Punishment

Punishment is the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority—in contexts ranging from child discipline to criminal law—as a response and deterrent to a particular action or behaviour that is deemed undesirable or unacceptable. The reasoning may be to condition a child to avoid self-endangerment, to impose social conformity (in particular, in the contexts of compulsory education or military discipline), to defend norms, to protect against future harms (in particular, those from violent crime), and to maintain the law—and respect for rule of law—under which the social group is governed.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 1 month ago

The situation we are in is not permanent. Every era had its empires and its kings and rulers and they rose and fell. Similarly, today's powerful nations will also fall as this is part of the normal course of history. In fact, in our lifetime, many of us have seen the rise and fall of tyrants. 

The question of why Allah does not intervene to make this happen sooner hinges on the question of the free will of the human being and the balance between Allah's compassion and answering people's prayers, versus the free will that Allah has given to us collectively. On a societal or global scale, divine justice does occur, but it often takes place in the long-term (such as over centuries) rather than in our immediate lives.

From an Islamic perspective, societies are affected by natural/physical laws and higher-level natural laws. For instance, a material or natural law would be that if a government invests in health care, the quality of health in the population will be better. This is true whether people are ethical or unethical, faithful or unfaithful.

In addition to physical natural laws, the Qur'an and hadith speak of higher-level natural laws, which also relate to ethical decisions, for instance, a society that gives up enjoining the good will be afflicted by a tyrant. (Some of these can also be reduced to material/natural laws, e.g. tyranny can be defined in part by clamping down on any sort of opposition or speaking against something and won't emerge in a place where people are constantly enjoining the good.) So we also have the free will to act within those laws but we experience the results collectively.

Basically, the ultimate end of things and seeing divine justice is really just something one needs to be patient for with if one wants to see it dramatically except in some cases where there is some sort of clear divine intervention to answer people's prayers. In the meantime, do what one can do improve the situation we and the world are in, whether it be through actions or even just prayer. 

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 3 months ago

Muslims living or visiting non Muslim countries are required to respect the law of the land as well as follow the day to day Islamic rules. Punishments described in Sharia on certain crimes are not the responsibility of individual Muslims, but it is the responsibility of the Muslim ruler who implements real Islamic teachings and provides justice for all people in the society. After providing justice for all, then the matter of punishment comes, and that is the responsibility  of the government which provides justice for all. 
In today's circumstances where there is no real Islamic justice for all, there is no question of implementing Sharia punishment in non Muslim countries.

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 4 months ago

Repentance needs real feeling of sorrow on committing the sinful act and firm decision not to do it again. If you just fear the punishment but do not sincerely feel sorry for committing the sin or you did not decide to refrain from doing it again, then there is no question of forgiveness.

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 4 months ago

This story which is mentioned in some books including Bukhari, is not authentic at all. It was fabricated to justify similar act done by Abu Bakr who burned Al-Foja'ah.

Wassalam.

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Hassanain Govani, Hassanain Govani is based in Sweden and has an MA in History of Religion from Uppsala University and an MA in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of London, and has also studied Arabic in... Answer updated 5 months ago

Salaamun Alaykum

Watching pornography would go against the clear command of Qur'an to "lower the gaze", Suratul Noor 24:30-31.

What actually entails a major sin, and what the punishments for those are, is a much discussed and debated question.

I understand that it could be interesting to know whether or not watching pornography would fall into such a category.

However, I would like to highlight the issue from another perspective. Generally, when something is haraam in sharia, it is so for good reasons. There is an abundant amount of evidence showing that pornography is harmful for the persons involved in the filming, for the individual watching, and for the society at large. 

Many books have been written on the issue, e.g. Understanding and treating Sex and Pornography Addication by Paula Hall, and Treating Pornography Addiction by Kevin B Skinner.

I would also recommend the following TEDx talk: The Great Porn Experiment 

 

To cut it short, pornography is highly addictive. Furthermore, it can cause serious problems in life in different domains, such as marital intimacy, concentration, carrier, and other areas. 

Therefore, I would suggest that one looks beyond the question of major sin or not. The fact is that it is potentially very harmful. These are the dire consequences in this life. I dread to think about the consequences on the soul and the life to come.

May God bless you

 

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Seyed Ali Shobayri, Seyed Ali Shobayri is of mixed Iranian and Scottish descent who found the path of the Ahlul Bayt (a) by his own research. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University through the... Answered 5 months ago

Bismillah, 

Asalamu Alaykom, 

Such matters should be for a legitimate Islamic government who can implement such hudud, or under an infallible as some scholars would state.  
 

One cannot take matters into their own hands. Even some ulema who may allude to doing so would forbid it if this caused a Muslim to go into harm or trouble which most likely occur. 
 

