Reveal or conceal: public humiliation and banishment as punishments in early Islamic times

Everett K. Rowson

in Public Violence in Islamic Societies

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780748637317
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653164 | DOI:
Reveal or conceal: public humiliation and banishment as punishments in early Islamic times

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This chapter focuses on two forms of punishment during the early Umayyad period: public humiliation and banishment. These two forms of punishment are especially, although not exclusively, associated with offenses involving questions of gender and sex. They are also frequently paired despite of the apparent contradiction between displaying offenders to the public at large and hiding them away in remote places for exile. Public humiliation or tashhīr and banishment nafy were used as measures against the poet's tashbib, transgressions against the line of gender segregation, and hija to maintain the social and moral fabric of the Muslim society. Although the measures such as banishment and public humiliation did not fit comfortably into the moral system of the shari'a developed by the jurisprudents, these forms of punishments were seen as effective measures for persevering public morality. These two forms of punishment had the effect of casting out the offender from a respectable society, however, banishment was a failed experiment as it merely moved the offender from one part of the Islamic community to another. However, this form of exile gradually changed when banishments to remote places and imprisonments began to take place.

Keywords: punishment; Umayyad period; public humiliation; banishment; gender and sex; tashhīr; nafy; tashbib; hija

Chapter.  5169 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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