Tag Archives: theft

Decision in the Case of a Cow and a Camel

Decision in the Case of a Cow and a Camel

A man catching hold of the opening of the shirt of another man came to Hazrat Omar, (RA) and told him that the other man’s cow had torn off the belly of the camel of the appellant which resulted in its death. Saying this he requested Hat Omar (RA) for ordering the accused to pay ‘full penalty of his camel to him. Hazrat Omar (RA) said :

“No penalty on the quadrupeds.”

Hearing this order Hazrat Ali (A) said to Hazrat Omar(RA) : “I have heard the Holy Prophet saying :

“No man can put another man to loss.” He then added :

“If the accused person had tied his cow on the way of the camel, he has to pay the penalty, otherwise not.”

On enquiry it was revealed that the owner of the cow had actually tied his cow on the way of the camel.

Hazrat Omar (RA) then ordered the accused to pay full penalty of the camel to his owner. (Qazaand Tehas: p. 80; Qaza p. 158; , Abu Turab’ (Urdu translation) vol. 2. by Allama Jazaeri, p. 244).


Finance-A Camel Shared by Three

A Camel Shared by Three

Three men shared a camel equally. One of them tied his forelegs and went away for some work. In the meantime, the other two returned to their place of stay and untied one leg aru

they also went away together. The camel in their absence, walked with one untied leg off the place where the first man had tied him and fell in a well and wounded himself by the fall. The two men returned again, saw the camel fallen in the well, got him out some-how or other, and butchered him and sold the meat for collecting some money in view of a little compensation for the loss.

When the first partner returned, he saw the skin of the camel. On enquiry, the two other partners told him what had happened. He took an objection to it, and rather complained against their untying the camel which resulted in the heavy loss to him.

He then took the case to Hazrat Ali (A), who ordered for payment of 1/3 of the actual price of the camel to him. When the cash which was collected by selling the meat of the camel was counted it was one third of the cost price of the camel.

This amount was paid in full to the first partner of the camel and the other two went away empty handed.


While they were about to leave, Hazrat Ali (A) told them that as they had not taken proper care for the safety of the camel and the safe-guard of their shares, whereas their first partner had by tying his two legs, hence their loss. (Manaqib, vol. 11, p. 201).

The Sign of Chastity in a Virgin

The Sign of Chastity in a Virgin


A man filed a suit against his wife in the court of Hazrat Ali (A) accusing her that she did not possess the sign of virginity.

Hazrat Ali (A) told the man that thin skin in the womb of a virgin, which is usually supposed to be the sign of her virginity some time bursts automatically in jumping and also during a play wherein jumpings is freely required and dismissed the case he had taken to his court against his wife. (Qaza-wa-Teeha, p. 165).

. Examination of Eye Sight, the Power of Talking and that of Smelling

Examination of Eye Sight, the Power of Talking and that of Smelling


It has been reported in the book Ajaibul Ahkam that a man was struck on the head of by another person with something hard. The man who was struck claimed that he had lost his eye sight as well as his power of talking and that of smelling as a result of that stroke.

Hazrat Ali (A) said if the man was correct, he deserved to receive penalty on all the three counts. When asked as to how was it possible to check that the claim of the man in question was correct, Hazrat Ali (A) said as follows:-


(i) “As regards his eye sight the man will be made to stand in the open and cast his eyes on the sun. In case he could and did not shut his eyes his claim of losing his eye sight would be correct.”


(ii) In the case of the power of smelling he would be made to inhale the smoke of a patch of burning cotton. If he does not make signs of feeling sensation in his nose and also does not shed tears by the effect thereof his claim of losing his power of smell would be deemed as intact.


(iii) In the case of power of talking the tip of his tongue would be pricked with a small needle. If the drop of blood which would come out of his tongue is red he would be deemed to possess power of talking and only as malingering there about. But if the drop of blood is black he would be deemed as correct in his claim. He also advised to examine all the dumbs in the same manner. (Wafi, Kafi and Turaqi Hakmia, p.49).

Medical Examination of an Eye

Medical Examination of an Eye


A man’s head was hit by some body also whereafter the man who was hit claimed that his eye sight had become weak thereby.

Hazrat Ali (A) examined his eye in the following way: He held an egg in his hand and asked the man to stand at some distance and say as to whether he could se the egg. When

the man in question replied in the affirmative he made the man to get back to a certain further distance and again to a little more. Hazrat Ali (A) repeated this action till after the man said he could not see the egg. He also repeated this action keeping the egg in the circumferance of a horizontal line and marking the target in each case. He then measured the various distances in each case and found all the distances 1.e., right and left and up and down and announced that the claim of the man was correct otherwise, he said, there must have been a difference in the various distances measured by him.

