Penal Jurisprudence under Islamic Criminal Justice
Implications for the Right to Human Dignity in Nigerian Constitution
Ikenga K. E. Oraegbunam
The nature of punishment under Islamic law is one serious factor that evokes somewhat conflicting attitudes to Shariah legal system. The fact that the gravity of the crimes for which these punishments were prescribed, often in Koran and other sources, merely mirror the historical circumstances and milieux in which the crimes were created adds another fillip to much controversy about Shariah criminal justice system. Hence, while some scholars hold that Shariah penal system is a panacea to the mosaic of many socio-ethical ills that are banal to integral human and national growth, yet it is often strongly argued by some others that Shariah punishments are much less in tandem with humane treatment. More so, the effect on the convict seems to amount to a denial of his right to human dignity.1 It may therefore be helpful to critically examine, first and foremost, the place of Shariah in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. The nature of Shariah punishments in the light of the jurisprudence of punishment in general would constitute the jurisprudential framework. Much focus would then be placed on how Shariah punishments in Nigeria can be made to wear a humane garb and thus be in tune with genuine tenets of modernity and respect for human dignity.