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Death penalty and fiqh jurisprudence

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear Burhan,

 

Just curious :

1) IF Final judgement will be done on judgement day, then what's Islamic Jurisprudence (or any Jurisprudence for that matter) all about ? Wouldn't this be classified as double jeopardy ?

 

OR

 

2) IF Judgement day will be a math on sufferings in this life cancelling evils done and hence compensating with mercy granted in here-after, why not stone to death for the smallest of errors to ensure a greater place in here-after.

 

Here's more of my ignorance popping out :

How much / to what extent of Islamic Jurisprudence is ordained in the Qura'an and how much / to what extent is it a creation (Prophet's close followers and adaptations made over time through history)?

What I mean is - Do the Qura'an & Sunnah give principles / guides on morality and ethics or do they spell out specific punishments ? I am asking specifically on the death penalty in Shariah (either by stoning or any other way).

 

Is Shariah also based on the premise of "beyond reasonable doubt". So if God is the only one all knowing, then shouldn't there always be a reasonable doubt ? Besides, since He will account in the end, why bother passing a sentence.

 

The whole thing just doesn't fit.

 

(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)

 

Answer:

 

Death penalty and fiqh jurisprudence

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

My beloved and dear Brother in Islam, indeed the Final Judgment will be done by the All-Knowing, All-Wise Lord Alone on the Inevitable Day of Resurrection. Islamic Jurisprudence (or Shariah) is absolutely and fully based on the guidance and principles of the Divine Message of Allah Subhanah in the Holy Quran, and from the authentic narrations of the Messenger of Allah (saws).

 

But to reach that Inevitable Day of Judgment in the Presence of the All-Mighty Lord, the All-Wise Creator has Decreed that each person will have to live a pre-determined time on this earth, and thus he will be tested in that short and transitory period of one life.

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 67 Surah Al Mulk verse 2: He (Allah) created death and life that He may test you, to see which of you is the best in deeds.

 

Allah Subhanah gave mankind (and Jinns) two things which He did not bestow upon any in His Creation:

Intelligence, or the Power of Reasoning

A free will to choose the path of life one wishes to follow.

 

The one who uses his bestowed intelligence and power of reasoning to recognize his Lord and Creator from amongst His innumerable Signs, and of his own free will, submits to the Will of His Creator, accepts His Revealed Guidance, and lives his life according to the Will of his Lord and Creator; he has been promised acceptance to the Sublime and Infinite Mercy of the All-Mighty Lord.

 

But the one who denies and rejects the Guidance revealed by his Creator, and chooses to live his life according to his own will in disobedience of the Revealed Guidance, or follows a path not endorsed by Allah and His Messenger (saws); he will have a severe accounting indeed in the Presence of the All-Knowing, All-Just Lord on that Inevitable Day.

 

For the ones who choose of their own free will, to submit to their Lord and Creator and live their lives in alignment with His Revealed Guidance, Allah Subhanah has revealed a mode of conduct or way of life manual for His believing slaves in the form of the Quran. In His Sublime and Infinite Mercy, He also appointed His Messenger to live his life in submission exactly according to this Revealed Guidance, so that he (saws) would become a practical example for all those who wished to follow the Straight Path approved by Him.

 

Allah Subhanah, in His Absolute and Supreme Wisdom did not make this approved path called Islam a religion of only specific religious rites and rituals; but made it a complete way of life; whereby no aspect of a believers life would be without guidance from the Quran and the Sunnah. Regardless of whether it concerned communal life or individual life, whether professional or business, whether family or friends, whether government or subjects, whether crime or virtue, from ones birth to ones death.every single minutest aspect of life was covered in the Divine Principles of the Quran and Sunnah. Every rule, every law, every principle which covers any facet of the life of a believer must be aligned to these two sources of guidance, if one truly wishes to submit his free will to the Will of His Lord and Creator.

 

And Islamic Jurisprudence or Fiqh is nothing but a collection of these Divine Laws and principles of the Quran and Sunnah, whereby social and personal laws and rights of each party in a righteous society are identified and documented. Such is the quality of submission demanded by the Creator, that if any amongst His creation chooses to make his own laws after Allah and His Messenger (saws) have given their decision, they will be included amongst the disbelievers, transgressors and evil-doers in His Majestic Presence on the Day of Judgment! His Alone is the Kingdom and Dominion of the Heavens and the Earth, and He Alone deserves to establish His Laws that govern each aspect of the lives of His Creation!

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surah Maidah verses 44, 45, and 47 (part):

44 If any do fail to judge by what Allah hath Revealed, they are the disbelievers.

45 And if any fail to judge by what Allah hath Revealed, they are the wrong-doers.

47 If any do fail to judge by what Allah hath Revealed, they are those who rebel.

 

Q-1: IF Final judgement will be done on judgement day, then what's Islamic Jurisprudence (or any Jurisprudence for that matter) all about ? Wouldn't this be classified as double jeopardy ?

