One hand is enough

It doesn’t matter what you believe. The important thing is how you live.

An Islamic sharia court in Nigeria has sentenced two men to amputation at their right wrists for stealing a bull, with the amputation to be carried out in
public if it is given final approval.

The sharia court in the village of Nassarawan Mailayi in the northern state
of Zamfara on Thursday ordered that Auwalu Abubaka, 23, and Lawalli Musa, 22,
have their right hands chopped off for stealing a bull worth 130,000 naira
($867, 628 euros).

A man shows his amputated hand (archive shot)


  1. Egbert says

    As in the previous article, it’s when religion interferes with ethics or politics that problems begin. It’s that overlapping that is driving us toward defending politics and ethics as separate from religion (secular).

  2. jamessweet says

    John Gray sez:

    Not everyone needs to remove people’s body parts. But if you do, you shouldn’t be bothered about finding arguments for chopping or sawing one off. Just go find yourself a thief and a machete, and take it from there.

    Not everyone needs a religion. But if you do, you shouldn’t be bothered about finding arguments for joining or practising one. Just go into the church, synagogue, mosque or temple and take it from there.

  3. jamessweet says

    Most believers, however, do not come to chop off people’s limbs through philosophical arguments. Rather, their violence arises from their personal experiences of a psychotic world of severing and butchering, with God as its center.

  4. bspiken says

    Im not sure this is religiously motivated. While I agree with the previous piece on that beliefs very much influence actions and attempting to separate them is moronic. This is an agrarian culture’s way of dealing with serious crime, while its hardly ideal it is consistent with any other society with poor legal systems and dependant on animal husbandry and agriculture.

    Also the bull’s expense is mistaken, given that 200 naira is aproximately equivalent to 1 euro the bull would be roughly 615 euros.

  5. says

    It said 628 euros – that’s pretty close. It’s two numbers: a dollar one then a euro one – not one six-figure number. (I misread it at first too.)

    I don’t necessarily think it’s religiously motivated, but the point is, sharia is there, so sharia makes it possible and respectable.

  6. bspiken says

    But that was my point precisely, its the agricultural society that makes it respectable. China, Spain, Mexico, Russia, USA, all of them had draconian punishments for cattle stealing. In Mexico in the 70s it was still legal to shoot cattle bandits, and there was more prision time for stealing cows than for killing people.

    Stealing a cow or bull would put in danger a family’s wellbeing, hence it turns into a very serious crime in areas were there is little to no goverment police.

    I agree that Sharia gives respectability to many a primitive-horrid-barbaric “laws” but this one I believe that befalls more on practicality than mean ol’ barbarism.

    Oh, and I apologize for the missread (not terribly clear on the article though).

  7. says

    No problem about the numbers; as I said, I misread it too – it looks like 600 thousand something; silly way to print it.

    Anyway – sure – there are reasons for the laws – just as there are reasons for ferocious guarding of the female reproductive system. But calling it “sharia” makes it easier to get away with (though they’ve only done one amputation in Nigeria, because the outcry after that one was too great).

  8. bspiken says

    Good hearing that there was public outcry on this. And I agree that having it religiously mandated laws does give them a veneer of respectability that usually stays even after the practicality or validity of such laws are obsolete. That is after all one of the big problems with religion, it promotes traditional values just for the sake of being them being old and hence respectable.

    I was distracted by the fact that this was a modern practical problem and the guarding of the female reproductive system is long obsolete (as a key factor in survival anyway).

    The point is important, religion allows this barbarism to survive long passed its due, and how actions do follow certain beliefs.

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