of Allah go there are no compromises,Allah clearly says in the Holy Quran in several places that whoever doesn't judge by what Allah has revealed are the disbelievers,the wrong doers,in other verse are the transgresors.
    since you believe in the obligation of Salah,zakah,Hajj,Swaum and have no objectios why then argue in this rule of Allah.Allah says in chapter 2 verse 85 ".............Do you then believe in a part of the book and disbelieve in the other?what then is the reward of those among you as do this but disgrace in the life of this world,and on the day of resurrectiont they shall be sent back in the most grievous chastisement.And Allah is not heedless of what you do."
    Allah and his Rasuul declared that muslims are brothers.we are commanded to take good care of the neighbours in the extent that the prophet(s.a.w)says,"if any of you cooks something let him make the soup plenty so as to atleast give neighbour something to eat".The prophet(s.a.w)commands us never to sleep in full belly when our neighbour is hungry.Then the prophet commands the labourer to be given his wages before his sweat dries up.Then Allah made Swadaqah(charity)highly rewardable.Then Allah made the obligation of Zakah to be given to 8 catogories of people who are the lowest class of people on(on that occassion) to eradicate what?a case like this,poverty and all sorts of elements which are socially not acceptable. Who after all these, steals or caught in a case of theft..in an established Islamic state............
    Allah says,"and as for the man and women addicted to theft,cut off their hands as a punishement for what they have earned,an exemplary punishement from Allah.And Allah is mighty,wise."

    this can only be carried in well established Islamic state where there are sufficient witnesses and the judgement is fare.As for his family if there are in that case will be taken care of by the Baitul mal of the state.
    Allah says in Nisa verse27."Allah desires to make light your burden and man was created weak"
    and Allah says after that in kahf verse 54,"And indeed we have made distinct in this Quran for mankind every kind of description;and man is in most things contentious."

    I urge you and myself never to comment things that we have no understanding to.I can see in here many compromising and very heart-breaking comments(by muslims?!!)
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
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  14. MehmetHilmi
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    I strongly disagree. While sometimes the thief is really guilty and not a victim, other times, poor living conditions force people to steal. What do you do about that?

    I'm sorry for bringing my personal opinions to the table, but Im trying to be realistic. I talk about current world problems. While the Qur'an is divine guidance, taking it literally and applying every command literally at every age seems rather unproductive. For instance, why don't we fight against disbelievers anymore? Well because the age of Jihad by the sword is ending. A war in this era would bring much more destruction than success. So, our leaders (at least most of them), have interpreted those verses in different ways. Maybe the fight now is with a pen, or words. Syria is a different situation.
  15. Umm Shareef
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    Assalam aleykum,
    Islam provides for people in poverty through zakat so there really is no excuse. In times of famine and drought the punishment does not apply either. It is only carried out if very clear conditions are met.

    Masha'allah, I fully agree with that.
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  16. MehmetHilmi
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    Islam provides for people in poverty, but Muslims don't. If our people were able to apply every Islamic principle fully, then all these punishments would be perfect. Unfortunately, the world is imperfect and unbalanced, so we have to compromise some things for the sake of general stability.

    I don't know what to say anymore. Sometimes I feel as if I am speaking completely out of personal viewpoints, please excuse me if I sound un-Islamic at some points.

    Ve Aleykum Selam sister Umm Shareef. :)
  17. SonOfAdam
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    Asslamu Aleykum,

    I need to clarify a couple things for those that may not know much about this. Firstly it is not the arms, but the right hand that is cut off of thieves. Secondly, it should only be done to those that steal for a profession and to make profit and not for those that are stealing food because they are starving and it should also not be done for stealing inexpensive things- this is from the Sunnah. Omer R.A., and I am sure there are lots of examples, let a man go after he stole some food he took because he was starving. The Prophet SAW also forbade cutting off hands for people that stole meager things, it has to be something worth value (some amount of grams of gold worth) and also there all kinds of other conditions that must be met first, i.e. the person is sane, there is no confusion in it (if he stole or note), the object was owned by someone, he has reached puberty, etc.

