In common usage, theft is the taking of another person's property or services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting, library theft or fraud. In some jurisdictions, theft is considered to be synonymous with larceny; in others, theft has replaced larceny.
Financial security is one of the most important concerns of human beings every where and every time. Theft is a real danger which endangers human beings wealth and property. Human societies over the history till now, tried many ways to tackle and counter theft and robbery but no real success was achieved. Till today millions of innocent people suffer from those who steal their money in different ways. Those who steal do that because they do not fear real punishment, hence they steal whenever they find a chance.
Islam deals with this burning issue with inner treatment as well as outer action.
1. Inner treatment: is to warn that theft is a major sin and it leads the thief to hellfire. This will make good Muslims away from this sinful act.
2. Outer action: Those who do not care for religious teaching and insist on committing theft, must be punished in public to show them and others the miserable results of this crime and to protect people from similar crimes.
Cutting the hand of the thief has conditions which insure that he deserves this type of punishment for the security of the people and society. Thief who was instigated by hunger is excluded from such punishment.
Cutting the hand of the thief (with all the conditions) does not mean cutting more than the fingers of one hand only. He will still be able to work and earn in lawful way.
Allah , The Most Merciful, Has ordained this punishment on the dangerous thief to provide the people financial security. It is a fact hat no other punishment could work all over the history to stop theft crime like this punishment. Where ever this punishment was applied in proper way with all its conditions, people enjoyed security on their wealth and property. Theft crime rates dropped to near zero in Muslim societies after proper implementation of the rules of Allah (SWT) which provide peace and justice to all and prevent evil doers to violate he rights of others.
Allah (SWT) says in Sura Al-Baqara, Verse 179 : AND THERE IS REAL LIFE FOR YOU IN APPLYING THE PROPER PUNISHMENT, O PEOPLE OF INTELLECT, SO THAT YOU BECOME PIOUS).
After all, we believe that the Mercy and Wisdom of Allah is the best in all situations and for all human beings. Punishing one thief who deserves punishment is the real justice because it provides security to millions and saves their basic rights on their wealth and property.
Those millions of victims who suffer from theft, they suffer because of the failure of the non Muslim legal system to stop or counter the crime, and they pay for that failure of the system to protect them. Quran is very clear that proper life will be achieved by applying proper punishment, which means that with out applying the proper punishments, there will be no real life of security, peace and justice.
Thank you for your question. This punishment is after a number of stages which allow for the person to reform their ways and after which they would be aware that another instance of theft would result in such a consequence.
May you always be successful
Yes, it is considered theft because you have taken money which does not belong to you with out permission of the owner. Using this money and any item bought by this money is unlawful. You must return the money immediately to the same place you have taken it from.
You must do every thing you can to return the money to its owners either directly to them or to their inheritors if they are dead.
If you tried your best and could not reach to them, then it must be given to the Marja' of Taqleed who will distribute it to the poor as Majhool al-Maalik (unknown owner) on behalf of the real owners.