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Fasad (Arabic: فساد /fasād/) is an Islamic concept which means spreading mischief in a Muslim land, moral corruption against God, and any form of expression or activity by non-Muslims or apostates of Islam that creates disorder in the Muslim community.
In recent years, the law has been included in the legal code of the Islamic Republics of Pakistan and Iran. In Iran it has been used to prosecute or threaten political opposition figures. Some Islamic thinkers have defined acts of terrorism as "fasad".
Appearances in Islamic scripture
The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter. – Quran 5:33
Those who cause mischief in the land (yufsiduna fi al-ard) are counted as "the losers" in Al-Baqara, verse 27:
Fasad appears in numerous hadiths. For example, a sunnah in Sahih Bukhari states that a believer (Muslim) who fights for Islam is better than the man who retires in the mountain sparing men from his mischief.
A man asked: Messenger of Allah, which of men is the best? He said: A believer who fights staking his life and spending his wealth in the way of Allah. He asked: Who is next to him (in excellence)? He said: Next to him is a man who lives an isolated life in a mountain gorge, worshipping his Lord and sparing men from his mischief. –Sahih al-Bukhari, 34:20:4653
Mischief has a broad meaning in Shahih Bukhari and other texts of Islam. For example, salamanders are declared to cause mischief in the land, suggesting the superstition that it should be killed because looking at salamander triggers blindness and abortion.
The Prophet called the Salamander, a mischief-doer. I have not heard him ordering that it should be killed. Sad bin Waqqas claims that the Prophet ordered that it should be killed. That the Prophet ordered her (Aisha) to kill Salamanders. The Prophet said, "Kill the snake with two white lines on its back, for it blinds the on-looker and causes abortion." –Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:54:525 to 4:54:527
Breaking ties with one's Muslim kith and kin is stated to be a form of fasad in Book 73 of Shahih Bukhari,
The Prophet said, "Allah created the creations, and when He finished from His creations, Ar-Rahm (womb) said, "(O Allah) at this place I seek refuge with You from all those who sever the ties of kith and kin. Allah said, 'Yes, won't you be pleased that I will keep good relations with the one who will keep good relations with you, and I will sever the relation with the one who will sever the relations with you.' Allah's Apostle added. "Read (in the Qur'an) if you wish, the Statement of Allah: 'Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land and sever your ties of kinship?' –Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:73:16
Shahih Muslim states that killing an unbeliever during a raid on infidels, when the unbeliever agrees to convert to Islam, is a form of mischief.
It is narrated on the authority of Usama b. Zaid that the Messenger of Allah sent us in a raiding party. We raided Huraqat of Juhaina in the morning. I caught hold of a man and he said: There is no god but Allah, I attacked him with a spear. It once occurred to me and I talked about it to the Apostle. The Messenger of Allah said: Did he profess "There is no god but Allah," and even then you killed him? I said: Messenger of Allah, he made a profession of it out of the fear of the weapon. He (Prophet) observed: Did you tear his heart in order to find out whether it had professed or not? And he went on repeating it to me till I wished I had embraced Islam that day. Did Allah not say this: And fight them until there is no more mischief and religion is wholly for Allah? Sa'd said: We fought so that there should be no mischief, but you and your companions wish to fight so that there should be mischief. –Sahih Muslim, 1:176
Sunan Abu Dawud confirms that the required punishment for fasad is execution or crucifixion.
When the Apostle of Allah cut off (the hands and feet of) those who had stolen his camels and he had their eyes put out by fire (heated nails), Allah reprimanded him on that (action), and Allah, the Exalted, revealed: "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Apostle and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is execution or crucifixion." –Sunan Abu Dawood, 38:4357
Sunan Abu Dawud, in 38.4359, confirms that the punishment for fasad under Islam applies to Muslim and non-Muslims.
In his Tafsir, As-Suddi states that disbelief in Islam, disobeying sharia and acts of disobedience of authority is committing mischief on the earth.
Interpretations relating to terrorism
Scholars remain divided on when violence used by a Muslim constitutes fasād or jihad.
In criminal law
Pakistan law includes the principle of fasad-fil-arz (mischief on earth), which allows an offender to be punished (with a sentence of up to 14 years of imprisonment) even if they are forgiven by the victim's party under Qisas and Diyat.
In the Islamic Republic of Iran the offense is known as Mofsed-e-filarz and is a capital crime. The charge was used by Islamic Republican judicial authorities in the early days of the Iranian Revolution, resulting in many imprisonments and executions. Possibly more than 8,000 people suffered that fate, ranging from former members of the Shah's government, leaders of opposition or terrorist groups, or simply opponents of the regime. It has been used against Baha’i leaders on a number of occasions, and in February 2011 a large majority of members of the Iranian parliament called for the prosecution and execution of Iranian opposition leaders Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi on the charge of mofsed-e-filarz.
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