Lets say two people committed fornication in a righteous believing society, and their sin was proved in a Shariah Court. The Shariah Court would sentence the two convicted people to be flogged a hundred stripes in public in alignment of the punishment decreed by Allah and His Messenger (saws).


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 24 Surah Noor verse 2: The woman and the man guilty of fornication flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.

 

The hundred stripes is the prescribed punishment which Allah Subhanah has commanded a righteous society to extract from the evildoers. If the two people, after their sin, seek sincere repentance from Allah Subhanah, and amend their conduct; it is expected that Allah Subhanah will forgive them of their sin and not hold them accountable for their sin in the Hereafter.

 

But if the two people who committed and were convicted of the sin of fornication, and received the prescribed punishment of a hundred lashes in the life of this world; but they did not seek sincere repentance from their Lord, indeed they will have a case of double jeopardy whereby they will have a severe accounting in the Court of Allah Subhanah again on the Day of Resurrection.

 

The prescribed punishment of the world does not save oneself from the accounting of the Hereafter, but that is only the just recompense a righteous society is commanded to extract from the criminal in the life of this world! The only thing that saves one from the severe accounting in the Presence of the All-Mighty Lord is if one believes, turns back to his Lord in sincere repentance, and subsequently amends his conduct.

 

Q-2: IF Judgement day will be a math on sufferings in this life cancelling evils done and hence compensating with mercy granted in here-after, why not stone to death for the smallest of errors to ensure a greater place in here-after.

Beloved brother in Islam, only Allah and His Messenger (saws) have a right to determine what punishment should be prescribed for what sin! Allah Subhanah has not given this right of prescribing punishments for sins committed in this world to anyone else!

 

Besides logically, it is not the one who is stoned to death, nor the one who passes this sentence, who will earn and ensure for themself a greater place in here-after; but rather it is ones constant fear of standing in the Court of Allah in the Hereafter and his sincere repentance that will earn him that lofty station.

 

If one who is given power in the land decrees that all errors will carry the punishment of being stoned to death, it is this person who will be brought forth as a criminal in the Just Court of Allah Subhanah for transgressing all bounds and taking upon himself to invent his own laws!

 

Q-3: How much / to what extent of Islamic Jurisprudence is ordained in the Qura'an and how much / to what extent is it a creation (Prophet's

close followers and adaptations made over time through history)?

Every single law in Islamic Fiqh, without exception, is based on the principles and guidance of the Quran and Sunnah. Neither is one allowed to increase the prescribed punishments of Allah and His Messenger (saws), nor is one allowed to decrease it; whoever does so will be a transgressor in the sight of Allah Subhanah.

 

Q-4: What I mean is - Do the Qura'an & Sunnah give principles / guides on morality and ethics or do they spell out specific punishments ? I am asking specifically on the death penalty in Shariah (either by stoning or any other way).

Allah and His Messenger (saws) have absolutely and clearly spelt out the crimes for which the maximum punishment of this world can be prescribed: the death penalty, and especially the penalty of being stoned to death; to indicate how heinous and grave the sin is in the sight of Allah Subhanah, the Lord of the Worlds!

 

Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 4487 Narrated by Uthman ibn Affan

I heard the Messenger of Allah (saws) say: It is not lawful to kill a man who is a believer except for one of the three reasons:

Kufr (disbelief) after accepting Islam; ie. apostate, zina (adultery) after marriage, in Qisas (retribution) for wrongfully killing someone intentionally, for which he may be killed.

 

The death penalty or capital punishment can only be prescribed by the Shariah Court when one has been convicted by due process of law in ONLY the above three cases, and amongst them the only crime that carries the ultimate penalty of being stoned to death is for the abomination of zina or adultery.

 

Your Question: Is Shariah also based on the premise of "beyond reasonable doubt". So if God is the only one all knowing, then shouldn't there always be a reasonable doubt ? Besides, since He will account in the end, why bother passing a sentence.

The Shariah Court in a righteous believing society will only prescribe the punishments decreed by Allah and His Messenger (saws) after a full due process of law is established; whereby either the person confesses to his own crime in a Court of Law, or the prosecution is able to provide substantial proof and honorable eye-witnesses to the crime. Only if the guilt is established, the Court will prescribe the Shariah punishment applicable to the crime, as a retribution commanded by Allah and His Messenger (saws) which a righteous society is to extract from the convict in the life of this world, and so that the punishment is set as a deterrent and an example for the others to fear before indulging in the crime.

 

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 3.638 Narrated by Um Salamah, the wife of the Prophet (saws).

Allah's Messenger (saws) heard some people quarreling at the door of his dwelling. He (saws) came out and said, "I am only a human being, and opponents come to me (to settle their problems); maybe someone amongst you can present his case more eloquently than the other, whereby I may consider him true and give a verdict in his favor. So, If I give the right of a Muslim to another by mistake, then it is really a portion of (Hell) Fire, he has the option to take or give up (before the Day of Resurrection)."

