What Does Sharia Law Say About Theft?

sharia-law-say-theft Credit: Sam Town/CC-BY 2.0

Theft is forbidden according to Sharia law, and the Quran advises the appropriate punishment for theft is to cut off the thief's hand. Amputating a hand is a serious matter and a combination of conditions should be met before a decision is made on whether or not to amputate.

There are five conditions that need to be met in order to justify the amputation of a thief's hand. The first condition is the item should have been stolen in stealth. If the item was taken in front of others as a show of force, the thief's hand shouldn't be amputated, as the victim could have asked the others for help. Second, the value of the stolen item should be worth at least one quarter of an Islamic Dinar. The Quran cites musical instruments, wine, and pigs as examples.

Third, the stolen property should have been taken from the location where its owner usually keeps it, such as a cupboard or shed. Fourth, the theft has to be proven either by the testimony of two witnesses or by two separate admissions of guilt from the accused. Lastly, the person who was stolen from must ask for the stolen item back, or the thief's hand cannot be amputated. If all five of these conditions are met, then, according to Sharia law, the thief's hand should be amputated.