A student reads the Koran before morning prayer on the holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Mukmin Islamic boarding school in Solo, Indonesia Central Java province, August 2, 2011. The Al-Mukmin Islamic boarding school, founded by Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir in 1972, has 231 teachers and houses 1,503 students, both males and females, between the ages 12 to 18. Bashir was jailed for 15 years in June for helping plan a paramilitary group that aimed to kill the country's president. According to Ibnu Hanifah, head academic at the boarding school, 300 new students enrol at the school annually and pay an enrolment fee of around 4 million rupiah ($470) and 500 thousand rupiah ($59) in school fees, which includes supplies of daily food for a month.  REUTERS/Beawiharta (INDONESIA - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION EDUCATION IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR2PK2Q
IRAN

Stuck on Death Row in Iran? Memorize the Quran and Earn Your Freedom

Iran just let 15 death row prisoners go free because they were able to memorize the Quran

If ever there were a time to find your way off death row in Iran, it’s right now. Judicial executions have sped up dramatically under President Hassan Rouhani. Despite his outwardly friendly appearance, he seems particularly fond of sending his citizens to the gallows. But if you’re a death row convict in the Islamic Republic, a little rote learning could be your path to freedom, because Iranian prisoners are seeing their sentences commuted, or even earning their release, by memorizing and reciting holy text.

According to Reza Sadeghi, head of Isfahan Province Endowments and Charities, 16 death row prisoners held in Central Isfahan Prison—five women and 11 men—were pardoned after they successfully memorized the Quran. Of those pardoned, 15 were released entirely, and one prisoner had his death sentence reduced to 15 years imprisonment.

A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison June 13, 2006. Iranian police detained 70 people at a demonstration in favour of women's rights, the judiciary said on Tuesday, adding it was ready to review reports that the police had beaten some demonstrators. - RTXOQWJ
A prison guard stands along a corridor in Tehran's Evin prison June 13, 2006.
(Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl)
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Effectively, this is time off for good behavior, and entirely discretionary. At present, the policy of Quranic reprieve is more de facto than de jure; there is no law on the books in Iran specifying sentence reduction for memorizing the Quran. In reality, the decision on who among the hufaaz (a term used by modern Muslims for those who’ve memorized the entire Quran) receives a pardon may depend on a variety of factors, namely the nature of the crime and the political will of the authorities. For example, convicted rapists and political saboteurs probably have less chance of gaining their freedom than burglars or even murderers whose crimes involved no distinct political motive. According to the International Federation for Human Rights, the following crimes are punishable by death in Iran: murder, rape, child molestation, sodomy, drug trafficking, armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and treason.

Four Iranian criminals are hanged in public in the southern city of Shiraz, 950 kms (590 miles) south of Tehran, 05 September 2007. Iran executed today 21 criminals in a single day, the latest of a growing number of executions in a crackdown which officials say is aimed at improving security in society. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Four Iranian criminals are hanged in public in the southern city of Shiraz, 05 September 2007, a day on which 21 people were executed.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Iran isn’t the first country to toy with the idea of allowing hufaaz a chance at escaping punishment for their crimes. The governments of Kuwait, the UAE and the Gaza Strip have all cut offenders a break provided they can recall at least some of the Quran’s 114 verses from memory. The late ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum Ibn Rashid Al Maktoum, implemented a scaled system whereby the sentence reduction was linked to the amount of Quranic text that a prisoner was able to memorize: Convicts could reduce their sentence by up to 20 years for memorizing the entire Quran, but they could also receive lesser reductions for just memorizing parts of the book. The extent of a prisoner’s Quranic memorization is usually tested by asking that prisoner to recite the text aloud.

It may seem baffling to Westerners that a little pious recollection could earn a murderer’s freedom, but for Iran’s politicos the reasoning is clear. First, memorizing the Quran verbatim is no easy task, so only a tiny minority will ever achieve it. The holy book of Islam contains roughly 77,430 words. Unlike the Christian Bible, which is, at least, broadly available in recognisable if old-fashioned English, the Quran is written in an archaic form of Arabic only truly understood by scholars of the language. For many prisoners, memorization of the entire text is way beyond their intellect. The 15 prisoners released this year are a tiny fraction of those sentenced—269 people were executed by the state between August and December alone in Iran in 2013.

QURAN KORAN IRAN
Iran's Evin prison
(Wikipedia/Ehsin Iran)
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Secondly, there’s a strong religious imperative to release good Quranic practitioners. The idea that those capable of memorizing the Quran are worthy of special praise is deeply rooted in Islamic culture; through memorization one draws closer to embodying the religion itself and, according to the Hadith (the sayings of Muhammed), becoming hufaaz puts you on the straight path to heaven. Which is a pretty good deal for any death row prisoner on a fast-track to hell.

Respond Now
  • “the Quran is written in an archaic form of Arabic only truly understood by scholars of the language” False. Even children understand it. It’s not an archaic form, it’s more like elevated language … Plus it’s easy to memorate, because it’s like poetry. Some people learn it in months … Anyway … just discovering this site … the amount of hate on it makes me sick … PEACE !

  • So deeply disturbing….on so many levels

  • religieon causes more wars than anything else in the world. so how can relgieon be a good thing??? 

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Atheist Socialist regimes have killed millions upon millions,,, your point?

  • why did u erase what i wrote??

  • Quran comprises of 114 ‘chapters’, not 114 ‘verses’.The total number of verses is 6666.Regards.

  • Islam. The worlds cancer.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Correction. Religion. The world’s cancer.

  • Show More
  • UNTRUE!

  • So what do you get if you wipe your butt with the Koran and don’t miss a single page?

  • An executed muslim is a good muslim.  Pizz be on Allah.

  • There are only two choices for who Allah is. 1) A non-existant creation of Mohammed. 2) Satan.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful Say: He is Allah, the One and Only! Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him. – translation by Abdullah Yusuf ALi this explains allah (the one and only)

  • Texas did NOT execute 625 people in half a year.  No where near that!

  • SO WHAT? In Texas we executed 625 in the same time span. WE WIN!

  • Islam is a religion of piece — bloody pieces mostly, of women and children. 

  • It would be hard but I would do it. Tell me again about the beauty of governement. 

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