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Mustafa Khattab. Photo screenshot YouTube Mustafakhattab

Member of Canadian Council of Imams explains ruling on cutting off thieves’ hands and legs

The Canadian Parliament passed (March 23, 2017) Motion 103 “Systemic racism and religious discrimination” also known as the anti-Islamophobia motion, that among other things states that “the government should… take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it.”

Petition e-411, which was unanimously endorsed by the Parliament, suggests that attributing “terrorist activities” to Islam is Islamophobia. The context of the petition implies that “terrorist activities” like those carried out by the Islamic State (aka ISIS, Daesh, Caliphate) including beheading, stoning, cutting off limbs, mass killing of civilians etc., do not reflect the TRUE Islam.

Initiated by Samer Majzoub, President of the Canadian Muslim Forum (المنتدى الاسلمي الكندي) and sponsored by Liberal MP Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Quebec), Petition e-411 reads among other things the following:

Recently an infinitesimally small number of extremist individuals have conducted terrorist activities while claiming to speak for the religion of Islam. Their actions have been used as a pretext for a notable rise of anti-Muslim sentiments in Canada; and these violent individuals do not reflect in any way the values or the teachings of the religion of Islam. In fact, they misrepresent the religion. We categorically reject all their activities. They in no way represent the religion, the beliefs and the desire of Muslims to co-exist in peace with all peoples of the world. We, the undersigned, Citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons to join us in recognizing that extremist individuals do not represent the religion of Islam, and in condemning all forms of Islamophobia.

Dr. Mustafa Khattab serves as the imam of the St. Catharines mosque in Ontario, the Muslim chaplain at Brock University and a member of the Canadian Council of Imams, the supreme religious authority for Sunni Muslims in Canada headed by Dr. Iqbal al-Nadvi (Canada’s top imam) the President of ICNA Canada.

Khattab, who bills himself as “an authority on interpreting the Quran”, published In 2015 the first edition of the book “The Clear Quran” that provides a new translation of the Quran accompanied with a modern commentary of its verses. In the “Translator Notes”, Khattab wrote: “Along with informative footnotes, verses have been grouped and titled based on their themes for a better understanding of the chapters, their main concepts, and internal coherence.”

CIJnews obtained a copy of the book that was handed out for free by activists with the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at York University during Islam Awareness Week (February 27 – March 2, 2017).

The following are excerpts from the book (Chapter 5, verses 33-39, footnotes 245-246):

Anti-Terrorism Law

  1. Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against God and His Messenger and spread mischief in the land is death, crucifixion, cutting off their hands and feet on opposite sides, or exile from the land. This ‘penalty’ is a disgrace for them m this world, and they will suffer a tremendous punishment in the Hereafter?'” 245
  2. As for those who repent before you seize them, then know that God is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Closer to God

  1. O believers! Be mindful of God and seek what brings you closer to Him and struggle in His Way, so you may be successful.

Reward of the Disbelievers

  1. As for the disbelievers, even if they were to possess everything in the world twice over ‘and offer it all’ to ransom themselves from the punishment of the Day of Judgment, it would never be accepted from them. And they will suffer a painful punishment.
  2. They will be desperate to get out of the Fire but they will never be able to. And they will suffer an everlasting punishment.

Punishment of Theft

  1. As for male and female thieves, cut off their hands for what they have done—a deterrent from God. And God is Almighty, All-Wise. 246
  2. But whoever repents after their wrongdoing and mends their ways, God will surely turn to them in forgiveness. Indeed, God is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Footnote 245: This ruling (called hirabah) applies to crimes committed by armed individuals or groups against civilians—Muslim or non-Muslim. Different punishments apply depending on the severity of the crime:

  • In the case of murder or rape, offenders are to be executed.
  • In the case of armed robbery, offenders’ right hands and left legs are to be cut off.
  • In the case of terrorizing innocent people, offenders are to be jailed in exile.

