The Preservation of Wealth

Private wealth and property are the basis of the economy and livelihood of the members of the society. Islam protects personal wealth and imposes very strict penalties against banditry, robbery, and thievery, and any violations against the sanctity of property. Cheating, embezzlement, monopoly, hoarding and many other harmful practices are also prohibited. This is done with the intention of ensuring protection to the wealth and personal assets of the individuals. Islamic law imposes the corporal punishment of cutting off the hand of the thief who steals the property of others, in according to strict requirements and due process of law. Allah, the Almighty, states in the Glorious Qur'an:

(Cut off (from the wrist joint) the (right) hand of the thief, male or female, as a recompense for that which they committed, a punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom.)

It must be noted that the process of amputating the hand of a thief is only implemented with strict conditions, which include the following:

The stolen items or valuables must be in a preserved area whereby the thief gets into to the private area. If a thief steals an item that is left outside negligently or not cared for, there is no punishment by amputation. The thief in this case may be subjected to the penalty of snatching, wherein the authorities determine the appropriate penalty or "Ta'zeer.

The theft committed must not involve food for survival from hunger. The second Caliph Omar bin al-Khattab during the famine of the "Ramadah Year did not apply the punishment for stealing due to the conditions of widespread hunger.

The value of the stolen items must be above the range of the value set for stealing that obligates amputation of the hand.

These physical punishments are not to be carried out unless there is irrefutable evidence (i.e. no doubt that the crime has been committed) and that it is punishable by Islamic law.

Islamic jurisprudence, however, while expiating corporal punishment of a criminal for the crime he committed, will substitute it with another type of disciplinary punishment. Disciplinary punishment is usually less than the corporal punishment and is determined by the Muslim judge according to the type, level, category and severity of the crime and the criminal himself and his criminal record. Disciplinary punishment may be imprisonment, flogging in public, reprimanding him or imposing a fine for his crime.

Other than thievery Islam has banned all types of transgression against private possessions, estate and land ownership. This is based on the verse in the Glorious Qur'an:

And eat up not one another's property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully

Therefore, the transgressor will be subjected to a tremendous and severe penalty on the Day of Requital. This is based on the statement of Allah's Messenger :

Whosoever unjustly takes any money or the wealth of another Muslim without a due right, Allah will meet such a person in a state of anger.
Reported by Ahmad no. 3946.

Another statement of Allah's Messenger is:

Whosoever usurps a hand span of land, Allah will have this oppressor to be surrounded with seven earths (around his neck) on the Day of Requital.
Ibid. no. 9588.

Islamic law demands that the oppressor must return the amount he unjustly confiscated from other Muslims' land or property, or alternatively he is forced to pay the value of such unjustly confiscated property. Furthermore, the oppressor in such a situation is subjected to a lashing penalty determined by the Muslim judge. Islam entitles the owner of wealth to defend all that he owns, even to the point of killing the aggressor, if that is the only means of stooping the aggression. If the owner kills the aggressor he is not to be killed for killing him, if he can prove that he killed him while defending his property. If the aggressor, on the other hand, killed the defending owner, owner is a martyr and the attacker a murderer. This is based on the statement of Allah's Messenger ,

Whosoever is killed defending his wealth is a martyr.