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How common was death penalty under sharia?

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  • How common was death penalty under sharia?

    In times when courts in Islamic world were based entirely on sharia law, how common was death penalty for all offences, i.e. murder/apostasy/adultery etc?

    I don't know how the process of convicting works in Islam but I know that Judaism (religion most similar to Islam) included a wide range of crimes for which death penalyu could be given but in reality the standards for proof were so strict that it was considered rare if more than 2 people were given death sentence every 7 years.

  • #2
    Re: How common was death penalty under sharia?

    This is an excerpt from Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi's Commentary of Forty Hadiths of An Nawawi on hadith 14 labeled "The value of human life." It is not a complete answer to your question, but it may prove useful. This book can be downloaded as a PDF if you search on Google so you can read the whole section if you would like.

    Before the arrival of Islam, human life had no value. A person can easily be killed for many
    different reasons, e.g. revenge, to show the superiority of a tribe, killing a newborn baby girl
    because it was considered a shame, etc.
    When Islam arrived, it stressed on the value and importance of human life. A life must not be
    threatened unless it is lawful, i.e. where a serious violation of the shariah had occurred. Islam also
    made it clear that the taking of a human life is the responsibility of the highest authority, i.e. the
    judge. This is to prevent this practice from being abused for personal interests.
    Islam has established rules and regulations for the community that minimise the need to carry
    out the execution of a man or woman as allowed by the three cases defined in the hadith. Islam
    is a peaceful religion and it has established rules where people respect each other and live
    together peacefully, without lives being threatened. In the case of zina, Islam has rules for the
    Muslim society that regulate relationships. Hence, it is very difficult for the cases mentioned to
    occur if these rules and regulations are observed. As for ‘deserting the religion’, the Muslim
    community is based on knowledge where ilm and da’wah are continuously being disseminated
    and conveyed. Thus people are aware of their religious obligations and the minds of the society
    are well-protected from being manipulated. All these measures have been set up by Islam to
    minimise the occurrences of these exceptional cases where the taking of a human life is allowed.
    These truly are exceptional cases because during the time of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi
    wasallam, (and later during the era of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs) there were only a few cases
    where such violations or problems occurred.

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    • #3
      Re: How common was death penalty under sharia?

      We don't know. We didn't love 200 years ago
      Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How common was death penalty under sharia?

        Originally posted by Winged Hussar View Post
        In times when courts in Islamic world were based entirely on sharia law, how common was death penalty for all offences, i.e. murder/apostasy/adultery etc?

        I don't know how the process of convicting works in Islam but I know that Judaism (religion most similar to Islam) included a wide range of crimes for which death penalyu could be given but in reality the standards for proof were so strict that it was considered rare if more than 2 people were given death sentence every 7 years.
        This is a clear explanation by a sheikh, about punishments under Sharia, why & How ?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF-QL02YFtA
        My sect - No Sect

        My Aqeedah - http://legacy.quran.com/112 ( The Aqeedah of Sahabas)

        Just a Muslim

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        • #5
          Re: How common was death penalty under sharia?

          The Shariah was implemented in the Muslim world from the time of the Prophet (saw) until the interruption by the Western colonial empires who invaded, occupied, and colonized Muslim lands. In the archives of Most Muslim cities, there legal documents and records of court cases going back over 1300 years. This includes death penalty cases as well.

          I suppose there have been doctorate theses about shariah criminal law that referenced punishable of fences in certain cities like Qahirah ( Cairo) during certain eras, however the rarity or rate of convictions and punishment is hardly an issue of data collection extending 1300 years for 100s of millions of people.
          Allahumma, aranee al haqqu haqqan wa arzuqnee itiba`ahu, wa aranee al baatilu baatilaan wa arzuqnee ijtinaabahu.Oh Allah! show us the truth as true, and inspire us to follow it. Show us falsehood as falsehood, and inspire us to abstain from it.
          " Do you know what destroys Islam? A mistake made by a scholar, the argument of a hypocrite in writing and the ruling of leaders who wish for people to stray

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          • #6
            Re: How common was death penalty under sharia?

            Well the criteria for the death penalty are very strict that it isn't possible that people were being executed left right and centre. Adultery means stoning to death, but to get a death penalty somebody has to come and say so and so did adultery. Then if that person produces four different witnesses and they all survive the cross examination, then only is the death penalty appropriate. If even one of the witnesses fails under cross examination, all five of them (original accuser and four witnesses) get 80 lashes each for trying to slander somebody.

            These criteria are very high as you can see.

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            • #7
              Re: How common was death penalty under sharia?

              Hmm, I don't know how strict these standards were. Could someone who studied criminal branch of sharia outline the entire process according to various madhabs?

              For the sake of comparison I will outline the procedure needed for death penalty to be given in another monotheistic religion, Judaism (Christianity has no law on it's own)
              1. Death penalty can be given only if the perpetrator was warned by two witnesses that the act he was about to do is punishable by death (a procedure known as hatrah). The warners need to be excellent citizens known to have never sinned in public, with the knowledge of both written and oral law. Additionally they can't be related to the criminal
              2. The criminal stated that (s)he had heard the warning but is going to disregard it anyway and then commited the crime within the time it takes to say "shalom lecha rabbi" - about three seconds.
              3. A court will then assembly to assess the case. Out of all courts only one - the Sanhedrin - was allowed to hear capital cases
              4. The tribunal must be composed of 23 most senior judges in the country. The trual would begin by examining witnesses. Any discrepancy - cen a minor one - would render the entire testimony invalid (making sentencing to death impossible0. The witnesses would be reluclant to speak out as in case if deliberate lying was proven, the witness could be awarded the same penalty as the would-be-accused (in that case, death)
              5. A discussion would then followe. Disciples of the judges who wanted to raise arguments for innocence would be temporarily elevated to the rank of judges while those who wanted to argue for guilt would not.
              6. A voting would then take place. Majority of two votes was needed for guilt.

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