What is the Punishment for Stealing in Saudi Arabia?

Many people are keen to know what happens if you steal in Saudi Arabia? What is the punishment for stealing in Saudi Arabia? Do they cuts-off the hands of thieves for stealing?

Have you ever seen someone with amputated hands? Actually, there are 6 conditions that must be satisfied to cut off the hands of culprits.

Punishment of stealing as per the Holy Quran

“[As for] the thief, the male, and the female amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” Quran 5:38

Punishment of stealing as per Hadith

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “If Fatimah bint Muhammad were to steal, I would cut off her hand. And he ordered to cut off her hands – Sunan an-Nasa’i 4891

Punishment of stealing in Saudi Arabia

Although the punishment is clearly stated in Quran and Hadith, Hazrat Umar bin Khattab رضي الله عنه ordered not to cut the hand of the thief who steals dates in the year of famine.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal also narrated that hands should not be cut for theft when there is a need for that and the people are in famine and hardship.

According to our knowledge, the punishment of stealing in Saudi Arabia is cutting off the hands only if all the following 6 conditions are met;

saudi arabia punishment for stealing

  1. The property was protected

The thief stole a good or property that was protected the punishment of cutting hands would be applied in Saudi Arabia. For instance, he had to break into the office, cupboard, or locker.

If something was not protected and got stolen, for example, you left some valuable at a public place and somebody picked it up, a lighter punishment is applied.

  1. The owner asks for his stolen property

If the owner doesn’t ask for the stolen property, a lighter punishment is applied. In other words, if the owner feels pity for the thief and awards the property, there is no punishment for cutting the hands.

  1. Two Witnesses

The thief acknowledges twice that he committed the crime or two witnesses declare that they saw him stealing.

In the modern days, the two-witness requirement can be replaced by some other evidence e.g. CCTV camera footage, etc.

  1. The stolen property has a worth

If somebody stole food or something else which doesn’t have much monetary value, there is a possibility that he might have stolen it to feed his family as he doesn’t have the means to feed.

  1. The minimum amount of stealing

A Saudi friend of mine told me that the value of the amount stolen should be at least SR 80,000 to impose the punishment of cutting off the hands of thief will be applied in Saudi Arabia. 

  1. Adult and Sane

If the crime of stealing is conducted by someone who is not an adult or has an insane mind, the hard punishment of stealing will not be applied in Saudi Arabia.

Source: Islam QA

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.