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Chapter 24. Highwaymen Who Menace The Road

Allah says,

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and his Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hand and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land that is chief disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the hereafter. (AI-Ma'idah: 33)

AI-Wahidi comments, "To wage war against Allah and his Messenger" means to disobey them. "To strive for mischief through the land" refers to killing people, robbing them, and violently consuming their property. Hence, to take arms against a Muslim stands for fighting with Allah and his Messenger. Such an opinion was held by Imam Malik, Imam Shafi'i, and AI-Awza'i.

As to Allah's saying, "Execution... Or exile from the land", AI-Wahidi said from Ibn Abbas that "or" in this verse is used for giving the choice and permissibility. Hence, the Imam (the Muslim leader) has the full option to enforce killing, or crucifixion or banishment. AI-Hasan, Sa'id ibn AI- Musayyab, and Mujahid supported this view.

According to another narration through Atiyyah, AI- Wahidi said, "or" in the verse is not for permissibility, but it rather signifies the order of the legal rule "Hukm" in regard to the variant crimes. In other words, those who murder and plunder property must be killed and crucified. Those who only rob property, their hands and feet must be cut off and those who violently shed blood but do not rob property must be put to death. Finally, those who scare people in their ways but do not commit murder must be exiled from the land. Imam Shafi'i is quoted to have the same previous view. He is mentioned as saying, "Each criminal is judged according to his/her offense. So, in case of killing and crucifixion, the evildoer should first be put to death lest he is painfully tortured. Then, he is crucified for three consecutive days and then let down. In case of killing only, the criminal is executed and his corpse is to be handed to his kinsmen to be buried.

If the sentence of cutting off of hands or feet, the right hand is first to be lopped off and cauterized. If he returned to theft, his left leg should be severed. In the third time, his left hand should be amputated.

Concerning the cutting off of thieves' hands and feet the Prophet said,

"If someone committed theft cut off his hand, if he stole a second, cut off his leg, if he stole once again, cut off his (other) hand if he insisted on stealing, cut off his (other) leg.” [Abu Dawud]

Abu Bakr and Umar (May Allah be pleased with them all) were unanimously used to inflict such a legal rule upon thieves. Allah's saying "From opposite sides" illustrated the contrasting order in cutting off of a hand and then a leg.

Ibn Abbas in his exegesis of Allah's saying Or exile from the land made open that if the thief is out of control, the Imam should pass a command to shed his blood in vain. But if he is under arrest, exile connotes imprisonment that restricts and hinders his freedom.


Chapter 1

Ascribing Associates To Allah, the Most High (Shirk)

Chapter 2

Killing A Human Being

Chapter 3


Chapter 4

Not Performing The Prayer

Chapter 5

Not Paying Zakat

Chapter 6

Breaking One's Fast During Ramadan Without An Excuse

Chapter 7

Not Performing the Hajj when Able to

Chapter 8

Showing Disrespect to One's Parents

Chapter 9

Severing the Ties of One's Relatives

Chapter 10


Chapter 11


Chapter 12

Accepting Usurious Gain

Chapter 13

Wrong Consuming An Orphan's Property

Chapter 14

Lying About The Prophet

Chapter 15

Fleeing From The Battlefield

Chapter 16

The Leader Who Misleads His Followers, The Tyrant And The Oppressor

Chapter 17

Arrogance, Pride, Conceit, Vanity And Haughtiness

Chapter 18

Bearing False Witness

Chapter 19

Drinking Alcohol

Chapter 20

Gambling (qimar)

Chapter 21

Accusing A Woman Of Adultery

Chapter 22

Misappropriating Spoils Of War, Muslim Funds Or Zakat

Chapter 23


Chapter 24

Highwaymen Who Menace The Road

Chapter 25

The Engulfing Oath

Chapter 26

Taking People's Property Through Falsehood

Chapter 27

Collecting Taxes

Chapter 28

The Consumption of Haram

Chapter 29


Chapter 30

Telling Lies

Chapter 31

The Dishonest Judge

Chapter 32


Chapter 33

Women Imitating Men And Vice Versa

Chapter 34

The Pimp and the one Who Permits His Wife to Fornicate

Chapter 35

Marrying Solely To Return To The Previous Husband

Chapter 36

Not Freeing Oneself Of All Traces Of Urine

Chapter 37

Showing Off In Good Work

Chapter 38

Learning Sacred Knowledge For The Sake Of This World, Or Concealing It

Chapter 39

Breach of Trust

Chapter 40

Reminding Recipients of Ones Charity To Them

Chapter 41

Disbelieving In Destiny (qadar)

Chapter 42

Listening To People's Private Conversations

Chapter 43

The Talebearer Who Stirs Up Enmity Between People

Chapter 44

Cursing Others

Chapter 45

Breaking Promises or Pledges

Chapter 46

Believing Fortune Tellers And Astrologers

Chapter 47

Wife Rebelling Against Her Husband

Chapter 48

Picture Making