Tolerance In Punishment
Tolerance Of Islam In Punishment
Islam has legalized a number of legal penalties which, when upheld, guarantee the safety and security of a society. Lives
would be saved, and individual honor would be protected. All crimes, regardless of their
degree, would decrease drastically or cease completely. Allah, the Exalted, says:
“O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered.”
Allah also says: “But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct.” (2:178)
Allah says about theft: “[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hand in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (5:38)
- Once a person’s hand is cut off, it would discourage him and others to take the property of others.
The punishment of one who fornicates is also mentioned in the Quran: “The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse - lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.” [24:2]
- This would serve to prevent the breaking apart of families, and having children left without both of their biological parents.
- If someone speaks ill of someone, accusing them unlawfully of being promiscuous there is also a due punishment. Allah, the Exalted, says: “And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses – lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient.” [24:2]
- The Shari’ah affirms a general guideline regarding punishment. Allah, the Exalted, says: “And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers.” [42:40]
- Allah also says: “And if you punish [an enemy, O believers], punish with an equivalent of that with which you were harmed. But if you are patient - it is better for those who are patient.” [16:126]
These Punishments Have A Few Conditions
- The tolerance of Islam dictates that punishments related to individual rights are not to be implemented unless the person who is harmed wants it to be implemented. Otherwise a person who is affected can pull away from this and forgive the person. Allah, the Exalted, says: “And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers.” [42:40]
Whatever relates to God’s rights would be not punished as long as a person does not openly announce that he is committing the sin. As well as, if it has not reached the authorities, the sin would not be punished. One would repent between himself and God. The Prophet s said: “All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahirin (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person commits a sin at night and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning, and says, ‘O so-and-so, I did such-and-such (evil) deed yesterday,’ though he spent his night screened by his Lord (none knowing about his sin) and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself.” (Bukhari)
The implementations of these rules serve noble ends; namely the protection of human rights and the safety of society.
If a person knows that he will be killed if he kills, or will have has hand cut off if he steals, it is certain that he will be deterred from sinning. Allah says: “And there is for you in legal retribution [saving of] life, O you [people] of understanding, that you may become righteous.” [2:179]
It may seem to some that the punishments in Islam are very severe. In reality, they are fitting to each crime and would prevent corruption from spreading in society. Imprisonment, for example, has not proven itself a worthy form of punishment. Rather than deterring one from crime, at times it increases one’s willingness to commit crime.