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Can individual Muslims implement Islamic legal punishments?

It is not permissible for a Muslim without judicial authority to implement Islamic legal punishments on his own initiative.

By Abu Amina Elias / 24 Oct 2013

Question:

Are ordinary Muslims allowed to punish murder, theft, and adultery?

Answer:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

It is not permissible for a Muslim without judicial authority to implement Islamic legal punishments on his own initiative. Vigilante justice, or “taking the law into your own hands,” is unlawful in Islam because it will lead to chaos and possibly greater harm than the crimes themselves.

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: 

Sa’d ibn Ubadah Al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

“O Messenger of Allah, if a man finds another man with his wife, should he kill him?”

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا

No.

Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

“Yes he should be killed, by the One who honored you with the Truth!”

So the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اسْمَعُوا مَا يَقُولُ سَيِّدُكُمْ

Listen to what your chief is saying.

Source: Sahih Muslim 1498, Grade: Sahih

In this example, the Messenger of Allah has forbidden a man who witnesses his wife committing adultery from implementing legal punishment by his own initiative. This is because legal punishments may only be applied by appointed judges and because the punishment for adultery requires the testimony of four reliable witnesses.

Sheikh Hani Al-Jubayr, judge at the Jeddah Supreme Court, writes:

The prescribed punishments in Islamic Law are only to be issued by the judge, since due process and proper procedures of evidence must be observed. They must thereafter only be carried out by properly empowered government officials. Otherwise things will deteriorate into public violence that may bring about dire consequences.

Source: Islamtoday.net

AMuslim who witnesses a crime should inform the local authorities who will take appropriate action. Likewise, it is not permissible for a Muslim to declare war or to commit an act of war without judicial authority.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best. 

 

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