Concept of Hudood

            Islamic Shariah divides the punishments for crimes into three categories: Hudood, Qisas and Tazir; though the penal laws of Islam in common terminology are called Hudood.

            Hudood is plural of Hadd which means restraint or limit. Other meanings of this term are prevention, hindrance or prohibition. Hence, Hadd stands for a restrictive ordinance or a statute defining things lawful and unlawful. Briefly speaking, those punishments which have been determined by the Qur’an and the Sunnah for crimes are called Hudood (prescribed punishments). Punishments for the crimes involving the rights of individuals are called Qisas (retribution). And the punishments for crimes which have not been fixed by the Qur’an or the Sunnah but have been left to the discretion of the rulers and the judges are called Tazir (discretionary punishments).

1)     Hudood or ordained punishments are for five crimes. The Qur’an has prescribed punishment for adultery, theft, false accusation of adultery, and rebellion (or robbery). The Prophet of Islam reportedly fixed the punishment for drinking. The punishment prescribed for these offences are respectively one hundred lashes for unmarried person guilty of adultery, stoning to death for married culprit, amputation of hands for a thief, eighty stripes for a flase accuser, killing or crucifixion or cutting of hands and feet in case of treason or rebellion and forty lashes for drinking.

2)     Qisas punishments, like Hudood, are also prescribed by the Qur’an. Life for life, eye for eye, nose for the nose, tooth for the tooth, and for wounds retaliation is the basic principle. However, unlike Hadd, Qisas can be remitted or waived by the victim or by the heirs of the victim who can either accept monetary compensation or pardon the offender. Qisas is prescribed for murder and physical injuries.

3)     Tazir or Oqubah are the punishments for minor crimes and have not been prescribed by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. These are either fixed by the ruler or Imam or legislature of an Islamic state or the same are entirely left to the discretion of the judges and the magistrates.

Hadd punishment is fixed by Allah or Allah’s Messenger and hence cannot be reduced or waived or enhanced by the Imam or the Qadi. However, if the crime is not proved according to the standard of Islamic Shariah (which is very strict and foolproof), then the judge would award Tazir or discretionary punishment according to the nature and extent of the crime.

Once the case liable to Hadd comes to the court and the offence is proved, punishment has to be given there being no scope for leniency or let off. No pardon, no repentance and no monetary compensation can avert the punishment.

For the concept of Hudood, please refer to verses 2:178; 2:229; 4:13-14; 5:33; 5:38; 24:2; 24:4; 65:1


1.         The human life is the most valuable of all the things in this world. Islam as the religion of humanity attaches utmost sanctity to human life. Al-Qur’an, the revealed book of Islam, condemns in unequivocal terms the first human murder committed by a son of Adam (Cain) who murdered his brother (Abel), and then pronounces: “…… that whoever kills a human being unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoever saves the life of one it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind…… (5:32). Life is a trust of Allah and Allah has made it the most sacred. Therefore, the Qur’an regards the murder of one individual (save in the course of justice) as the murder of all mankind. The security of life is the most fundamental right of every human being. Human life is so sacred that it cannot be taken for any reason except in course of justice for manslaughter or for corruption (fitna) in the land. According to the Prophet of Islam, life of a man cannot be taken except for one of three reasons, namely: life for life, adultery by a married person and apostasy from religion. Thus, a human being in an Islamic state can be killed only when he is found guilty of committing murder or adultery or he has been guilty of creating mischief and disorder in the land by raising a standard of rebellion or for apostasy.

2.         The murder of a human being is the greatest sin after the sin of shirk (assigning partners with Allah) and is, therefore, unpardonable. It is the crime against humanity and is the most heinous offence. The first of what will be decided on the Resurrection Day among the people will be about murder. The Prophet of Islam is reported to have said: “If all the inhabitants of heaven and earth take part in the murder of a believer, Allah will throw them all into Hell.” Hadrat Umar killed a party of 5 or 7 persons for the murder of one man and said: “If all the people of Sana’a had taken part in his murder, I would have killed them all.”

3.         Islam not only forbids committing of murder but has also forbidden committing of suicide with equal stress. The Holy Qur’an says: “…… and kill not yourselves …….” (4:29). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has condemned, in very strong terms, the act of suicide and has foretold that the person guilty of ending his own life would be punished in the Hereafter in the same way in which he caused his death.