He then repeated this action in respect of another man, who had hit the first man in question whose eye sight had become deffective as a result of his hit, to pay him penalty according to the difference of his eye sight as compared with the man whose eye sight was normal. (Wasael, vol. 3, p. 405, Mustadrik, vol. 3, p. 285 through Abu Turab (Urdu) by Allama Jazaeri vol. 2, p. 308).

few cases relating to physics decided by Hazrat Ali (A)



Following are a few cases relating to physics decided by Hazrat Ali (A) :


1. Compensation Judgement in Case of the Loss of an Eye


Once a slave of Hazrat Othman (RA) hit the eye of a bedouin resulting in the loss of his eye. The bedouine took the matter to Hazrat Othman, (AR) who tried to patch up the matter by offering full penalty of the eye of the complainant, but he would not agree.

Hazrat Otman (RA) then offered him the double of the amount fixed as penalty for an eye by the religious law, but the bedouine would still not  agree to the offer but insisted on taking th eye of the slave out as an exchange of his eye which was lost by the hit of the slave.


HazratOthman (RA) was confused as what to do thereafter and referred the case to Hazrat Ali (A) who first tried to make the bedouine to accept the offer, but when he would not agree despite all the possible efforts of even the Holy Imam (A), he sent for a patch of cotton put in the water and placed it in the eye of the slave, leaving the pupil open. Then, he sent for a mirror and put it in the sun and ordered the slave to see the sun therein with that eye till the sight thereof was lost, but the eye ball remained intact (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 99)

Cases of Theft and judgement

Allama Jazairi (need not remove the following explanation as it does not create fiqhi complications for common man)who has rendered the above story from Arabic into urdu has added the following explanation to it :- “In Islam the punishment for committing theft is the cutting

off  the  hand. This is such a nice commandment of Allah in the ‘Holy Quran’ that in almost all the cases the possibility of repetition of the offence ends   with it. Moreover a thief is always easily recognized thereafter and wherever this practice is in force people very seldom dare commit the offence.”

“However”, says the Allama, the question which arises with regard to the punishment itself is that whether the hand of the thief should be cut off from the wrist, the elbow or the forearm ? Because the ‘Holy Quran’ is silent after the main verse in this regard, i.e., “Cut off the hand of the thief, male or female.” “Those”, explains the Allama, “who argue in favour of cutting off the hand of the thief upto the wrist only cite the verse of the ‘Holy Quran’ wherein the word ‘hand’ applies upto that portion only, while some others cite another verse of the Holy Book regarding ablution the word hand precedes the words

“upto the elbow.”

‘Therefore, the second group of theologians have  recommended that the hand of a thief should be cut “upto” the elbow, which in the arabic language, at times, means “including.”


There seems some major shortfall/mistake in quoting from the Urdu book. Since, I do not have the original Urdu book with me I cannot cross check. Please compare and corect.


Proceeding further with his explanation regarding the orders of Hazrat Ali (A) for cutting off the hand of the thief by which only four fingers were cut off as in the case of the negro, AlIama Jazairi of Lahore has reproduced (Abu Turab vol. 2, p. 113) the account of an incident from Muntahi-ul-Ama1 (vol. 2, p. 234) relating the same question, which once took place in the court of Motasim Abbasi, the Abbasiad Caliph.

The incident described by the author of Muntahi-al-Amal and reproduced by Allama Jazairi is as follows:

Once a thief was produced in the court of Motasim Abbasi and the thief admitted that he had committed theft.

“The Abbasiad Caliph turned to the theologians then present at the time in his court and asked them as to what portion of the thief’s hand should be cut off according to the religious law.”

“’One of the groups of theologians referred to the first verse of thc Holy Quran mentioned above and another, to the second also cited above. Then, the Caliph consulted Imam Muhammad Taqi (A) who also happened to be present at that time in his court, and asked him as to what he had to say in the matter.”

The Holy Imam (A) exclaimed:

“You have already heard what the two opposite groups of the theologians have said about it.” But the caliph said to him: “I want your opinion, Sir”

“Thereupon, the Holy Imam (A) referred to the order of Hazrat Ali (A) in that respect i.e.,  if only four fingers of the culprit are cut off, the commandment of Allah in the Holy Quran is fulfifled”.

