Controversial Questions About Islam & Comments
Prepared by: Dr. Saeed Ismaeel Sini
Do Some Islamic Countries Enforce Extreme Punishments?
In fact, an Islamic government, as any other government, has to enforce the law that its people, or the majority of them, have chosen. If the people of any Islamic country have chosen Islam as a complete package of laws, then the government has no choice but to enforce the package. Furthermore, the degree of severity here should not be measured by: (a) the opinion of a person regardless of whether he knows Islam or not, or whether he has conservative or liberal values. (b) Applications of Muslim countries. Rather, it should be measured by the related texts in the Holy Quraan and the Prophetic traditions and what the knowledgeable jurists deduce from them.
Reality says that the application of today’s Muslim governments in relation to Islamic law is lenient compared to the application of the Law during the time of the Prophet and the Guided Caliphs, or even the following generation. This is so, perhaps, because modern governments are aware of the circumstances of the life of today, where isolation is impossible and the temptation to violate Islamic teachings is great. Therefore, the
Government is obliged to do its best to balance between the required degrees of firmness and avoidance of being a cause for driving Muslims away from Islam completely.
In general, we notice that “punishment” In Islam is not meant to be a kind of revenge, but is means of discipline, or a deterrent to those who, would otherwise easily commit the crime. Punishments can be classified under these categories:
1. A means of scaring away whoever thinks of committing the crime. It is so severe, but too difficult to implement. The only way to prove these crimes, is a completely willing confession to purify one’s self. An example of this is the death sentence for previously
married person who commits adultery.
2. A means of purification. The Prophet once commented in the case of a woman who repeatedly confessed her guilt and was sentenced to death: “She has repented a repentance which can accommodate seventy people. Is there anything better than sacrificing herself in
obedience to Allah?” 
3. A means of discipline to remove serious threat to the community.
4. A reasonable means of dispensation.
5. A means of compensation for violating other’s rights, with an opportunity to waive application of penalty.
 At-Termidhi: al-Hudood