4.         Islam has established perfect equality in the matter of punishment for the offence of murder. Punishment is equal for all irrespective of the status of the murderer or the murdered. No distinction or discrimination which was allowed between man and man in the period of Jahiliya (ignorance) is made in Islam. The murderer is punished with equal penalty, he may be a king or a slave. The murdered or the slain may be a servant, he may be a wealthy person, he may be a poor person, he or she may be a woman or a non-Muslim, the punishment for his or her murder is the same. The basic principle enunciated by the Qur’an is: life for the life, eye for the eye, nose for the nose, ear for the ear, and tooth for the tooth.

5.         Though, Qisas (retaliation or retribution) is prescribed in the matter of murder and physical injuries, yet the acceptance of diyat (compensation) or  giving afw (pardon) is also permitted.

6.         For accidental murder or murder by mistake, there is no capital punishment. The murderer would, however, pay diyat (blood-wit or blood money) to the heirs of the murdered and also free a believing slave. But if the offender cannot find a slave, he should fast for two consecutive months. Islamic law empowers the heirs of the victim to remit blood-money and pardon the assassin.

7.         For intentional murder, Qisas or retaliation is allowed. In fact, for such murder, the heirs of the slain have three options, i.e. either to take Qisas and slay the murderer or to take diyat and accept blood-wit or to pardon and remit blood-wit as charity.

8.         Where the murderer cannot be detected or found, blood-money shall be paid by the state from public treasury.

9.         Blood-wit is the same in case of intentional or unintentional murder.

10.       To prove the offence of murder, evidence of two reliable witnesses is required or the voluntary confession of the accused (without coercion) is essential.

11.       The statement of the dying man carries enough weight as it gives clue to the detection of the murderer, but the accused cannot be punished simply on the basis of this statement unless the statement is corroborated by independent evidence or by the confession of the accused.

12.       According to Islamic Law, murder is a compoundable offence. The law allows the relatives of the murdered person the right of pardoning the culprit. If the aggrieved party pardons the murderer after getting diyat or without getting diyat, the court cannot insist on taking his life.

13.       If the aggrieved party takes blood-wit from the murderer and then retaliates and kills him, then the aggrieved party shall not only incur a major sin but also would be held liable for intentional murder.

14.       The Prophet held a person who medically treats a patient while medicine is not known to him as responsible for the death of the patient. He will be made to pay blood-wit.

Kindly refer to the following verses of the Qur’an:- 2(178-179), 4(92-93), 5(32), 5(45), 6(151), 16(126), 17(31), 17(33).            

Adultery and Fornication (Zina)

1.         The Arabic word ‘Zina’ is used for illicit or unlawful sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other. This term stands both for adultery and fornication and does not make any difference between the two. In English language there is difference between adultery and fornication. Fornication stands for illicit sexual relations between two unmarried persons; while adultery denotes unlawful sexual relationship between the persons, one or both of whom are married to other or others.

2.         Zina (adultery and fornication) is the most abominable act and has been expressly made unlawful by the Islamic penal code. It is one of the gravest sins and one of the greatest crimes. The revealed book of Islam strictly prohibits its followers from going near it because it is an abomination and evil way. It is one of the crimes liable for hudood, the punishment for which has been prescribed in the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).

3.         The punishment for the offence of Zina has been prescribed by the Holy Qur’an (in its chapter 24 verse number 2) at one hundred stripes to each of the guilty parties. Thus the Holy Book of Islam has not made distinction between fornication and adultery and has laid down the punishment of one hundred lashes for a Zani (male) and for a Zaniah (female) who are guilty of this offence.

4.         The Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), however, makes distinction between fornication and adultery by treating the guilty persons differently on the basis of marital status. If person involved in Zina is unmarried, he or she is to be punished by one hundred lashes. But if a person guilty of this offence is married, he or she will be awarded punishment of stoning to death (rajm).

5.         In case of rape, the man guilty of forcing the woman is punished while the woman subjected to rape is let off without any punishment.

6.         A man who indulges in sexual intercourse with a woman within prohibited degrees shall be killed. The head of a man who marries his father’s wife shall be cut off and his property will be confiscated.

7.         For establishing the offence of Zina, the Qur’an stipulates (see verse 15 of chapter 4 and verse 4 and 13 of chapter 24 of the Holy Book) the direct evidence of four competent witnesses instead of the two required in all other judicial cases. The confession of a person four times is sufficient evidence for his conviction provided the confession is being made without any external pressure, coercion or duress, and the person making confession is not mad nor he is in the state of intoxication. Pregnancy of an unmarried woman is also considered as proof of the act of fornication on her part. However, according to many jurists, pregnancy alone is not sufficient for holding an unmarried woman liable for Hadd unless it is corroborated by any other direct evidence or confession, because Islam gives full benefit of doubt to the culprit in Hudood cases.

8.         Once the offence of Zina is established beyond any doubt, punishment has to be awarded to the guilty parties. No compromise among the parties, no ransom or expiation, no remorse or repentance, no pardon or reprieve, and no promise of good behaviour in future can avert the punishment. It has, therefore, been recommended that this offence should be concealed, if possible, not only by the parties involved but also by the people who know about it. Publicity of this evil in any case is undesirable.

9.         When the offence of Zina is proved or established and decree of Hadd is issued, then the prescribed punishment against the culprits shall be executed publically. No pity for the guilty parties can withhold the executioners of punishment from enforcing Hudood of Allah in accordance with the law. The Qur’an (24:2) even recommends the presence of a party of believers to witness the punishment. This recommendation is perhaps with a view to create deterrent effect of the punishment and also to restrain the judges from arbitrarily reducing or enhancing the punishment from what is ordained in Shariah.

10.       A minor or mad or insane person or a lunatic, if involved in fornication, is not liable for Hadd.

11.       To punish a married person guilty of adultery some additional conditions have to be fulfilled. The offender must have been legally married and must have consummated the marriage. It is also essential that the offender must have done the act of Zina under his own free will and not under pressure.

12.       In case the adulteress is pregnant, she will not be punished till delivery. Even her punishment shall be postponed till the time when she has weaned her child and the child is no longer dependent only on the milk of the mother.

13.       If the culprit is sick and he is likely to recover, then the punishment of flogging shall be postponed till his recovery. But in case the disease is incurable, then a bunch of one hundred twigs will be struck on his body in one round to absolve him of the liability of Hadd.

14.       Prostitution is banned in the Islamic state (Al-Qur’an 24:33).

15.       There is no prescribed punishment for sodomy in the Qur’an. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have recommended, according to some traditions, the killing of the persons involved in the act. Abu Bakr is reported to have wall thrown down on them while Ali had such people burned. Since no Hadd punishment has been prescribed by the Shariah, the punishment for this offence is tazir.

16.       The Islamic law does not give authority to punish the culprits to anybody other than the government. The commandment: “flog them with stripes” (al-Qur’an 4:2) is addressed to the Islamic government and not to the common people. So, the offenders would be tried in the court and punishment shall be executed by the officials of the Islamic state if the offenders are convicted by the court.

Kindly refer to the following verses of the Quran: 4(15-16), 4(25), 17(32), 24(2), 24(4), 24(13), 24(33), 60(12),

Slander (Qazf)

1.         The Islamic law of Qazf is basically and also mainly derived from the verse number 4 of Chapter 24 of the Holy Qur’an. According to this verse, those who accuse honourable women and do not prove the charge by the evidence of four witnesses, they are guilty of making false allegation and, therefore, must be punished with 80 lashes. In addition to the punishment of flogging, they would be disqualified from giving evidence in any case before any authority in future.

2.         Though the word ‘Qazf’ has not been used in the Qur’an for the offence of making false allegation, the jurists have named the offence as Qazf and have restricted its application to false accusation of Zina (fornication or adultery). No doubt, the Qur’an (24:4) does not mention the charge of Zina specifically, but the use of the word ‘Muhsanat’ (morally fortified or chaste women) and requirement of four witnesses for substantiating the charge suggests clearly that the accusation mentioned by the Qur’an is not any ordinary accusation but the accusation of Zina. And the punishment of Hadd in the form of 80 stripes has been prescribed by the Qur’an for the offence of making false allegation of adultery against a chaste and innocent woman. This punishment is not applicable to other offences of making false allegations such as drinking, stealing, gambling, bribery, taking usury, etc. For such offences, the Qadi would award discretionary punishment (Tazir) depending on the circumstances and facts of the case.

