Theft: How Islam views theft

Q643 :The Qur'an says :" As for the man or woman who is guilty of theft, cut off their hands in retribution for what they have earned, as an exemplary punishment ordained by Allah. Allah is almighty, Wise. But whoever repents after having thus done wrong, and makes amends, shall have his repentance accepted by Allah. Allah is much-Forgiving, Merciful." [ 'Al-Maidah' : 5 ; 38-39 ]


A643 : When the Muslim state was stricken by famine, Caliph Umar suspended the enforcement of punishment for theft. The servants of the son of Hatib ibn Abu Baltt'ah stole a camel which belonged to a man of the tribe of Muzaynah. When they were proven guilty, Umar ordered their hands to be cut off. However, on learning that their master kept them hungry, Umar stopped the enforcement of this punishment. He further punished their master, imposing on him a fine equivalent to the price of two camels. It is within this context that we should view the punishments imposed by Islam as a part of comprehensive system which provides guarantees for all. We cannot properly understand the wisdom behind a particular point of detail in Islam unless we understand the nature of this system, its basic principles and its guarantees. Moreover, details of the Islamic system should not be implemented in isolation to the rest of the system. We cannot simply take one legal provision or one principle of Islam and try to implement it in a social setup which is not Islamic. Such an attempt is useless, nor can such an action be considered an implementation of Islam.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )