On Iran’s Death Row? Memorize the Quran and Win Your FreedomPosted: February 18, 2014 | |
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.
Related: Imprisoned by Obamacare’s Mandates? Memorize all 11,588,500 Pages of Rules and Regulations in the Affordable Care Act and President Obama will Personally Sign an Executive Order Authorizing Your Freedom.
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.
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.
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…
- Death-row inmates memorize Quran, get freed (wnd.com)
- Prisoners released for memorizing the Quran (theiranproject.com)
- Iran: Behind Rouhani’s Smile, Reza Shahabi Tortured In Prison (jewishpress.com)
- Iran- Arash Sharifi transferred to Evin Prison (iraanazad.wordpress.com)
- IRAN: Human rights denied to prisoner/activist Ms. Maryam Shafi’Pour (womennewsnetwork.net)
- News from Iran – Week 05 – 2014 (fluechtlingshilfeiranev2010.wordpress.com)
- Does the Quran tell Muslims to kill non believers (guidanceofallah.wordpress.com)
- Iranian DM reiterates necessity for confronting West’s cultural invasion (theiranproject.com)
- New moderate Iran hits Christians with wave of arrests over Christmas (jihadwatch.org)
- Death of a Poet in Iran (theepochtimes.com)