Following are excerpts from an interview with Ahmad Al-Zind, chairman of the Egyptian Judges Club, which aired on Dream 2 TV on November 26, 2012:
Ahmad Al-Zind: The judges have a burning desire to instate shari’a laws regarding Islamic hudud punishments and the diya indemnity. The UAE has resolved this issue without problems and in a simple way – the first article of its penal code states that shari’a law will be implemented with regard to the hudud and diya. When shari’a laws are implemented, they leave no room for bargaining. Any country that refrains from implementing these punishments is lacking in many ways. People should not fear the implementation of the hudud punishments, because this could be more lenient to the accused then ta’zir punishment [in which the judge has discretion].
Interviewer: How come?
Ahmad Al-Zind: Let’s consider, for example, the punishment for theft. For you to be able to apply the hudud punishment for theft, the thief must have stolen a certain amount, measured in gold… The value of the stolen goods must reach a certain amount. The crime must have been committed in a locked place. If someone leaves their gold or money in the living room and the maid takes it, she is not subject to the hudud punishment, because the money is considered to have been left unattended. The person who is sentenced to such punishments must have been provided with work and livelihood by society, so that he would not have to steal from others. After all that, if he still steals, his hand is chopped off.
Take, for example, the hudud punishment for fornication. Proving this crime in our time is practically impossible.
Interviewer: You need four witnesses…
Ahmad Al-Zind: Credible ones! Yet people terrify you with talk about the hudud.
There is no backwardness in Islam, and people who claim otherwise are backward themselves. Allah’s mercy towards His servants is evident in the fact that the person administering lashings places a notebook in his armpit, preventing him from inflicting pain by raising his arm too high, lest the notebook should fall.