Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
If such a case happens that if somebody stole and met all the requirements of a hadd to be carried out, and when the Muslim authorities are about to cut his hand, the thief gets very out of control and angry, and he says that he will leave Islam if they cut his hand. Does that make it permissible not to do the hadd?
Thank you for this thought-provoking question. I could not find a direct answer for this in the textbooks of the Hanafi school, but there are things we can discern.
The fuqaha state that the Hadd punishments were legislated as a deterrent and not a means of destroying people. For someone to leave Islam is tantamount to the greatest destruction because of the consequences he will face in the Afterlife. [Izmiri, Kamal al-Diraya]
Therefore, I believe it would be possible for the authorities to imprison such an individual and not risk him leaving Islam. This is what is done to someone who is caught a third time after having his right hand and left foot cut off for stealing on two separate occasions. He is imprisoned until sufficient signs of his reformation are seen.
Although every effort is made to not apply the Hadd on someone, based on the instructions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) himself, who said, “Repel the Hadd punishments from the Muslims as much as you are able to.” [Tirmidhi], the punishment will be carried out once the conditions are met.
Previous nations would punish the poor and let the rich and influential off. This caused problems for them, as a society cannot function if the justice system is biased towards a particular group. Consequently, the Messenger of Allah clarified that this was not the case in Islam by saying, “By Allah, If Fatima the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would have cut her hand off.” [Bukhari]
Therefore, the person in question would probably be imprisoned to protect himself from destruction and maintain the justice system’s efficacy. Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat