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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77483 Find in a Library
Title: Islamic Law - An Examination of Its Revitalisation
Journal: British Journal of Criminology  Volume:21  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1981)  Pages:58-69
Author(s): F Al-Thakeb; J E Scott
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 12
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Types of offenses and punishments under Islamic law are identified, followed by presentation of results of a survey of students at Kuwait University concerning attitudes toward Islamic law.
Abstract: Islamic law contains two types of offenses: specified and unspecified. Specified offenses are identified in the Koran or in the teachings of the Prophet Muhammed and include Alhuddoud offenses, which are those committed against the rights of God, and Alkasas offenses, which are committed against an individual. Alhuddoud offenses, such as adultery, have strict standards of proof and permit no discretion regarding punishment. For example, proof of adultery requires that four adult males personally and simultaneously view the act being committed and come forward together and testify as to what they saw. Alternatively, the individual must confess four times to the magistrate. The punishment for adultery is stoning to death. Alkasas offenses include premeditated murder, murder, killing by accident, premeditated assault, and accidental injury. Alkasas penalties are based on the principle of an eye for an eye. For the unspecified offenses, which are described as Altazier, punishments are determined by jurists and include imprisonment, whipping, banishment, counseling and advice, social isolation, threats or public degradation, or fines. To determine the extent of support for Islamic criminal law and the types of people advocating its reinitiation, questionnaires were distributed to students at Kuwait University in 1979. A total of 599 usable responses were received. Subjects were asked to choose the penalty they felt to be appropriate for a variety of crimes, including killing the wife during an argument, drinking alcohol in public, and abandoning Islamic religion. Background data were also collected on the respondents. Respondents chose the correct punishment, according to Islamic law, most often for sexual offenses. Over 40 percent chose the appropriate Alhuddoud penalty and over half of the responses for all offenses advocated an Alhuddoud penalty whether or not it was the correct one for the offense. Findings indicated considerable interest in having Islamic penalties reinstated in Kuwait. Characteristics related to attitudes favoring reinstatement of traditional Islamic penalties included lack of exposure to Western culture, having a father who is illiterate and most likely Muslim-oriented, and coming from a large family. Preliminary analysis also indicated that religious fundamentalism was more important than demographic characteristics in accounting for attitudes toward Alhuddoud penalties. Criminologists and social scientists should further explore Islamic law and similarities between fundamentalism and support for law reform in various countries. Tables and 23 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Attitudes; Capital punishment; Corporal punishment; Criminal codes; Cultural influences; Kuwait; Mandatory Sentencing; Middle East; Religion
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