AP reported recently that “a convicted armed robber” in Iran “has been punished by having four fingers on his right hand amputated, a local judiciary official said Saturday.”
What does this have to do with jihad? Everything. According to classic Islamic law, jihad requires the Muslim community to make “war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians . . . until they become Muslim or pay the non-Muslim poll tax” (Umdat al-Salik, o9.8). Contemporary radical theorists apply this to state power. Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, founder of Pakistan’s radical Jamaat-e-Islami (Muslim Party), said of non-Muslims: “Islamic ‘Jihad’ does not recognize their right to administer State affairs according to a system which, in the view of Islam, is evil.” Rather, State affairs must be administered according to the Islamic law that just took four of Saddam Askareh’s fingers.
This is the societal order that radical Muslims wish to impose everywhere. Mind you, the Sharia stipulates that dhimmis are exempted from punishment for theft. But as far as I’m concerned, the barbarity of this punishment isn’t determined by the religion of the person receiving it.
There is more of interest in the story. It explains that “while Iran’s hard-line controlled judiciary follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law, enforcement of punishments, like amputation, are rare. Masoudinejad said the dramatic increase in armed robberies in Khuzestan had forced judiciary officials to start issuing harsh rulings.” And why had there been such a dramatic increase? “Ahvaz newspapers have blamed the increase on the instability in neighboring Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime six months ago.”
This is a familiar pattern. Throughout Islamic history, periods of moderation are followed by periods of harshness. Many analysts are too quick to take a period of moderation these days, wherever it may occur, as a sign of “reform.” It is no such thing. The laws are still on the books, ready for an increase in “instability.” Real reform won’t happen until these punishments are repudiated on a large scale in such a way that they will no longer be available as recourses even in tough times.