Punishment of punishable sins in non Muslim country

1. In a non-muslim country who can carry out punishments in accordance with islam??  is a private individual allowed to administer this punishment?

2. In a non-muslim country if a muslim wants to purify himself of his sin, whatever it may be, should he go to a country where the punishment for this sin is administered?

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,  

Answer

In a non Muslim country where there are no Islamic courts an individual will not be allowed to administer any punishment (hadd). When a person is residing in a country he is/she is obliged to adhere to the laws of the given state.

The aim and objective of Shariah concerning legal punishments is that the punishment acts as a deterrent and a method of prevention.

In the Quran Allah states: “O men of understanding! There is security of life for you in the law of retaliation, so that you may learn self-restraint.”  (Surah Baqarah: 179)

Furthermore in regards to implementing a penalty and punishment it is the duty of the judge to try and avert the legal punishment. Aisha (radi allahu anha) narrates that Allah's Messenger (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "Avert the infliction of prescribed penalties on Muslims as much as you can, and if there is any way out let a man go, for it is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing." (Sunan Tirmidhi: 1011)

Abu Hurayrah narrates, when Ma'iz al-Aslami came to Allah's Messenger (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) and said he had committed fornication he turned away from him. He then came round to the other side and said he had committed fornication, but he turned away from him. He came round again saying he had committed fornication, and when he said it a fourth time Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) gave a command regarding him and he was taken out to the Harrah and stoned. When he felt the effect of the stones he ran away vigorously till he passed a man who had the jawbone of a camel, with which he struck him, and the people struck him till he died. They then mentioned to Allah's Messenger that he had fled when he felt the effect of the stones and the touch of death, and he said, "Why did you not leave him alone?"

Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah transmitted it. A version has, "Why did you not leave him alone? Perhaps he might have repented and been forgiven by Allah." ." (Sunan Tirmidhi: 1010)

From the above it can be concluded that it is not essential in order for ones sin to be forgiven that the legal punishment for the sin committed is administered. A person may keep the sin hidden and not inform any judge in an Islamic state about it. True and sincere repentance to Allah Almighty on the occasion will be sufficient inshallah.

And Allah knows best

Sayeedur Rahman

Darul Ifta, Birmingham

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