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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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