Minimum value of stolen property that entails penalty for theft
Fatwa No: 317767

  • Fatwa Date:28-2-2016 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 20, 1437
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Question

What is the minimum value of robbed goods for which one's hand is amputated in Islam? I found a hadith where it says a quarter of an Islamic dinar or three dirhams. I calculated it with dinar. I found that one dinar is a coin of pure gold weighing 4.25 grams, so a quarter ( ¼ ) is 1.0625 gram of gold. In my country, the value of 1 gram of gold, today, is 2397 Indian rupees. So 2397 multiplied with 1.0625 is 2546.81 Indian rupees. So is it 2546 Indian rupees, which is 38.5 $ US dollars, 140.2 Qatari riyals, or 144.4 Saudi riyals. Is this calculation right? If there is a mistake, then please explain the mistake in complete detail with proofs. Please explain in detail.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

The calculation mentioned in the question is correct with regards to the quarter of the dinar multiplied with the value of the Indian rupees. As for the price of gold in Indian rupees and dollars and riyals, then you should ask the money exchanges about it.

However, it should be noted that the minimum value of stolen property that entails execution of the prescribed penalty for theft should be estimated in the currency of the country where the theft took place. Moreover, the scholars held different views regarding the minimum value of the stolen goods that merits the punishment of cutting off the hand and whether it should be equated in terms equivalent to gold or silver. According to the Hanafis and a reported view of the Hanbalis, the minimum value of stolen property that entails penalty for theft is ten dirhams (silver coins). The Shaafiʻis, however, held that it is a quarter of a dinar (gold coin). This is also one of the reported views of the Hanbalis. The Maalikis, on the other hand, held that it may be a quarter of a dinar or three dirhams. (In value, one Islamic dinar was equal to twelve Islamic dirhams; therefore, one-quarter of a dinar was equal to three dirhams.)

The Kuwaiti Encyclopedia of Fiqh reads:

The scholars held different views regarding the minimum value of theft which amounts to hand amputation. The Hanafis maintained that the minimum value of theft is ten dirhams... This is also one of the three reported opinions of the Hanbalis in this regard. This view is supported by the hadeeth narrated on the authority of Um Ayman  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her in which the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, 'The hand of the thief is not cut off for less than the price of a shield.' The monetary value of the shield then was about one dinar or ten dirhams. Several versions of this hadeeth have been reported as a mawqoof report (stopped at the level of the Companion) and mursal report (a hadeeth narrated by a Tabi’i [successor of the Prophet’s Companions]). It was also narrated as a marfooʻ hadeeth (directly attributed to the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam) reported on the authority of Ibn ʻAbbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reading, 'Ibn ʻAbbaas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, had a man's hand cut off for (stealing) a shield whose price was a dinar or ten dirhams.' Based on the view that it is a mawqoof report, it has the power of a marfoo' report (which is directly attributed to the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam) because there is no room for human reasoning when it comes to the estimation of the values related to sharee'ah provisions. Moreover, the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, 'The hand of a thief is not to be cut off for less than the price of a shield.' The scholars held different opinions regarding the estimation of the value of the shield at that time; it has been narrated that it equaled three dirhams, and it was also said that it equaled ten dirhams. The maximum value should be opted for in this case so as to avoid the prescribed punishment (as far as possible).

The Maalikis, on the other hand, held that the minimum value of the stolen item is estimated with both dinars and dirhams and that the hand should be cut off for a minimum theft value of a quarter of a gold dinar or three silver dirhams or their equivalent. This view is also one of the reported opinions of the Hanbalis; the minimum value of the stolen item should be equated in terms equivalent to gold or silver. Based on this view, the stolen items that are made of other than gold or silver are equated in terms equivalent to the least value of the two reported ones (a quarter of a dinar or three dirhams). The Shaafiʻis maintained that the least for which the hand of a thief is to be cut off is equated in terms equivalent to dinars only; the price of the stolen item must be equal to one quarter of a gold dinar (gold coins, not gold in general). This is because ʻAa'ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, 'A thief's hand should not be cut off except for a quarter of a dinar or more.' If the stolen item is made of gold, then its value must reach a quarter of a dinar in weight and value. If the stolen item is not made of gold, then its value must reach a quarter of a dinar. Another reported view of the Hanbalis holds that stolen goods are equated to dirhams only and that the stolen item cannot be equated to gold unless the stolen item is made of gold. The estimation of the value of the stolen item should be equated in the (common) currency of the country where the theft took place...

Allaah knows best.

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