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“Restorative justice in Islam: Theory and practice.”

Ammar, Nawal H
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) In The spiritual roots of restorative justice, ed. Michael L. Hadley, 161-180. With an introduction by Michael L. Hadley. SUNY series in religious studies, ed. Harold Coward. Albany, New York, USA: State University of New York Press.

Ammar states that the concept of restorative justice per se has not been discussed in Islam. Yet debates about the meaning of justice in relation to crime and punishment, mercy, forgiveness, and equity are both ancient and current in Islam. Therefore, in this article Ammar engages some aspects of those debates about justice in Islam within a specifically restorative justice framework. The author makes certain key observations about Islamic societies and legal systems: there is no single Islamic legal system; various Islamic societies have distinct systems; those systems have been influenced by Western legal systems, such as the British and the Napoleonic; many Islamic countries supplement those systems with shari’a; as Islam has developed over the centuries, significant variations have arisen in Islamic theology and criminal justice philosophy; hence, any discussion of Islamic justice and restorative justice must acknowledge the history, complexity, and variety of Islamic societies and criminal justice systems. With these realities about Islam in mind, the author surveys key theoretical perspectives and practices concerning the nature of law, crime and punishment (including classification of types of crimes and corresponding punishments), and prisons. Ammar concludes that Islam contains many elements required for restorative justice. For example, the ideas of mercy and forgiveness in Islam fit with restorative justice ideas and practices. The various classifications of crime and punishment incorporate the victim, the offender, and the community.


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