Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
Laws in many countries derive from religious tenets and principles. Confucian notions of filial piety and thought reform continue to influence the Chinese legal system. Biblical proscriptions in the Old Testament about the evils of murder, theft, adultery, and other sins are firmly entrenched in the case law and civil codes across Western Europe and the Americas. Hindu laws that were initially developed around 100 B.C. are still used in parts of India. However, a recent historical pattern has been the growing separation of church and state. The clear exception to this secular trend involves the Islamic legal tradition and especially the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism in several Muslim countries of the modern world.
This chapter examines the history and use of punishment under Islamic law. We begin with an overview of the nature of Islamic faith, its historical foundation, and variation in Islamic practices over time and place. Both substantive and procedural elements of the Islamic law and the allocation of criminal sanctions are discussed within the context of different types of wrongdoing (e.g., Hudud, Qesas, Ta'azir offenses). Saudi Arabia's practices in controlling crime and deviance are described as a case study of punishment under Islamic law. The chapter concludes with an examination of similarities and differences across Islamic countries in the nature and scope of sanctions and other mechanisms of social control.
OVERVIEW OF ISLAMIC FAITH AND LAW
The principles of Islamic faith derive from the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, the messenger of Allah.