3.         Despite the fact that verse 4 of Chapter 24 of the Holy Qur’an promulgates the law regarding false allegation against chaste and pure women, majority of the classical as well as modern jurists hold that by implication this injunction of the Qur’an applies also to the cases of false accusation in respect of chaste men. According to them, the law of Qazf does not make any difference whether the accuser is a man or a woman and whether the accused is a man or a woman. If the accuser (a man or a woman) accuses a person (a man or a woman) and fails to substantiate the charge by the evidence of four competent witnesses, the accuser shall be guilty of Qazf and shall be punished under the law.

Although I am a very humble student of Islamic law and have no pretensions of being a scholar of Islam, yet I think that the above view taken by the eminent jurists is not correct. Suppose an innocent and a very chaste woman having an excellent reputation of good moral character is subjected to rape, but fails to prove the charge due to lack of proper evidence, what would happen then? If the view of the eminent jurists is held correct, the poor woman would suffer the punishment of Zina (as she admitted having been subjected to it) as well as the punishment of Qazf (as she charged an innocent man of raping her). Is it the justice which is being intended by verse 4 of Surah 24 of the Holy Book? I believe the answer would be emphatic No. The truth of the matter is that this verse aims at punishing only those who make false allegations of adultery against a chaste woman and not against a chaste man. My this contention is supported by the following arguments: 

(i).     Verse 4 of Surah 24 which awards punishment of 80 strips to an accuser has very clearly used the word ‘Muhsanat’ (chaste women). This Verse is legislating an important law of Hadd and had it aimed at punishing accusers of chaste men, it would have included the word ‘Muhsan’ in it leaving no latitude for guess and conjecture.

(ii).     Whenever the Qur’an legislates a criminal law which is intended to apply to both men and women, it specifically takes care to address both the genders. For example, law of punishment of theft enshrined in verse 38 of chapter 5 is intended to apply to both men and women and, therefore, the Holy book addresses a male as well as a female thief. Similarly, verse 2 of chapter 24 contains punishment for the offence of Zina and it is addressed to both male and female offenders.

(iii).     It is an incontrovertible historical fact that Surah An-Noor (Chapter 24 of the Holy Qur’an) was revealed in defence of Hadrat Ayesha, wife of Muhammad (peace be upon him), when a false allegation was made against her. The Surah contains not only the law for the punishment of Zina, but also makes laws about the protection of women. Laws enacted for the protection of women include law of Qazf (false allegation of adultery against chaste women) and law of purdah against evil looks of men. In view of this, it would be a flagrant violation of the rights of women if the law (of Qazf) which is basically revealed for the protection of women is interpreted to apply to cover the cases of men also and the raped women are punished merely because they have failed to prove rape by the evidence of four honest male witnesses.

(iv).     No incident from the time of the Prophet is reported in which the Prophet punished a woman or a man for the offence of Qazf against the honour of a man. On the contrary one incident is reported where the Prophet let off a woman unpunished when she complained to the Prophet about a rape to which she was subjected but she had no witnesses. In this case the Prophet punished the man who raped her when he confessed his offence. The Prophet did not say that the woman would be punished for the offence of Qazf against the honour of man because she had failed to produce four witnesses.

In view of the above arguments I believe that the law of Qazf does not award Hadd punishment to an accuser who had made false allegation against the honour of a man. If there is such a case, the court would award suitable discretionary punishment (tazir) and not hadd.

4.         In verses 4 and 5 of its chapter 24, the Qur’an mentions three punishments for a Qazif (false accuser), namely:

i)                 He should be awarded 80 lashes;

ii)               His evidence should not be accepted in future, and

iii)              He is an evil-doer and sinner (and, therefore, liable for punishment in the Hereafter).

After announcing these punishments the Qur’an makes exception in these words: “…………save those who afterward repent and make amends. (For such) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful”. The question arises whether all the above mentioned punishments are waived or only one or two punishments are remitted when the accuser repents and reforms. All the jurists are agreed that the waiver does not apply to the first punishment i.e. punishment of flogging. Flogging has to be administered once the offence of Qazf is proved, despite the fact that the accuser has repented and reformed. However, the third punishment, that of being a sinner, is remitted by Allah the Most Merciful if the accuser honestly repents and reforms himself. As far as the second punishment, that of disqualification as witness is concerned, opinions of the jurists differ widely. Imam Abu Hanifa considers that punishment of disqualification for giving evidence in future is not cancelled by repentance. On the other hand, jurists like Imam Shafi, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Malik bin Anas hold that this punishment is cancelled if the accuser regrets, repents and reforms.   

5.         The case of accusation of the wife by her husband is different. It is dealt by the Qur’an in the verses from 6 to 9 of its chapter 24. If a husband finds his wife involved in adultery and has no witnesses to prove the offence, he has to undergo what is called the process of imprecation or lian which has been set by the Qur’an in its above mentioned verses. The husband has to solemnly swear four times to prove the truth and invoke a curse on himself for the fifth time if he lies. It averts the punishment of adultery from the wife if she swears four times that the allegation is false and for the fifth time invokes curse on herself if her husband is speaking the truth. After undergoing the process, both are separated. Neither the husband is punished for the offence of Qazf nor the wife is punishment for the offence of Zina.  

6.         Qazf like adultery is not a compoundable offence. In a case of Qazf, neither the court can pardon the accuser nor the accused can pardon him. The accuser cannot save his skin even by offering monetary compensation or apology or repentance.

7.         If the charge of adultery is not established, the question arises whether besides the accuser the witnesses will be punished for the offence of Qazf or not. One school of thought holds that they will be awarded punishment prescribed for slander (Qazf). However, the others hold that they had appeared as witnesses and not as accusers and hence they will not be subjected to the prescribed punishment. The second opinion appears to be valid and proper as in case the first opinion is acted upon, no person would appear as witness in a case of Zina at the risk of punishment.


Kindly refer to verses 38-39 of Chapter 5 and verse 12 of chapter 60 of the Qur’an.

1.         The term ‘theft’ has neither been defined by the Qur’an nor by the Sunnah. In the common parlance, theft denotes to the act of depriving a person of his property, in his absence or without his knowledge, dishonestly, stealthily and illegally. It is, thus, an act of taking other’s property without any lawful claim to it. The Qur’an has prescribed very severe punishment of cutting off the hands of a thief to make him an example for others and thus create a deterrent effect.

2.         The Qur’an has not prescribed any value of property the theft of which makes a culprit liable for the punishment of amputation of hands. However, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has fixed minimum value of property at one-fourth of Dinar or at three Dirhams for which the hands of a thief can be cut off. According to another version, the Prophet decreed that the hand of a thief shall not be amputated for a thing whose value is less than that of a shield. At that time the price of a shield, according to Ibn Abbas was ten Dirhams, according to Ibn Umar three Dirhams, and according to Ayesha one-fourth of a Dinar.

3.         The theft of the following things, according to jurists, does not call for the amputation of the hands of a thief:

   (i).     The ripe fruits, white dates, vegetables, and other eatables.

 (ii).     The hanging fruits if not protected by a ladder and fencing.

(iii).     Theft of birds and animals grazing in forests.

(iv).     That thing or property which cannot be guarded or is not worth guarding, being found in the land in abundance such as dry wood, grass, hay, fish, etc.

 (v).     The quickly perishable foods like milk, meat, fresh fruit, cooked food.

(vi).     A thing which has no conventional value, even though it may otherwise be regarded of great worth.

(vii).     Articles used for sports and music.

4.         The following categories of persons, as held by some jurists, are not to be awarded punishment of amputation.

(i)      One who steals in a journey, expedition or holy war (Jihad).

(ii)         One who commits theft during a famine.

(iii)        A servant or slave who commits theft of anything belonging to his master.

(iv)       A person who is guilty of committing theft in the house of his or her relative within prohibited degrees.

(v)                A dacoit or robber for dacoity or robbery since punishment for this offence is fixed in verse 33 of Chapter 5 of the Qur’an.