 

Your Question: Besides, since He will account in the end, why bother passing a sentence.

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verses 178-179:

178 O ye who believe! The Law of Retribution is prescribed to you in cases of murder; the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the woman for the woman. But if any remission is made by the brother (inheritors) of the slain, then grant any reasonable demand and compensate him with handsome gratitude; this is a concession and a Mercy from your Lord. After this whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave penalty.

179 In the Law of Retribution there is (saving of) life to you, O ye men of understanding! that ye may restrain yourselves.

 

It is the command of The All Wise, All Knowing Lord to a righteous believing society that they should extract the prescribed retribution from the criminals in the life of this world, so that it may serve as a deterrent to all in society.

 

Indeed, the Final Judgment for each deed, good or bad, will be delivered by none other than the All Mighty, All Just Lord on the Day of Resurrection! But for man to live a life and perform his prescribed test in the life of this world, Allah Subhanah has revealed His Laws and His Guidance.

 

If mankind chooses not to bother passing a sentence according to the prescribed Laws of Allah and His Messenger (saws), or if the mighty in society choose to make their own laws to control the elements of society, the strong, the mighty, and the evil will create absolute chaos and oppression in society; and the poor, and the helpless, and the weak will be subjugated and oppressed beyond imagination.: as is unfortunately currently happening in the unrighteous and un-Godly societies we live in today!!!

 

Indeed, there is absolutely no doubt that the All Mighty, All Just Lord will gather all mankind on that Inevitable and Pre-determined Day to take a full account of every single deed of every single person; and no one will be wronged in the least! Indeed, that is the Day True and Supreme Justice will be served by the One Who is All Knowing, All Wise, and All Aware of absolutely everything.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 18 Surah Kahf verses 47-49:

47 One Day We shall remove the mountains and thou wilt see the earth as a level stretch, and We shall gather them all together nor shall We leave out any one of them.

48 And they will be marshalled before thy Lord in ranks (with the announcement) "Now have ye come to Us (bare) as We created you first: aye ye thought We shall not fulfil the appointment made to you to meet (Us)!":

49 And the Book (of Deeds) will be placed (before you); and thou wilt see the sinful in great terror because of what is (recorded) therein; they will say "Ah! Woe to us! What a book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great but takes account thereof!" They will find all that they did placed before them: and not one will thy Lord treat with injustice.

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 69 Surah Haaqqaah verses 15-31:

15 On that Day shall the (Great) Event come to pass

16 And the sky will be rent asunder for it will that Day be flimsy

17 And the angels will be on its sides and eight will that Day bear the Throne of thy Lord above them.

18 That Day shall ye be brought to Judgment: not an act of yours that ye hide will be hidden.

19 Then He that will be given his Record in his right hand will say: "Ah here! read ye my Record!

20 "I did really understand that my Account would (one Day) reach me!"

21 And he will be in a life of Bliss

22 In a Garden on high

23 The Fruits whereof (will hang in bunches) low and near.

24 "Eat ye and drink ye with full satisfaction; because of the (good) that ye sent before you in the days that are gone!"

25 And he that will be given his Record in his left hand will say: "Ah! would that my record had not been given to me!

26 "And that I had never realized how my account (stood)!

27 "Ah! would that (Death) had made an end of me!

28 "Of no profit to me has been my wealth!

29 "My power has perished from me!"...

30 (The stern command will say): "Seize ye him and bind ye him

31 "And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire.

 

Your Statement: The whole thing just doesn't fit.

My beloved and dear Brother in Islam, if one looks at and is satisfied with the unrighteous and un-Godly society we unfortunately live in today, and tries to determine or justify the current happenings with the Just and Wholesome Laws Revealed by Allah Subhanah; it will obviously and naturally seem that the whole thing just doesn't fit!.

 

But when one believes, understands and comprehends the mission of his creation, realizes that this life is only a short test prescribed by his Creator, and of his own free will and choice submits his will to that of his All Mighty Lord and Creator; the whole thing fits as perfectly as a hand fits into a glove!

 

Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6 Surah Anaam verses 125-127:

125 Those whom Allah Wills to guide He opens their breast to Islam. Those whom He Wills to leave straying He makes their breast close and constricted as if they had to climb up to the skies! Thus does Allah (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe.

126 This (Al Islam) is the way of thy Lord leading straight: We have detailed the Signs for those who receive admonition.

127 For them will be a Home of Peace in the Presence of their Lord: He will be their Friend because they practiced (righteousness).

 

If one trusts, obeys, and follows the guidance and commands of Allah and His Messenger (saws), he can be assured of never ever being misled; but if one believes, obeys and follows any other guidance, other than that of Allah and His Messenger (saws), he can be assured of being led astray.

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your Brother in Islam,

 

 

Burhan

 


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