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Sharia Penalties and Ways of Their Implementation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Second-Fixed Penalties 'Hudoud' and Discretionary Penalties 'Ta'zir' (From Effect of Islamic Legislation on Crime Prevention in Saudi Arabia - Proceedings, P 403-489, 1976 - See NCJ-87248)

NCJ Number
O Al-Mutrak
Date Published
87 pages
This paper discusses the crimes and describes the punishments associated with mandatory ('Hudoud') and discretionary ('Ta'zir') sentencing in Saudi Arabia.
Under Islamic law in Saudi Arabia, fixed penalties are prescribed by God for the 'Hudoud' crimes of adultery, defamation (falsely accusing someone of adultery), theft, highway robbery, and alcohol consumption. The punishment for adultery differs according to whether or not the offender is married. All scholars agree that the unmarried adulterer or adulteress should be flogged with 100 lashes, but there are three different views regarding the banishment of such an offender. There is no disagreement among Muslims that a married adulterer or adulteress should be stoned to death. Whoever charges a chaste man or woman with adultery or sodomy (defamation) shall be flogged with 80 lashes unless four witnesses support the charge. Although Muslim scholars agree that alcohol drinkers must be punished by flogging, they do not agree on the number of lashes. Theft (stealing in secret) is punished by the amputation of the offender's right hand, and armed or highway robbery may be punished by execution, crucifixion, or amputation of hands and feet from opposite sides of the body, depending on the severity of the offense. Ta'zir crimes are offenses for which the punishment is not fixed, such as perjury, bribery, usury, dishonesty, cheating, sheltering criminals, slander (excluding defamation), and negligence of religious duties. Punishments under Tazir offenses range from simple reprimands to severe warnings and executions for serious offenses. Comments by symposium participants are provided.


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