Penalties for lesser offences are left for the judge to decide.

Footnote 246: In Islam, strict conditions must be met for punishments to be carried out. For example, for someone to punished for theft, the thief must be a sane adult who knows that theft is forbidden, the crime has to be proven either by confession or the testimony of two reliable eyewitnesses, the stolen item has to be of value and taken secretly from a safe place, and the owner has to claim it. Otherwise, the punishment is not applied. Islamic punishments apply neither in non-Muslim countries nor in Muslim countries where Shairah is not fully applied. Moreover, the punishment is only applicable in a society where the needs of the poor are adequately met (i.e., they receive alms-tax, charity, or welfare) and where theft is more out of desire than necessity. It is worth mentioning that ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, Islam’s rd Caliph, suspended this punishment for one year due to widespread famine.

Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, a Canadian Muslim scholar and Imam and the Chancellor of the Islamic Online University, explains the wisdom behind cutting off thieves’ hands and legs:

The fact is, yes, according to Islamic law, it is mentioned in the fifth chapter of the Qur’an verse 38 Allah says there: As for thieves, both male and female, cut off their hands as recompense for their deeds and then exemplary punishment from Allah.

This is there. We have no doubt about it. Islam prescribes the amputation of the right hand of a person who steals. But there are conditions. There are conditions. It‘s not just applied you know to anybody under any circumstances at any time… The law is applied really for the person who is the professional criminal, the pickpocket, because there’s no temptation in picking the pocket. This is something a person has to train himself for, you know, or herself. So hands will be cut for that type of crime. Person breaks into a home or robs a bank…

When the law is applied you find a society that the rate of theft drops drastically as it did in Saudi Arabia when it was applied as it did in Sudan when it was applied, and it creates a sense of security within the society, where people are not obliged to latch up all their doors and put on burglar alarms and all these kinds of things that is common in Western societies today, you know, where people live in fear of of break-ins, you know, everybody’s home on the block everybody you know is experiencing this.

Now one point should also be mentioned is that when the hand is cut off it’s not sawn off again by a hacksaw but it is amputated. And if a person repeats the crime then the left foot is removed at the ankle. The left foot is removed at the ankle, not sawn off but amputated. And if a person you know continues crime even after all of that, then the law does permit his execution, because this is obviously a criminal who cannot be reformed. There’s no chance to stop this individual and the only thing is to put him down like a wild animal who just you know is a danger to the society and just no way of controlling it so that individual his life is taken for the protection of the society and the security of the society as a whole. And as I said, I mean the punishment of course it may seem very harsh, but it carries with it as Islamic punishments carry with them, deterrent value. The idea of losing one’s hand it is something which will cause a person to think, thank twice…

Another area of criminal punishment is that for adultery and fornication, where Islam prescribes for adultery stoning to death, for fornication one hundred lashes and one point to note is that the application of these laws whether it is cutting off the hand of the thief or there is executing the murderer or stoning to death the fornicator or one hundred lashes for one who was not married who was involved in his sexual relations – these are done publicly. Allah prescribes that people from the believers should be present to observe it. Not for entertainment, the idea is not for entertainment of the public but for them to see Allah’s laws in application. The sight of it helps to to enforce or to reinforce in the minds of the people you know that God’s laws are being applied and we should avoid these kinds of crimes.

See also:

  • ICNA Canada’s online syllabus on stoning adulterers, chopping off thieves’ hands (click HERE)
  • Toronto mosque’s online guide: Chopping off thieves’ hands will decrease crime rate (click HERE)
  • Free book at York University explains the wisdom behind cutting off thieves’ hands (click HERE)
  • Free books in down Toronto on cutting off thieves’ hands (click HERE)
  • Book at Montreal Mosque: killing apostates, amputating thieves’ limbs and stoning adulterers (click HERE)
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About Jonathan D. Halevi

Jonathan D. Halevi
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is co-founder and editor of CIJnews and a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is also a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.

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