In Shariah Law, punishments or penalties for committing certain crimes is already mentioned in Quran or in Sunnah. These are known as Hudud. The punishments or penalties for Hudud cases are already fixed. However, in cases, where the punishment or penalty for a crime is not mentioned in both these sources then judge is the one who hands out appropriate punishment to the offender. In Islam, in certain crimes, the matter is between offender and victim. This means that if victim or his /her families choose, they can forgive the offender. For example, if a person commits a murder, the victim’s family can choose to forgive the murderer for certain amount of compensation known as Diyya or nothing.
According to Sharia Law, the following punishments are to be handed out to the offenders:
- Any deserter from Islam or a person who converts from Islam to another religion is considered a serious offender. All such offenses of deserting Islam is punishable by death.
- In early days of Islam, highway robbery was a common crime and to eliminate this crime, the punishment for highway robbery was death.
- Theft or stealing results in two kinds of punishment, depending on the nature of the crime and the quantity of the crime. One punishment is imprisonment, the other one is amputation of arm. The amputation does not take place unless there are two adult eye witnesses to the crime. If two eye witnesses are not there, the punishment cannot be handed out. Even in presence of eye witnesses, the quantity of stolen item, the reason behind theft are important aspects of the crime.
- Zina (if proven, it also requires four male eyewitnesses to the crime) will result in 100 lashes for unmarried man or woman. For married man or woman, the punishment is even harsher. If a married man or woman is accused of adultery and is proven, their crime is punishable by 100 lashes and stoning to death.
- On the other hand, if the accusation of Zina appears to be false, then the accuser is punishable by lashes.
- Consuming drinks such as alcohol that makes a person lose sense of his surroundings is also punishable by lashes.
Islam lays great importance on the bond of Marriage. It is considered sacred and great emphasis has been put on bonding a man and woman together through the bond of marriage. There are many rules and regulations that Muslims have to follow while being married. Some of them are as following:
- Nikkah, the marriage contract, takes place in presence of two male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses. All of the witnesses have to be adult.
- Husband has to bestow gifts to his wife upon marriage also known as mehr. This mehr is only payable to the bride and not to anybody else, not even her guardian.
- Even though marriage is considered a sacred bond, still a husband can seek divorce from his wife and wife can seek khula from her husband if required.
- A muslim man can marry a non muslim woman but she has to belong to ‘people of the book’ also known as jews or Christians. However, a muslim woman cannot marry a non muslim man.
- A muslim man is allowed to have more than one wife at a time, this is allowed. Man has to ask permission from his other wife or wives. He can marry upto a maximum of four wives at a time. On the other hand, it is prohibited for a woman to have more than one husband at a time.
- Marriage between muslims take place after muslim man or woman reaches puberty. At time of achieving puberty, they are considered to be adults.
- Marriage between muslim man and muslim woman is only considered legal if it is not forced. The groom should agree and bride should also show her consent, either herself or through her guardian. Both, man or woman, can send their proposals directly or can use a relative or guardian to convey the proposal.
- The marriage takes place in presence of Qazi who also performs the registration.
- After the Nikkah, Walima takes place. This is a celebration hosted by the groom and his family. This is considered as a welcome gesture to the bride.
Marriage is a very sacred bond in Islam. Divorce is frowned upon. Any Muslim man or woman getting into marriage contract should understand the important of marriage and should fulfill all the necessary legal and religious requirements for it.
Islam is a relatively new religion as compared to other popular and more followed religions of the world. However, Islam is the world’s fastest growing religion. There are believed to be more than 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. This makes Islam the second largest religion in the world by sheer size of followers, right after Christianity. So let’s try to get a basic understanding of Islam as a religion. Islam, by the literal meaning of the word, means to surrender, to submit. This submission is to one God, Allah. Hence, Islam basically means to surrender to the will of Allah.
Quran, the holy book of Islam, clearly defines that the basic purpose of mankind is to worship Allah. Muslims, or followers of Islam, are people who believe in one God and worship Him. They follow His commandments and His words sent to mankind by His books and His prophets. The first prophet of Muslims is Adam and he is followed by a chain of messengers or prophets, sent to the earth to protect mankind from sins and to make them obey Allah. Muhammad (SAW) is the last prophet of Muslims and Quran, the final word of Allah, was spread among people through him.
There are five basic pillars of Islam; the first and foremost being Shahada, declaration and belief in one God and Prophet (SAW), Salat (offering prayers five time a day), Zakat (giving of charity), Fasting, and Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah). There are two major sects of Muslims; Sun’ni and Shi’a. Both of these facts believe in the five basic pillars of Islam and to follow them is essential for any able Muslim.
Islam believes in equality amongst humans. It strictly asks it’s followers to not discriminate on basis of caste or race or color. Muslims are suppose to treat all humans with respect and proper honor, even if they don’t share the same beliefs. Islam wants its followers to demonstrate peace and avoid conflict wherever possible. Sharia Law is the basic Islamic Law and every Muslim is to abide by Sharia Law. This law is not just a set of rules and regulations. Sharia is basically a code through which Muslims are expected to live their lives.
The lives of Muslims are governed by a specific code or law known as Islamic Sharia law. Any action taken by a Muslim can be broadly categorized into two categories: Permitted or Prohibited. Sharia Law helps to determine whether a certain action is according to the teachings of Islam or not. If the particular action fulfills all the Sharia Law requirements than it can be considered as permissible; however, if Sharia Law deems it as inappropriate or an act that is not worthy of a Muslim than it is prohibited. The permissible acts can be classified further into other categories; such as obligatory, recommended etc.
Quran and Sunnah forms the basis of Sharia Law. They are the fundamental sources of Islamic Sharia Law. For any issue, whether it’s related to an individual or related to business partnership or linked to marriage etc, Quran and Sunnah are to be consulted for solution. If solution isn’t available in either of these primary sources then Ijma and Qiyas can be used to come to resolution or to find solution to a problem.
Ijma and Qiyas are of vital importance in today’s world. Muslims are faced with new questions concerning their faith on a daily basis. These questions can vary from simple ones; whether a new brand of soap is permissible or not, to critical ones, whether watching movies is allowed or not. It requires a long and deep thought process since the solution can have long term implications.
Punishments are to be handed over to the offenders as per Shariah Law. The court proceedings in Islamic Sharia Law consist of primarily a judge. The judge is the prime person to hand out punishments. There is no involvement of jury whatsoever. The representation is to be done by both parties, that is, offender and plaintiff by themselves. Hence, there are no lawyers involved as well. Sharia courts pay great importance to witnesses. Since there isn’t concept of pre trail case, hence, not much evidence is available. This makes witnesses even more critical. Oral testimony and Oath, both, play a major role in the whole case.
Muslims are expected to spend their lives according to Sharia Law. It is fundamental for every Muslim to believe in Allah and Islamic Sharia Law can basically be summarized as law of Allah. Hence, it becomes essential for Muslim to believe in Sharia Law and follow it with all his heart..