Questions on stoning and hand chopping in Islam?

A new MUST READ article by Jonathan Brown, an Associate Professor and Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University. Reblogged from the Yaqeen Institute

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Often the only things people in the West associate with Islam are stoning and hand chopping. These images permeate our culture, from the trailer of hits like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) to straight-to-cable pablum like Escape: Human Cargo (1998) (again, in the trailer… ‘If you can’t live by their rules, you might die by them’). There is no better example of how our society has consistently and profoundly misunderstood Islam and its tradition of law, known as the Shariah. Stoning and hand chopping do feature in the Shariah, but their actual function can only be understood by stepping back and examining how the Shariah conceives of law overall. Only then can we make sense of its severest corporal and capital punishments, known as the Hudud (pronounced Hudood).

The Idea of God’s Law

The Shariah is not a law code, printed and bound in volumes. It’s the idea of God’s law. Like other broad legal concepts like ‘American law’ or ‘international law,’ the Shariah is a unified whole that contains within it tremendous diversity. Just as American law manifests itself as drastically different traffic laws or zoning codes in different states or locales, so too has the Shariah’s application varied greatly across the centuries while still remaining a coherent legal tradition.

Like other broad legal concepts Shariah is a unified whole containing tremendous diversity.CLICK TO TWEET

The Shariah is drawn from four sources. The first two are believed by Muslims to be revealed by God either directly or indirectly: 1) the revelation of the Quran (which itself, contrary to the claim of a prominent Trump supporter, contains relatively little legal material), and 2) the authoritative precedent of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, known as his Sunna (often communicated in reports about the Prophet’s ﷺ words and deeds, called Hadith). These two sources work in tandem. The Sunna is the lens through which the Quran is read, explaining and adding to it.

The second two sources are the products of human effort to understand and channel the revelation of God through the Prophet: 3) the ways that the early Muslim community applied the Quran and the Sunna, and 4) the further extension of this tradition of legal reasoning by Muslim scholars in the centuries since. The human effort to mine these sources and construct concrete, applicable rules from the abstraction of the Shariah is known as fiqh. If Shariah is the idea and ideal of God’s law, then fiqh is its earthly – and thus its inevitably fallible and diverse – manifestation.

If Shariah is the ideal of God’s law, then fiqh is its earthly-fallible and diverse–…CLICK TO TWEET 

There’s More to Law than Law and Order

A great irony in the ubiquity of stoning and hand cutting in the popular imagination is that these punishments constitute a minuscule portion of the Shariah. The tradition of law in Islam is the Muslim effort to answer the question ‘What pleases God?’ in any particular situation. As such, unlike what we think of as law in modern states, the Shariah encompasses every sphere of human activity. Most of these areas would never see the inside of a courtroom in a Muslim state let alone in the West (though, oddly, obscure points in Islamic law do sometimes come up in cases on freedom of religion). If we were to look at a typical, comprehensive book of fiqh (well over a dozen volumes, usually), we’d find that the core subjects of the Shariah are the forms of worship in Islam, including prayer (and the rules of ritual purity needed to perform it), fasting, charity tithes, the pilgrimage to Mecca and hunting and slaughter of animals (about 4 volumes out of 12). Only then would we find recognizable areas of the law such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, contracts, property, liability, injuries, etc. Although they are seemingly the only thing most people know about the Shariah, in a typical book of fiqh less than 2% of the book is devoted to the Hudud crimes and their punishments.

Stoning and hand cutting are punishments that constitute a minuscule portion of the Shariah.CLICK TO TWEETLess than 2% of a typical fiqh book is devoted to the most severe crimes and their punishments.CLICK TO TWEET

Criminal Law in Islam & The West

In order to understand Islamic criminal law, we have to make sure we understand what we mean by criminal law in the first place. Most areas of law in the US, Europe and elsewhere are civil law, meaning they deal with people’s rights over and obligations to each other. These include contracts, marriage, property, etc. The government might play a role in adjudicating disputes in these areas through the infrastructure of courts, but these are disputes between private parties over wrongs they do each other.

Crimes are about wrongs done to the public, society or state as a whole, and in most modern states it is the government that acts to bring people who’ve committed them to justice. Of course, wrongs to individuals and wrongs to society can coincide. In old (like, veryold) English law, if a man murdered another man in the street, then two wrongs had been done. The murderer had wronged the victim’s family by killing him, and he had also wronged the king by violating his ‘peace’, or the overall order of his realm (hence our term ‘disturbing the peace’). The murderer was answerable to both aggrieved parties.[1] Centuries (and many, many legal turns) later, we find OJ Simpson on trial for two wrongs: one civil (for wrongful death and the damages this caused the victim’s family), and one criminal (murder) for which he was prosecuted by the state.

As we all recall, OJ was found innocent in his criminal trial but liable (i.e., guilty) in his civil trial. How could this be if the two trials were, in effect, for the same act? Did he commit murder or not? The two trials produced two different results because of different standards for meeting the burden of proof. In civil cases in the US, the jury only has to conclude that the preponderance of evidence indicates that the person is guilty (i.e., over 50% likelihood), while in a criminal trial the jury must be convinced ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’[2]There are different burdens of proof because of the differences in punishments for civil and criminal wrongs. Civil wrongs are punished by compensation. Criminal wrongs are punishable by incarceration or corporal or even capital punishment. In the West, the notion that judges or juries should exercise extra caution in finding someone guilty of a crime comes from canon law (the law of the Catholic Church) in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as does the notion of innocent until proven guilty.[3]

The Shariah has remarkably similar features (actually, I think that Western canon law was influenced a great deal by Islamic law, just as Western philosophy and science were profoundly shaped by Muslim scholars in those fields from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries… but that’s another issue). Muslim jurists didn’t categorize law into civil and criminal law, but these labels are nonetheless useful in trying to understand the Hudud. The categories that Muslim jurists used were those of violations of the ‘rights of God’ (uqūq Allāh) as opposed to violations of the ‘rights of God’s servants’, i.e. human beings (uqūq al-ʿibād). The rights of human beings include the right to physical inviolability (in other words, one can’t be killed or harmed without just cause), the right to dignity, the right to property, the right to family, and the right to religion.

Just as in modern human rights, these rights are not absolute. They can be infringed upon with just cause. But they belong to all human beings regardless of whether they are Muslims or not. If someone breaks your toe, smashes into your car or reneges on a contract they made with you, they owe you compensation because they have violated your rights. They owe this even if they didn’t intend any of these actions, since the damage was done and they were the cause. The same applies in American civil law (in both Islamic and American law, an exception would be if you smashed someone’s car because someone else threw you onto it, which was out of your control). Along the same lines, according to the rights of human beings in the Shariah, if someone steals your phone from you, they owe you either the return of your phone or its replacement value. If someone kills your family member accidentally, then your family is owed the compensation value as specified in the Quran and the Sunna. In such cases, as taught by the Prophet ﷺ, the job of the judge is to “ensure that all those with rights receive them.”[4]

Violations of the ‘rights of God’ in the Shariah are an important counterpart to crimes in the Western legal tradition. Of course, the ultimate ‘right of God’ upon mankind, as explained by the Prophet ﷺ, is for God to be worshipped without partner, and this right extends to other acts of worship as well, like giving the Zakat charity.[5] But, unlike human beings, God is eminently beyond the capacity of any creature to harm. Also unlike human beings, God has “ordained upon Himself mercy” (Quran 6:54), and promised that His “mercy encompasses all things” (Quran 7:156). This element of God’s vast mercy plays a crucial role in the other rights of God that Muslim jurists have identified, namely the crimes known as the Hudud.

What are the Hudud?

The concept of Hudud in Islamic criminal law is not found in the Quran, though it is referred to in Hadiths considered authentic by Muslims.[6]Ḥudūd in Arabic is the plural of add, meaning limit or boundary. The Quran mentions the “limits of God” several times, warning Muslims of the sin of transgressing them and that they should not even approach them (Quran 2:187). But nowhere does the phrase appear in the clear context of labeling certain crimes (see Quran, 2:229, 4:14, 58:4, 65:1, though 4:14 is followed by discussion of sexual impropriety).

As the famous scholar Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) noted, definitions for the categories of crimes (and their corresponding punishments) in Islamic law were the products of human reason and not scripture.[7] Early Muslim jurists probably inherited the concept of a category of crimes called Hudud from references to it made by the Prophet ﷺ and the early generations of Muslims. Muslim scholars have agreed that the Hudud include: adultery/fornication (zinā), consuming intoxicants (shurb al-khamr), accusing someone of fornication (qadhf), some types of theft (sariqa), and armed robbery or banditry (irāba). Muslim schools of law have disagreed on whether three other crimes should be included as well: public apostasy (ridda), sodomy (liwāṭ) and assassination/premeditated murder for purposes of robbery (ghīla).[8]

What is in common among the Hudud crimes is that their punishments are specified in the Quran or Sunna and that they are considered to be violations of the rights of God.[9] Of course, some of the Hudud are also violations of the rights of humans as well. Sariqa (the Hudud-level of theft, see below), qadhf (sexual slander) and irāba (armed robbery, banditry) are obviously violations of people’s rights to life, property and/or dignity.

The scriptural commands that specify these Hudud punishments are, in summary:

  • Zinā: The Quran commands that men and women who engage in fornication be lashed 100 times (Quran 24:2), and Hadiths add that if the person is single and has never been married then they should also be exiled for a year.[10] The Hanafi school of law does not accept the additional punishment of exile because it does not deem the Hadiths in question strong enough evidence to alter the Quranic ruling. It was agreed upon by all the Muslim schools of law that the Quranic punishment referred to here was for unmarried people. Married men and women guilty of adultery are punished by stoning, as demonstrated in the Sunna of the Prophet.[11]
  • Sariqa: the Quran specifies that the thief, male or female, should have their hand cut off “as a requital for what they have done and as a deterrent ordained by God” (Quran 5:38).
  • Qadhf: The Quran commands that anyone who accuses someone of adultery and does not provide four witnesses to the alleged act should be lashed 80 times and should never again have their testimony accepted (Quran 24:4).
  • Shurb al-Khamr: Though the Quran prohibits drinking wine (khamr) and intoxication, the punishment for drinking comes from the Sunna. The most reliable Hadiths state that the Prophet ﷺ would have a person lashed 40 times for intoxication, but the caliphs Umar and Ali subsequently increased this to 80 after consultation with other Companions.[12]
  • Ḥirāba: This crime is understood to be set out in the Quran’s condemnation of “those who make war on God and His Messenger and seek to spread harm and corruption in the land.” The Quran gives it the harshest punishment in Islam: crucifixion and/or amputating hands and feet (Quran 5:33). The vast majority of Muslim scholars have held that this verse was revealed after a group of men brutally blinded, maimed and murdered a shepherd and then stole his camels. The Prophet ﷺ ordered the killers punished in exactly the same way.[13] Yet prominent scholars were skeptical of reports that he had actually ordered the murderers’ hands or feet cut off.[14] This disagreement between the punishments ordered by the Quran and by the Prophet ﷺ may have been because the Prophet’s ﷺ order came before the verse was revealed,[15] but the ambiguity is generally understood as illustrating that the ruler/state has discretion in deciding the proper punishment for irāba.[16]

The Hudud do not cover what most legal systems would consider the most serious part of criminal law: murder. But this does fall within what we can term Islamic criminal law. Although the Quran and Sunna conceptualize murder, accidental killing, as well as physical injuries done to others, as private wrongs against individuals and their families, from the time of the Prophet ﷺ it was the state that oversaw these disputes and carried out punishments. These were violations of the rights of people, but they also touched on the realm of public order and violence, which was the territory of the ruler.[17] Since cases of homicide were brought by the victim’s kin (much like in the West until the nineteenth century), the state (in the person of the judge or governor) would be responsible for bringing cases for victims with no kin, on the basis of the Prophet’s ﷺ saying that “The authority (sulṭān) is the guardian of those who have no guardian.”[18] The state also often took responsibility for compensating victims and their families when the guilty party could not be identified.[19]

God’s Mercy and Applying the Hudud Punishments

Violations of people’s rights have to be restituted because those people have suffered actual damage or loss. God, on the other hand, is not actually harmed by violations of His rights. In the case of the rights of God, it is God’s mercy that defines Islamic legal procedure. Only an adult Muslim of sound mind and who is aware that one of the Hudud acts has been prohibited by God and still intentionally engages in it is even theoretically liable for the punishment.[20] In this regard, the Hudud crimes differ from violations of the rights of people, such as accidental manslaughter or accidentally damaging someone’s property, where intention is not required and children’s families are liable for damage they cause.

The central principle in the application of the Hudud punishments is maximizing mercy. This was formulated clearly in a Hadith attributed to the Prophet ﷺ that was also echoed by prominent Companions, among them his wife Aisha and the Caliphs Umar and Ali. The best attested version states, “Ward off the Hudud from the Muslims as much as you all can, and if you find a way out for the person, then let them go. For it is better for the authority to err in mercy than to err in punishment.”[21] Within a century of the Prophet’s death Muslim scholars had digested this Hadith into the crucial legal principle of ‘Ward off the Hudud by ambiguities (shubuhāt).’[22]

The central principle in the application of Shariah’s most severe punishments is maximizing…CLICK TO TWEET

Some might argue that this doctrine was developed by Muslim jurists in the generation after the life of the Prophet ﷺ to remedy the Quran’s harsh punishments. In other words, they inherited a regime of severe punishments and maybe they thought they needed to find some way out of applying them. Or one might argue that the Prophet himself ﷺ preached warding off the Hudud if at all possible because he was uncomfortable with the punishments revealed in the Quran.

But neither of these theories could be correct. The establishment of a harsh regime of punishments alongside a nearly unreachable standard of proof occurs together within the Quran itself. The Quran ordains that those who commit adultery should be lashed 100 times, but just one verse later it states that anyone who accuses someone of adultery without four witnesses to the act is punished with 80 lashes for slander.[23] Why would a message seeking to establish an order of law set up harsh punishments but then make them almost impossible to apply? We will discuss this later, but now let’s turn to the ambiguities (shubuhāt) that Muslim jurists elaborated to avoid applying the Hudud.

The Muslim jurists who developed the massive and diverse body of fiqh took the Prophet’s command to ward off the Hudud very seriously. Some of the procedural safeguards were found in the Quran itself, such as the requirement for four witnesses to zinā. A significant number were added in the Hadiths. In the most famous case (there are six known instances) of the Prophet ﷺ ordering a man stoned for adultery, the man comes to the Prophet ﷺ and confesses his sin. The Prophet asks him if he is crazy, and when he continues to insist the Prophet ﷺ suggests that perhaps he only kissed the woman.[24] In order to prevent witnesses from assuming sex was occurring when perhaps the couple was just embracing or lying on top of one another, the Prophet ﷺ required the witnesses to testify that they’d seen “his penis enter into her vagina like an eyeliner applier entering into its container.”[25] Because the man who confessed, Māʿiz, insisted on confessing four times to the Prophet ﷺ, the majority of Muslim scholars require all confessions of zinā to be done four times. Anything less cannot be punished by the Hudud.[26]

Based on the same case of Māʿiz, jurists agreed that even someone who had confessed to zinā could retract that confession at any point and no longer face the Hudud punishment. Finally, even external signs such as pregnancy were not considered proof that zināhad occurred in the opinion of the majority of Muslim scholars. For example, if a woman’s husband had been away for years, he could have been miraculously transported to be with her.[27] Or she could have been raped. The one school that did consider pregnancy determinative proof of zinā (assuming the woman didn’t claim she had been raped) allowed the possibility that a woman could be pregnant for up to five years. Normally in the Shariah, such miraculous or fantastic claims would carry no weight in legal matters. But as possible ambiguities to prevent application of the Hudud, they were accepted.[28]

This immense allowance for ambiguities in ruling on sexual offenses can be seen most clearly in the Hanafi school of law, which was the official school of the Ottoman Empire. When prostitutes and their clients were caught, they were not tried for zinā due to the (admittedly outlandish) ambiguity that prostitution was structurally similar to marriage; both were exchanges of sexual access for money (in the case of marriage, the groom’s dowry payment).[29] This is not because Muslim scholars had any sympathy for prostitution or a low regard for marriage, but rather because they hunted for any possible ambiguity to avoid implementing the Hudud.

