ISIL, penal laws and atonement

ISIL when amputating the hand of a man it claims confessed and voluntarily submitted to the ascribed punishment, commented that the punishment given would be a purification for his sin. The view that penal punishments are an atonement for sins and so lift any possible punishment in the hereafter, is with precedence in the Islamic tradition. There are similarities to this in Judaism; according to Hanina b. Gamaliel:

If by the commission of a sin one forfeits his soul before God, so much the more reason is there for the belief that, by a meritorious deed, such as voluntary submission to punishment, his soul is saved.

This idea of atonement is significantly present in Islamic scripture e.g. the ritual slaughter of animal livestock is considered as an atonement and a ‘qorban‘ or means to obtain a closeness to God. This understanding of animal sacrifice exists among observant Jews too and the Qur’an indicates the sanctioning of this practice as a continuity to previous revelations (Qur’an 22: 34). Christian scripture depicts Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’ that takes away (atones) the sin of the world (e.g. John 1: 29), relating to the passover sacrifice.  Of course, the topic of atonement is more encompassing (also see here) and includes other forms that can be found in both Judaism and Islam e.g. suffering or tribulations are an atonement for sins, as is fasting and almsgiving.

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