Were the communities before us cutting off thieves’ hands?

Question: What was the punishment of theft in communities before us? Were those people also obliged to cut off thieves’ hands like us?

Answer:

Think of the judgment in chapter Maidah verse 38 as an abrogation of a judgment from The Old Testament. According to chapter Al-Baqarah verse 106, an abrogation should bring a new judgment either same as or better than the older one. So the punishment for theft in communities before us should be either the same or more severe. In the verses 74-75 of chapter Joseph, we can see that in the law of Jacob, the punishment for qualified theft is captivity. It is obvious that captivity is a punishment more severe than cutting off a hand. Thus, we can say that the punishment of theft is abrogated in Quran Al-Kareem with a better judgment than the one in The Old Testament.

Adem Yıldırım

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Date: Feb 6, 2013