In the case of sariqa, the strict definition of the crime laid out by the Sunna explains why I’ve been so reluctant to translate it as theft. Sariqa is only a very specific kind of theft. First, Hadiths specify that a thief would only have their hand cut off stealing something over a certain value.[30] In another Hadith, as well as in the practice of the Companions, we are told that an accused thief should be prompted two or three times to deny that he stole.[31] In court procedure, what this means is that, even if the thief is caught red-handed, with the usual number of witnesses (two) testifying that they saw him steal, all the thief has to do is claim that the item was his, and enough ambiguity would be established to make hand cutting out of the question.[32] On the basis of an instance in which a man stole a cloak from under a sleeping man’s head, jurists concluded that only something stolen from a secure location (irz), a concept determined by local custom and conditions, merited the Hudud punishment.[33] The Prophet (peace be upon him) also exempted acts of misappropriation done blatantly in the open.[34] In the end, the list of requirements that Muslim scholars agreed on to eliminate all ambiguities reaches (See Appendix Requirements for Amputation for Theft from al-Subki) . As a result, as described by scholar Rudolph Peters, it is “nearly impossible for a thief or fornicator to be sentenced, unless he wishes to do so and confesses.”[35]

This system of making it virtually impossible to implement the Hudud punishments through ambiguities characterized the Hudud crimes of intoxication and, to a lesser extent, sexual slander as well. Someone who smells of alcohol would not be liable for the Hudud punishment. Even someone who was seen drunk and vomiting up wine was not subject to the Hudud punishment according to most Muslim jurists because he could have drunken the wine accidentally.[36] Since Muslim scholars have disagreed a great deal about what constitutes an intoxicant, the approach to applying the Hudud punishment has been to follow Imam Shafi’s position that “people are only punished based on certainty.”[37]

Off the Hook? How Non-Hudud Crimes were Punished

Of course, just because an ambiguity was found to avoid the Hudud punishment, this did not mean that the alleged wrongdoer was off the hook. Rather, their offense simply dropped from the upper echelon of violations of the rights of God to the violations of the rights of human beings (see Shariah chart below). Such offenses were punished according to taʿzīr, or discretionary punishment set by the judge. So a thief who had been caught red-handed by two, upstanding witnesses (the standard evidentiary bar for crimes) stealing a bar of gold from a safe deposit box could avoid the Hudud punishment by simply denying he had done it. He would not have his hand cut off. But there was still sufficient evidence to convict him of theft at the level of ghaṣb, or usurpation (similar to petty larceny or the civil wrong of conversion in common law). An unmarried couple found naked in bed could not be punished for zinā, but they could still be severely disciplined.

hudud-chart

A judge or governor could also draw on his authority to maintain public order to punish offenses that fell below the threshold of Hudud. For example, someone who stank of wine and was obviously drunk might not be punished at the level of Hudud, but he could still be punished below that level.[38] In the case of armed robbery/banditry, if the perpetrators repented and surrendered, then these ambiguities would drop the offense from the Hudud range. But they were still liable for the punishments for homicide and non-Hudud theft.[39]

Unlike American laws’ different burdens of proof in civil versus criminal cases, the main protection against conviction for a Hudud crime was not the burden of proof (though this was almost unachievable in the case of zinā). The escape hatch was more often provided by the near endless list of ambiguities that the judge saw as his duty to explore.

The analogy of American criminal versus civil law is still useful, since it helps us understand how the accused could be found innocent of an act in one category of law by its standard of evidence and simultaneously found guilty of the same act in another category of law. It was much easier to produce the evidence needed to convince a judge that a perpetrator was guilty of a taʿzīr offense than a Hudud one. In the Shafi school of law, for example, someone could be convicted of non-Hudud theft based on the testimony of one man and two women. And in the Hanbali school slaves could testify in non-Hudud cases.[40] But no major Muslim school of law allowed women or slaves to testify in Hudud cases, since the more restrictions on who could bear witness the more difficult it was to convict the accused.[41] Since taʿzīr is, at its core, determined at the discretion of the judge, some punishment could be assigned without reference to any fixed standard of proof at all.

Discretionary punishment was historically the primary category of punishment in the Shariah. In some schools of law, jurists developed detailed tables of punishments within their schools of law for what taʿzīr punishments applied to what sorts of offenses. Lashing, the bastinado (smacking the soles of the feet with a cane) and, to a lesser extent, incarceration, have been the main methods of punishment. Although there has been disagreement on the details, the most common position among Muslim jurists is that the upper limit of taʿzīr punishments is that they cannot reach the punishment for the equivalent Hudud crime. This was simple in the case of sexual indiscretion or intoxication, for which the Hudud crime had a fixed number of lashes. The most that a taʿzīr punishment could be was 99 lashes for sexual crimes or one day less than one year of exile. Theft was a different matter. Petty theft was generally handled by lashing or short jail time, while repeat offenders could be sent to prisons for thieves (see for more on the types of punishments used in Islamic civilization (see Appendix Types of Taʿzīr Punishment).

One of the most important features of how the Hudud crimes were conceptualized in the Sunna and by later jurists was the central role of avoiding tajassus, or seeking out offenses done in private, and providing satr, or finding excuses for or turning a blind eye to private misconduct. These concepts were rooted in the Quran, which forbids tajassus (Quran 49:12), and the Sunna, where the Prophet ﷺ repeatedly ignores a man trying to confess to having “violated one of the Hudud.”[42] “If you seek out a people’s secret or shameful areas,” the Prophet warns, “You’ll ruin them.”[43]

The Companions understood this as key to legal procedure. The prominent Companion and governor of Kufa, Ibn Masʿūd, was brought a man “whose beard was dripping with wine,” but Ibn Masʿūd’s only response was, “We have been forbidden to seek out faults. But if he does something openly before us, we would hold him responsible for that.”[44]Onereliable report tells that the caliph Umar heard rowdy voices from inside a house in Medina, so he climbed over the wall and found a man with a woman and wine. When he confronted the man, he replied that, while he was indeed committing a sin, Umar had committed three: he had violated the Quranic commands against seeking out faults in others (49:12), against climbing over the walls of houses (2:189) and against entering homes without permission (24:27). Umar admitted his fault and left.

As with other areas of Islamic criminal law, the application of the Hudud ultimately fell under the authority of the ruler or state. Although the Prophet ﷺ warned that, once a Hudud crime had reached the authority, the trial had to be held, this was meant to emphasize that no one could expect favoritism.[45] The Prophet ﷺ and the early caliphs made it clear that the ruling authority could suspend the Hudud punishments entirely if this was necessary, as the Prophet ﷺ ordered for soldiers who stole while out on campaign and as Umar famously ordered for theft in times of famine.[46] As the famous Hanafi jurist al-Kāsānī (d. 1191) wrote, “It is not permissible to carry out the Hudud without the probability of some benefit.”[47]

Historical Application of Hudud in Islamic Civilization

The Muslim judges who applied the rules of fiqh also took the command of the Prophet ﷺ to ward off the Hudud by ambiguities as a divine command. All indications are that the Hudud punishments were very rarely carried out historically. A Scottish doctor working in Aleppo in the mid 1700’s observed that there were only six public executions in twenty years. Theft was rare, he observed, and when it occurred it was punished by bastinado.[48] A famous British scholar of Arabic in Egypt in the mid 1800’s reported that the Hudud punishment for theft had not been inflicted in recent memory.[49] In the roughly five hundred years that the Ottoman Empire ruled Constantinople, records show that only one instance of stoning for adultery took place (contrast this with colonial America/USA, where over fifty people were executed for various sexual crimes between 1608 and 1785).[50]

Jurists’ theories of far-fetched ambiguities found real life application. A Muslim woman in India in the late 1500’s whose husband had died in battle was suddenly found to be pregnant and was accused of fornication. She claimed that her husband had been miraculously brought back to life every Friday night, when he would visit her. Jurists of India’s predominant Hanafi school of law were consulted on the case and replied that it was indeed technically possible for such a miracle to have occurred.[51]

The concept of non-invasiveness (i.e., avoiding tajassus) and covering up faults (satr) also became real practices. Wine drinking, fornication, prostitution and homosexuality became widespread in medieval Islamic civilization. Yet Muslim scholars could do little more than complain about this.[52] One scholar in Mughal India himself strayed into wonton ways, taking up womanizing and throwing drinking parties. When the market police climbed over the wall of his house to break up one such party he reprimanded them by reminding them of the caliph Umar’s lapse. The police left the scholar’s house in shame (the scholar later reformed himself, reports his biographer).[53]

Instances in which thieves did have their hands cut off were shocking to local populations. The famous Moroccan scholar and traveler Ibn Battuta (d. circa 1366) recounts how, in Mecca, when a judicial official had ordered a young man’s hand cut off for stealing, the youth later murdered that judge.[54] The Mughal emperor Akbar the Great (d. 1605) was furious when he found that his chief judge had carried out the execution of a man convicted of a Hudud offense, citing the principle of avoiding this through ambiguities. The judge fell from imperial favor and eventually died in exile.[55]

The best illustration of how seriously judges took the command to ward off the Hudud as a religious duty is a near soap-opera level scandal from Mamluk Cairo in the year 1513. A magistrate from the Hanafi school of law had a gorgeous wife, who was lusted over by a Shafi magistrate. This Shafi judge took advantage of his colleague’s absence to enter the couple’s house and consummate the affair. But a jealous neighbor who also was in love with the wife informed the husband, who immediately returned home, busted into his room and found the couple in his bed. The Shafi magistrate pleaded with the fuming husband, offering him money not to disgrace him publically. The man’s wife pleaded along Shariah lines, saying, “Satr is called for.” But the husband refused and locked them in the bedroom until the authorities arrived. When confronted, the Shafi magistrate confessed to zinā and even wrote out his confession before another magistrate.

Hearing of this scandal, the Mamluk Sultan, al-Ghūrī, was livid at the corruption uncovered amongst his magistrates. So he asked for a ruling by a Shafi judge, who declared (correctly) that the couple should be stoned. The chief judge affirmed, and the Sultan, who had been acknowledged as overly zealous in punishment, was elated. He’d be commemorated for his justice, he exclaimed, since “history would record that someone was stoned for zinā in his time.”

But in the meantime, the couple retracted their confession. Leading scholars wrote that the Hudud punishment would have to be dropped. The Sultan responded in outrage, “O Muslims! A man goes into the house of another man, commits iniquity with his wife, they are caught together under the covers, the man confesses to what he’d done and writes a confession with his own hand, and they say after all this that he can retract it?!” The Sultan convened all the senior judges and jurists at his court, including the then nonagenarian pillar of the Shafi school, Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyyā al-Anṣārī (d. 1520). One leading Shafi scholar, Burhān al-Dīn Ibn Abī Sharīf (d. 1517), replied to the Sultan, “That is God’s law,” warning that whoever executed the couple would be liable for their murder. Zakariyyā al-Anṣārī agreed. Enraged, the Sultan executed the couple anyway, fired all the chief judges and scholars from their judgeships and teaching positions and sent Ibn Abī Sharīf into exile.[56]

We must appreciate what took place in this episode: several leading scholars and judges of Mamluk Cairo accepted dismissal from their posts and exile rather than affirming the application of a Hudud punishment. Writing a century later, the historian Najm al-Dīn al-Ghazzī (d. 1650) remarked that the Sultan’s crime of executing two people without legal right and ignoring the protocols of the Shariah was a cause of the fall of the Mamluk state, which the Ottomans conquered only three years after this scandal.[57]

Aside from the Hudud, Muslim judges have historically generally been conservative about carrying out capital or severe corporal punishment. For example, one of the few instances in which a judge can refuse to enforce the ruling of another court applying another school of law is if that other school has more severe rules on issues like requiring execution for murder.[58] When one of the Ottoman sultans ordered a group of merchants to be executed for disobeying his ruling on fixing prices, a Muslim jurist intervened, objecting that, “It is not permitted to kill these people in the Shariah.” The sultan replied that the merchants had disobeyed an order he had issued, and the scholar replied, “What if your command did not reach them?”[59]

Why Have Rules if You Don’t Follow Them? Law in Pre-modern versus Modern Societies

When my students read about Shariah law, their first reaction after learning about the Hudud is ‘Why have punishments you’re not going to apply?’ This question strikes at the root of the incongruity between modern law and how many view the Shariah. Although it seems obvious and, indeed, essential to many today, the notion that a legal system should function as a routinized and efficiently ordered machine stripped of cultural fictions and traditions is fairly new. It is a product of legal reforms envisioned by modernists like the English philosopher and jurist Jeremy Bentham (d. 1832).

Prior to the comprehensive legal reforms in American and British law from the mid nineteenth century to the mid twentieth, having laws on the books that were not intended to be applied was normal. In fact, it’s still a feature of law today in the US. How many times do we see signs warning us that littering will be punished by a maximum fine of $1000? How many of us know anyone who has been fined $1000 for littering? How many college students are allowed to drink under the age of 21? To quote the conservative legal scholar Robert George (and also Paul of Tarsus), law is our teacher. It is not just a means of resolving disputes or maintaining order. It is a statement by authoritative voices within a society of how that society should be.

Another major historical change was in law enforcement. Modern law enforcement as we know it emerged in Great Britain in the early 19th century. It is no coincidence that Britain was also the first state to transition into a new stage of human history, comparable in its dramatic changes to humans settling down in agricultural communities five millennia prior: that of a modern, industrialized society. This involved changes in every area of human life, from culture and religion to political representation and economic power.

Pre-modern states like France or Britain, not to mention massive multinational empires, were hugely decentralized. Often, the ruler had little direct control outside major urban areas and sometimes only around the capital. What technologies like the railway (Britain was joined by railways in 1851, followed by the US) and the telegraph (in regular use by the 1850’s) enabled states to do was actually project their authority among their populations on a scale never possible before. At the same time, improvements in health care and sanitation meant that, for the first time, the population of a city like London actually grew on its own without depending on immigrants (previously, morbidity in European cities was so high that they were death traps, with higher death than birth rates).[60]By 1850 more than half the population of Britain lived in cities, a milestone reached globally around the year 2000. That meant that problems of crime in cities also saw manifold increases.

So as far as law is concerned, what the modern industrialized, urbanized state and society meant was 1) unprecedented challenges of law and order, 2) a new vision for an ordered, rational, technicalized and bureaucratized world, and 3) the technological, administrative and financial resources to pursue this vision and tackle new challenges.

It is difficult for us to imagine how law and order functioned prior to these mid-nineteenth-century developments. Prior to 1830, Britain had no organized police force. Though major cities like New York and Boston developed police forces by the 1840’s, only after the Civil War did official police forces become a normal feature of urban life in America. Ironically, formal police forces in the US South developed out of the Slave Patrols that had formed decades earlier to track the movement of slaves and free blacks out of fear of rebellion.[61]

Of course, cities had not been lawless up to this point. As early as 1285 the British monarchs had instituted decrees to safeguard law and order in London, just as Louis XIV (d. 1715) did in Paris. But these ad hoc, often unprofessional, watchmen were only found in the capital cities. More importantly, they did not engage in preventative policing (walking the beat) nor investigation of the wide range of crimes reported. The same applied to the institution of the shurṭa, shiḥna or fawjdār (all meaning, roughly, police) in Islamic civilization, which can first be found under the early caliphs.[62]

Prior to the nineteenth century, the only law enforcement officials in cities and towns around the world were the equivalents of local marshals or sheriffs, whose main job was to handle prisoners and provide security in the court. In Britain, if someone committed a serious crime, the assumption was that “a great hue and cry” would be emitted and that a crowd would bring the perpetrator to the courthouse to stand trial.[63] Outside of Islamic metropolises like Cairo or Istanbul, where Shariah courts were readily available to litigate people’s disputes, people in rural areas probably settled most disputes informally within village or family networks.[64]

Marshalls and sheriffs conjure up images of the Wild West, and this is actually helpful. As in films like High Noon (1952) or Tombstone(1993), marshals in pre-modern towns were on their own. Only in exceptional situations could they call on and deputize private citizens for a posse (short for posse comitatus). Films like The Wild Bunch (1969) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (also 1969), in which tough and endearing groups of outlaws are eventually mowed down mercilessly by the sheer ordered force of the modern state, commemorate the losses and gains felt at moving from the self-help and community of the pre-modern to the regimented and impersonal world of the modern.

Simply put, pre-modern states did not have the means to engage in the type of law enforcement that we consider normal today, particularly preventative policing and the investigation of mundane crimes. This important fact lies behind the severity of punishments found in Islamic law and in many pre-modern legal systems for that matter. Though scholars of criminal law continue to disagree on the best means of deterring crime, a common approach has been the utilitarian one formalized by Bentham. Its basic premise is the following equation:

(E)xpected Punishment/Deterrent power = (S)everity of Punishment x (P)robability of getting caught…. E = S x P[65]

In a system where there are few or no police or where the police do not busy themselves investigating crimes, moderately intelligent criminals faced little chance of being caught. According to the E = S x P equation, if the probability (P) of being caught is minuscule, then in order for any meaningful deterrent effect to be created the severity of punishment (S) must be mammoth. Frightening punishments were seen as the only way to deter potential criminals whom police (what few there were) would never be able to reach. We can see this clearly in Britain in the 1700’s and early 1800’s. In 1820 there were over two hundred crimes punishable by death in Britain, including stealing firewood and poaching fish from another’s fishpond.[66] The colony of Virginia had the death penalty for taking vegetables or fruits from a garden.[67]

But, similar to the Hudud, few people convicted of these offenses were actually executed. Putting thousands of petty offenders to death was not the intention of the law in Britain nor its colonies. Scaring people into not breaking the law was. Inevitably, judges and juries would find procedural loopholes to reduce the punishment, such as purposely undervaluing stolen goods to drop the crime from grand larceny (punishable by death) to petty larceny (punishable by flogging).[68]

And we can see how the mindboggling advances in technology and administrative capacity in the mid 1800’s changed Britain’s legal landscape. More effective policing, better prisons and, more importantly, better municipal services and a much-advanced economy meant that more offenders were caught and convicted.[69] (P) went up dramatically, so (S) dropped accordingly. By 1900 Britain had only four death-penalty offenses.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

No discussion of criminal law in the Shariah can pass without addressing the issue of Western revulsion at flogging, the most prominent form of punishment historically employed by Muslim courts, and at the dramatic Hudud punishments of amputation and stoning.

