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Tazir  refers to punishment for offenses at the discretion of the judge (Qadi) or ruler of the state. It is one of three major types of punishments or sanctions under Sharia Islamic law — hadd, qisas and tazir. The punishments for the hudud offenses are fixed by the Qur’an or Hadith (i.e. “defined by God”), qisas allow equal retaliation in cases of intentional bodily harm, while ta’zir refers to punishments applied to the other offenses for which no punishment is specified in the Qur’an or the Hadith.

The word tazir is not used in the Quran or the Hadith, in the sense that modern Islamic criminal law uses it.[18] However, in several verses of the Quran, crimes are identified, punishment of the accused indicated, but no specific punishment is described. These instances led early Islamic scholars to interpret the Quran as requiring discretionary punishment of certain offenses, namely Tazir. Example specific verses from the Quran that support taazir are,

And as for the two who are guilty of indecency from among you, give them both a punishment; then if they repent and amend, turn aside from them; surely Allah is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.

— Quran 4:16

And (as for) those who dispute about Allah after that obedience has been rendered to Him, their plea is null with their Lord, and upon them is wrath, and for them is severe punishment.

— Quran 42:16

Tazir punishments

Tazir punishments are common in Sharia courts for less serious offenses. Punishments vary with the nature of crime and include a prison term, flogging, a fine, banishment, and seizure of property. Execution is allowed in cases such as habitual homosexuality, practices which split the Muslim community, propagating heretical doctrines or espionage on behalf of an enemy of the Muslim state. All four schools of fiqh (Madhhab), namely Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii and Hanbali, permit the death penalty at the discretion of the state or Qadi, for certain Tazir offenses. But traditionally Ta’zir often varied between schools of fiqh. Insolvent debtors were generally required to sell their goods, but a Hanafite judge would send the defendant to jail until their creditors were paid, for example. Hanafite and Shafi’ite fiqh allowed a judge sometimes to “rely on information personally acquired instead of independent testimony”—even in cases where the defendant faced capital punishment. Judges would use the difference in fiqh to the advantage of prosecution and disadvantage of the defendant. Malakite fiqh allowed for beating during interrogation if the defendant had a “bad reputation”, and “an expansive approach to capital punishment” compared to other schools. At least during the fourteenth century non-Malakite judges “often” sent defendants to Malakite judges.

Contemporary application

In some Islamic countries, such as Pakistan, rape is being treated as liable to Tazir. For Tazir punishment for rape, the Pakistan law requires evidence that the woman resisted, that there is semen present on the woman, and that the man is potent; if the evidence confirms all these three requirements then the Tazir punishment under the Pakistan law is a fine, thirty lashes and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years for the convicted. In cases, where the judge discretionarily decides that the evidence is insufficient, the rape victim can be tried on charges of false accusation, under both hadd and tazir rules of Pakistan law.

Brunei introduced Tazir into its Syariah Penal Code Order effective 2014. Tazir crimes in Brunei now include offenses such as failing to perform Friday prayers by anyone above 15 years old, any Muslim disrespecting the month of Ramadan, and khalwat (dating or any form of close proximity between unrelated members of opposite sex)

Iran introduced Tazir into its legal code after the 1979 Revolution, naming the section as Qanon-e Tazir. These Tazir laws allow prosecution of offenses such as illicit kissing, failing to wear proper head dress such as hejab, and making critical statements against judges and members of the Council of Guardians.


Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/tazir/

  • writerPosted On: September 30, 2018
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