Punitive sanctions in the Qur’an


The Qur’an prescribes fixed punishments, known as ‘ḥudūd’ (literally the ‘limits (imposed by God)’, for just three types of misconduct:

      • fornication/adultery, see 〈66.〉 following
      • making an unsupported allegation of sexual impropriety 〈67.〉, and


In addition:

Although no sentence is specifically fixed for engaging in homosexual acts 〈68.〉, consuming alcohol and gambling 〈70.〉 such conduct is forbidden in the Qur’an and, given the regime of punishments laid down for fornication, unsupported accusations and theft, the conclusion by Sharia jurists that these offences require similar sanctions is unsurprising.

Based upon the hadith, some schools of Sharia law also include blasphemy and apostasy, as ‘ḥudūd’ offences, normally deemed to carry a capital sentence (see 〈70.〉).


For the more loosely defined offences of ‘waging war upon God’ and ‘working corruption on the earth’, a Muslim ruler may choose to impose one, or possibly more than one, of the four prescribed sanctions in {5.33}: execution, crucifixion, amputation from opposite sides and exile 〈71.〉


The infliction of injuries is dealt with by a system of qisas: the imposing, at the discretion of the victim or their family, of an injury upon the perpetrator equivalent to the harm suffered by the victim 〈72.〉