Does syariah law dampen property markets?

The evidence is not conclusive but does point to a correlation as demonstrated by Saudi Arabia, Iran and to a certain extent, Brunei.

In Malaysia currently there has been some effort by the Pan Islamic Party (PAS) to pass Syariah laws using hudud as sanctions and penalties. Hudud is an Islamic concept: punishments which under Islamic law or syariah are mandated and fixed by God.

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-5-41-52-pmThe syariah divides offences into those against God and those against man. Crimes against God violate His Hudud or ‘boundaries’. These punishments are specified by the Quran, and in some instances by the Sunnah. They are namely for adultery, fornication, accusing someone of illicit sex but failing to present four eyewitnesses, apostasy, consuming intoxicants, outrage (e.g. rebellion against the lawful Caliph, other forms of mischief against the Muslim state, or highway robbery), robbery and theft. Hudud offences are overturned by the slightest of doubts (shubuhat). These punishments are rarely applied in pre-modern Islam.

These punishments range from public lashings to public stoning to death, amputation of hands and crucifixion. The crimes against hudud cannot be pardoned by the victim or by the state, and the punishments must be carried out in public.

However, the evidentiary standards for these punishments are often impossibly high, and they are thus infrequently implemented in practice. Moreover, the Islamic prophet Muhammad ordered Muslim judges to ‘ward off the Hudud by ambiguities’. The severe Hudud punishments are meant to convey the gravity of those offences against God and to deter, not to be carried out.

In most Muslim nations in modern times, public stoning and execution are relatively uncommon, although they are practised in Muslim nations that follow a strict interpretation of Syariah, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Hudud is not the only form of punishment under syariah. There are two others: Qisas, certain occasions of retaliation as a punishment in a private dispute between two parties; and Tazir, a punishment left to an Islamic judge’s discretion in some circumstances.

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