If someone is found to be guilty of theft, there applies Islamic law concerning theft; that is, the hand should be cut off from the wrist joint.

“[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they earned [i.e. committed] as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” [Quran 5:38]

Now my questions are,

  • Does this apply to all cases of theft, or are there certain preconditions?
  • Which are the countries where this law is applicable?
  • Is there any record of how many people got this punishment? (country wise where this rule applies)

1 Answer 1


According to different Hadith from Imam Sadiq a.s. and other Ahl ul bayt there are 19 preconditions for amputating hand of a thief. If any of these preconditions are not met the hand should not be cut but still the thief has other punishments. Also, the cut of hand should be from end of fingers and the palm of hand should remain.

According to The Twenty-Third Greater Sin: Stealing:

  1. The thief must be an adult. Abdullah Ibn Sinan relates the following tradition from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.):

    When a minor child steals for the first and the second time he is forgiven. If he does it for the third time he is issued a strict warning and beating. If he persists in his crime, the tips of his fingers are slightly cut and if he repeats the act, some more of his fingers are cut away.

  2. The thief must be sane. So if an insane person robs, his hand is not amputed. He may be suitably warned and scolded.

  3. The thief must not have resorted to stealing under duress, if he had been compelled to do so, the penal code is not applied.

  4. The stolen thing must be something that is worth owning. Hence, if ones freedom is restricted it cannot be called a theft.

  5. The value of the stolen object must not be less than one-fourth misqal of pure gold. One misqal is equal to eighteen grams. One-fourth misqal is four-and-a-half gram.

  6. The son or the slave of the thief must not own the thing that is stolen. So if a father steals from his son, he is not punished.

  7. Eatables stolen during the times of famine do not make the thief liable for having his hands cut. It is narrated from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said:

    In the time of famine and draught the hands of a thief are not cut off for stealing edible items like bread and meat etc.

  8. If a soldier participates in a raid and steals from the plundered goods obtained in war before they are distributed, he is exempted from the punishment.

  9. If one of the parties to a transaction steals a property and claims that it rightfully belongs to him, he is not liable to be punished.

  10. If a person is accused of theft, but before his theft is proved to the judge, he pays the owner the value of the goods, he is not penalised. Similarly, if a son steals from his father but before the verdict is issued the father dies, the son is not punished, as stolen goods now comprise his inheritance.

  11. If the use of the stolen things is Harām (e.g. wine or pork), there is no penal action against the robber.

  12. If the thief claims that he had not taken a particular thing with the intention of stealing it, and the judge considers otherwise, there shall be no punishment for it.

  13. The object should have been stolen from a place where the owner’s permission is required to enter. If a theft takes place in a public mosque or public bath, the thief does not have his hand amputed.

  14. The thing should have been stolen from a secure place.

  15. The thief must himself take away the stolen goods from their proper place. If one takes out the thing from its safe place and another one takes it away, neither of the two can be punished for theft. If a thief removes the stolen object and loads it on his animal, or gives it to an insane man or a minor child for taking it away, he is penalised. This is because the animal, the insane person and the child are mere carriers of the goods.

  16. Severing of the hand is a punishment for theft. Theft implies that someone takes away something without the knowledge of others who later realize that the thing is missing. Hence if a person forcibly loots some goods from its owner, he is not punished for theft.

  17. If before a theft can be proved, the thief goes to the judge and repents and promises not to steal in future he is saved from the punishment.

  18. For a theft to be proved, two just witnesses should have seen the thief stealing.

  19. If the owner takes back his goods or allows the thief to keep them before the matter is reported to the Qazi and does not press for a penalty, the thief is not punished.
  • Please don't mix your political views with Islam. May 21, 2017 at 17:36
  • @MohammadSakibArifin please elaborate your comment. if that is too long then write it as answer. if you think above answer is not correct.
    – Zia
    May 22, 2017 at 6:37
  • @Zia just read the edit history!
    – Medi1Saif
    Jul 7, 2017 at 9:34

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