Today we think of incarceration as the normal way of punishing crime, so much so “that it becomes difficult to conceive of a moment when prisons were not at the core of criminal justice,” to quote one noted scholar.[70] But prisons have been the exception, not the rule, for punishment in human history. They are immensely costly, especially for the perennially cash-strapped pre-modern state, and carry with them constant worries over security. Prior to the seventeenth century, when the situation in Europe changed, the main use of prisons globally had been for detaining suspects pending and during trial, not for punishment.

Today incarceration is the norm…But prisons have been the exception-not the rule- in human…CLICK TO TWEET

Corporal punishment, on the other hand, is quick and cheap. Although many condemn it as barbaric today, inflicting some form of pain on the body of the perpetrator has been the main means of punishing serious wrongdoing in human society. In Europe from the Middle Ages through the 1700s, horrendous types of mutilation were standard punishment: amputating hands, fingers, ears, tongues, burning with hot tongs, drawing and quartering, etc.[71] Thomas Jefferson recommended cutting a half-inch hole in the nose of women who engaged in sodomy.[72] To understand how this situation changed, one must appreciate important trends in criminal punishment that accompanied industrialization in the early-modern and modern West.

In the eighteenth century, in Western Europe and later Britain, the dominance of execution and severe corporal punishments made way for various forms of forced labor, imprisonment, and deportation to the colonies. Although the first modern prison opened near Philadelphia in 1790, the philosophy behind it had been maturing for decades. Growing out of institutions for forced labor in the seventeenth century, particularly in continental Europe, prisons emerged as institutions that combined incarceration and forced labor by those who had committed crimes that would otherwise have been punished by death.[73] In the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania, thinkers like the founding father Benjamin Rush (d. 1813) began articulating a theory of reformative justice in which harsh corporal or capital punishments would be set aside in favor of purifying the convict’s soul in hopes of eventual redemption.[74] Hence the origin of the American penitentiary, where prisoners are divided into their own small cells and given meager rations for the purposes of focusing them on reflection and consulting the Bible. This model, even after its secularization and allowance for more socialization, has since been exported widely.

This historical arc seems comprehensible enough – corporal punishment to prisons; brutal medieval mutilation makes way for more sanitary executions, makes way for forced labor in prisons, which in turn makes way for the modern penitentiary, where criminals are ‘reformed.’ But the reality is hardly so simple. Rather than a progress from brutality to enlightenment, Western criminal sanctions have simply expressed new and highly idiosyncratic cultural understandings of what is and what isn’t ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’

America abandoned public corporal punishment for the penitentiary and reforming the convict by properly directing his soul. But that guiding was done by stunningly brutal means more reminiscent of Abu Ghraib than a place of worship. Through the mid nineteenth century, prisoners were flogged relentlessly, gagged and stuffed into small lockers where they couldn’t kneel or lie down, and had their faces flooded with freezing water. What seems to have been the most deadly of all treatments was forcing prisoners into extended periods of total isolation with enforced silence.[75] All of his was somehow seen as more humane than previous, unenlightened methods of punishment such as placing people in stocks to be pelted by fruit.

The same erroneous conflation of cultural convention with enlightened progress can be seen in British colonial rule in India. When the British East India Company took over the responsibility for administering Shariah law in the areas of India it controlled in the late 1700’s, British officials were exasperated and shocked. They were primarily frustrated at how hard it was to execute criminals under the Shariah. They considered it a “barbarous construction” that the family of someone who had been murdered could accept compensation money from the murderer instead of insisting on his execution. British officials couldn’t help seeing this as some sort of pay off.

But what truly morally shocked British officials was the use of amputation as a punishment, and they eventually outlawed it in 1834. Hence we find the bizarre confusion expressed by one British woman over how a local Sikh ruler who rarely had criminals executed but instead punished them with amputation was somehow not considered cruel by his subjects (the amputation the British were referring to was mainly not hand cutting but rather an Indian punishment of cutting off the nose as the most severe taʿzīrpunishment; ironically the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb [d. 1707] had banned this as alien to the Shariah).[76] British fetishization of corporal punishment alongside a cavalier attitude towards its capital elder sibling is beautifully captured in the ironic title of J. Fisch’s book on colonial law in India, Cheap Lives and Dear Limbs.

As US law professor Peter Moskos recently pointed out in his book In Defense of Flogging, the notion that imprisoning someone in a cell is somehow more humane than subjecting them to brief but intense bodily pain is a collective cultural fiction. And it is totally belied by the reality of prison-life in America. Even societies in which vicious corporal punishment was common, notes Moskos, “rarely if ever placed a human being in a cell for punishment.” “Consequently,” he concludes, “that we accept prisons as normal is a historical oddity.”[77] And incarceration in the general population of a US prison is mild treatment compared to placement in solitary confinement, a common practice in US prisons. As nineteenth-century American penitentiaries discovered, solitary confinement causes dramatic and often irreparable psychological damage. In 2011, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture concludedthat just fifteen days in solitary confinement “constitutes torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” and after that period irreversible psychological damage can occur.

The profound failings of the US prison system further indict it as a cruel and unusual form of punishment. First, prisons in the US have totally failed to reform those sent there, which is not surprising considering convicts are placed not around positive role models but around other criminals in an environment where 5% of prisoners say they had been sexually assaulted just within the previous year and in which drug use is rampant.[78] The result is that the US has by far the highest population of prisoners in the world and the second highest per capita.

Second, US prisons are cruel and unusual in that they destroy and atomize communities. As Anne-Marie Cusac points out, prior to the penitentiary movement, corporal punishment or humiliation was carried out in public, often in the town square. Criminals might be publically humiliated, but such public pain “understands criminals as existing within that community.”[79] Prior to the mid twentieth century, many prisons were in the center of towns, with prisoners still nearby their families. Now most prisons are in rural areas incredibly distant from the urban neighborhoods most disproportionally affected by incarceration. In America, even after release from prison, felons are unable to vote and are nearly unemployable. Around 5.3 million Americans who would otherwise have a voice in their communities and country’s political process are denied the vote due to a past felony.[80]

The American neurosis over criminal justice is even more evident in the application of the death penalty. Developed as supposedly more humane alternatives to hanging, the electric chair and lethal injection only euphemize the violence being done in the act of execution. As a US federal judge observed in his decision regarding an execution in 2014, a society that carries out executions must acknowledge the brutality of the act and not try to disguise it by supposedly less violent means (which often fail to work as quickly or painlessly as they are supposed to).

How Should Muslims Understand the Hudud Today?

Today the Hudud are relevant mostly in their absence from the legal stage. When they do appear it is with great controversy. With the exception of a few states like Nigeria,[81] Sudan,[82] Iran,[83] and Saudi Arabia, the criminal laws of majority Muslim countries have been replaced by modified British or European imports.

How do Muslims make sense of the Hudud’s absence? Can we justify it or, taking things one step further, can we justify not calling for their return? Muslim scholars have followed several tacks in negotiating these profound questions. In the mid twentieth century some argued that the Hudud were abandoned because of Western pressures during the colonial period and that, if restored, the Hudud would help mold more law-abiding and harmonious societies. Once re-affirmed, these scholars argue, the punishments themselves would rarely ever be carried out.[84] Others have more recently argued that a revival of the Hudud would be inappropriate for the foreseeable future because our political and social environments make removing all ambiguities (shubuhāt) systematically impossible.[85] It’s assumed that this situation is a result of colonialism and the globalization of Western values. But some scholars have argued that this had been the case for almost a millennium. Hence the extraordinary rarity of the Hudud being carried out.

Taken to a higher level of detail, one Shariah argument for the Hudud not being obligatory at present is that, like a person trying to perform ablutions on a missing limb, the ‘locus of the ruling’ has vanished. According to this argument, whatever the motivation for Muslim states abandoning the Hudud, their absence makes them irrelevant until someone decides to revive them. Another argument is that our current era is an “age of crisis and necessity” (arūra). Since in Islamic law ‘necessity makes the prohibited permissible,’ Muslim states under foreign domination or other constraints are allowed to lapse in ways that would otherwise not be allowed.

The Mauritanian scholar Abdallah Bin Bayyah has made the interesting argument that he based on the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibiting cutting off the hand of Muslim soldiers who stole while on campaign. Instead, the Prophet punished them with lashes or delayed the punishment until the need for a full fighting force had passed.[86] Though Muslims are not literally in the land of the enemy, Bin Bayyah writes, they are in “a land of anxiety” where many Muslims feel uncomfortable with the Hudud’s harsh physical punishments.[87] It’s as if the Abode of Islam has been culturally conquered, with Muslims becoming allergic to their own revealed tradition.

The most important point to note is that Muslim scholars have affirmed that what is essential for Muslims is to believe that the Shariah is ideal law and that the Hudud are valid in theory. The actual implementation of the Hudud comes at the discretion of the ruler/state and is not necessary for people to be Muslim.[88]

Can We Escape the Controversy?

Today few issues are brought up more in the media to question the civility of Islam than the Hudud. Few issues are more often invoked to allude consciously or unconsciously to a clash of civilizations between the benighted past of Islam and the enlightened present of the West. When the Sultan of Brunei announced in 2014 that his country would phase in Shariah criminal law, Hudud included, there was international outcry at this return “to the dark ages.” Few issues are as political as the Hudud.

The Hudud are, in fact, the perfect storm of controversy and grievance. To the twentieth-century West, with its phobia of physical punishment, prison-centered approach to criminal justice and increased social permissiveness in matters sexual, the Hudud are barbarity embodied. In the Muslim world, reeling from colonialism and the globalization of Western norms, the Hudud have re-emerged for many as icons of a commitment to Islamic authenticity. To many Islamist movements around the world, the notion of re-establishing the Hudud became both the symbol and substance of a longed for restoration of an authentic past and an independent future.

To be fair, holding the Hudud up as the symbol of a true, godly order is not some modern fabrication. The Mamluk Sultan al-Ghūrī was not unusual in hoping to be associated with stoning an adulterer. A quick glance through any chronicle of medieval Islamic civilization will yield mention of rulers or dynasties praised for ‘upholding the Limits of God.’ But, as we have seen, the Hudud were really not much more than symbols of submission to the idea of God’s law.

It’s hard to know if those countries that do enforce Hudud punishments today represent a continuation of pre-modern Islamic legal practice or not. The Hudud are probably carried out in Saudi Arabia at a higher rate than they were historically in Muslim societies.[89]But they are still very rare. Between 1981 and 1992, there were four executions by stoning in Saudi Arabia and forty-five amputations for theft. In a one-year sample (1982-83), out of 4,925 convictions for theft, only two hands were cut off. The rest of the guilty were punished by taʿzīr. In the same time period, out of 659 convictions for Hudud-level sexual crimes, no one was stoned. Many death sentences are the result of political punishments, not the Hudud.[90] In Nigeria’s northern states, all of which have adopted Shariah-based legal codes, a few amputations for theft have taken place. There have been at least two sentences to death for adultery, but in all cases so far ambiguities were found to release the guilty party.

Like American conservatives calling for a return to some imagined utopia of the 1950s, the authentic past that modern Muslim states claim to revive with the Hudud is mostly an imagined one. It is envisioned to fend off the loss of identity and autonomy that so many have felt in the modern age. So it is no surprise that countries today where the Hudud are actively enforced either define themselves by their resistance to the Western imperial order (Iran), by claims to embody Islamic authenticity (Saudi Arabia), or lie on sharp cultural, religious and political fault lines between Western cultural and military imposition on the one hand and strong traditions of indigenous identity on the other (Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan).

So today it is almost impossible to discuss the Hudud apart from consuming political tensions and conflicts over identity and autonomy. In 2005 the Swiss Muslim scholar and intellectual Tariq Ramadan called for a moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning, and the death penalty in the Muslim world. He was subsequently savaged by both Western critics of Islam who saw his call as too little and by some more conservative Muslim ulama who saw it as transgressing the commands of God.

Could we imagine some alternative reality in which a complex, cosmopolitan Muslim state passed through the wrenching processes of industrialization, centralization and urbanization while preserving a Shariah legal regime intact? The Ottoman Empire actually offers something fairly close to that. It passed through significant industrialization and urbanization. Though by the mid 1800s the Ottomans were certainly feeling the political and cultural pressures of European power, they escaped the worst of Western colonialism until World War I.

The Ottoman Penal Code of 1858 is a fascinating artifact of a modernizing, unquestionably Shariah-legitimate criminal law. The Code was produced as part of the Ottoman state’s reform of its entire administration in light of new technologies and new challenges. The 1858 Code reformed the penal system by replacing existing punishment such as the bastinado with forced labor (kürek), prison, fines and exile (it also retained the death penalty for some crimes). The Code drew almost all of this content nearly verbatim from the French Penal Code of 1832.

And yet the Code’s Islamic legitimacy was not in question. It begins ‘In the name of God, the most Gracious, the most Merciful’ and was approved by the Ottoman religious establishment, which remained deeply conservative until the end of the empire. The 1858 Code never mentions Hudud, but this was not because it eliminated them. Rather, this was because the whole Code explicitly limited itself to reforming the taʿzīr level of punishments. Since the Hudud had not been an effective presence in legal application, replacing the taʿzīr area was tantamount to overhauling the entirety of Ottoman criminal law. By not removing the Hudud and instead leaving them in effective abeyance, the 1858 Code avoided assaulting a major symbol of Islamic legitimacy. The punishments it introduced were set by the French, but they were just as ‘Islamic’ as the ones previously used by Ottoman judges, since taʿzīr was a matter of discretion not specified in the Quran and Sunna. Moreover, the first paragraph of the 1858 Code commits to not violating any rights of individuals under the Shariah, and it even retained people’s rights to the Qiṣāṣ process in the case of homicide should they choose it.

Let’s imagine that the Ottoman Empire had not been on the losing side in World War I and that it had continued on to the present day, maintaining its 1858 Penal Code (which survived until 1923 anyway) with slight modifications. Would we hear the same controversies we do over executions in Saudi Arabia or reviving the Hudud in Brunei? Probably not as much, because the Hudud would have continued as a symbol with no noticeable role in the law.

Yet there would, no doubt, still be some protests. As Amnesty International objected over Brunei’s announcement, the Shariah is problematic because it assigns harsh punishments “for acts that should not even be considered crimes.” The bottom line is that many modern objections to the Shariah in general and to the Hudud in particular are not about specific punishments. They are about many Muslims’ insistence that acts like fornication should be condemned as criminal in the first place. Perhaps they are even about the insistence that such acts should be deemed morally reprehensible at all.

It’s worth considering that the crimes human societies have judged the most acutely harmful – murder and rape – are not included among the agreed upon Hudud crimes. Perhaps the Hudud are not necessarily the most grievous crimes in terms of the toll they take on their victims or society. Fornication and Hudud-level theft are offenses almost by definition done in private, as intoxication could be as well. They are done out of the sight of all but God. Perhaps these stringent laws, which God’s mercy has made almost impossible to apply, exist primarily to remind people of the enormity of the sins that they usually get away with.

Appendix

From J. Brown, “Taʿzīr,” in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law, forthcoming.

Types of Taʿzīr Punishment:

The methods favored for taʿzīr punishment have changed over the centuries. The least severe form could consist of a mere lecture from the judge. The mainstay method, mentioned in the ḥadīths on the subject, was beating with a lash (arb bi-sawṭ). Imprisonment was used from the time of the earliest jurists for short-term functions such as compelling debtors to pay or for detention pending trial (ʿAlī reportedly had a prison built in Basra), but the Muwaṭṭa’ of Mālik (d. 179/796) also includes the ruling that someone guilty of abetting in manslaughter should be imprisoned for a year. Al-Khaṣṣāf’s (d. 261/874) manual for judges mentions the ‘judge’s prison,’ used for detaining indebted parties while their assets are located, and the more severe ‘thieves’ prison.’ Standard law works in the Mālikī and Shāfiʿī schools set imprisonment as the punishment for mugging or highway robbery in which no life was lost. Abū Yūsuf’s (d. 182/798) complaint that prisons were overfilled with convicts who should have been punished for udūd crimes shows that imprisonment was in use as a taʿzīr punishment in the early Abbasid period. In fact, in the Abbasid and Seljuq periods imprisonment seems to have been especially common as punishment for low class offenders who committed petty crimes such as theft. Cairo in the thirteenth century had three prisons, one for criminals serving sentences, one for political prisoners and one for those awaiting the death sentence. The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb (d. 1707 CE) ordered that habitual thieves and counterfeiters whom normal taʿzīrhad not reformed as well as someone who castrated another man’s son be imprisoned for long periods of time. Imprisonment was also recommended by the sixteenth-century Ottoman Shaykh al-Islam Ebussu‘ud Efendi (d. 982/1574) as a punishment for prostitution. Fining was allowed by consensus only in the Mālikī school; in other schools of law it was disagreed upon or disliked. A twelfth-century isbah manual from Damascus mentions exile as a punishment for prostitutes and effeminate men (mukhannath), and Ottoman criminal law used exile to punish some offenses such as unintentionally setting a home on fire. Mughal criminal courts in some regions used banishment as a punishment for habitual thieves. Public shaming (tashhīr), often involving parading the guilty party on a donkey through the streets, was known as early as the eighth century and was particularly associated as the punishment for bearing false testimony (shahādat al-zūr). But it was not obviously subsumed under taʿzīr until the eleventh century. By the late Mamluk period other recognized means of taʿzīr included slapping, rubbing the ears, fines and caning, the latter two finding particular favor in the Ottoman dynastic criminal law (see Qānūn) as well. For the Mālikī school, execution was an allowable taʿzīr punishment. Although mutilation, such as carrying out the Qur’ānic punishment of amputating the opposite foot and hand for ruthless banditry, has generally been considered to be siyāsah punishment. But criminal codes such as those of the Ottomans and the Mughals also assigned some forms of mutilation as taʿzīr, such as Aurangzeb setting the amputation of both hands as the punishment for exhuming a body.

