Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hudood: An Execution in Madinah

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum.

Shariyf went to see an execution shortly before Ramadhaan this year. He took the older children (11 and 13 years old) with him. Here is a general account of the process from start to finish.

There is a large area, the equivalent of a sand football field, that is designated for executions in Madinah. It is close to Mandarin Supermarket, for those who know the area. Executions are done on Mondays. The area is prepared from early morning, 7:00 a.m. perhaps. Several vehicles carrying the police officers arrive to set up the site and guard it. Tape is used to cordon off the area and keep the spectators at the allowed distance.

By around 9:00 a.m. (this is not precise, but somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. is the time slot), the vehicle arrives with the person to be executed. Shortly afterwards arrives the special car bringing the executioner*. He is greeted by various officials and people. Then there is an announcement of what crime the person committed and the family members of the victim (or the victim, if they are alive) are asked if they have changed their mind and want to take the blood money from the criminal for their crime or if they want him to be executed. In this case, they wanted him to be executed. Then the executioner speaks to the person waiting to be executed. Although we cannot ascertain what he says, it seems apparent that he is telling him to make whatever dua' he wishes, prior to his execution. The executioner then checks with the criminal to see if he is finished. The execution is both swift and professional. The Executioner makes one clear swipe with his sword and turns away in one smooth movement as the head is falling to the ground.The executioner gives his salaams to the various officials and returns to the waiting car to be driven away.

My friend reported that there was an execution a few weeks ago of a young Saudi, who broke into a house and killed the woman when she tried to defend herself. The family of the woman were present and were asked prior to his execution if they wanted to forgive him and take blood money (dhiya) instead of the ordained punishment, but they opted for his death. On this occasion, the head didn't severe completely and he had to make another swipe.

There is a certain feeling of "living" Islam when these executions take place. In a world where Islam is cut to fit into lives rather than lives cut to fit Islam, it is reassuring to see the enforcement of Allah's commands for such grave crimes.

*You can find an interview done by Arab News with English subtitles on you tube, if you want to meet Saudi Arabia's executioner and hear what he has to say.


  1. Assalamu'alaykum my dear sister..

    Innalillahi wa inna ialyhi raajiun.

    i don't know what else to say. Can't utter whatever was in my head while reading through the execution.

    Second swing? Awful sight but i believe it was a great lesson for those who watched the scene.

    Allahul musta'an!

  2. asalaamalaikum sr. mai..
    subhanAllah i thought this was done next to alBaqi. didnt know it i was in that open lot near mandarin where we've seen saudi boys play football. curious, are women also allowed to watch, do they allow children as well & is this the only site in madinah or are there others? also, do they get buried in alBaqi as well??

  3. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Anonymous.

    My husband was told that is the place, so we don't know if there are any other locations. Everyone else that we know, who has seen an execution here, say it was done there and Allah knows best. No women were there, but we don't know if they are forbidden or if it is simply not a usual custom here. As for children, my husband was warned by the police that it would cause mental issues for his daughter (11 years old) to watch, but he didn't insist that she leave and they stayed until the end, Qadr Allah. As for being buried in the Baqi, we don't know that either, however considering that the many are expats, it is possible they are repatriated to their countries for burial. I seem to have given you a lot of "We don't knows," but that's because we don't know. Inshaa'Allah, we will try to find out more and I'll add information here about it.

    Barak Allahu feeki.

  4. Salam alayki, Subhnallah! I was blown away reading this. I think this has to be the most shocking post I have ever read. I think it is strange that anyone would leave their house to watch an execution. It is someone's life for whatever reason that is being taken away. My feelings are with their family left behind but to take children with them??? I can't understand why? If you don't mind me asking why would he take the children? I was near to tears when I read the children were taken. It seems so against the grain to take the kids. I am really sorry if you don't want to answer me because who am I at the end of the day but subhnallah I was pointed to your blog and came across it and like I said I completely shocked by it.

