Prophetic Hadd Punishments


Dear Sidi Gibril,

How many times did the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) order the hadd punishment? What were each of the reasons/wisdoms?

Jazakallah khair, wassalamu alaikum


Wa alaykum Salam,

To answer the two questions in short form: dozens of times, because Allah said so and for the sake of the lives of individuals and the community from the this-worldly and the next-worldly perspectives.

To answer in full, however, one would have to do the following:

(i) define the hadd and its types;

(ii) list the declarative Quranic verses and Prophetic Hadiths making the hudud law and binding on the Umma by consensus and/or general agreement of the early and later scholars;

(iii) list the related instances of enforcement in the Hadith and tafsir bil-ma’thur compilations including asbab al-nuzul, asbab al-wurud, and the Sira such as, for example and not exhaustively:

– the hadd for qadhf enforced by the Prophet against Mistah, Hassan, Himna and (in some weak reports) Ibn Salul;
– the hadd for sariqa enforced by him against the garment thief and the Makhzumiyya woman in the hadiths of Safwan and `A’isha respectively;
– the hadd for khamr enforced by him in the hadiths of Anas, `Umar, Abu Hurayra and others;
– the hadd for murder enforced by him in the hadith of the Jew and the slave-girl;
– the hadd for hiraba enforced by him in the hadith of the `Uraniyyin;
– the hadd for zina enforced by him in the hadiths of Jabir, `Ali, Ibn `Abbas, Abu Hurayra, `Ubada b. al-Samit and others;
– the hadd for ridda enforced by him against a man who married his father’s widow; Ibn Khatal (who was also a murderer); and Umm Marwan in the hadiths of al-Bara’ b. `Azib, Anas, and Jabir respectively (there is no truth to the claim by some modernists that the Prophet never enforced the hadd for ridda);

(iv) add up all the above cases of Quranic and Hadithic general injunctions and particular applications to answer the first question;

(v) scour the fiqh and usul al-fiqh literature for the respective understandings, applications , and theorizing of the legal schools and qualified independent ijtihad (such as Ibn al-Qayyim’s) for such laws as to their reasons and wisdom; and

(vi) scour the tafsirs, commentaries on Hadith, philosophy-of-Shari`a literature and authentic Maqasid literature for the wisdom of hudud in their universality such as, for example, Mawardi’s al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya as well as case by case such as, for example, Qaffal’s Mahasin al-Shari`a.

To do all of the above is the task of a lifetime and requires comprehensive reading and comparative approaches on multiple levels that I am not aware any single study in any language has achieved or even could. There are, however, countless studies that address particular aspects of the above issues, especially the theorizing aspects (“reasons/wisdom”) such as, for example, the PhD thesis of the late Bakr Abu Zayd entitled الحدود والتعزيرات عند ابن القيم which covers material on hudud from seventeen of Ibn al-Qayyim’s works; or the last section of Dr. Taher al-Qadiri’s overly comparative PhD thesis at Punjab University College of Law in 1984, which covers what he called the “Philosophy of Punishment” from both the Western perspective (13 pages) and the Islamic (32 pages); or المسؤولية الجنائية في الفقه الإسلامي by Ahmad Bahnasi; or التشريع الجنائي الإسلامي by `Abd al-Qadir `Awda, and others.

Hajj Gibril Haddad

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