It is with the Ottoman dynastic criminal law (see Qānūn) that we find Islamic civilization’s most regimented system of taʿzīr. The most prominent corporal punishment was caning (of the back or bottom of the feet) along with an accompanying fine, with the amount of the fine increasing with the number of blows specified and the caning carried out immediately, in the court. Unlawful sexual intercourse, which was almost never punished at the udūd level, due to the impossibly high evidentiary bar, was punished by fines and lashings, the severity of which depended on the person’s marital status and wealth. As J. Baldwin has shown, a man who procured a prostitute was sentenced to lashing or caning, with a fine of one akce per stroke, and then paraded through the streets (teshhīr). Other Ottoman qānūn texts stated that a procurer should have his forehead branded. Some offenses were punished only with fines, such as a man caught skipping Friday prayer, according to a fatwa by Ebussu’ud. Imprisonment also played a role in taʿzīr punishment in the Ottoman state, although sentences were often short and intended to teach the offender the error of his ways. In the sixteenth century, prisoners were increasingly sentenced to serve as an oarsman in a galley even for minor offenses such as drunkenness, with the overall average sentence for a range of crimes being eight years. Later, prisoners served their sentences in military installations. In the qānūn of Sulaymān the Magnificent (d. 1566 CE), someone who stole a chicken was to be paraded with the chicken hanging from his neck.

Today, punishments categorized under the taʿzīr heading play important roles in several countries with Shariah-informed judiciaries. In Saudi Arabia, the Ḥanbalī school’s approach of taʿzīr punishment continues to be applied, with prison and lashing as the main punishments. In Iran, despite several reforms to Islamicize criminal law under the Islamic Republic in 1982-3 and 1996, the country’s Islamic Criminal Code still carries most of the taʿzīr punishments over from Iran’s French-inspired 1925 penal code. The primary means of punishment are lashing and prison, with a maximum of seventy-four lashes for non-sexual offenses and ninety-nine for sexual ones.

Requirements for Amputation for Theft from al-Subki

 This is a fatwa given by Taqī al-Dīn ʿAlī b. ʿAbd al-Kāfī al-Subkī (d. 756/1356), a senior Shafi scholar and judge from one of the leading scholarly families of Damascus:

The Imam and Shaykh, may God have mercy on him, said: It has been agreed upon that the Hadd [punishment] is obligatory for one who has committed theft and [for whom the following conditions apply]:

  • [the item] was taken from a place generally considered secure (irz)
  • it had not been procured as spoils of war (mughannam)
  • nor from the public treasury
  • and it was taken by his own hand
  • not by some tool or mechanism (āla)
  • on his own
  • solely
  • while he was of sound mind
  • and of age
  • and a Muslim
  • and free
  • not in the Haram
  • in Mecca
  • and not in the Abode of War
  • and he is not one who is granted access to it from time to time
  • and he stole from someone other than his wife
  • and not from a uterine relative
  • and not from her husband if it is a woman
  • when he was not drunk
  • and not compelled by hunger
  • or under duress
  • and he stole some property that was owned
  • and would be permissible to sell to Muslims
  • and he stole it from someone who had not wrongfully appropriated it
  • and the value of what he stole reached ten dirhams
  • of pure silver
  • by the Meccan weight
  • and it was not meat
  • or any slaughtered animal
  • nor anything edible
  • or potable
  • or some fowl
  • or game
  • or a dog
  • or a cat
  • or animal dung
  • or feces (ʿadhira)
  • or dirt
  • or red ochre (maghara)
  • or arsenic (zirnīkh)
  • or pebbles
  • or stones
  • or glass
  • or coals
  • or firewood
  • or reeds (qaab)
  • or wood
  • or fruit
  • or a donkey
  • or a grazing animal
  • or a copy of the Quran
  • or a plant pulled up from its roots (min badā’ihi)
  • or produce from a walled garden
  • or a tree
  • or a free person
  • or a slave
  • if they are able to speak and are of sound mind
  • and he had committed no offense against him
  • before he removed him from a place where he had not been permitted to enter
  • from his secure location
  • by his own hand
  • and witness is born
  • to all of the above
  • by two witnesses
  • who are men
  • according to [the requirements and procedure] that we already presented in the chapter on testimony
  • and they did not disagree
  • or retract their testimony
  • and the thief did not claim that he was the rightful owner of what he stole
  • and his left hand is healthy
  • and his foot is healthy
  • and neither body part is missing anything
  • and the person he stole from does not give him what he had stolen as a gift
  • and he did not become the owner of what he stole after he stole it
  • and the thief did not return the stolen item to the person he stole it from
  • and the thief did not claim it
  • and the thief was not owed a debt by the person he stole from equal to the value of what he stole
  • and the person stolen from is present [in court]
  • and he made a claim for the stolen property
  • and requested that amputation occur
  • before the thief could repent
  • and the witnesses to the theft are present
  • and a month had not passed since the theft occurred

All of this was said by ʿAlī b. Aḥmad b. Saʿīd (Ibn Ḥazm, d. 1064). And the Imam and Shaykh added: and it is also on the condition that [the thief’s] confession not precede the testimony and then after it he retracts [his confession]. For if the thief does that first and then direct evidence (bayyina) is provided of his crime and then he retracts his confession, the punishment of amputation is dropped according to the more correct opinion in the Shafi school, because the establishment [of guilt] came by confession not by the direct evidence. So his retraction is accepted.[A]

[A] Tāj al-Dīn and Taqī al-Dīn al-Subkī, Fatāwā al-Subkī, 2 vols. (Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifa, n.d.), 2:333-4.

Footnotes

[1] The compensation paid to the victim or the family was the wergild (lit. man price) or bot, while the wite was paid to the king or lord for breaking the mund (peace); Bruce O’Brian, “Anglo-Saxon Law,” in Oxford Intl. Encyclopedia of Legal History, ed. Stanley Katz (London: Oxford University Press, 2009), 1:82; F.W. Maitland, The Constitutional History of England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1908), 107-9.

[2] This well-known phrase does not appear in the US Constitution, but was adopted into American law around 1800 from English law. It was first formally articulated in England in the 1780s, though it was actually used in 1770 in Boston by the future President John Adams and Robert Paine in their defense of the British soldiers involved in the Boston massacre; see James Q. Witman, The Origins of Reasonable Doubt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 187, 193-94; and http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=fss_papers.

[3] Heikk Pihlajamäki and Mia Korpiola, “Medieval Canon Law: The Origins of Modern Criminal Law,” in The Oxford Handbook of Criminal Law, ed. Markus Dubber and Tatjiana Hörnle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 214-215; Kenneth Pennington, “Innocent until Proven Guilty: The Origins of a Legal Maxim,” The Jurist 63 (2003): 106-24.

[4] Abū Bakr al-Khaṣṣāf, Adab al-Qāḍī, ed. Farhat Ziadeh (Cairo: Maṭbaʿat al-Jablāwī, 1979), 254.

[5] aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: kitāb al-jihād wa’l-siyar, bāb ism al-fars wa’l-ḥimār; aḥīḥ Muslim: kitāb al-īmān, bāb man laqiya Allāh bi’l-īmān…; kitāb al-zakāt, bāb ithm māniʿ al-zakāt.

[6] aīḥ al-Bukhārī: kitāb al-muāribīn min ahl al-kufr wa’l-ridda, bāb kam al-taʿzīr wa’l-adab.

[7] Jonathan Brown, “Taʿzīr,” Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

[8] This minimal list is held by the Hanafi school (NB: for Hanafis, irāba was included under the heading of sariqa). All other schools consider public apostasy (ridda) and sodomy to be among the Hudud crimes as well. In the Maliki school, ghīla (assassination or murder to steal someone’s money) is considered a Hudud crime punished by death. See Wahba al-Zuḥaylī, Mawsūʿat al-fiqh al-islāmī, 14 vols. (Damascus: Dār al-Fikr, 2010), 5:714-15; Ṣāliḥ ʿAbd al-Salām Al-Ābī, al-Thamar al-dānī fī taqrīb al-maʿānī Ḥāshiyat Risālat Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī. 2nd ed. (Cairo: Muṣṭafā al-Bābī al-Ḥalabī, 1944), 423, 432, 435.

[9] There is some disagreement over qadhf, which some scholars consider to be a violation of the rights of human beings only; Manṣūr b. Yūnus al-Buhūtī, al-Rawḍ al-murbiʿ, ed. Bashīr Muḥammad ‘Uyūn (Damascus: Maktabat Dār al-Bayān, 1999), 466; al-Khaṣṣāf, Adab al-Qāḍī, 217, 333; Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Qurṭubī, al-Jāmiʿ li-aḥkām al-Qur’ān, ed. Muḥammad Ibrāhīm al-Ḥifnāwī and Maḥmūd Ḥāmid ‘Uthmān, 20 vols. in 10 (Cairo: Dār al-Ḥadīth, 1994), 6:476 (on verse 24:4).

[10] aīḥ al-Bukhārī: kitāb al-muāribīn min ahl al-kufr wa’l-ridda, bāb al-iʿtirāf bi’l-zinā; aīḥ Muslim: kitāb al-ḥudūd, bāb add al-zinā, bāb man iʿtarafa ʿalā nafsihi bi’l-zinā.

[11] There has long been effective consensus on the punishment of stoning for adultery, which was even accepted by the Muʿtazila school of thought (though not by the Kharijis). In 1973, the famous Egyptian ʿālim and scholar of law Muḥammad Abū Zahra (d. 1974) stated at a conference in Libya that he seriously doubted the reliability of the reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had engaged in stoning, considering it too cruel a punishment (this was reported by two scholars in attendance, Muṣṭafā Zarqā’ and Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī, see Muḥammad Abū Zahra, Fatāwā, ed. Muḥammad ʿUthmān Bashīr (Damascus: Dār al-Qalam, 2006), 673. What has emerged as very controversial in the modern period is the notion that there could be a verse of the Quran concerning stoning that was removed (naskh) by God. Most pre-modern Muslim scholars had no problem with the notion that the Quran originally included a verse stating ‘The noble man and woman, if they commit zinā, surely stone them both,’ but that God ordered the verse removed while maintaining the ruling intact. The famous Shāfiʿī/Ashʿarī Hadith scholar Abū Bakr al-Bayhaqī (d. 458/1066) stated that he knew of no disagreement on the possibility of a verse of the Quran being removed in its entirety (naskh al-tilāwa) while its ruling remained; Abū Bakr al-Bayhaqī, al-Sunan al-kubrā, ed. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Qādir ʿAṭā, 11 vols. (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, 1999), 8:367. A leading traditionalist scholar of the twentieth century, ʿAbdallāh al-Ghumārī (d. 1993), however, denied the possibility of naskh al-tilāwa. He deemed it rationally impossible and added that all reports describing it as having occurred are narrated by too few transmissions (āḥād) to match the certainty of Quranic verses. He notes that the most reliable piece of evidence, namely the report of the caliph ʿUmar in aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (B#6917#) that he worried that people would abandon stoning because it was not found in the book of God, does not actually state that there was originally a verse with that ruling, as pointed out by Ibn Ḥajar; ʿAbdallāh b. al-Ṣiddiq al-Ghumārī, Dhawq al-ḥalāwa bi-bayān imtināʿ naskh al-tilāwa, 2nd ed. (Cairo: Maktabat al-Qāhira, 2006), 12, 14; aḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: kitāb al-muḥāribīn min ahl al-kufr wa’l-ridda, bāb al-iʿtirāf bi’l-zinā.

[12] aḥīḥ Muslim: kitāb al-udūd, bāb add al-khamr.

[13] aḥīḥ Muslim: kitāb al-qasāma wa’l-muāribīn…, bāb ukm al-murtaddīn wa’l-muāribīn.

[14] Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-ḥudūd, bāb mā jā’a fī al-muḥāraba.

[15] Jāmiʿ al-Tirmidhī: kitāb al-ahāra, bāb mā jā’a fī bawl mā yu’kalu laḥmuhu.

[16] Al-Qurṭubī, Jāmiʿ li-aḥkām al-Qur’ān, 3:509-11.

[17] Mālik, al-Muwaṭṭa’: kitāb al-ḥudūd, bāb mā jā’a fī al-rajm; bāb tark al-shafāʿa li’l-sāriq idhā balagha al-sulṭān.

[18] Musnad of Ibn Ḥanbal (Maymaniyya print), 4:133 (The Hadith reads ‘man taraka mālan fa-li-warathatihi wa man taraka daynan aw ḍayʿatan fa-ilayya wa anā walī man lā walī lahu afukku ʿanhu wa arithuhu mālahu wa’l-khāl wārith man lā wārith lahu yafukku ʿanhu wa yarithu mālahu); 4:131 (This narration adds aʿqilu ʿanhu); 6:47.

[19] Al-Shāfiʿī, Kitāb al-Umm (Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifa, 1393/1973), 6:21; See also Muwaffaq al-Dīn Ibn Qudāma, al-Mughnī, ed. ʿAbdallāh al-Turkī and ʿAbd al-Fattāḥ al-Ḥulw, 12 vols. (Cairo: Hujr, 1986), 9:476, 10:9, 22; Muḥammad al-Sarakhsī, al-Mabsūṭ, 30 vols. in 15. (Beirut: Dār al-Maʿrifa, [1978]), 10:219; al-Buhūtī, al-Rawḍ al-murbiʿ, 461; Aḥmad al-Qudūrī, The Mukhtaṣar, trans. Ṭāhir Maḥmood Kiānī (London: Ta-Ha Publishers, 2010), 530-31.

[20] This is based on a Hadith in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) says that, “The pen has been lifted [from writing a person’s deeds] for three people: the person sleeping until they wake up, the person afflicted [with some madness] until they recover and the youth until they grow up” (D##4400#), on the Prophet’s question to a man confessing to zinā “Do you know what zinā is?” (D#4430#) and on the practice of the caliph ʿUmar, who ruled that “There is no Hadd except on the one who knew it (lā ḥadd illā ʿalā man ʿalimahu)”; al-Bayhaqī, Sunan al-kubrā, 8:415. See also al-Qudūrī, Mukhtaṣar, 544.

[21] This Hadith can be found T#1479#, with a similar version narrated by Abū Hurayra Q#2642# (weak according to all). Scholars like Tirmidhī and Bayhaqī consider the narrations attributing this to Aisha rather than the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be more reliable; al-Bayhaqī, Sunan al-kubrā, 8:413. For other Companions making similar statements, see al-Bayhaqī, Sunan al-kubrā, 8:413-15. According to Ibn Ḥajar, the most reliable version is Umar’s saying, “For me to err in the Hudud because of ambiguities is more preferable for me than to carry them out because of ambiguities.” See Shams al-Dīn al-Sakhāwī, al-Maqāṣid al-ḥasana, ed. Muḥammad ʿUthmān al-Khisht (Beirut: Dār al-Kitāb al-ʿArabī, 2004), 42.

[22] See Intisar Rabb, “Islamic Legal Maxims as Substantive Canons of Construction: Ḥudūd-Avoidance in Cases of Doubt,” Islamic Law and Society 17 (2010): 63-125.

[23] Quran 24:2, 4, and the Quran reiterates the need for four witnesses again in verse 2:15.

[24] aīḥ al-Bukhārī: kitāb al-muāribīn min ahl al-kufr wa’l-ridda, bāb lā yurjamu al-majnūn wa’l-majnūna, bāb hal yaqūlu al-imām li’l-muqirr laʿallaka lamasta aw ghamazta; aīḥ Muslim: kitāb al-ḥudūd, bāb add al-zinā, bāb man iʿtarafa ʿalā nafsihi bi’l-zinā.

[25] Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-udūd, bāb rajm Māʿiz b. Mālik, bāb fī rajm al-yahūdiyayn.

[26] Ibn al-Amīr al-Ṣanʿānī, Subul al-salām, ed. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Marʿashlī. 3rd ed, 4 vols. (Beirut: Dār Iḥyā’ a-Turāth al-ʿArabī, 2005), 4:9.

[27] ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Shaʿrānī, al-Mīzān al-kubrā, 2 vols. in 1 (Cairo: Maktabat Zahrān [no date]. Reprint of 1862 Cairo ed. from Maktabat al-Kastiliyya), 2:145.

[28] Sulaymān al-Bujayramī, Ḥāshiyat al-Bujayrimī ʿalā al-Minhāj (Cairo: Maṭbaʿat Muḥammad Shāhīn, 1380/1960), 345; Mullā ʿAlī al-Qāri’, Sharḥ Musnad Abī Ḥanīfa, ed. Khalīl Muḥyī al-Dīn al-Mīs (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, n.d.), 487; Muḥyī al-Dīn al-Nawawī, al-Majmūʿ, ed. Muḥammad Najīb al-Muṭīʿī (Jedda: Maktabat al-Irshād, n.d.), 5:211.

