RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court is set to implement a directive from higher authorities calling for elimination of flogging as a form of punishment in judicial verdicts, Okaz Arabic daily has learned from reliable sources.
Apart from this, some media reports claiming to have seen a document from the Kingdom’s top court say that the directive instructs the General Commission for the Supreme Court to issue a guideline requiring courts to limit their discretionary (Ta’ziri) punishments to jail term, fines, or a mixture of the two.
It is noteworthy that the General Commission for the Supreme Court has issued a decision, with a majority vote, stipulating that it should suffice courts to restrict discretionary penalties to jail term or fine, or both, or alternative penalties, as the ruler sees fit and in line with the regulations or decisions the ruler issues, in this connection.
The sources added that it is incumbent upon the courts to implement this principle and not to digress from it whatsoever.
The elimination of flogging as a punishment is the latest in a series of steps taken by the Kingdom to modernize its judicial system.
In Islamic jurisprudence (Shariah), flogging falls under the category of Ta’zir, meaning punishment dispensed at the discretion of the judiciary or leadership for offenses where punishments are not specified in the Holy Qur’an or the Hadith — the two main sources for the Shariah law.
It may be recalled that late last year, the Saudi Shoura Council member Faisal Al-Fadhil, had called for abrogation of the flogging penalty and restricting it only to Hudood cases, which entail capital punishment, in the Shariah law.
Okaz Arabic daily quoted sources as saying that Al-Fadhil stressed, in this connection, that “the basis for punishment should be reform”.
Al-Fadhil also emphasized that Article Five of the Human Rights Commission gives the HRC the jurisdiction to be involved in the legislative aspects of enacting draft laws related to human rights.
He also called for revising the existing regulations and suggested amending them, in line with the regulatory procedures.
Al-Fadhil called on the Human Rights Commission to come up with initiatives in cooperation with the related authorities to enact new regulations that will fill the legislative gaps pertaining to human rights.
He said that the new regulations are needed especially since the guiding principle of the punitive system as mentioned in one of its articles is that there is no crime or punishment except on the basis of a clear Shariah or regulatory text.”
Worshipers maintain social distancing during Taraweeh
MAKKAH — Worshipers in the Grand Mosque have been maintaining social distancing during Taraweeh prayers to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Pictures and videos showed the Grand Mosque in Makkah largely empty of worshipers on the first two days of the holy month of Ramadan as authorities closed the holy site as part of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Prayers from inside the Grand Mosque during Ramadan were restricted to clerics, security staff and cleaners.
Earlier on Thursday, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques removed the protective barricades placed around Holy Kaaba as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Over 3,500 workers are currently working around-the-clock to sterilize the Grand Mosque and its outer yards during the month of Ramadan.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has approved a reduced version of Taraweeh prayers performed at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah while still suspending the public from praying within the grounds during Ramadan.
Days would come (soon) when worshipers return to the Two Holy Mosques
April 29, 2020
MAKKAH — Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, head of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, on Tuesday gave glad tidings to the faithful, with his reassuring words: “Days would come (soon) when worshipers return to the Two Holy Mosques.”
In a video, transmitted by various media outlets and posted on official social media accounts, Sheikh Al-Sudais said: “Days (will come) when the sorrow will be driven away from the Islamic Ummah and we return to the Two Holy Mosques for tawaf (circumambulation around the Holy Ka'ba), sa'i (the ritual of hastening between the hills of Safa and Marwa) and praying at Al-Rawdah Sharif and greet the Prophet (peace be upon him).”
“Things will return, God willing, as they were, as the State is keen on creating a sound and healthy environment,” he said while calling on the faithful not to rush to be freed from the restrictions enforced as part of the precautionary measures to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Haj and Umrah, in a statement posted on its official Twitter account, also reassured the worshipers: “God willing, under the wise leadership of our government, and in line with our commitment to abide by the procedures and instructions issued by the competent authorities, there will be a return to Makkah, with reopening of the Haram and return to visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah for the faithful from all corners of the globe... the feelings of Muslims are with us and we have support from everywhere.”
Thermal cameras in Grand Mosque
Earlier, Sheikh Al-Sudais monitored the installation of thermal cameras in the Grand Mosque that detect coronavirus.
The cameras, which can accurately scan the temperatures of up to 25 people at the same time, were placed at the entrances of the mosque’s courtyards.
“Today, thank God, we have launched thermal camera devices that scan inside the holy sites from the doors. If a person is suspected of being sick it will show on this device,” Al-Sudais said.
Similar cameras were put up in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina earlier this month.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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