When called upon to explain his claim, the Holy Imam (A) elaborated the point as follows ;

“In so far as the comments on the two verses of the Holy Quran by the theologians present here are concerned, they are correct and quite relevant in their respective places, but the words of the Holy Quran which were kept in view by Hazrat Ali (A) while awarding punishment to a thief were neither of the first verse  nor of the second but of another verse which, I submit, has escaped the sight of the honourable theologians present here.”

“The Holy Imam (A) recited the following verse of the ‘Holy Quran’ :

“The parts (of the body) with which Sajdah (putting of head on the ground while offering prayers to Allah) is perfonned are all for Allah.” Explaining the above verse of the Holy Quran, Imam Muhammad Taqi (A) said to Motasim Abbasi, the then Abbasiad Caliph :

“If besides the forehead, palms of both the hands are not used while performing ‘Sajdah’ the ‘Sajdah’ would be incomplete and consequently the prayers also. This is what is meant by th verse I have just recited and  followed by Hazrat Ali (A) when awarding punishment to a thief i.e., cutting off only four fingers of his or her hand”:


When enlightened by the Holy Imam (A) on the point of punishment to a thief, Motasim did not only agree with the views presented to him by the Holy Imam (A) but followed  them  and the thief concerned was awarded the punishment accordingly.


4. The One Whose Hand is Amputated as Punishment for Committing Theft


As reported by Imam Ja’far Sadiq (A) some thieves were brought to Hazrat Ali (A). The thieves admitted their crime and Hazrat Ali (A) ordered for cutting off their hands and when the order was carried out he said to them :

“Your hands have gone to Hell. If you offer penitence and abstain from committing theft in future, you can get them out, otherwise they  will pull you all there.” (Wafi,  vol.

9, p. 66).



7. Acquital of  an Accused Who Admitted His Crime of Theft.


A  person came to Hazrat Ali (A) and admitted before him that he had committed a theft. Hazrat Ali (A) asked him if he could read the Holy Quran. The man said that he could read Surah Baqarah of Holy Book of Allah.

Hazrat Ali (A) said to him: “I acquit you of the crime for the sake of that part of the Holy Quran.”

Hearing these words of Hazrat Ali (A), Asha’s bin Qais who happened to be present there said to him :

“Ya Ali’. Do you want to suspend the order passed by Allah for this crime ?”

Hazrat Ali (A) replied :

“O’ye ignorant t You do not know that an Imam who is just can acquit the accused who admit their crime themselves, but if they do not and two witnesses who are  just and of good moral character are produced against each of them, he cannot.

(Wafi, vol. 9, p. 78 through Abu Turab (Urdu), vol. 2, p. 118)



10. Slave Trade


A trafficker in children i.e., a man who used to pick up   children from the streets and then sell them as slaves was brought to Hazrat Ali (A). He punished that criminal  by cutting off his hand. (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 67).


12. Punishment for a  Pickpocket


(2) A pick-pocket was once brought to Hazrat Ali (A) with the accusation that he had picked the pocket of another   person.  Ali (A) said to the people present before him,  :

“If he has picked the inner pocket of this man his hand should be cut off but in case he has picked the complainant’s outer pocket his hand should not be cut off. (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 64).


Note :-Hazrat Ali (A) would order only beating them and sending them to prison.


Note by the Compiler


It would be interesting to note in this connection a discourse in Arabic poetry between Abulula Moarri and Syed Murtaza Ibne Huda, (brother of Syed Razi, the compiler of Nahjul Balagha,) which we have rendered in English prose for the benefit of our readers.


Abulula: How is that the hand, the penalty of which is five hundred Dinars is cut off for half Dinar only.

Syed Murtaza: The penalty has been fixed at a higher rate for the hand of an honest man, whereas a thief lowers its price by degrading it by dishonesty.


14. Committing Theft During Famine


It has been reported by Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq (A) that Hazrat Ali (A) did not order for cutting off the hand of thief during a famine. ((Wafi, vol. 9, p. 64).


Allama Jazairi of Lahore has explained the above order as follows :

According to the meaning derived from reports recorded through some other Imams it has been calculated that such judgements mostly had been delivered by Hazrat Ali (A) only when somebody would have had stolen some articles of food only and that too, under compulsion of hunger during a famine otherwise he always awarded total punishment. (Abu Turab (Urdu) vol. 2, p. 126-27).