[29] James Baldwin, “Prostitution, Islamic Law and Ottoman Societies,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 55 (2012): 125.

[30] aīḥ al-Bukhārī: kitāb al-udūd, bāb qawl Allāh taʿālā wa’l-sāriqu wa’l-sāriqatu….

[31] Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-udūd, bāb fī al-talqīn fī al-udūd; Sunan al-Nasāī: kitāb qaṭʿ al-sāriq, bāb talqīn al-sāriq.

[32] Mullā Hüzrev, Durar al-ḥukkām sharḥ ghurar al-aḥkām, 2 vols. (Istanbul: Fazilat, n.d. Reprint of Amīriyya print, n.d.), 2:82.

[33] Al-Buhūtī, Rawḍ, 469; Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-udūd, bāb man saraqa min irz.

[34] Jāmiʿ al-Tirmidhī: kitāb al-udūd, bāb mā jā’a fī al-khā’in wa’l-mukhtalis wa’l-muntahib.

[35] Rudolph Peters, Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 54.

[36] Al-Ṣanʿānī, Subul al-salām, 4:41; al-Buhūtī, Rawḍ, 467.

[37] Al-Bayhaqī, Sunan al-kubrā, 8:549

[38] Al-Buhūtī, Rawḍ, 467.

[39] Al-Qurṭubī, Jāmiʿ li-aḥkām al-Qur’ān, 3:515.

[40] Al-Khaṭīb al-Shirbīnī, Mughnī al-muḥtāj, 4:176; al-Shaʿrānī, Mīzān al-kubrā, 2:225.

[41] Al-Shaʿrānī, Mīzān al-kubrā, 2:227.

[42] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: kitāb al-muḥāribīn min ahl al-kufr wa’l-ridda, bāb idhā aqarra bi’l-ḥadd…; aḥīḥ Muslim: kitāb al-tawba, bāb fīqawlihi taʿālā inna al-asanāt tudhhibna al-sayyi’āt.

[43] Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-adab, bāb fī al-nahy ʿan al-tajassus.

[44] Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-adab, bāb fī al-nahy ʿan al-tajassus.

[45] Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-ḥudūd, bāb al-ʿafw fī al-ḥudūd mā lam tablugh al-sulṭan.

[46] Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-ḥudūd, bāb al-sāriq idhā yasriqu fī al-ghazw a-yuqṭaʿu.

[47] Lā yajūzu iqāmat al-ḥudūd maʿa iḥtimāl ʿadam al-fā’ida; Abū Bakr al-Kāsānī, Badā’iʿal-ṣanā’iʿ (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya, 2003), 9:248.

[48] Alexander Russell, A Natural History of Aleppo, 2 vols. (London: no publisher, 1794), 1:331.

[49] Edward Lane, Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (New York: Cosimo, 2005), 112.

[50] Fariba Zarinebaf-Shahr, ‘Women in the Public Eye in Eighteenth-Century Istanbul,’302–304; Anne-Marie Cusac, Cruel and Unusual: The Culture of Punishment in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 22.

[51] ʿAbd al-Qādir al-Badā’ūnī, Muntakhabu-t-Tawārīkh, trans. W.H. Lowe (Delhi: Renaissance Publishing, 1986), 3:146.

[52] See, for example, al-Suyūṭī complaining about a brothel that continued operating in Cairo; Al-Suyūṭī, al-Taḥadduth bi-niʿmat Allāh, ed. Elizabeth Sartain (Cairo: al-Maṭbaʿa al-ʿArabiyya al-Ḥadītha, 1972), 175.

[53] This scholar’s name was Saʿd Allāh Banī Isrā’īl; Badā’ūnī, Muntakhab, 3:88. For this point of prohibiting tajassus, see Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-adab, bāb fī al-nahy ʿan al-tajassus.

[54] Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, The Travels of Ibn Battuta, ed. H.A.R. Gibb, 3 vols. (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2004), 2:219.

[55] Al-Badā’ūnī, Muntakhabu-t-Tawārīkh, 3:129-130.

[56] Muḥammad b. Aḥmad Ibn Iyās, Badā’iʿ al-zuhūr fī waqā’iʿ al-duhūr, ed. Muḥammad Muṣṭafā (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Miṣriyya al-ʿĀmma li’l-Kutub, 1984), 4:340-45; Najm al-Dīn al-Ghazzī, al-Kawākib al-sā’ira bi-aʿyān al-mi’a al-ʿāshira, ed. Jibrā’īl Jabbūr, 3 vols. (Beirut: Dār al-Āfāq al-Jadīda, 1979), 1:102-5, 295.

[57] Al-Ghazzi, al-Kawākib al-sā’ira, 1:103.

[58] Al-Khaṣṣāf, Adab al-qāḍī, 349.

[59] Muḥammad b. ʿAlī al-Shawkānī, “Rafʿ al-asāṭīn fī ḥukm al-ittiṣāl bi’l-salāṭīn,” in Majmūʿ fīhi sabaʿ rasā’il li’l-imām al-muḥaqqiq Muḥammad b. Ismāʿīl al-Amīr al-anʿānī, ed. Muḥammad al-Ṣaghīr Muqaṭṭirī (Beirut: Dār Ibn Ḥazm, 2004), 452-3.

[60] Andrew Lees, The City: A World History (London: Oxford University Press, 2015), 49.

[61] G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 74.

[62] B#7243#

[63] Lawrence M. Friedman, A History of American Law, 2nd ed. (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1985), 577.

[64] Wael Hallaq, Sharīʿa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 163.

[65] I draw this equation from lecture notes from Professor Neal Katyal’s course on Criminal Law at Georgetown Law School, 9/11/15.

[66] E. P. Thompson, Whigs and Hunters: The Origin of the Black Act (New York: Pantheon Books, 1975), 270–77.

[67] Cusac, Cruel and Unusual, 28-29.

[68] J.S. Cockburn, A History of the English Assizes 1558-1714 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 128-133.

[69] J.J. Tobias, Crime and Industrial Society in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Schocken, 1967), 249-50.

[70] Norval Morris and David J. Rothman, eds., The Oxford History of the Prison (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), vii.

[71] John Langbein, “The Historical Origins of the Sanction of Imprisonment for Serious Crimes,” Journal of Legal Studies 5, no. 1 (1976): 36.

[72] Cusac, Cruel and Unusual, 21.

[73] John Langbein, “The Historical Origins of the Sanction of Imprisonment for Serious Crimes,” 51.

[74] Cusac, Cruel and Unusual, 36, 41-44.

[75] Cusac, Cruel and Unusual, 53-56.

[76] Radhika Singha, A Despotism of Law: Crime & Justice in Early Colonial India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), 3, 9, 24, 52, 54-55.

[77] Peter Moskos, In Defense of Flogging (New York: Basic, 2011), 50.

[78] Moskos, In Defense of Flogging, 52, 56.

[79] Cusac, Cruel and Unusual, 13.

[80] Moskos, In Defense of Flogging, 74.

[81] Gunnar J. Weimann, “Nigeria,” in The [Oxford] Encyclopedia of Islam and Law. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. 05-Dec-2016. <http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t349/e0071&gt;.

[82] Hudud have been in place in Sudan since 1991. The main manifestations have been flogging for intoxication; Olaf A. Köndgen, “Sudan,” in The [Oxford] Encyclopedia of Islam and Law. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. 05-Dec-2016. <http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t349/e0079&gt;.

[83] In Iran, the amputation for theft is very rarely carried out, though in Imami Shiism it is only the fingertips that are cut off, not the hand. Stoning is not carried out; Hassan Rezaei, “Iran,” in The [Oxford] Encyclopedia of Islam and Law. Oxford Islamic Studies Online. 05-Dec-2016. <http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t349/e0056&gt;.

[84] ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm Maḥmūd, Fatāwā, 2 vols. (Cairo: Dār al-Shurūq, 2002), 2:434; Maḥmūd Shaltūt, al-Islām ʿaqīda wa sharīʿa, 14th ed. (Cairo: Dār al-Shurūq, 1987), 302-4.

[85] ʿAlī Jumʿa, al-Bayān li-mā yashghalu al-adhhān (Cairo: al-Muqaṭṭam, 2005), 71-2; see a 2013 interview with Yūsuf al-Qaraḍāwī and its transcript.

[86] Sunan of Abū Dāwūd: kitāb al-udūd, bāb al-sāriq yasriqu fī al-ghazw a-yuqaʿu.

[87] ʿAbdallāh Bin Bayyah, Tanbīh al-marājiʿ ʿalā ta’ṣīl fiqh al-wāqiʿ (UAE: Muntadā Taʿzīz al-Silm fī al-mujtamaʿāt al-Muslima, 2014), 83-5.

[88] Shaltūt, Fatāwā, 45; Jumʿa, al-Bayān, 71; Bin Bayyah, Tanbīh, 83-4.

[89] Knut Vikør, Between God and the Sultan: A History of Islamic Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 266.

[90] Frank Vogle, Islamic Law and Legal System (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 246-47; Vikør, 266.

Author
jonathan_brown-blackwhite-100x100

Jonathan Brown. is an Associate Professor and Chair of Islamic Civilization at Georgetown University. He is the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law, and the author of several books including Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy.

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Categories: Hadith, History, Islam

123 replies

  1. Yes a must read indeed

    “Zinā: The Quran commands that men and …lashed 100 times (Quran 24:2), and Hadiths add that if the person is single and has never been married … also be exiled for a year… It was agreed upon by all the Muslim schools of law that the Quranic punishment … Married men and women guilty of adultery punished by stoning, as demonstrated in the Sunna of the Prophet.”

    That’s what ISIS believes and is doing.

    “Sariqa: the Quran specifies that the thief, male or female, should have their hand cut off “as a requital for
    what they have done and as a deterrent ordained by God” (Quran 5:38).”

    That is exactly what ISIS is doing.

    “Shurb al-Khamr: …, the punishment for drinking …most reliable Hadiths …the Prophet would have a person lashed 40 times … but the caliphs Umar and Ali … increased this to 80 after consultation with other Companions.[

    Exactly what ISIS believes and IS DOING.

    “Ḥirāba: This crime is understood to be set out in the Quran’s condemnation of “those who make war on God and His Messenger and seek to spread harm and corruption in the land.” The Quran gives it the harshest punishment in Islam: crucifixion and/or amputating hands and feet (Quran 5:33).
    Again exactly what ISIS believes and IS DOING.

    So how is ISIS not ISLAMIC if they are doing what ISLAM teaches them to do?

    Like

    • They are NOT Islamic in the sense that they are not following the central concerns of the Quran, Sunnah and Companions concerning Hudud. (I assume here that ISIS is being accurately portrayed in the Western media).

      If you have read he complete article carefully as I have done you will know to what concerns I refer.

      Do you know what I am alluding to?

      Like

    • No can’t say I do

      Like

    • Troll: So how is ISIS not ISLAMIC if they are doing what ISLAM teaches them to do?

      Because the Ulema have the last say on Islam and they have said ISIS are not Islamic.

      Like

    • Kmac can you name me one Caliphate dynasty that was established by what the “ULEMA” says lol.

      Like

    • Kmac let me re phrase and clearify my question…

      “can you name me one Caliphate dynasty that was established by what the “ULEMA” says lol.”

      Should be can you name me one Caliphate dynasty that was established by the “last say”.., from the “ULEMA”?.

      Like

    • The Caliphates, except for the first four, weren’t exactly known for their piety. Besides, the Ulema largely operated autonomously and independently from the Caliphs.

      Like

    • Kmac so that would be a NO you can’t. LOL

      Like

    • What’s the point of your question?

      Like

    • Kmac my point is pretty obvious.

      I pointed out that according to the article that Paul posted, ISIS is doing just what the Islamic sources and scholars say to do i.e cut the hands off of thieves, stone adulterous to death, flog drunkards, and crucify and kill those that make “mischief in the land” ergo those that make war against the Islamic state.

      Your response to my original question “So how is ISIS not ISLAMIC if they are doing what ISLAM teaches them to do?”, was to say “Because the Ulema have the last say on Islam and they have said ISIS are not Islamic.”.

      I then asked you for proof that this has ever happened,l where the Ulema ever had the “Last say on Islam”? To which you have NO PROOF, you have no example, you have nothing to back up your NEO Islamist propaganda.

      So again I ask ” “So how is ISIS not ISLAMIC if they are doing what ISLAM teaches them to do?” and I will now add “So how is ISIS not ISLAMIC, if what they are doing is the way every Caliphate dynasty in history has come to power?

      Like

    • It is obvious you have either not read the article or failed lamentably to understand it

      Like

    • LOL clearly I have read the article and clearly it is you who continue to fail to explain how ISIS can be doing the things that that the Quran, Hadeeth and Scholars say they should be doing and still not be Islamic?

      Like

    • I don’t see anything that needs explaining,

      Like

    • Paul writes…”don’t see anything that needs explaining, ”

      I say I would agree with you except for the fact that the following needs to be explained.

      So how is ISIS not ISLAMIC if they are doing what ISLAM teaches them to do?

      So how is ISIS not ISLAMIC, if what they are doing is the way every Caliphate dynasty in history has come to power?

      Like

    • I just do t see what you are getting worked up about. You have a fetish.

      Like

    • Paul lets try this another way.

      Lets assume I have not read the article, and lets assume you have read the article. What I would like you to do is explain from the article the following.

      So how is ISIS not ISLAMIC if they are doing what ISLAM teaches them to do?

      and or…

      So how is ISIS not ISLAMIC, if what they are doing is the way every Caliphate dynasty in history has come to power?

      Please be a sport and help me understand. Convince me

      Like

    • No it’s not my job to convince you. I don’t have a problem with Islamic teaching at all. It comes from God.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yah and there in lies the problem. ISIS says the same things you say ” I don’t have a problem with Islamic teaching at all. It comes from God. ”

      Paul if you can’t convince me of how you plan to do the things that ISIS is doing with out doing what ISIS is doing. Then how to you expect to convince ISIS Muslims that what they are doing is not from your god?

      Like

    • But as I have said, I’m not going to attempt to convince you. So give up asking.

      Like

    • BTW Paul, so I take it you disagree with Kmac on Islam being from God?

      Like

    • lol seriously give me one good reason why I shouldn’t ban you like I have done literally dozens of times before?

      Like

    • Paul I was only asking because Kmac seems to think that it is the Ulema (human beings) that have the “last say on Islam”. But you seem to think that Islam is “all from God”.

      As far as you not banning me like you have “dozens of times before”, I can only say that banning me hasn’t seemed to work in the past.

      BTW why would you want to ban me, I’m not being rude or offensive, not swearing and curding like some Muslims do to me Kmac (cough cough)?

      Like

    • You are a troll, so you are banned. Bye!

      Like

  2. As the famous scholar Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) noted, definitions for the categories of crimes (and their corresponding punishments) in Islamic law were the products of human reason and not scripture.

    The whole Islamic terrorism of the past 40 or so years (including various forms of Palestinian terrorism that also have suicide bombing in it; and Shiite versions in the government of Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, etc. and Al Qaeda and ISIS, etc.) is the product of debates within the house of Islam itself.

    In their understanding and justifications, Al Qaeda and ISIS got tired of waiting for the rest of the Muslim world to respond (do Jihad, re-instate the Caliphate, etc.), so they went back to the bare texts of Qur’an, Sunnah, Hadith, Tarikh, classical Tafsirs, Fiq, Sira, etc. and started applying them without all the centuries of “man made reasoning”.

    All these groups are “Islamic” in one way or another, and they are fighting within themselves to find the “true version of Islam”. In the meantime, they kill each other in Syria and Iraq and other places, along with causing all sorts of other terror all over the world.

    Like

    • What about Christian support for Israeli terrorism? Bible believing Christians, millions of them, support, finance, and do apologetics in support of the systematic oppression and killing of Palestinians and their legitimate right to self defence.

      YouTube is full of this evil propaganda by your fellow Christians.

      Put your own house in order Ken, people in glass houses…

      Liked by 1 person

    • The modern Jewish state is a combination of Jewish people (secular, religious, etc.) wanting a safe place from Hitler and the other atrocities of the past – Russia, Roman Catholic Europe centuries, etc.

      The biggest problem is getting the accurate history of the issue of the land of Israel and the fact that the Ottoman Empire was the political state of the land called “Palestine” until the end of WW I. (from 1500s to 1917/1918) the Ottoman Empire was justly punished for their role in joining Germany in WW I. So, there was no “Palestine” as an official political state. (though the area was called that since Roman times) When NO Muslims accepted the 2 state solution for Israel and Palestine in 1947-1948 and all six surrounding Arab Muslim countries attacked little Israel; they kept loosing every since then. When the aggressors loose, one cannot expect the winner to reward them. (they are secular leaders and not Christian, so they are responding by human natural methods to what they perceive as hatred and really really bad violence, and evil teaching of children by same kind of thinking that Al Qaedah has. )

      I don’t accept “Christian Zionism” (I don’t see a rebuilt temple as a Biblical thing, nor Pre_millennialism nor Pre-tribulationalism as the best exegesis of relevant passages. Amillennialism seems more Biblical and takes the NT as the fulfillment of those OT covenant promises. )

      as I don’t think the land promises to Israel in their state of denial of the true God (rejection of God, rejection of Christ as the Messiah, etc.) are applicable anymore. The land promises are not for covenant breakers; and Hebrews and Revelation 20-22 and Galatians 4:26 clearly show that the fulfillment of the land promises of the OT are in heaven and the new heavens and the the new earth, after judgment day.

