Justice: Disciplinary Action (Ta’zir)

This is another article in the chapter Justice from the classical manual on Sharia called Reliance of the Traveller. The articles are posted one by one in the order they are given in the book.

017.1 Someone who commits an act of disobedience to Allah Most High that entails neither a prescribed legal penalty nor expiation, such as bearing false witness, is disciplined to the extent the caliph (def: 025) deems appropriate. (0: He exercises his own legal reasoning (ijtihad) and does what he thinks should be done, whether imprisonment and beating, either one separately, or mere verbal reprimand. He may not administer a more severe degree of punishment than what he feels is strictly necessary. )
017.2 Disciplinary action may not reach the amount of the least prescribed legal penalty. For example, a freeman (0: if scourged) may not receive forty stripes.
017.3 If the caliph sees fit not to take any disciplinary action, this is also permissible (0: when it concerns a right owed to Allah Most High, for the ruler is entrusted with using his own legal reasoning. But if it concerns a right owed to a fellow human being who has demanded that it be fulfilled (A: such as when someone has been cheated) it is impermissible to do nothing. If a person is entitled to have another disciplined, but instead forgives him, the ruler may nevertheless discipline him).
017.4 (0: A father or grandfather (and on up) is entitled to discipline those under his care when they commit an act that is unbecoming. And so may a mother with her child. A husband is entitled to discipline his wife for not giving him his rights (def: m5.1). A teacher may discipline a student. (A: Spanking a student, for example, is permissible if there is a valid lawful purpose to be served thereby, and the student’s guardian has given the teacher permission.))


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