Deborah Scolart

Punishment and Islamic Law

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In the Islamic penal model, the aim of the Law is to protect five primary interests or maṣāliḥ ḍarūriyya (life, religion, lineage, property, intellect) through the regulation of offences against persons, i.e. homicide and wounding, which are violations of the claims of men (ḥuqūq al-ʿibād) subject to retaliation and blood price; and through the regulation of offences mentioned in the Koran (theft, banditry, unlawful sexual intercourse, false accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse, consumption of alcohol, apostasy) constituting violations of the claims of God (ḥuqūq Allāh) and subject to fixed penalties known as ḥadd, pl. ḥudūd, consisting in flogging, amputation of right hand, cross-amputation, stoning. Pardon by the victim in case of blood crimes, or repentance of the criminal with reference to some koranic crimes, can play a role in determining the penalty. Punishment is justified by deterrence, retribution, rehabilitation of the offender; sometimes expiation is required for the shedding of blood.


  • Kuranic crimes
  • Retaliation
  • Pardon
  • Corporal punishment
  • Repentance


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