      I don’t accept Israel always as in the right; but most of the time, they seem to be the ones who at least try to be somewhat fair in dealing with attacks from PLO and Hamas and Hezbollah and other groups. The Hamas charter has that evil Hadith in the very heart of their existence. Until Muslims accept that Israel has a right to exist, and stop their side of the terrorism, there will never be peace there.

      Like

    • Whatever. Your fellow evangelicals are 99% Zionist and actively support the oppression and terrorisation of the Palestinians – this is the route cause of terrorism. Christian Zionism has blood on its hands.

      Palestinians has the right to exist. Christians usually couldn’t care less about that but make a fetish of Israel.

      Like

    • “Whatever.” = when you don’t have a good intellectual and factual response and then change the subject.

      Like

    • Paul writes… “What about Christian support for Israeli terrorism?”

      Thats right blame the Christians and the Jews lol. Funny thing, is ISIS and Al Quida and any other Islamic group quoting Christians and Jews as sources to justify their terrorism?

      Or do they quote Islamic sources and Islamic history to do the things they are doing?

      Like

    • My question was addressed to Ken not you

      Like

    • The comment is not but an ignorance, Ken.
      Then who kills muslims in Syria ?
      Answer : christians jets & secular regime supported by the west.
      Aleppo will be the icon of how christians spread “love” .

      Like

    • Bashar Assad is a kind of a Muslim – although heretical – Alawite – a Shiite sect that believes Ali was a manifestation of God – they are killing other kinds of Muslims who are against them. They and Isis and other groups are killing each other.

      Like

    • “Bashar Assad is a kind of a Muslim – although heretical – Alawite – a Shiite sect that believes Ali was a manifestation of God”
      How shoul I read this ignorance made in purpose?
      How on earth is bashar ” kind of a muslim” while he is alawite?
      This is by itself is a crime!
      When a camel entered a needle’s eye, he would be a muslim.
      Moreover, although they are not muslims reagrdin religion, they are secular regime supported by christian jets. You can not change the history.
      Insha’ Allah, I will post what the christian jets have done on Aleppo,the icon of resistance.

      Like

    • “Christian jets” ?? Assad gets his help from Russians, who are mostly atheists (leftovers from communist thinking of USSR)

      I realize that you don’t think he is a Muslim at all.
      The Alawites claim they are Muslims; a Shiite sect.
      The Iranian government claims they are the true Islam. (The Khomeini Revolution, etc.)

      Whatever you call each other in the Middle eastern countries, they kill each other. (Iraq, Syria (there are something like 20 different groups fighting each other, etc.)

      It is different within Christianity, because within Christian doctrine, a person is not a Christian by physical birth or baby baptism; rather a person must be born again by God’s Spirit (John 3:1-8; Romans 8:9; Romans 5:5) and confess they are a sinner and repent and trust in Christ to save them. (Romans 3:21-4:16; 5:1; John 1:12-13)

      But in the Muslim world, people are Muslims externally, by just being born of Muslim parents and being citizens of the Umma, under the Caliphate (for the sake of argument, from 622 to 1924 in external Islam culture on this earth). The emphasis in Islam is on the external behavior, Sharia (Law) and behaving one-self in society. One can never know who is a true Muslim if they just act right and never rebel and keep their thoughts to themselves, out of fear.

      Two completely different paradigms.

      Like

    • “I realize that you don’t think he is a Muslim at all”
      ???
      So the matter now is about me? I wouldn’t accept that from anyone!
      However, if I had to accept that saying, that saying would not definitely be from you (i.e. evangelicals).
      Alawites are not muslims because they don’t believe of what Quran says about Allah and his Messenger.
      The twelver Shiite as well. This is in their own books. We disagree with them because of Quran and Sunnah. I can post form their own books while they violate every thing Islam teaches, and I challenge anyone to disagree.
      You yourself stated this about alawites “a Shiite sect that believes Ali was a manifestation of God” !
      So, where was your brain when you said ( they are kind of muslims)?!
      Also, I emphasize they don’t give S**T of their own religion which is not Islam.
      They have(i.e alawites and the twelver Shi’ite) history in cooperation with non muslims to get rid of Islam .
      That happened many times. Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned that in his book (Minhaj Al Sunnah).

      I realize that your knowledge about that is very little. However, I find it very interesting that christians try to tell muslims who is the true muslim and who is not while you don’t consider catholic as christians, and you reject a whole history of christianity. Who are you? I mean even the founder of protestantism didn’t agree with you with your canon of the bible. You are the last people who have the right to tell us about whom we should consider as muslims. In fact, you have no right to talk about this subject at all.

      I’m just wondering all of this lies to smear whole nations by this
      “Whatever you call each other in the Middle eastern countries, they kill each other. (Iraq, Syria (there are something like 20 different groups fighting each other, etc.)”
      ??

      As if you are so innocent, and have no idea why that happened?
      I forgot! It’s my bad! When Jesus told your president to occupy and stael Iraq by a crusade war, it was just for spreading “love”. sorry!
      BTW, at that time most evangelicals backed the war either explicitly or implicitly by remaining silent.

      When a muslim just try to point out about the influence of bible – which is reasonable since the bible is most book which has been influencing the west – on the wars that white people have done for the humanity, christians start crying those were not christians! yet they are more than proud to shout that christianity is in all over the world?! Your answers are already wrapped and ready to be delivered. You talk about something you have no idea about.
      It’s again and again the (hypocrisy) which has become the theme for christianity as whole and for evangelicals in special.

      “t is different within Christianity, because within Christian doctrine, a person is not a Christian by physical birth or baby baptism”
      I got that there’s no christian on this earth except those who are hypocrites living in north America.

      ================
      “From Russians, who are mostly atheists (leftovers from communist thinking of USSR)”
      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CuBun0cXEAEZ_ZN.jpg https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CuBu7PpW8AANWDJ.jpg

      Your friend the cute

      WARNING : The following videos contain very disturbing & shocking scenes ( I’m sorry in advance).

      Aleppo , the icon of resistance against oppression
      1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOWNRXMjf0E

      2)Children of Aleppo

      3) Soldiers of Bashar “kind of muslims” want this man to say (No god but Bashar), yet he refused till they buried him alive

      4) Soldiers of Bashar “kind of muslims” want this man, also, to say (No god but Bashar)

      5) Soldiers of Bashar “kind of muslims” mocking the prayer of Islam with so filthy language

      6) Child

      7)Children of Aleppo

      8)ُThis girl was getting help while she was saying (No god but Allah)

      =============

      Why would you think that we should listen to hypotheses presented by those who have no idea beyond their borders !?

      Like

  3. Palestine would exist if the Muslims countries around them had agreed to the 2 state plan in 1947-1948 and if they had accepted other valid offers since that time.

    The problem is they never accepted anything.

    Like

    • blame the victim. Classic evangelical nastiness.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Blame the victim? When did Ken blame the Israeli’s?

      The sad truth is any suffering the alleged Palestinians have suffered is either do to the Arab nations like Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Iraq or their own incompetent and inept leaders.

      It’s an un deniable fact that the Arab League had no intention nor desire to create another Arab state they each wanted their own little slice of the region for their own newly formed nations.

      But more importantly they were not going to suffer the shame and humiliation of Jews ruling over Arabs.

      Like

    • It was their own land ! Why would you want to force Palestinian people to leave their own land for 2 states to be established?
      In that time, it was very very difficult for them. I challange you to leave 1% of your own property. So imagine to ask people to leave their own houses and farms for a foreign nation.

      Right now, the situation is volcanic. Any talk about 2 states solution is waste of time, and that becuase of israel and those who support it. Christians zionists are involved firmly with this crime. For me, it,s matter of time.

      Like

    • In my opinion, the book “Blood Brothers” by Elias Chacour (A Palestinian Christian) is a very good book on the Palestinian – Israel issue. And “Whose Promised Land?”, by Colin Chapman. Those two books are not liked by Christian Zionists. They don’t argue for Israel based on OT texts, but seek a 2 state solution.

      The Jews had been buying land legally from rich Arab land owners since the 1800s up until that time. The rich Arab land owners sold it to them, under the Ottoman Empire. If the Arab Muslims had agreed to the 1948 deal, Israel would be small today. But because they kept attacking, they lost more and more land.

      But Islam illegally came and conquered that land in the 636 AD onward – by aggressive wars against the Byzantine Empire. (based on Surah 9:28, 29) It was their (Byzantines) land then, and Islam stole the land from them.

      I also cannot help it if the Jews want their land back (land of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, etc.) – the Romans killed them and drove them out in 70 AD and again in 135 AD at the Bar Kochba Rebellion – some Jews still survived and lived in the land from that time even until the 1800s, slowly coming back to the land for centuries.

      Like

    • Ken,
      Let this Ken, ex US Marine, tell you the truth

      Like

    • “all part of a plan”, etc. – I don’t really know much this guy Ken O’Keef, but he seems to be saying that behind the scenes, the USA and Israel are controlling all the events. Wow. . . . Muslims and other conspiracy theorists seem to have more faith in the political powers and secret plans than they do Allah and His Sovereignty.

      You really think the USA and Israel can manipulate all these things behind the scenes without Allah’s sovereign manipulation ( Makr – plans, schemes, manipulations, deceptions, trickeries ?)

      If you really believe all that; what does that saw about Allah?

      Allah is the one who is controlling events and if Israel and USA / cia is doing all that, then Allah is doing it behind the scenes and controlling everything.

      Seems too incredible to believe, in my opinion. You give too much credit and God-like powers to the political powers.

      Like

    • Your God is impotent and not in control of the world it seems

      Like

    • We both believe in God’s sovereignty –

      As Muslims, you have to ask yourself,
      why does Allah allow so much trouble in the Muslim world ? (Muslims killing each other; no Caliphate, the Ummah at odds with each other, Sharia violated; Israel to be powerful, etc. ?)

      Like

    • By all the tendency for Muslims to believe in conspiracy theories that Israel is behind the scenes controlling things, it seems that it is you guys who don’t believe Allah is in control.

      Like

    • Your god is powerless, he died at the hands of sinners

      Like

    • Part of God’s plan for the atonement – Acts 2:22-24

      Acts 4:27-28

      Like

    • Are they then secure from Allah’s scheme? None deemeth himself secure from Allah’s scheme (Makr) save folk that perish.

      Surah 7:99

      Ibn `Abbas said:
      “The Prophet (ﷺ) used to supplicate, saying: “My Lord, aid me and do not aid against me, and grant me victory and do not grant victory over me, plot (makr) for me and do not plot (Makr) against me, guide me and facilitate guidance for me, grant me victory over those who transgress against me. My Lord, make me ever-grateful to You, ever-remembering of You, ever-fearful of You, ever-obedient to You, ever-humble to You, oft-turning and returning to You. My Lord, accept my repentance, wash my sin, answer my call, make firm my proof, make firm my tongue, guide my heart, and remove the treachery of my chest (Rabbi a`innī wa lā tu`in `alayya, wanṣurnī wa lā tanṣur `alayya, wamkur lī wa lā tamkur `alayya, wahdinī wa yassiril-huda lī, wanṣurnī `alā man baghā `alayya. Rabbij`alnī laka shakkāran, laka dhakkāran, laka rahhāban, laka miṭwā`an, laka mukhbitan, ilaika awwāhan munība. Rabbi taqabbal tawbatī, waghsil ḥawbatī, wa ajib da`watī, wa thabbit ḥujjatī, wa saddid lisānī, wahdi qalbī, waslul sakhīmata ṣadrī).”

      حَدَّثَنَا مَحْمُودُ بْنُ غَيْلاَنَ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو دَاوُدَ الْحَفَرِيُّ، عَنْ سُفْيَانَ الثَّوْرِيِّ، عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ مُرَّةَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ الْحَارِثِ، عَنْ طُلَيْقِ بْنِ قَيْسٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَدْعُو يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ رَبِّ أَعِنِّي وَلاَ تُعِنْ عَلَىَّ وَانْصُرْنِي وَلاَ تَنْصُرْ عَلَىَّ وَامْكُرْ لِي وَلاَ تَمْكُرْ عَلَىَّ وَاهْدِنِي وَيَسِّرِ الْهُدَى لِي وَانْصُرْنِي عَلَى مَنْ بَغَى عَلَىَّ رَبِّ اجْعَلْنِي لَكَ شَكَّارًا لَكَ ذَكَّارًا لَكَ رَهَّابًا لَكَ مِطْوَاعًا لَكَ مُخْبِتًا إِلَيْكَ أَوَّاهًا مُنِيبًا رَبِّ تَقَبَّلْ تَوْبَتِي وَاغْسِلْ حَوْبَتِي وَأَجِبْ دَعْوَتِي وَثَبِّتْ حُجَّتِي وَسَدِّدْ لِسَانِي وَاهْدِ قَلْبِي وَاسْلُلْ سَخِيمَةَ صَدْرِي ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ ‏.‏
      قَالَ مَحْمُودُ بْنُ غَيْلاَنَ وَحَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بِشْرٍ الْعَبْدِيُّ، عَنْ سُفْيَانَ الثَّوْرِيِّ، بِهَذَا الإِسْنَادِ نَحْوَهُ ‏.‏
      Grade : Sahih (Darussalam)
      Reference : Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3551
      In-book reference : Book 48, Hadith 182
      English translation : Vol. 6, Book 45, Hadith 3551

      Like

    • Ken,
      Even when I posted a white american dude, you back the blame for muslims believing “” theories?
      Damn! How white you are!

      What about ex mossad?

      Just read the history! Portuguese empire with Safavid dynasty or Sabra and Shatila massacre !
      I’m afraid that you’re from “What’s Aleppo” who happened to be the most americans.

      N.B.
      You didn’t apologize about “kind of muslim” thing.

      ===========
      “can manipulate all these things behind the scenes without Allah’s sovereign manipulation”
      No! Where have I said that?
      Your statement is only found in christianity which is soaked deeply with materialism and paganism.
      Your statement is found only in the heads of atheists & agnostic ones.
      However, Quran tells you this (Surah 14:42-52) :
      “And never think that Allah is unaware of what the wrongdoers do. He only merely grants them reprieve till a Day when eyes will stare [in horror]

      Racing ahead, their heads raised up, their glance does not come back to them, and their hearts are vacant.

      And, [O Muhammad], warn the people of a Day when the punishment will come to them and those who did wrong will say, “Our Lord, delay us for a short term; we will answer Your call and follow the messengers.” [But it will be said], “Had you not sworn, before, that for you there would be no cessation?

      And you lived among the dwellings of those who wronged themselves, and it had become clear to you how We dealt with them. And We presented for you [many] examples.

      And they devised their plot, but their plot lies with Allah [recorded], THOUGH THEIR PLOTTING BE SUCH AS TO REMOVE MOUNTAINS

      So never think that Allah will fail in His promise to His messengers. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Owner of Retribution.

      [It will be] on the Day the earth will be replaced by another earth, and the heavens [as well], and all creatures will come out before Allah , the One, the Prevailing

      And you will see the criminals that Day bound together in shackles,

      So that Allah will recompense every soul for what it earned. Indeed, Allah is swift in account.

      his [Qur’an] is notification for the people that they may be warned thereby and that they may know that He is but one God and that those of understanding will be reminded.”

      Like

    • It was Obama who did not help the Syrians when B. Assad crossed the “red line”.

      I am saddened by Aleppo just like you are.

      But when US interferes, the results are not good – Iraq, Libya, Iran, etc.

      There are no easy answers. I pray for peace and for the atrocities to stop.

      Like

  4. the poor Palestinian people have suffered under very bad leadership – Yasir Arafat, Hamas, etc. – I have had many Palestinians admit that to me personally over the years.

    Like

    • I have had Palestinians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Moroccans, a few from Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, and met with a few Syrians (and I am friends with a very great Syrian former Muslim who is now a Christian) into my home in USA and visited them in their homes and we had wonderful food from their countries and we had great discussions about God and Jesus Al Masih and of course, they like to bring in politics and I sincerely listened to their issues. (especially from 1983-1992 – 9 years of hospitality, friendship, evangelism, listening to their side, and discussion)

      I am not a Christian Zionist, as I explained.

      Like

    • Ken Temple
      December 13, 2016 • 6:42 pm
      the poor Palestinian people have suffered under very bad leadership – Yasir Arafat, Hamas, etc. – I have had many Palestinians admit that to me personally over the years

      I say;
      It was Arafat. Arafat is dead. It was Yasin. Yasin is dead. It was Salah Sahada. He is dead. Now it is Mahmoud Abbas. Most of them were believed to be targeted killings by Israel aided by Ken Temple and very wicked poisonous evangelical Christian Zionist of the USA, citing the Bible as the their support.

      If Mahmoud Abbas is dead and a new Palestinian head emerges, wicked people like Ken Temple will continue to put blame on him and the Palestinians and will support the extremist Zionist to continue to be killing Palestinian babies with phosphorous poison bombs in a UN refugee camp marked as UN.

      These heartless Christians like Ken Temple, will always blame the Palestinians as the Bible commanded them to do and support the aggressive Israel Zionist regime and will vote for US congressmen and senators to give Netanyanu standing ovation which no US president had ever received.

