Islam abhors highway robberies which is quite evident from the following Quranic verses:
”What! Do you come to the males and commit robbery on the highways and you commit evil deeds in your gatherings? But nothing was the answer of the people except that they said, ‘Bring us on Allah’s punishment if you are one of the truthful”. (TMQ-29:29)
“And do not lie in wait in every path, threatening and turning away from Allah’s way him who believes in Him and seeking to make it crooked and remember when you were few He multiplied you and consider what the end of the mischief- makers was. (TMQ-7:86)
The above mentioned verse shows that the Quran imposes restrictions on those people who try to create mischief by sitting in the way of people and trying to harm them in more than one way. Such miscreants try to seize the clothes of the travelers or try to extort money from them.
The Holy Quran has commanded severe punishment for such highway robbers because they create disorder in the land, kill people and rob them of their wealth. Since such miscreants tend to threaten the security of the society so inflicting a mild punishment on them would not suffice. Hence, Allah (swt), the All-Knowing has commanded severe punishment for those who commit the crime of highway robbers so that it serves as a deterrent for others.
The Arabic word for piracy is hirabah and those who commit such a crime are called maharbeen. The Quranic verse which deals with the punishment for such highway robbers is called as Ayat-e-Mahariba (5:33).
“Indeed the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth (to cause) corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment”.
However for those who repent for their sins Allah (swt) is All-forgiving and Merciful. In the next verse, i.e. 5:34 Allah (swt) says,
“Except for those who return (repenting) before you apprehend them. And know that Allah (swt) is Forgiving and Merciful”.
This verse means that the people who repent and pledge allegiance to the Islamic laws, before getting overpowered or arrested by the authorities, should be forgiven.
The judge can punish the highway robbers according to the guidelines mentioned in the ayat-e-maharibah, and by considering the gravity of the crime committed by them.
Keep Me In Your Prayers.