Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Sariqa Definition:

Muslim law: theft.

Also spelled sarika or presented as al-sariq’a.

According to Hussain, in Muslim law, theft is considered to be one of the most serious crimes and accordingly, classified as a hudud:

“The prescribed punishment is cutting off the hand....

“[T]he theft must be proved by the evidence of two reliable male witnesses, or by a voluntary confession made twice before the court. The penalty will not be imposed when the property stolen is of trivial value or belongs to a close relative of the thief.”

According to Muslim law jurist De Seife, the punishment for sarika is prescribed as follows in the Koran:

“And as for the man and woman addicted to theft, cut off their hands as punishment for what they have earned, an exemplary punishment from Allah....”

Schacht writes:

“The punishment consists of cutting off the right-hand and in the case of a second theft, the left foot. In the case of further thefts, and also if the other hand or other foot are not fully usable, the thief is merely imprisoned until he shows repentance.”

In his 1982 book, Aly Mansour justifies the punishment as follows:

“By severing the hand of the robber, Islam gets to the root of evil.”


  • De Seife, R., The Shar’ia: An Introduction to The Law of Islam (London: Austin & Winfield, 1994), page 60
  • Hussain, J., Islamic Law and Society (Sydney: Federation Press, 1999), page 135
  • Mansour, Aly Aly, “Hudud Crimes”, published in The Islamic Criminal Justice System (Rome: Oceana Publications Inc., 1982), pages 195-201
  • Schacht, J., An Introduction to Islamic Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), page 179-180

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