      Proof
      List of targeted assassination by the evil Zionist regime supported by Ken Temple and some wicked Christians. Not all Christians and not all Jews and not all Muslims and not all people of good faith always support Israel except wicked people like Ken Temple extreme wicked Zionist Christians.

      Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Israeli_assassinations

      Ken Temple and some evangelical Christians do not value some human lives except some others. They do discriminate.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Ken Temple

      You said;
      I am not a Christian Zionist, as I explained.

      I say;
      Yes you are. I mentioned this to you several times before and I will continue. To continue to blame the Palestinians and giving Netanyahu standing ovation by the US senate and congress is the most absurd discrimination and religious fanaticism I have ever seen in history.

      No US senator or congress man will dare say anything against Israel but will always blame the Palestinian victims because their evangelical Christian voters will not vote for them if they dare criticize Israel, even when it is killing Palestinian babies in UN marked compound.

      At least there are Christians with their Churches in Gaza, and protected by Hamas and Israel had to bomb the Churches and the grave yard for the Churches.

      The head pastor and a Christian head of Gaza, said to his Muslim brothers and sisters “if they(wicked extreme Zionist supported by Rv. Temple and evangelical Christians) bombed your mosques and my Church is standing, you can come and say your prayers” and Muslims used some of the Churches to say their prayers when phosphorous poison bombs supported by Ken was raining on them, their children and their mosques.

      The evangelical Christians thinks the Bible tells them to value some lives and not others like the Amalikite babies, they do not care about the Palestinian babies even the Christian Palestinians.

      Thanks

      Like

    • Sorry; but you are wrong and you have no right to impute that stuff on me. This is why good discussion breaks down; you are not fair in arguing something.

      Like

    • Ken Temple
      December 13, 2016 • 9:43 pm
      I don’t always blame the Palestinians – they are indeed suffering in the West Bank and other places, but it is the bad leadership of PLO, and terrorists like Hamas that control the propaganda and news from that area.

      I say;
      The propaganda media is for Israel is CNN by Zionist Wolf Blitzer who will not bring his opposing Jews like Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Miko Peled, Peter Beinhart, Blumenthal etc. to talk in favour of the Palestinians but will invite congressmen and senators will insult Palestinians like you do Ken. Fox new, abc and any US media will always blame the victims i.e. Palestinians and their leaders. That is the propaganda and not poor Palestinian media who are defending themselves from your barbaric support Ken to the aggressive apartheid “Jewish State” which any US senator and congressman/woman is expected to use. And will blame Iran for calling itself “Islamic state of Iran”

      That is the double standard by extremist Zionist like Ken. He will not see the propaganda for Israel aggression by the US media and he will see the Palestinian media which is not seen by anyone except him and fighting that propaganda against his extreme Zionism.

      This honourable and noble Jews have the history of the area and one has his father as the founding fathers of Israel and they will not support the Israel government injustice and will be shocked to read your lies against the Palestinians.

      You support the aggression against the Palestinians and condemn isis and we condemn all and that makes us true children of God treating all humanity the same but you pick and choose as your Bible says and picking and choosing innocent humanity to be killed is satanic.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • “I say;
      It was Arafat. Arafat is dead. It was Yasin. Yasin is dead. It was Salah Sahada. He is dead. Now it is Mahmoud Abbas. Most of them were believed to be targeted killings by Israel aided by Ken Temple and very wicked poisonous evangelical Christian Zionist of the USA, citing the Bible as the their support.

      If Mahmoud Abbas is dead and a new Palestinian head emerges, wicked people like Ken Temple will continue to put blame on him and the Palestinians and will support the extremist Zionist to continue to be killing Palestinian babies with phosphorous poison bombs in a UN refugee camp marked as UN.”

      ken temple doesn’t give a damn about palestinian suffering .

      Like

  5. that was very wicked of you to put my name in those sentences, “Intellect”.
    It is like you did not read my comments at all.

    You cannot lump all of us together; since I told you I am NOT a “Christian Zionist”.

    Like

    • Ken Temple

      I am responding directly to you because your language of coming out to always blame the Palestinians and never blame the wicked Israeli government aggression is the hallmark of extreme Zionists like you. Some Jews do come out to criticise Israel and so are good Christians, Muslims, Hindus etc. and not an extreme Zionist Christian like you.

      I was with you over the years regarding this issue and you always blame the Palestinians when phosphorous poison is raining on them because your Bible said so. Jack Van Impe is becoming a child’s play to me.

      If we condemn isis while will you not condemn Israel in no uncertain terms for killing babies in UN marked compound. The Hamas you hate are protecting Christians and their Churches in Gaza their controlled area but Israel keep bombing these Churches and Mosques.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • When Israel does something wrong, I disagree with Israel. I do not support them on every thing they do.

      So you have to take back what you said and your method of argumentation is not fair.

      I sincerely believe that the majority of the Palestinians are suffering under bad leadership for the past 60 years; which many Palestinians have admitted to me.

      Like

    • I don’t always blame the Palestinians – they are indeed suffering in the West Bank and other places, but it is the bad leadership of PLO, and terrorists like Hamas that control the propaganda and news from that area.

      Like

    • Ken Temple

      December 13, 2016 • 9:43 pm
      I don’t always blame the Palestinians – they are indeed suffering in the West Bank and other places, but it is the bad leadership of PLO, and terrorists like Hamas that control the propaganda and news from that area.

      I say;

      The propaganda media is for Israel is CNN by Zionist Wolf Blitzer who will not bring his opposing Jews like Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Miko Peled, Peter Beinhart, Blumenthal etc. to talk in favour of the Palestinians but will invite congressmen and senators will insult Palestinians like you do Ken. Fox new, abc and any US media will always blame the victims i.e. Palestinians and their leaders. That is the propaganda and not poor Palestinian media who are defending themselves from your barbaric support Ken to the aggressive apartheid “Jewish State” which any US senator and congressman/woman is expected to use. And will blame Iran for calling itself “Islamic state of Iran”
      That is the double standard by extremist Zionist like Ken. He will not see the propaganda for Israel aggression by the US media and he will see the Palestinian media which is not seen by anyone except him and fighting that propaganda against his extreme Zionism.
      This honourable and noble Jews have the history of the area and one has his father as the founding fathers of Israel and they will not support the Israel government injustice and will be shocked to read your lies against the Palestinians.
      You support the aggression against the Palestinians and condemn isis and we condemn all and that makes us true children of God treating all humanity the same but you pick and choose as your Bible says and picking and choosing innocent humanity to be killed is satanic.

      Thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

    • no; not me. You cannot lump me in with Wolf Blitzer or other newscasters. My position is very different from anything you have even heard about.

      Like

    • “When Israel does something wrong, I disagree with Israel. I do not support them on every thing they do.”

      so how much land grab was inspired by “old testament”
      tell the truth now, don’t lie.

      how do you know it is not “old testament” theocracy “born again” ?

      Like

    • because the NT teaches that the OT Theocracy ended. Matthew 21:33-46; 1 Corinthians chapter 5; Hebrews chapters 8-13; Galatians 4:26; Revelation 21-22

      Like

    • WRONG ANSWER!
      theocracy ended in ot times before jesus. so don’t know why you are coming out with claims from books which did not exist in jesus’ time.

      theocracy REINSTALLED

      land grab
      indiscriminate killings

      Like

    • Sahih International: And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they say, “We are but reformers.”

      Like

  6. “When Israel does something wrong, I disagree with Israel. I do not support them on every thing they do.”

    jews were living well under muslim people, why did you turn things around ?

    Like

    • because of Greek influence in the west, many still called Istanbul by its old Greek name, “Constantinople”

      “they are all under the Sultan of Constantinople” = “they are all under the Sultan of Istanbul, Ottoman Empire” – yes

      The Ottoman Empire was the political country boundary; there was no “Palestine” as a separate country.

      Like

  7. Ken Temple don’t you find it funny that the Muslims on this blog will falsely accuse you of being a Zionist, list all kinds of alleged autocracies, and on other blog posts praise a rabid Zionist (Rabbi Tovia Singer), whenever he attacks Christianity, Christians and Jesus. Who btw they consider a prophet in Islam.

    LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes. I was going to mention that; It wold be interesting to get Tovia Singer’s views communicated here on the Israel-Palestinian issue.

      Thanks!

      Like

    • Kens Brother in Christ

      December 14, 2016 • 12:48 am

      Ken Temple don’t you find it funny that the Muslims on this blog will falsely accuse you of being a Zionist, list all kinds of alleged autocracies, and on other blog posts praise a rabid Zionist (Rabbi Tovia Singer), whenever he attacks Christianity, Christians and Jesus. Who btw they consider a prophet in Islam.
      LOL

      I say;
      If Rabbi Tovia Singer is a Zionist, he did not come out and keep blaming the Palestinians and always supporting Israel phosphorous poison on Palestinian children as Ken Temple is doing here.

      If Rabbi Tovia Singer is an extreme Zionist, he never came out and said Palestinians caused the problems on themselves as rabid Ken Temple kept always blaming the Palestinians since this blog was formed and never utter any word against Israel because he support the aggression as his Bible commands.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Ken Temple

      December 13, 2016 • 9:43 pm

      I don’t always blame the Palestinians – they are indeed suffering in the West Bank and other places, but it is the bad leadership of PLO, and terrorists like Hamas that control the propaganda and news from that area.

      I say;
      You always blame Palestinian leaders and support Israel leaders and that is discrimination. That is why this conflict is having innocent children killed and the blood is in the hands of those who will see the other side as terrorists and other side as doves and the lambs of God.

      Ken Temple will never call this demolishing of Churches, Mosques, farmlands, etc. as terrorism by Israel but blame the Palestinians victims citing their leaders. He never blamed Israeli leaders like Ariel Sharon who massacred Palestinians and was asked not to step his foot in UK, Netanyahu’s “mowing the lawn” etc.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Yes I found it funny how trinitarians try to sow discord between muslims and jews. As a jew Rabbi Singer are entitled for his opinion on the land of Israel belongs to the jews. However his view are whoever non -jews who want to live in Israel in peace can do so but who are seeking the destruction of jewish state must go.

      But if you listen to his other video he’s admitted this all boils down politics and territory fight and as a religion rabbi Singer accept that Islam and Judaism is essentially the same, on all core issues. Muslims and jews do not believe in idolatrous pagan worship like trinity and both profess true monotheistic teaching from God.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kens Brother in Christ

      December 14, 2016 • 12:48 am

      Ken Temple don’t you find it funny that the Muslims on this blog will falsely accuse you of being a Zionist, list all kinds of alleged autocracies, and on other blog posts praise a rabid Zionist (Rabbi Tovia Singer), whenever he attacks Christianity, Christians and Jesus. Who btw they consider a prophet in Islam.
      LOL

      I say;
      Injustice is satanic and evil. If the Rabbi supports the inhumane treatment of Palestinians like Ken Temple is doing then all of those who does that will be burnt in hell fire. If the Rabbi wants all faiths to live in peace, then that is what we want. Brother Eric has posted a response of him saying he wants all to live in peace.

      Muslims condemn any injustice including what some Muslims are doing to others or doing to themselves. That is the core believe in Islam, that is why you will find non Muslim Christians living in majority Muslim lands but Christians had to take a severe beaten before they were forced to allow freedom of religion in the West.

      If the Rabbi said a man(Jesus Christ) cannot be God, we have to accept that and we will not say because he is a Zionist so we will discard what he says about Jesus Christ. He is living in a Muslim majority country right now with Muslim friend and it would be satanic for him to think of extermination of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. It seems he did not say that.

      We will continue to listen his knowledge of Jesus not God and the atrocities the Jews suffered from Christians. If we hear both him and Ken blaming the poor Palestinians we will correct them and will not tolerate such lies.

      Every Jew, whether Zionist or not, anti Islam or not knows the history of Muslims protecting Jews and Christians exterminating Jews and that is what the Rabbi is doing and to correct and protect history from Christian such as Ken Temple lies against Islam in order to whitewash their(Christian) persecution of Jews.

      This Rabbi is really in the skin of some Christians. If he is a Zionist, does not mean we must not listen to his knowledge on Judaism and Christianity. It is his opinion to have Jews live with Palestinians. What we are against is injustice to all human beings be it Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist etc.

      Thanks.

      Like

  8. Tovia Singer shows his extreme Zionism.

    Like

  9. Rabbi Tovia Singer on the land of Israel. Interesting.

    Like

    • Ken Temple

      Thanks. I never heard this. What I heard makes me lose respect for this Rabbi. I do not respect Rabbi Tovia Singer again. If evil for anyone to think in this day and age that he can take peoples land and claim God gave it to him like this Rabbi is saying.

      Ken, it still did not exonerate your support of this extremist Zionist who are causing trouble in this world.

      Thanks.

      Like

  10. You don’t understand me; I am not a “Christian Zionist”. I don’t blame the Palestinian people; but most of their leaders have been very bad – especially Yasir Arafat (who kept millions of dollars for himself in Swiss Bank accounts and did not give to the poor people of Palestine- when he died it all went to his widow and family and the poor Palestinians are suffering and could use that money for their community) of PLO and Hamas of Gaza.

    Like

    • Kens Brother in Christ

      December 14, 2016 • 12:48 am

      Ken Temple don’t you find it funny that the Muslims on this blog will falsely accuse you of being a Zionist, list all kinds of alleged autocracies, and on other blog posts praise a rabid Zionist (Rabbi Tovia Singer), whenever he attacks Christianity, Christians and Jesus. Who btw they consider a prophet in Islam.
      LOL

      I say;
      Ken Temple is still my friend and our friend. We are just correcting the records. So, Rabbi Tovia Singer will still be our friend and we will put the record straight and condemn any injustice they might support. If Rabbi Tovia Singer is under your skin, that is not my fault.

      Thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

    • “Ken Temple is still my friend and our friend.”

      Thank you, Mr. “Intellect”. You are my friend and I wish you peace also.
      I appreciate you writing that.

      Like

    • i’m your friend too ken, but i believe with all sincerity human worship is bad for the soul

      Like

    • Thanks; me too; and false ideas of the mind about who God is are also wrong and bad for the soul. We don’t worship a mere human creature.

      Like

    • come on man. the creature before your eyes is human being . it breaths and eats fish and didn’t even know that thomas was in the room so had to make a re appearance at a later time.

      it has wounds . this is a creature. a finite creature . if you were seen worshipping it , you would be called a pagan. even you should admit that.

      you limited your god to a body .

      pagans limited god to the sun

      others limited him to the heavenly bodies

      others say he exist now as flesh somewhere on this earth

      at sinai , there was no image.

      you worship before you image.
      you eat a body and drink his blood

      when you eat and drink jesus, you must think of human flesh and human blood

      you point to it and call to it and seek from it, yet it was controlled and carried .

      Like

  11. Intellect wrote:

    “Injustice is satanic and evil. ”

    Yes, I agree.

    the aggressive wars of Omar 2nd Caliph (634-644 AD) and for centuries after that, against the Byzantines and Persians, and later Caliphs against Hindus, and Buddhists, – yes those were all evil. Surah 9:29 is evil.

    Like

    • No. It is war on terror. The Byzantines were persecuting Muslims and others. The Christians were persecuting others including themselves and Muslims brought peace and allowed freedom of religion and that is why you can find Christians and Jews, Hindus and others in Muslim majority lands today.

      Christians on the other hand will force convert anyone including persecuting Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims etc. until they(Christians) got a severe beatings from the liberals to force freedom of religion on them.

      Sura 9 say

      If they attack you fight. Stop aggression if they stop. Protect them and lead them to a place of safety.

      No force conversion in sura 9, No attack first in sura 9 but missionaries want it to appear so.

      Thanks.

      Like

    • The Byzantines were persecuting Muslims and others. The Christians were persecuting others . . .

      It does not say that in Surah 9:28, 29, or 30

      It says to fight the people of the book because of what they believe and what they don’t forbid (pork and wine, etc.)

      There is nothing in Surah 9 about fighting injustice amoung other peoples in other countries; nothing.

      it is all about aggressive war to conquer and get Jiziye revenues – Surah 9:28 – “If you fear poverty, Allah will reward you” (from the booty of your conquerings) because the pagans were not allowed anymore in Arabia, and hadith , “I heard the prophet say that no 2 religions will be allowed in Arabia”, etc.

      Like

    • Nowhere does Surah 9 say, “fight the people of the book because they persecute the other people of the book” (non-Chalcedonians) or “because they do terror” (against the non-Chalcedonians in Syria, or Coptic Christians in Egypt, etc. – Surah 9 NEVER says that.

      Like

  12. Surah 9:28 (context of Surah 9:29)

    “O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.”

    Meaning:
    No more pagans are allowed in Mecca, nor in all of the Hijaz or Arabia (per the Hadith that says, “I heard the prophet say, “no 2 religions will be allowed in Arabia”, etc.

    Since no more revenues are being taken from the pagans coming to pilgrimage; then Surah 9:29 gives permission to attack other areas outside of Arabia in order to get the money from Jiziye.

    “Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute [Jiziye] readily, being brought low.” Surah 9:29

    Like

    • Ken Temple

      Dr. John L. Esposito of the Georgetown university, Dr. Graig Considine etc, who are Christians and not Muslims, Dr. Lesley Hazelton, Karyn Armstrong and many more non Muslims who are in the academic field and have researched and studied Islam for years to earn their academic standards did not agree the way you are interpreting the Quran to your whims and caprice.