May Allah grant you success 

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 5 months ago

No one will be punished for the sins of other person unless he approves it. The person who approves and agrees with any act whether good or bad, will be partner with the person who did it.

The bad effect of major sins falls on those children who agree and support it only and not on those who are against the wrong. Mohammad Ibn Abu Bakr was one of the pious followers of Ameerul Mo'mineen, despite being son of Abu Bakr who took the right of Khilafah from Ameerul Mo'mineen and deprived Fatimah from her right in Fadak.

A Mo'min by the name of Sa'd al-Khair from the family of Bani Umayyah came to Imam Mohammad Al-Baqir (AS) and he was weeping loudly like a woman. Imam asked him: What makes you weep O Sa'd? Sa'd replied: Why I should not weep when I belong to the cursed tree according to Quran (Bani Umayyah)? Imam replied him: You are not with Bani Umayyah, you are with us (Ahlul Bayt), did not you hear what Allah says in Quran (Whoever follows me is from me).

al-Ekhtisas by Shaikh al-Mofeed , page 85.

This means clearly that the children of the criminals are not responsible about the crimes of their parents or grand parents as far as they do not agree with the crime.

Wassalam.

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Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 6 months ago

Masturbation is a major sin and its punishment has been mentioned in many Hadeeths, that the sinner will come in the Day of Judgement with his hand which he used in masturbation, swollen like a mountain and will bedridden in front of all human beings.

Zina ( fornication) is another major sin, which is different from masturbation.

​​​​​​​Wassalam.

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 7 months ago

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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answered 8 months ago

This is a good question, and one that has received a lot of attention in the contemporary era.

Classically, many Muslims held that death is generally the punishment for apostasy (with some exceptions and conditions). Some Muslims today see this more in line with a modern treason law. That is, today, while killing someone for apostasy is considered a violation of human rights, killing someone for treason against their own nation is considered acceptable. This is because, in the past, religion was a primary marker of public identity and deliniation of the state; whereas, in the modern world, religion is considered a private matter and a matter of personal belief, and national identity is considered primary. 

Also, this law is based on hadith. Some people have challenged the authenticity of hadith that say this, because it seems to go against the Qur'anic view that there should be no compulsion in religion; it also seems unusually harsh, since the Prophet had a merciful and lenient character. Other people hold that it may have been appropriate in the time of the Prophet (where leaving the Muslim community would generally mean militarily aiding the enemy) but it is no longer valid today.

So, basically, one can say that, yes, this is a classical view; but it is still a subject of much discussion.

Also, note that even if the classical law is correct, it is not acceptable for a person to go around killing people because he or she thinks they are apostates. 

There are a number of pieces on this on al-Islam.org, which you can read by going to Google and typing "apostasy al-islam.org". 
 

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Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answered 9 months ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. The issue of punishment can be understood in a number of ways. According to one understanding, which is perhaps the most prevalent, God would punish a person for not believing as that is the consequence of their bad use of free will. He has endowed humans with the ability to know Him, and has given them the bounties of this life, but with a responsibility to choose the correct way. As such misusing those bounties and choosing the wrong way results in punishment.

Another way to visualize punishment is to understand that God doesn't punish humans for their actions, but rather the real manifestation of the actions of a human in the next world is in line with the reality of that action. Bad actions manifest as punishment and good actions manifest as reward. With this view, God warns us of our own punishment of ourselves through the witnessing of the reality of our bad actions in the next world and that is truly what we have earnt.

May you always be successful

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Zoheir Ali Esmail, Shaykh Zoheir Ali Esmail has a Bsc in Accounting and Finance from the LSE in London, and an MA in Islamic Studies from Middlesex University. He studied Arabic at Damascus University and holds a PhD... Answer updated 9 months ago

Bismillah

Thank you for your question. Masturbating is a sin related to animalistic desires and so its punishment in the hereafter would be linked to that, as all sins have consequences and punishments that are suitable for them. Masturbation is a sin punishable in this world as well, and it is narrated that Imam Ali (as) punished a man for it by hitting his hand until it became red, and then got him married, paying for the marriage out of the treasury.

As for stopping, masturbation is a habit and like any other habit, stopping is a process, which requires determination and persistence. As a starting point a person should get rid of all aids, such as photos, movies, being on the wrong social media groups etc.
 

It is helpful if they can get married, or if not that they take up fasting on a regular basis. There are communities of people who are giving up frapping (another word for masturbation) so seeking support from such groups may be helpful for some. The most important thing is not to get discouraged if you slip, but to make sure that slips are as irregular as possible and to know that masturbation has a number of negative consequences, especially for a person's sex life later on. With determination many people have found their way out of frapping with a positive result on their lives and spirituality. 

May you always be successful.