The Concept of Punishment Under Sharia

  • Farrukh B. Hakeem
  • M. R. Haberfeld
  • Arvind Verma


On account of its divine origins, the Sharia is a unique legal system when compared to other legal systems. It is based primarily on the Quran, which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago, and is considered to be an all-encompassing system that expresses the Divine will. Theories of Islamic law developed during the second century of the Islamic calendar (about 800 CE). Later schools of thought developed with each school based on the writings of scholars (fuqaha) dealing with different aspects of law, based on their varying interpretations of the Quran and the Hadith. Muslims believe that the renewal of society requires a return to Islam, which draws inspiration from the two main sources: Quran and Hadith. Ethical standards and legal rules govern not merely what humans are legally entitled to do, but also what they ought, in conscience, to do, or refrain from doing. As opposed to other legal systems, the Sharia is a comprehensive code that regulates conduct encompassing both the public and private domains by controlling the inner conscience and external social relations. This chapter scrutinizes the religious, social, and philosophical bases of crime and punishment under Islamic law. Each of the three kinds of punishment (Hadd, Taazir, and Qisas) is examined and the views of the various jurists from the different schools are analyzed. This enquiry also delves into the goals and policies that underlie this system of law. Far from being a rigid, barbaric, and undifferentiated system, the Sharia is far more resilient and complex than is currently envisaged. Presently, there is a trend that shows an increased interest in the Sharia both in the West and in non-Western countries.


Death Penalty Harsh Punishment Divine Revelation Hereditary Class Fixed Punishment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farrukh B. Hakeem
    • 1
  • M. R. Haberfeld
    • 2
  • Arvind Verma
    • 3
  1. 1.Social SciencesShaw UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.John Jay College of Criminal JusticeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Criminal JusticeIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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