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When Does Cutting the Hand of the Thief Become Necessary Print E-mail

In is recorded in the Two Sahihs that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, n

«لَعَنَ اللهُ السَّارِقَ يَسْرِقُ الْبَيْضَةَ فَتُقْطَعُ يَدُهُ، وَيَسْرِقُ الْحَبْلَ فَتُقْطَعُ يَدُه»

(May Allah curse the thief who steals an egg and as a result his hand is cut off, and who steals rope and as a result his hand is cut off.) Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that `A'ishah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«تُقْطَعُ يَدُ السَّارِقِ فِي رُبْعِ دِينَارٍ فَصَاعِدًا»

(The hand of the thief shall be cut off if he steals a quarter of a Dinar or more.) Muslim recorded that `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«لَا تُقْطَعُ يَدُ السَّارقِ إِلَّا فِي رُبْعِ دِينارٍ فَصَاعِدًا»

(The hand of the thief shall only be cut off if he steals a quarter of a Dinar or more.) This Hadith is the basis of the matter since it specifies (that the least amount of theft that deserves cutting the hand) is a quarter of a Dinar. So this Hadith fixes the value. And saying that it is three Dirhams is not a contradiction. This is because the Dinar in question was equal to twelve Dirhams, so three Dirhams equalled a fourth of a Dinar. So in this way it is possible to harmonize these two views. This opinion was reported from `Umar bin Al-Khattab, `Uthman bin `Affan, `Ali bin Abi Talib - may Allah be pleased with them - and it is the view of `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz, Al-Layth bin Sa`d, Al-Awza`i, and Ash-Shafi`i and his companions. This is also the view of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal and Ishaq bin Rahwayh in one of the narrations from him, as well as Abu Thawr, and Dawud bin `Ali Az-Zahari, may Allah have mercy upon them. As for Imam Abu Hanifah and his students Abu Yusuf, Muhammad and Zufar, along with Sufyan Ath-Thawri, they said that the least amount of theft that deserves cutting off the hand is ten Dirhams, whereas a Dinar was twelve Dirhams at that time. The first ruling is the correct one, that the least amount of theft is one forth of a Dinar or more. This meager amount was set as the limit for cutting the hand, so that the people would refrain from theft, and this is a wise decision to those who have sound comprehension. Hence Allah's statement,

﴿جَزَآءً بِمَا كَسَبَا نَكَـلاً مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ﴾

(as a recompense for that which both committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.) This is the prescribed punishment for the evil action they committed, by stealing the property of other people with their hands. Therefore, it is fitting that the tool they used to steal the people's wealth be cut off as punishment from Allah for their error.

﴿وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ﴾

(And Allah is All-Powerful, ) in His torment,

﴿حَكِيمٌ﴾

(All-Wise.) in His commands, what he forbids, what He legislates and what He decrees.

 

 
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