There are different categories of punishments in Islam which are different based on the crime and its detriment to the society and the victims
According to rahyafte (the missionaries and converts website) True Islam answers / part 5
Punishments in Islam
Some people may ask why Islamic punishments are so severe.
To answer the question, we mush state that some of punishments known as severe are not invented by Islam. Longtime ago, a punishment like stone-throwing existed among followers of other religions such as Judaism and Christianity and it was a common way of execution. In Gospel of John (8:1-13) the punishment for a woman who committed adultery was mentioned as stone-throwing. In first Book of Samuel (6:30), in Book of Leviticus (24:23) and in Book of Deuteronomy (21:18) the stone-throwing is recognized as a punishment. So is in some other books of the Old Testament. Islam just endorsed such severe corporal punishment for major crimes and under very limited conditions.
Islam has specified punishments for certain wrongdoings in order to safeguard the society and prevent it from involving into risky behaviors. Punishments need to be deterrent so that the potential criminals lose their motivation to commit crimes. Some punishments are so severe as mentioned above and some other are provided as a compensation to the victim. There are also types of punishments obligating the wrongdoer to feed the poor and serve the society. For instance the punishment for breaking the oaths is feeding needy people, fasting in certain days and freeing slaves.
“Allah will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless in your oaths, but He will impose blame upon you for [breaking] what you intended of oaths. So its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your [own] families or clothing them or the freeing of a slave. But whoever cannot find [or afford it] – then a fast of three days [is required]. That is the expiation for oaths when you have sworn. But guard your oaths. Thus Allah makes clear to you His verses that you may be grateful. “
As you see all punishments prescribed in Islam are not severe. There are different categories of punishments in Islam which are different based on the crime and its detriment to the society and the victims. In some situations that the wrongdoing is considered as propagating the indecent behavior in society or puts the society in danger, punishments become strict. In next part of true Islam answers we will address the Islamic punishments and conditions under which they are implemented.
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