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This study sets forth the classical positions on the question of al-qatl al- ʿamd (intentional homicide), its definition, its scope and the application of the relevant punishment. The extent of compatibility, if any, with the modern human rights concept of right to life for murderers will also be explored. The latter concept is considered alongside the relevant provision of the Bill of Rights contained in the South African Constitution, including relevant case law for consideration to be applied in a modern context. This article advocates the idea that what is suitable for a specific country will be a function of its history, unique culture, and socio-political and legal conventions based on historical experiences and development. It also sets forth what is currently exercised in certain contexts, and whether the concept of al-qatl al- ‘amd would imperil the interests of the community. This study also tracks the ways in which leniency and avenues for repentance, recompense and forgiveness (al- ʿafwu) are navigated around social expediencies including Islamic notions of justice and fairness and what is appropriate in a modern context.
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