    There are good explanations above but I will go into this from other aspects inshallah, the truth of Islam vs. falsehood is very easy to see if you just do a little digging around. Islam and Shariah is a perfect system elhamdulillah. Allah created us so He knows what is best for us, including such punishments to protect society from evil doers. The same can be said about anything that we follow as Muslims, it is all from Allah SWT, fasting, salaht, hajj, etc.

    So I see this as a mercy on society from Allah SWT so we can know thieves by seeing them with missing hands and be careful around them, they are shamed by it (and they should be) and inshallah it scares them and others from doing it again, a great deterrent as someone above mentioned. Inshallah it also scares them straight and they become better people and Muslims inshallah.

    The other thing is it is a great mercy to the person who's hand is cut in my opinion, I would much rather have my hand cut off then to go to jail for even a year or so for a crime. I think most criminals (especially in the USA) would say "I would give my right arm to not go to jail"- this expression comes to mind, but they only need to give their right hand in this case. :) They still have another hand and nub of remaining right arm so they should be able to get along fine with that for all things in life inshallah. So what your Christians say does not make sense that they are not able to take care of themselves. Tell them the following in the way I am about to explain it inshallah:

    Ask them "If a man comes into your house and is about to kill your father and beating him to death, but your mom comes in and saves your father by hitting the thief in the private parts, what would you do to your mom?"

    They should reply something like "nothing", or "I would just say great job mom, thanks", etc.

    But then say "OK, but then what if your dad, after gaining back his strength and consciousness from the beating, all of a sudden says, 'OK son/daughter, it is over calm down. Now please go get your mother and bring a knife too. I am going to cut off your mother's hand.'"

    Wait for them to reply, it should be something like, "That is ridiculous, why would my father do that or even say that, why would he cut off her hand? Are you insane, what are you trying to get at... my mom just saved his life, why would my father punish her for that?!"

    Let them get out all their feelings of how wrong this is inshallah.

    Reply, "But even still after all your explanation and pleeing your father persistently insists and he wants you to get the knife and cut her hand off still, and if you don't do it, he will do it himself even though he does not even want to cut off her hand. But also the fact that he feels bad that he has to cut her hand off, he wishes he would not feel this way and can show her no pity. So he does end up cutting off her hand, even though she did the action, of hitting someones privates, to save his own life. He also shows her no pity and acts like everything is fine and normal afterwards and expects everyone else to too."

    Then ask them again, "How do you feel about this, do you think it is fair and correct thing that your father did? What would you do or say to your father if he did this? Would you let him do it to begin with?"

    They will say "No of course not! I would disown my father etc." inshallah.

    Again let them vent all their feelings out inshallah. Humor them along if they are not compliant, i.e. "just humor me... tell me what you think about this all, what would you do...."

    So then say "OK, now open your Bible up and go to Deuteronomy..."

    So as you can see they not only have this law of cutting off hands in their own book but they should be performing it with no pity on their own mothers and women if she hits another man in the private parts, even if it is to save a persons life or a person from a severe beating.

    Now inshallah they will begin to question and see that their book and laws are full of mistakes, injustice, and devilish actions like above. And inshallah they will also see the truth in Islam and the great hikmah behind cutting off hands that you have been explaining and how we do it in a sane way (with trial and all the requirements I mentioned above). They should admit their hypocrisy as in their book, the Bible, it is written much worse. In fact, everything they claim we are backward or barbaric for can be found in the Bible and it is much worse in the Bible and severe there- how sad and foolish they are. May Allah SWT guide them. Ameen. At the least they should stop trying to attack our religion from such false and hypocritical viewpoints and you can move onto a more meaningful discusson then some of these famous punishments in Shariah- they think this is what Shariah is but it is really about establishing freedom of religion and justice for all. Never lose confidence in Islam when you talk to such people, with a little research you will quickly see that Islam vs. any other system of government, religion, law, etc. that none of them hold water or come even close to the wisdom and teachings of Islam. Allahu Akbar!