(vi)       One guilty of criminal misappropriation or embezzlement or taking bribery.

(vii)      One who steals from public treasury (Bait-ul-Mal).

5.         A thief shall be punished only when his crime is established beyond any doubt by the evidence of two competent witnesses or by the confession of thief himself who makes the confession without any pressure and in rational frame of mind. No pressure, coercion or beating should be applied to the thief for securing his confession of guilt during interrogation.

6.         The Qur’an has not given any instructions as how to cut the hand. Opinions, therefore, differ about the place from where to cut the hand. According to Hanafi school of jurisprudence, the hand is to be cut from the wrist.  


Please refer to verses 2(219), 4(43), and 5(90-91) of Al-Qur’an

1.         Wine and other intoxicants have been prohibited by the Qur’an. The word used by the Qur’an in its verse 219 of Chapter 2 and verse 90 of Chapter 5, is Khamr. The word ‘Khamr’ is derived from ‘Khamara’ which means ‘he concealed’ or ‘obscured’. The ‘Khamr’ thus denotes every substance or intoxicating thing the use of which obscures or covers the intellect. Hence, the prohibition of intoxicant promulgated by this verse is not restricted merely to alcoholic drinks but also includes drugs which have a similar effect. This is the view based on many authentic Ahadith according to which the Prophet is reported to have declared: “Every intoxicant is unlawful”. “Every liquor which intoxicates is forbidden”. “Every intoxicant is Khamr and every intoxicant is forbidden”.  The Prophet of Islam is also reported to have said: “Wine is made from grape-syrup, raisins, dried dates, wheat, barley, millet, and I forbid you from every intoxicant”. According to another Hadith, the Messenger of Allah forbade every intoxicant and everything which produces languidness. The Prophet also closed the door of taking wine calling it by another name when he said: “Some of my people will assuredly drink wine calling it by another name”. The wine also cannot be converted into vinegar and used. Hadrat Umar is reported to have defined Khamr as everything that dulls the faculty of thinking.

2.         It is no excuse that little quantity of wine does not intoxicate and, therefore, there is no harm in taking it. The basic principle laid down by the Sunnah is: “What intoxicates in greater quantity is unlawful also in its small quantity”.   

3.         No pretext or excuse can justify taking of wine or anyother intoxicant. It is reported that a companion asked the Prophet: “Is one permitted to use wine as medicine? “The Prophet replied: “No, it is not a medicine but a disease”. Another person asked: Verily we are in cold land and we are to do hard work therein, wine gives us strength in our work and in the chill of our cities. The Prophet said: Does it intoxicate? The person said: Yes. Then the Prophet said: Give it up.

The jurists, however, hold that the use of wine can be permitted in the light of verse 3 of chapter 5 of the Holy Qur’an (which makes Haram as Halal under certain compulsions) when there is instant danger of death to the life of a sickman without its use.   

4.         Wine is the mother of many evils (Umul Khabaith). It is one of the major sins to drink it. According to a tradition of the Prophet of Islam, a person is not a believer at the time of drinking wine. Paradise has been prohibited for a habitual drinker. God accepts repentance of a drinker only for three times and when he takes wine for the fourth time after repentance, neither his prayer is accepted nor his repentance is accepted.

5.         Despite condemning wine-drinking in unequivocal terms, the punishment for drinking has not been prescribed by the Holy Qur’an. In the Hadith also, we do not find any definite punishment for this offence. In almost all cases of wine-drinking which came to the notice of the Prophet, the Prophet ordered for beating of the offenders with shoes, sticks and hands. This punishment of beating of the culprit remained in force during the rule of Abu Bakr and early part of the caliphate of Umar. But according to another version, the sentence of 40 stripes was awarded during the times of Prophet Muhammad and Abu Bakr.

6.         Hadrat Umar, the second right-guided caliph of Islam held consultations with the companions for fixing the punishment of wine-drinking as the incidence of such cases was rising. Hadrat Ali said: My decision is that you should flog such a person by 80 lashes, for when he drinks, he becomes intoxicated, and when he becomes intoxicated, he muses, and when he muses, he tells lies. Hadrat Umar agreed with Ali and thus punishment of 80 lashes was prescribed for wine-drinking.

