Friday, February 24, 2012

Q&A: Punishing by fire?

The following is a translation from an Arabic Q&A.


In the book al-Muqadimmah, part 1, page 79, the third point mentioned is: "It includes the in-admissibility of such punishment which Allah (swt) has made as the punishment of the Day of Judgement, which is fire. i.e. it is not permitted to punish by burning in fire."

Then on page 82, middle of the page, it is mentioned: "The Law-giver has stipulated punishment for the culprits, and these are: killing, flogging, stoning, exile, cutting (severing), imprisonment, destruction of property, fines (penalties), libel and hot-pressing of any part of the body. It is not permitted to punishment anyone with anything other than these."

The question is, how can the impermissibility of punishing by fire be reconciled with hot-pressing?

  1. Burning by fire means to place fire on the body of the person, like lighting fire and putting the person in it, or putting his hand or foot in it...or placing any sort of fire on his body like connecting his body with an electric cable which is connected to an electric source...or similar things which emit fire and which burns him. All these are not permitted because this is punishing by fire i.e. burning the body with a fire source which has the property to burn.
  2. As for heating an iron rod or nail and holding this rod or nail to place it on the body of the person, by doing this, you are not placing a fire source on his body but you are placing something heated with fire and not connected to a fire source. This is called cauterisation and the Arabs have used it and continue to use this as medicine. They heat up a rod with fire and press it on the place which is paining etc.
  3. You may have asked that hot-pressing is also cruel. Yes indeed it is, but it is a punishment for one who deserves it, and it is clearly legitimate. However this is not burning by fire. i.e. it is not like placing a fire source on the body.
In Conclusion: Punishing by fire, i.e. placing a fire source on the body is prohibited and not allowed under the Shar'iah texts.

Regarding hot-pressing, i.e. heating an iron rod in fire and placing it on the body but not placing the fire itself on the body is permitted under the Shar'iah texts.

08 Jumada I 1431



Anonymous said...

As Salaam Alaikum,

I have a question. What about the use of bombs in miltary conflicts, don't they fall under the use of fire ?

Islamic Revival said...

The situation of war is different, the following is from the book 'The Islamic Personality' Volume 2 by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani on the topic of war policy which discusses the situation of the Islamic state and the rules of war:

Of what is related to actions of war is that Muslims can burn the trees of disbelievers, their food, farms, and homes and destroy them. Allah the Supreme (swt) said:

ما قطعتُم من لِينة أو تركتموها قائمة على أصولها فبإذن الله وليُخزِيَ الفاسقين
“You did not cut any palm-tree (leena) or leave it standing upon its roots except by the permission of Allah and in order to disgrace the transgressors” [Translation of the meaning of the Qur'an 59:5].

The Messenger of Allah (saw) did burn the palm-trees together with his realization that it would be interpreted against him. As for what is narrated by Yahya bin Said Al-Ansar that Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (ra) said to the army leader he sent to Sham:

لا تعقِرنّ شاة ولا بعيراً إلاّ لمأكلة ولا تحرقنّ نخلاً ولا تُغرِقنّه
“Do not hamstring sheep or camels except for food nor burn palm-trees or flood them”

Upon which all the Sahabah consented without any one disputing this, this is the origin in war which is not spoiling habitation or cutting trees. However, if the Khaleefah or army leader views that gaining the battle necessitates him destroying habitation or cutting trees, or hastening to gain the battle requires this, then it is allowed in war policy to cut trees and destroy habitation as did the Messenger of Allah (saw). Similar to this is killing and burning cattle, and all that the enemy possesses; if the war policy requires this, then he may do it even if it was forbidden.

Islamic Revival said...

The quotation from the book continues:

Allah (swt) said:

ولا يطئون موطئاً يغيظ الكفار ولا ينالون من عدو نيلاً إلاّ كُتب لهم به عمل صالح
“Nor do they tread any foot-print which angers the disbelievers or acquire/obtain (nala) anything from the enemy except that a good deed is written fro them” [Translation of the meaning of the Qur'an 9:120].

This speech is general in everything and there is no other evidence what would bind or specify this ayah in its essence, whether any other ayah or hadith, so it remains in its generality. There came authenticated ahadith about the permissibility of burning houses, and burning and cutting trees. It has been narrated from ibn Umar:

أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قطع نخل بني النضير وحرّق
“Verily the Messenger of Allah (saw) cut and burnt the palm-trees of Banu Nadhir.”

Upon this Hasan said: وهان على سراة بني لؤي حريق بالبويرة مستطير wa hana ala surat bani luayy hareeq bilbuwaybira mustatir
And upon this the ayah was revealed:

ما قطعتُم من لِينة أو تركتُموها
“You did not cut any palm-tree or leave it standing upon its roots” [Translation of the meaning of the Qur'an 59:5].

It is narrated from Jareer bin Abdullah who said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

ألا تريحني من ذي الخلَصة)؟ قال: فانطلقتُ في خمسين ومائة فارس من احمُسَ، وكانوا أصحاب خيل، وكان ذو الخلصة بيتاً في اليمن لخثعم وبجيلة فيه نصب بعيد يقال له كعبة اليمانية، قال: فأتاها فحرقها بالنار وكسرها، ثم بعث رجلاً من أحمس يكنى أبا أرطأة إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يبشره بذلك، فلمّا أتاه قال: يا رسول الله، والذي بعثك بالحق ما جئتُ حتى تركتها كأنها جمل أجرب. قال: فبرّك النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم على خيل أحمُس ورجالها خمس مرات، وبرّك أي دعا لهم بالبركة
“Will you not grant me rest from Dhu al-Khalsa. He said: So I departed with one hundred and fifty horsemen from Ahnus, and they were people of tethered horses. Dhu al-Khalsa was a house in Yemen for Khath’am and Bujayla with idols that were worshipped, and it was called the Ka’aba of Yemen. He said: so I came to it, burnt it with fire and destroyed it. Them a man from Ahnus whose epithet was Abu Arta’a was sent to the Prophet (saw) to give him the good news about this. When he reached him, he said: O Messenger of Allah, by the One who sent you with the truth, I did not come until I had left it as if it were camels. He said: ‘So the Prophet (saw) blessed the horses of Ahnus and their men five times’”

And “barraka” means prayed for blessing for them. And Ahmad, Abu Dawud and ibn Majah narrated from Usamah bin Zayd who said:

بعثني رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى قرية يقال لها أبنى، فقال: ائتها ثم حرّق
“The Messenger of Allah (saw) sent me to a town called Ibni and said: Reach it then burn.”

This Ibni is the Yubna of Palestine. It also appears in the testament of Umar (ra) narrated by Malik in Al-Muwatta and its comparision with these ahadith that burning and cutting of trees, and the destruction of homes is only where the battle or war requires this. So it enters into the war policy.

Anonymous said...

there are electric rackets available in the market that function by becoming electrically charged(by internal battery) and as soon as any mosquito or fly is touched with it , it burns(sparking) .

So are they allowed to be used ?

Anonymous said...

Killing mosquitos or any insect which doesn't have flowing blood in such a manner is permissable. The text about not punishing with fire in origin is to do with punishing human beings.