    Elhamdulillah we have Islam directly from Allah SWT and the example of the Prophet SAW and righteous followers of him that has all been perfectly preserved. We can avoid the many pitfalls of these other religions that changed the teaching of Allah and made up laws by there selves. It is obvious to me that the above Christian law is work of men and not from our just Lord. And inshallah we should study our religion since we have it so well preserved and places like the mesjid, Islamic schools, TTI, etc. to go to so we can easily know that Islam is the undeniable truth and everything else next to it does not compare at all to its beauty.

    Please use the search too, you will find lots of nice answers to this very topic.

    And please do not confuse the action of some Muslims and Islam. Muslims are human and are not perfect, but Islam is from Allah alone and it is perfect and if we follow it correctly then we will also be close to perfect Muslims. So it is up to us follow Islam the correct way and teach people about this way too inshallah.

    May Allah reward you all for the nice comments here. Ameen.
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  18. syed zaheer ahme
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    Assalamu Alaikum;
    A true Muslim never question Allah Subhana wa Taa'ala divine laws,
    People of Bani Israel were domed for questioning Allah(SWT)
    wisdom in their dealings. They listen and argue unlike Muslim,
    We hear and obey Allah's Commands.
    Shaitan create Waswasa among human in order to deviate him to Kufar.

    Syed Ahmed
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  19. Precious Star
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    In an Islamic society, there is absolutely no reason to steal, because Muslims must feed and clothe their neighbours.

    So theft requires you to amputate the thieves' hands, but if the same person commits cold-blooded murder, had goes free if the family of the deceased forgives him???.

    Regardless the Quranic indictment is to cut, not amputate.

    "To determine the correct meaning of 5:38 we analyse the key word in the verse. The key word in this verse is the Arabic word"eqta’u".

    The word ‘eqta’u’ (which is the commnd from of the word ‘qata’aa’) has been wrongly interpreted by the traditional scholars to mean ‘to sever’. But the word for sever in Arabic is ‘batara’. In 108:3 we read the word ‘abtar” which speaks of he who has been cut off (his progeny severed). In 5:38 God did not use the word ‘batara’ but used the word ‘eqta’u’. The act of cutting can simply mean causing a wound or a marking. An example is of one who would be working in the kitchen and then may say “I have cut my hand”, this does not mean that he severed his hand!

    To confirm the correct meaning, God has given us in the Quran a clear indication in the story of Joseph. When the women, who were the guests of the governor’s wife, saw how handsome Joseph was they cut their hands (12:31). The same word used in5:38 is used in 12:31. Needless to say these women did not sever their hands.

    We note that the sum of Sura and verse numbers in both cases is identical. This is a sign from God to confirm that the same word in both verses has the same meaning:
    5 + 38 = 43 and 12 + 31 = 43

    Consequently, the punishment for theft according to the Most Merciful is to mark or make a wound in the hand of the offender so that he would be shamed in front of the people.

    God, the Most Merciful, would not decree any person to be punished for the sins of another (6:164). Severing the hand of the thief would deprive him of his livelihood. As a result, his family and dependants would experience hardship for no fault of theirs! God’s law is fair and God’s wisdom is unequalled."


    Think.
  20. Umm Shareef
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    Assalam aleykum sis,

    Sorry but this interpretation does not stack up with the tradition of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). There are numerous narrations about this. Even the hand of the Makhzumi woman was cut off by order of the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). There is a very strong consensus that the hand is cut off at the wrist, provided that the conditions for the hadd for theft have been met (thief must be sane, of the age of responsibility, value of goods stolen, storage requirements etc). A wound on the hand would be easily concealed and no use at all as a deterrent to others.
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