In Islam we do not cut the hand due to simple theft, and this is done by the judge in the tribunal of an Islamic country, not by you or me.
The stolen item should be more than 4.374 grams of gold (about $ 200), and this answers your question:
why we cut the hand of a thief? if someone stole more than that, This means that he is not hungry, but wants corruption in the land, and this must be a lesson for people to stop theft in order to enrich...
Thus cutting off the hand is to stop the mafia and spoilers and not for the poor.
The second Caliph Umar al-Khattab suspended the sharia punishment for theft when they were wounded by famine, because the prophet peace be upon him said:
The different penalties prescribed by Shari'ah are not in order to
inflict harm on people and make them suffer; rather the Shariah
concept for imposing penalties for the various crimes is that they
prevent harm, destruction and anarchy in the society. They are not
prescribed in order to harm people, but the contrary.
Allah Most High says:
“In the law of retaliation there is (saving of) life to you, O you men
of understanding.” (Surah al-Baqarah, 179)
Due to the idea behind these various penalties being imposed not to
make an individual suffer, rather to create a better society as a
whole, the Shariah laid down certain strict rules and conditions in
order for the punishment to be established or enforced. These strict
conditions can be seen in all the various penalties that have been
The case with theft and stealing is the same, in that certain
conditions have been laid down for the penalty to be imposed. If the
conditions are met, only then will such a penalty be enforced.
Conditions for the penalty of theft:
The following are the conditions which must be met in order to
establish the penalty of theft:
1) The one who steals is sane
2) He has reached puberty
3) He steals equivalent to the amount (nisab) or more. The Nisab is
one Dinar or ten Dirhams (i.e. 4.374 grams of gold).
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:
“There is no cutting (of hands) for stealing that is less than ten
Dirhams.” (Musnad Ahmad)
Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reports that “The hands
were not cut in the time of the Messenger of Allah for stealing
worthless things.” (Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah)
A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that: “The hand of a thief
was not cut off during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (Allah
bless him & give peace) except for stealing something equal to a
shield in value.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 6792, & Sahih Muslim, 1685)
A shield was worth one Dinar at that time, as narrated by Ibn Abbas in
Sunan Abu Dawud & Sunan Nasa’i
4) He steals the article from a place that meets the requirements of
security and safeguarding. This security is considered when the
article is safeguarded by a guard or by it being locked up in a place.
5) The article is in the ownership of another person.
6) There is no confusion in it (as to whether he took it by way of
theft or for some other reason).
7) It was stolen secretly (not by force, etc…).
If any of the above conditions are not met, then the penalty of theft
will not be established.
Allah Most High says:
“As to the thief, male of female, cut off his or her hands. A
punishment by way of example from Allah, for their crime.” (Surah
As far as the evidence and testimony is concerned, stealing will be
established by self admittance (iqrar) once or by the testimony
(shahadah) of two adult males. The witnesses will be asked the full
details of the incident, as not to make an error.
A person’s hand is not amputated when he steals: less than the
equivalent of 4.374 grams of gold, from a place that does not meet the
requirements of security, something that is useless, something that is
in general ownership such as water in the river, sticks from the wood,
etc…, food that rots very quickly such as milk, meat, fruits, etc…,
articles that are unlawful due to the possibility that one had an
intention of getting rid of it, such as musical instruments.
The penalty for the one who steals (when the above conditions are met)
is that his/her right arm is amputated. If a person steals a second
time, his left foot is amputated; if a third time, then he will be
imprisoned until he repents, but no further amputation will take
Sayyiduna Ali (Allah be pleased with him) says:
“I feel guilty in front of Allah if I leave him without hands (i.e.
amputating both) by which he eats, and feet, by which he walks.”
(Sunan Darqutni, al-Bayhaqi & Musannaf ibn Abi Shayba)
The above are some of the important aspects relating to the penalty of
theft. It has been primarily based on the famous Hanafi work
al-Ikhtiyar li ta’lil al-Mukhtar, P341-351).
And Allah knows best
[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam Darul Iftaa Leicester , UK