      And Muslim scholars will not agree with your interpretation and that is why you still find non Muslims still living in Muslim majority lands. It refutes you hands down.

      Unlike Christianity that has to be beaten severely before freedom of religion was forced on them Islam followed its own freedom of religion in sura 9 and this is the sura not in pick and choose.

      —————————————-

      1. A (declaration) of immunity from Allah and His Messenger, to those of the Pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances:-
      2. Go ye, then, for four months, backwards and forwards, (as ye will), throughout the land, but know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah (by your falsehood) but that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.
      3. And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage,- that Allah and His Messenger dissolve (treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If then, ye repent, it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith.
      4. (But the treaties are) not dissolved with those Pagans with whom ye have entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor aided any one against you. So fulfil your engagements with them to the end of their term: for Allah loveth the righteous.
      5. But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
      6. If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah. and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.
      7. How can there be a league, before Allah and His Messenger, with the Pagans, except those with whom ye made a treaty near the sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them: for Allah doth love the righteous.
      8. How (can there be such a league), seeing that if they get an advantage over you, they respect not in you the ties either of kinship or of covenant? With (fair words from) their mouths they entice you, but their hearts are averse from you; and most of them are rebellious and wicked.
      9. The Signs of Allah have they sold for a miserable price, and (many) have they hindered from His way: evil indeed are the deeds they have done.
      10. In a Believer they respect not the ties either of kinship or of covenant! It is they who have transgressed all bounds.
      11. But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity,- they are your brethren in Faith: (thus) do We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand.
      12. But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and taunt you for your Faith,- fight ye the chiefs of Unfaith: for their oaths are nothing to them: that thus they may be restrained.
      13. Will ye not fight people who violated their oaths, plotted to expel the Messenger, and took the aggressive by being the first (to assault) you? Do ye fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe!
      14. Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers,
      15. And still the indignation of their hearts. For Allah will turn (in mercy) to whom He will; and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
      16. Or think ye that ye shall be abandoned, as though Allah did not know those among you who strive with might and main, and take none for friends and protectors except Allah, His Messenger, and the (community of) Believers? But Allah is well- acquainted with (all) that ye do.
      17. It is not for such as join gods with Allah, to visit or maintain the mosques of Allah while they witness against their own souls to infidelity. The works of such bear no fruit: In Fire shall they dwell.
      18. The mosques of Allah shall be visited and maintained by such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity, and fear none (at all) except Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance.
      19. Do ye make the giving of drink to pilgrims, or the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque, equal to (the pious service of) those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive with might and main in the cause of Allah. They are not comparable in the sight of Allah. and Allah guides not those who do wrong.
      20. Those who believe, and suffer exile and strive with might and main, in Allah.s cause, with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of Allah. they are the people who will achieve (salvation).
      21. Their Lord doth give them glad tidings of a Mercy from Himself, of His good pleasure, and of gardens for them, wherein are delights that endure:
      22. They will dwell therein for ever. Verily in Allah.s presence is a reward, the greatest (of all).
      23. O ye who believe! take not for protectors your fathers and your brothers if they love infidelity above Faith: if any of you do so, they do wrong.
      24. Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight – are dearer to you than Allah, or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause;- then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.
      25. Assuredly Allah did help you in many battle-fields and on the day of Hunain: Behold! your great numbers elated you, but they availed you naught: the land, for all that it is wide, did constrain you, and ye turned back in retreat.
      26. But Allah did pour His calm on the Messenger and on the Believers, and sent down forces which ye saw not: He punished the Unbelievers; thus doth He reward those without Faith.
      27. Again will Allah, after this, turn (in mercy) to whom He will: for Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.
      28. O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.
      29. Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
      30. The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah.s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!
      31. They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah. there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).

      Source: http://www.wright-house.com/religions/islam/Quran/9-repentance.php

      Thanks.

      Like

    • Intellect wrote:
      And Muslim scholars will not agree with your interpretation and that is why you still find non Muslims still living in Muslim majority lands. It refutes you hands down.

      We all know that the Coptic Church and other smaller eastern Orthodox Christian groups exist and survived – because their ancestors paid the Jiziye and they agreed to NOT do any evangelism and your Caliphs did not allow any new churches or evangelism, etc. – they surrendered and were “brought low” / debased / humiliated – Surah 9:29
      that is forcing Christians to disobey their own religion, which commands us to love others by witnessing and evangelism and discussions, as we are doing here. The old Orthodox churches and Roman Catholic churches that survived don’t do any evangelism – they left the faith a long time ago – as they exalted Mary too much, make statues and icons and pray to those idols and gave Islam the wrong impression of what the doctrine of the Trinity is. They did not try to love Muslims by evangelism. Shame on them! There are some who are good and share the gospel, but it is rare.

      That there are some churches still left and small groups of Christian churches is not an argument with me; since your Caliphs did not allow evangelism or freedom, then they really did not allow Christians to exist as true Christians, only as slaves and second -class citizens – the Dhimmi system, Jaziye – these things are evil.

      Like

    • Esposito is paid by Saudi Arabia, so we know why he is “politically correct” on those issues. Karen Armstrong = political correctness and modern liberalism. If you are right on what their view of Surah 9:29 is; they avoid the reality of what Surah 9:28-34 says, and how Islam aggressively conquered everything in sight until they were stopped by self-defense.

      Like

    • quote:
      We all know that the Coptic Church and other smaller eastern Orthodox Christian groups exist and survived – because their ancestors paid the Jiziye and they agreed to NOT do any evangelism and your Caliphs did not allow any new churches or evangelism, etc. – they surrendered and were “brought low” / debased / humiliated – Surah 9:29
      end quote

      when you have 2 cursed pagan religions , God will judge the followers. God judged the people of noah. God judged people like pharoah . What did God say about pagan infrastructural, pagans and man worshippers in the torah? what did he say? If islam became the governing force, you should be thankful you were allowed to live and eat. if you were under ot law, you would have been pierced with a blade. as for evangelism, can you do evangelism when God judged and cursed you? could noahs people do evangelism in the time the punishment was raining down?
      could pagans do evangelism among the jews ?

      Like

    • if you were under torah law*

      Like

    • ken, what evidence do you have that your pagan brethren in 7th century arabia were evangelising like you modern man worshippers?

      since the quran proved man worship is evil and pagan, then even if the people in time of revelation heard you preach, they would have been convinced that you would be doomed and your beliefs because revealation ALREADY proved your belief = false

      “non shall enter paradise unless he be…”

      but this was debunked .

      this was argued out

      that quran gave you the chance to live, breath and eat and carry on preaching , you should be thankful to God even when you were under HIS CURSE!

      Like

  13. Whatever our views on the issues we have discussed here; Dr. Jame White was very good here, in the first 26 minutes of his Dividing Line program yesterday (Dec. 13, 2016) in rebuking Dr. Robert Morey. Morey lost his credibility a long time ago and needs to repent of his sinful attitude and behavior and dumb argument about “Allah is the moon-god”.
    https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/dr-whites-correct-rebuke-of-robert-morey/

    Like

  14. Br. Paul,
    Have you changed the rules of this blog?

    Like

  15. ken , i would like to clarify

    1. do you agree that at the time of revelation, those who agree are saved and those who disagree are punished by God either through the weather disaster or through the sword? when God Himself declares someone disbeliever, then does that person have a right to live on His planet? for example, people of noah, were they judged as disbelievers and punished?

    2. do you agree that when someone is punished by God for rejecting His message, then that person is cursed because God knows His heart?

    3. do you agree that IF quran is a revelation FROM GOD ,then it is merciful to the jews and christians and pagans because it allowed them to live under islamic goverment even when they were deniers ?

    Like

    • 1. No; God does not always judge in this life; many times in this life it seems evil wins for a time; but unbelievers will be punished after they die; and all evil will be judged in hell right after the final judgement. But yes, God did judge the world by flooding in Noah’s day.

      2. Yes; but we don’t know who God is going to have mercy on; or when God will have mercy on – there is always opportunity for a person until the die. After death comes the judgment – Hebrews 9:27

      3. No it was not merciful because evangelism, debate; criticism of Islam(even respectful), and building new churches was not allowed; because the economic and social pressures of Dhimmism and Jiziye were unjust and wore people down so that they despaired of life and slowly converted to Islam over the centuries; wearing down the original Christian populations to the little oppressed and inward groups that they are today. (all based on Surah 9:28-34)

      The Zoroastrians of Persia / Iran were mostly killed or converted to Islam.

      Like

    • Shariah guarantees religious freedom to worship for Christians and Jews (and others). Freedom of religion is NOT taught in the Bible – on the contrary, and apostates are to be executed – it’s Gods law, which Ken rejects because he is an American secularist.

      Like

    • No; New Testament fulfills the OT and OT Theocracy punishment laws are abolished. Excommunication from the church is the NT principle, not execution – 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; which I explained but you ignore?

      Don’t you understand that Christians believe the New Testament fulfills the OT and abrogates SOME things? (like food laws; the temple sacrificial system, priests, feast days, and punishment laws?)

      It is you who is the secularist because you believe in the secularist/atheists/skeptics to tell you what Allah meant in the New Testament era. You judge the OT and NT by secular / atheists / anti-supernatural scholar principles rather than Allah’s judgement of the previous Scriptures, which Allah says are pure and not corrupted. (Surah 5:47; 10:94)

      Freedom of religion was promoted in principle by the NT and early centuries of Christianity; then the RC middle ages corrupted true Christianity ( 600-1517 AD); then the Baptists movements of freedom of religion and separation of church and state were first (1600s – 1700s) before enlightenment and secular principles of freedom of religion.

      Like

    • Where does the Bible recommend or commands the virtues of free speech or democracy – two fetishes you idolise?

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    • When the NT gives principles for excommunication of people who are unrepentant – 1 Cor. 5:1-13
      means they are free to leave the church and do what they want in the world, but not allowed to be in the church or members of the church.

      also:
      Matthew 15:14
      “leave them alone . . . ” Jesus said

      Acts 13:46-47

      “since you reject the message . . . we are turning to the Gentiles . . . ”
      they were free to reject

      John 18:36
      Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world; if it was of this world, My servants would be fighting . . . but as it is; My kingdom is not of this world.”

      Jesus’ kingdom is not political nor force nor military power.

      Ephesians 6:12
      “Our struggle (fighting) is not against flesh and blood (we do not fight humans or punish physically), but against the powers of the darkness, the evil spiritual wicked forces in the heavenly places (against spiritual darkness – demons and Satan) . . .

      “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal/fleshly/physical . . . ”
      2 Corinthians 10:4

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    • Where does Jesus abrogate the law commanding death for apostates? Matt 23 supports its continued validity in the Kingdom of God, Calvin thought so too

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    • You are avoiding all the clear texts I gave you.

      Matthew 23 is about judgment on the Pharisees and Jewish leaders of that generation.

      Woe to you Pharisees, scribes, hypocrites, etc.

      Matthew 23:36
      “all these things will come upon this generation”

      there is nothing there about physical kingdom of God or political power or military power or right to use force or sword to punish people. nothing.

      Calvin was right on many things; but wrong on the use of state power with the church and punishments for people.

      The Baptist movements were the correct NT position; both on believers baptism and separation of church and state.

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    • Ken you have not given a single teaching from Jesus where he says punishments are abolished. In Matt 23 he tells his disciples to obey all the law. FAIL.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I did:
      Matthew 15:14
      John 18:36

      also
      Acts 1:6-8
      the disciple’s question shows they wanted the kingdom of God restored to Israel with political power and military power to “get the Romans” etc. (Acts 1:6)

      Jesus’ answer in Acts 1:7-8 is basically,
      “Your authority is not in this world or in political or military power; but your authority is a spiritual authority of the ability to witness boldly and live holy lives – the power of the Holy Spirit is the power to be witnesses (do evangelism with boldness and holiness – Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16-26 – holiness.

      “It is not for you to know the times or seasons . . . ” Acts 1:7 – quit trying to predict when Christ will return (all TV preachers who do that are false prophets – with Matthew 24:36

      “. . . but you shall recieve power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria, and even to the uttermost parts of the earth.” Acts 1:8

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    • Ken where does Jesus say apostates are not longer to be punished by death? Matt 5:17f says every part of the law is to be followed IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

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    • fullfilled in Christ – Matthew 5:17 says “fulfilled”

      Your avoiding all the other verses I gave you proves that you have no argument.

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    • Whee does the bible support democracy and advocate freedom of speech for other faiths? Chapter and verse please

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    • I already gave you lots of verses

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    • They are all irrelevant . Not one had Jesus day say punishments are abolished. You need to do better than that Ken.

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    • It is rather
      1. your avoiding all the NT texts that prove that I am right –
      and
      2. your anti-supernaturalist scholarship that you admire (in contradiction to Allah and His approval of the previous Scriptures) – those 2 issues are what is irrelevant.
      Epic fail by you.

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    • I’m still waiting … where does Jesus say the legal punishments are abolished?

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    • already answered for all to see

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    • “1. No; God does not always judge in this life; many times in this life it seems evil wins for a time; but unbelievers will be punished after they die; and all evil will be judged in hell right after the final judgement. But yes, God did judge the world by flooding in Noah’s day.”

      God judged the people of noah and DROWNED them . they were cursed by God. this was when God is the one who decide whether you live on his planet or not.

      “2. Yes; but we don’t know who God is going to have mercy on; or when God will have mercy on – there is always opportunity for a person until the die. After death comes the judgment – Hebrews 9:27”

      i am talking about the period of revelation where those who are persecuted are given victory by God.

      “3. No it was not merciful because evangelism, debate; criticism of Islam(even respectful), and building new churches was not allowed; because the economic and social pressures of Dhimmism and Jiziye were unjust and wore people down so that they despaired of life and slowly converted to Islam over the centuries; wearing down the original Christian populations to the little oppressed and inward groups that they are today. (all based on Surah 9:28-34)”

      you are completely lying. the quran debates your pagan religion within its verses. it addresses the lies

      “none shall enter paradise except….”

      then in the period of revealation , the christian fate could have been the fate of people of noah or innocent infants, unborn and children, yet it did not take your people out, even though rejectors are….? tell me, who was taking out the doom on jerusalem after your “man -god” was rejected?

      isn’t it in your pagan religion, that god destroy his own holy temple as punishment for rejecting him in the flesh, is it not your belief that punishment came from 3 members in trinity through war and destruction ?

      you lied about ” slowly converted to islam…”
      maybe after christianity was throughly debunked, they had made up their minds and converted in droves

      quote:
      Sahih International: And you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes,

      one can make the argument that the jews, pagans and christians were under Gods curse and when one is under Gods curse what happens to them in the torah?
      you tell me?
      when the jews and christians were siding up with the pagans to oust the muslims, how did God perceive this?

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    • you know, to think about it logically. islam comes out to be a far better and merciful system for jews and christians. if one applies the apologetic which is used to defend the bible, islam would win hands down.

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    • 3. do you agree that IF quran is a revelation FROM GOD ,then it is merciful to the jews and christians and pagans because it allowed them to live under islamic goverment even when they were deniers ?

      AGAIN , my point was PERIOD of REVELATION when GOd himself to you whether you LIVE or DIE on HIs planet.

      do you agree then that islam was a far more merciful system than jesus and the bible?

      consider this :

      quote:
      ” Matthew is even more explicit: here Jesus tells a parable in which God is portrayed as burning the city and killing its inhabitants (22:8). Luke has similar passages (e.g., 21:24).”

      richard October 29, 2014
      ” Matthew is even more explicit: here Jesus tells a parable in which God is portrayed as burning the city and killing its inhabitants (22:8). Luke has similar passages (e.g., 21:24).”

      Dr ehrman, do you think that the author of Matthew thought that god actualized the parable?

      Bart October 30, 2014
      Yes, writing after the fact that’s how he imagines it.

      Like

    • “No; New Testament fulfills the OT and OT Theocracy punishment laws are abolished. Excommunication from the church is the NT principle, not execution – 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; which I explained but you ignore?

      Don’t you understand that Christians believe the New Testament fulfills the OT and abrogates SOME things? (like food laws; the temple sacrificial system, priests, feast days, and punishment laws?)”

      the new testament jesus had a wish that in his generation he will reinstall ot theocracy.
      only liars would deny this.
      the end didn’t come.
      judgement didn’t come. apparently it was only destroying a building . and continue punishing christians even when they ran away to the mountains.

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    • “Freedom of religion was promoted in principle by the NT and early centuries of Christianity; then the RC middle ages corrupted true Christianity ( 600-1517 AD); then the Baptists movements of freedom of religion and separation of church and state were first (1600s – 1700s) before enlightenment and secular principles of freedom of religion.”

      but the religious jewish jesus did not have concept of “church and state” and new testament gives clues , hints and verses that he wanted to govern through torah .

      Like

    • for hundreds of years christians were combing jesus and torah statements together to control the people. today christians prefer the pagan way

      the pagans have no rules
      they don’t have laws
      they tell each other to love one another
      they give charity
      they love neighbour

      christianity has been reduced to preferring to live under man made laws.

      bible says to punish people who break the jewish family model, but ken prefers to live under secular system

      you must agree ken, that “ex-communication” isn’t working for you guys.

      Like

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  1. What is “cruel and unusual punishment”? Comparing shariah and Western understandings – Blogging Theology

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