7.         In order to substantiate and prove the offence of wine-drinking, evidence of two competent witnesses or confession of the accused person is essential.    

Rebellion and Robbery

1. The Qur’an deals with this subject in its verses 33 and 34 of chapter 5. Verse number 33 enumerates the offences and prescribes punishments for such offences. Verse number 34 exempts the offenders who repent before they are overpowered.

2. According to verse 33 of chapter 5 of the Qur’an, which has been mentioned above, following are the offences which are liable to punishment:

(i)              Making war against Allah and His messenger which impliedly includes:

(a)   Ridiculing or openly flouting the basic articles of Islamic faith and violating openly the Injunctions of the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

(b)   Raising standard of rebellion against a true Islamic state threatening its ideology and existence which is act of high treason.

(c)   To overthrow the authority of the Islamic state or undermine the Islamic order established by it.

(ii)             Striving in the land for creating ‘fasad’ which by implication includes:

(a)   Creating law and order situation and threatening peace in the land.

(b)   Creating disorder or disruption.

(c)   Acts of violence, terror and sabotage to create instability.

(d)   Creating or instigating communal or racial or sectarian violence to undermine the unity of the Muslim Ummah.

(e)   Depriving the people of their property or belongings by killing or physically hurting them or by the threat of killing them such as dacoity or robbery.

Thus, the offences elaborated above include all the offenders such as rebels, apostates, blasphemers, conspirators, intriguers, robbers, terrorists, traitors, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-mongers, saboteurs, etc.                                                            

3. The following alternate punishments have been prescribed by the Holy Qur’an in the above mentioned verse for the crimes enlisted above:

(i)              They (the persons found guilty of the above mentioned crimes) will be killed, or

(ii)             They will be crucified, or

(iii)            Their hands and feet on alternate sides shall be amputated, or

(iv)           They will be expelled out of the country.

Keeping in view the nature and extent of the crime and circumstances of the case, the Qadi is fully competent to award any of the above mentioned punishments.   

4. Needless to say that the punishment would be given to the offenders after a fair trial. They will be provided a reasonable opportunity of defence. If their guilt is established beyond any doubt by proper evidence, only then they shall be punished.


            Gambling is a great evil which is prohibited in Islam. It is not only a sin to be punished in the Hereafter but is also an offence in Islamic society which renders the culprit liable to punishment in this world.

            The word used by the Qur’an for gambling is maisir’ which literally means ‘getting something’ too easily’ or ‘getting a profit without working for it’. Originally, it stood for a game or play with unfeathered or headless arrows. Gambling can briefly be defined as wagering money or other valuable things upon the outcome of an event or making money upon some chance. Thus it is a game of chance by which you either win or lose. The practice of gambling is in vogue since the time immemorial. According to a writer: “Games of chance’ are as old and as wide-spread as humanity. The Greeks, the Romans, the Israelites, the early Christians, the pre-Islamic Arabs,all these and other communities of the ancient and mediaeval periods indulged in one or the other form of gambling.

            The extent to which gambling prevails in the modern world is difficult to assess. Most of it is centred in the horse racing. Modern forms of gambling also include lottery, betting, cross-word puzzles, card-playing (with bets), prize schemes, etc.

            Gambling and all games of chance have been strictly prohibited by the Qur’an. According to the Qur’an, gambling, as wine-drinking, is devil’s handiwork through which he seeks to cast enmity among the people and turns them away from remembrance of God. Gambling, like drinking, has been declared a major sin and followers of Islam have been enjoined upon to refrain from these evils. Thus gambling and all other games of chance are illegal in an Islamic society. However no punishment for this offence has been fixed by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. So there would be discretionary (Tazir) punishment for this offence and the court would award it if the offence is established by evidence of two competent witnesses or by confession of the accused.

            Please refer to verse 219 of chapter 2 and verses 90-91 of chapter 5 of the Qur’an.

Other offences: For offences other than those mentioned above, a judge or a Qadhi is authorized to award punishment at his discretion keeping in view the teachings of Qur’an, the traditions of the Prophet, the precedents set by the right caliphs, the opinions of the Muslim jurists and the prevailing laws.


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