Punishment for various crimes in Shariah Law can be divided into four basic categories: Qisas, Diyya, Hudud, and Tazir. Out of these four categories of punishment defined in Shariah Law; only Hudud laws are the ones where it is the responsibility of the ruler to prosecute the case and punish the person who committed them.

In all other categories, it is up to the victim to go ahead with the case and also with the punishment upheld for such crime. For example, even in murder, it is between the murderer and the victim’s family. If they chose to forgive the murderer, they can. However, in matters of Hudud crimes, punishment is to be handed out if crime is proven.

Punishment in Islamic Sharia Law


The four categories are summarized below:

  • Qisas: It is directly related to revenge. This means the victim has the right to harm the offender in similar way in which the victim was treated. Simply put, ‘eye for an eye’ concept applies here.
  • Diyya: This is known as the compensation paid to the victim or victim’s family by the offender of the crime.
  • Hudud: These are crimes where there are fixed punishments.
  • Tazir: Punishments that are handed out by a Judge upon his discretion.

Islamic Sharia Law Punishments

Robbery, adultery and offenses such as drinking alcohol in public are considered to be hudud offenses. However, to prove a hudud offense has appeared to be difficult at times. For example, in case of adultery committed by a man and woman, there needs to be four male muslim eye witnesses present at time of incident.

These eye witnesses should have seen the whole incident in detail. Same applies on other hudud offenses as well. However, Tazir allows a judge to hand out a punishment if he feels that there is sufficient proof of a crime being committed as per Shariah Law.

These categories, as defined in Shariah Law, covers almost every crime broadly defined and also allows victim to exercise their right to avenge or forgive the offender. Thus Shariah law benefits not only the society and victim but also provides another chance to the offender to come on right path.