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What is the 'hadd' and the call for its implementation?
We hear the word ‘hadd’ and ‘hudood Allah’ often these days and particularly from those who are calling for the implemented of the ‘hadd’ in Muslim communities.
What does the Quran say about this matter and is this word used in the Quran?
The current use of the words ‘hadd’ and ‘hadd Allah’ by various Muslims is in fact totally alien from the Quranic use and definition of these words.
In their current form, it is claimed that these words refer to the punishments set by God for major sins, and thus, they claim that the 'hadd' must be administered on the offenders of these various sins.
But is this the correct definition of these words as per the Quran? The answer is no!
The word ‘hudood’, which is the plural of the word ‘hadd’, as used in the Quran, does not mean a punishment at all! It means the limits set by God and which the believers are warned not to overstep.
To confirm this Quranic meaning, here are some examples from the Quran:
In 4:12 we read a number of laws of inheritance outlining the shares of the wife/husband, sons and daughters, the mother, the brothers and sisters and so on.
Following these laws we read:
[4:13] These are God's ‘hudood’ (limits). He who obeys God and His messenger, He will admit him into gardens with rivers flowing beneath, wherein they forever remain; this is the greatest triumph.
[4:14] And he who disobeys God and His messenger, and oversteps His ‘hudood’ (limits), He will admit him into the fire, wherein he forever remains; and for him is a humiliating punishment.
The various laws in 4:12 are immediately followed by the words these are God's ‘hudood’ (limits). This is again confirmed in 4:14.
Do we see any punishments outlined in 4:12 which can be referred to by the words “hudood”? The answer is no! All we see are laws set by God (in this case related to inheritance) and which God warns the believers not to overstep. Overstepping the limits set by God is indeed a sin which is punishable by God, but other than seeking a verdict through the legal route, these verses do not speak of specific punishments to be administered by man for these offences.
[65:1] O you prophet, if any of you divorce the women, you shall divorce them ensuring that their interim is fulfilled. You shall calculate the interim carefully and revere God your Lord. Do not evict them from their homes. They shall not leave unless they commit proven lewdness. These are God's ‘hudood’ (limits). Anyone who oversteps God's ‘hudood’ (limits) has wronged himself. You never know; perhaps God will cause something to happen following this.
In 65:1 we are given a number of laws related to divorce, mainly the interim that must be fulfilled and the law protecting the divorced wife from being evicted from her home.
Following these laws, God once again warns against overstepping the ‘hudood’ of God.
Once again, do we read about any punishments mentioned in 65:1 and which can be described as the ‘hudood’ of God? Once again, the answer is no. All we read are rules defining the limits set by God which must not be overstepped.
There are other Quranic verses which all confirm the same truth, that the word ‘hudood’ means the limits set by God and which must not be overstepped and not punishments which must be implemented.
But this issue does not stop here, the sad matter is that not only has the words ‘hudood Allah’ been badly corrupted, but also that the punishments administered by various Muslims, claiming to implement God’s law, are mostly punishments never authorised in the Quran in the first place! The bulk of these non-Quranic punishments, which mostly derive from what they call “Sharia law”, have no Quranic authorisation whatsoever.