Death Penalty in Sharia Law

Authored by: Sanaz Alasti , Eric Bronson

Routledge Handbook on Capital Punishment

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138651579
eBook ISBN: 9781315624723
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores the question of what constitute the harshest punishment in sharia law. It reviews the story of death penalty in religious criminal justice systems of Islamic countries, focusing on the current practice of capital punishment and execution methods. The aim of this study is to provide a background of the evolution of death penalty policy in the political and Islamic criminal justice systems. It develops an analysis of the factors that may influence the future of capital punishment as a criminal sanction in the Middle East and other Islamic countries. The comparative study of the death penalty in Islamic countries is a relatively new discipline, and few of the existing studies focus on regional rather than global comparison of the death penalty. While the human rights argument is an important one, this chapter argues that the only means of effecting permanent change in the administration of capital punishment in Islamic countries is through vigorous Islamic dialogue over the proper interpretation and application of these laws in the sharia. Close analysis of the complexities and contradictions of these laws, combined with a proper reform methodology of the sharia, may promote an end to what is an archaic and grossly misapplied practice.

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