  5. Wa alaykis salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Sanaa.

    My husband took his older children, not small ones, because they had come to a stage where they are accountable for their deeds. They have, over the course of their lives, never seriously considered the consequences of actions that are major sins. Although this is something we have talked about and educated them about within their own life situations, still it was something very intangible for them.

    In addition, growing up in the USA gave them the idea that if you do something wrong, you either get away with it or go to jail. Neither of these things is real Islam. Neither of these things represents Allah's clear warnings about what is haraam and what invokes His Hadd, His prescribed punishment due to it's severity.

    This was a life lesson, one to provoke thought, development of taqwa and khashya, and to set them realistically on their path to adulthood. They were not shocked by it and the executions are not done in a way that is gory or overly graphic due to the professionalism of the executioner and the distance all the observers are kept away. However, for young adults who have the impression that it doesn't matter what you do, you can escape punishment if you are "clever," it was a critical lesson to learn that Allah is the Exposer and Allah is the Just and Allah's Book and Word ARE lived by.

    You state that it is someone's life being taken, for whatever reason. It is not an issue of whatever reason, it is an issue of it being taken because they transgressed all bounds. We must never forget that in being administered the Hadd punishment appropriate to their crime, they are expiated for their sin and proof of guilt or admission of guilt makes the Hadd fard (obligatory) upon them.

    I hope that clarifies it a bit more. I think it is important to differentiate between what we term as children and what Islam terms as children. There are clear qualifications for adulthood and once any of them are met, then the pen is upon them and they are accountable under Shari'ah law for their deeds. This is something that needs to be made clear to them and was particularly relevant to our situation.

  6. Yeah I understand fully that the Hadd punishments must be carried out and that they are legislated By Allah and lessons for us to learn from and take heed. My comment' it is someone's life being taken' I should of re phrased as 'it is someone's life being take of course for legislated reasons but why do people attend and bring the family along like a day trip or something?' Do you see what I mean? I guess since I am here in the UK the attending of an execution just seems so abnormal to me whilst it maybe normal to you living in a place where they take place.
    I heard from time to time from my hub that his brother went along to a few and I just would reply 'Why go?, would he like it if people came along to watch him being executed? and I never gave it another thought.
    My shock really was that the children went.
    But you know your children and what is best for them so hamdulillah. I'm quite emotional when it comes to children and their welfare.
    If you ever knew how this played on my head since last night and was one of the first things I thought about after Fajr.
    Thanks for answering. I know you didn't have to because it is not my business so I do appreciate that.
    Salam alayki

    1. Wa alaykisalaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

      They are meant to be public, as hadd punishments always are. They are meant to be reminders and lessons to us all. Although I am British and my husband is American, I have found it quite reassuring to live somewhere that I can see Islam being practiced. However, there is a misunderstanding here. It is not a family affair to my knowledge. It is mainly men who go and my husband didn't see any women present. It certainly isn't considered a spectators event as such, but more a reminder and a wake up call.

      Jazaaki Allahu khayr.

  7. Assalamu Alaykum waRahmatullahi waBarakatuh
    MashaAllah, just visited your blog :)
    This is mine:

  8. Assalam aleykoum wa rahmatulah , Ina lilahi wa ilayhi raji'oun .

    Barakalahoufiki oukhti for your blog .

  9. Assalamualaikum Sister,

    I agree with you about educating children about the responsibility of their actions.Specifically what is haram is HARAM.....that is the law of ALLAH (SWT)...and what better place to educate than MADINAHTUL MUKARRAMA......Best Wishes

  10. Assalamualaikum sister!

    I love this blog. I stumbled across it after returning from Haj last year and it has helped keep thoughts of Madinah alive. Jazakillah Khair, plz keep posting x

  11. How do you know when there will be an execution?

  12. I have been told that if you have television or listen to the radio, they announce the upcoming executions and the charges. Other than that, if you just happen to be in the area on a Monday morning you will see them setting up the security tape if an execution is scheduled for that day.

  13. kinds of make perfect sense. infact u just expalined perfectly why the severeity of puclblic execution is needed. May Allah Tallah grant you iman e kamil.


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