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According to Islamic law, are there any cases in which imprisonment is prescribed as a punishment? And what alternatives exist?

I am familiar with a few such as flogging, stoning and limb amputation but I have not come across imprisonment!

  • 1
    Is the question only about imprisonment as a punishment or about imprisonment as a legal act in general? – Medi1Saif Mar 22 '18 at 8:56
  • @Medi1Saif As a punishment for committing a crime or offence. – Aboudi Mar 22 '18 at 8:58
  • Imprisonment was usually applied to punish for example people who have debts by not leaving them free as long as they didn't pay their due. – Medi1Saif Mar 22 '18 at 9:07
  • @Medi1Saif during their improsinment would they be used for labour work or anything else beside than being in a cell? – Aboudi Mar 22 '18 at 9:12
  • Imprisonment doesn't mean they were in a Cell they were only guarded by a guardian assigned by his opponent. At least in the time of the Prophet pbuh and abu Bakr. – Medi1Saif Mar 22 '18 at 9:14
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No. As far as the Hadd (prescribed) punishments are concerned, imprisonment is not an official punishment. (Note: There was a time where women guilty of lewdness were imprisoned within their homes [see Qur'an 4:15], but this was later abrogated).

However, imprisonment can be ordered by a ruler as a discretionary punishment for those who commit petty crimes or who don't meet the Hadd criteria for serious ones. But if you meet Hadd criteria, then imprisonment cannot take the place of a prescribed punishment by Allah (ﷻ).

  • What about 12:33 and 26:29, both show that punishement by imprisonment are known even before Islam and Islam never declared them illegal (see for example in Jami' at-Tirmidhi). The word sijn=prison appears only in surat Yousuf at least five times. – Medi1Saif Mar 22 '18 at 9:02
  • Well, none of these are examples of Allah ordaining that as a punishment, which is what the question pertains to. Sure it existed in the past, and even I gave an example in another form (which is actually a stronger example, since it was initially ordained!). But mere existence in the past doesn't mean it is ordained as Hadd punishment now. – Muslimah يا رب العالمين Mar 22 '18 at 18:06
  • The Tirmidhi hadith is an example of discretionary punishment, which I also covered in my answer. – Muslimah يا رب العالمين Mar 22 '18 at 18:08
  • Then I suggest you to add it as support for your post :) – Medi1Saif Mar 23 '18 at 8:01

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