STONING TO DEATH FOR ADULTERY
Since there is so much being said nowadays about this subject in a very negative sense in the various newspapers, both by Muslims and non-Muslims, I have decided to share with you the correct Islamic view on this according to the two main sources of Islamic Law, i.e. the Qur’an and the Hadith (Authentic written records of the statements and actions of the Holy Prophet of Islam – peace be upon him).
Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani (may God shower His mercy on him), an intellectual giant and a great scholar of the Muslim World, and an authority on Islamic Law, has given an academic explanation of this subject in his world-renown Commentary of the Qur’an known generally as Tafseer-e-Usmani. This outlines the most correct view on this topic, refuting the views held by the Khaarijees, Anti-Hadith and some Modernists groups of today.
In the Holy Qur’an, God Almighty says:
The fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them a hundred stripes; and in the execution of God’s order let no mercy for them seize you if you (truly) believe in God and the Last Day; and let a party of the Muslims see their punishment.
(Chapter 24: Verse 2)
This punishment is given to that fornicator or fornicatress who is free, adolescent and sane, who is unmarried or married but consummation had not taken place. Those who are not adolescent and insane are NOT charged. But the one who is not free (i.e. a slave or a handmaid) must be flogged with fifty stripes, as God Almighty says:
But when they (i.e. slaves or handmaids) come in proper wedlock, if they commit an act of indecency, they will be liable for half the punishment of the free women. (Chapter 4: Verse 25).
And that Muslim who bears all the qualities (freedom, adolescent, sane, married with consummation) is known as MUHSAN, and his or her punishment is stoning as God says:
And how can they make you (O Prophet!) the judge when they have the Torah (the book revealed to Moses) with them wherein is God’s command (of stoning to death, when read with verse 41 of this same chapter), then thereafter they turn their backs. And they are never believers. (Chapter 3: Verse 43).
And what is ‘God’s command’? It was the command of stoning to death for adultery as given by the majority of the commentators of verse number 41. The Holy Prophet of Islam had decided the case of the Jewish pair according to it, and after the execution of the Divine Order of stoning the culprits, the Holy Prophet said:
“O God! I am the first to revive Your Commandment after they (the Jews) had made it dead.” The details of these authentic reports which took place in the Holy Prophet’s lifetime can be found in the following books of Hadith:
Muslim – Kitab-ul-Hudood – Hadith No 3212.
Abu Dawood – Kitab-ul-Hudood – Hadith No 3858.
Ibn Maajah – Kitab-ul-Hudood – Hadith No 3858.
The Holy Prophet not only gave the punishment of stoning the Jewish pair, but in all cases which happened thereafter, he stoned the married adulterer or adulteress. After the Holy Prophet, his Successors, the Rightly Guided Caliphs and the Prophet’s Companions applied the same law. Not a single individual amongst the orthodox scholars of the Sunni Muslim World dared to differ from it. In other words, the continued Practice of the Holy Prophet and the Consensus of our Righteous Scholars, tells us that in this case, the Islamic Law has retained the Mosaic Law contained in the Torah, just as God in the Holy Qur’an has described the punishment of slaying the international murderer with reference to the Torah:
And We wrote for them in this Book that soul for soul, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and the retaliation of wounds equal to them. (Chapter 4: Verse 45).
This verse reveals the Mosaic Law. According to the orthodox scholars of Islamic Law, all those laws and injunctions of the past Prophets which are described by the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith shall be mandatory in Islam, provided that they are not repealed or amended or abrogated by the Holy Prophet of Islam.
Similarly, the punishment of an apostate who denounces Islam after becoming a Muslim is slaying. This capital punishment was prescribed in the Torah as mentioned by God in the Holy Qur’an:
And when Moses said to his people (who worshipped the calf): ‘O My People! You have done wrong to yourselves by making this calf, so now turn to your Creator in penitence, and slay yourselves. (Chapter 2: Verse 54).
The capital punishment of an apostate as enjoined by Mosaic Law is incorporated in Islamic Law. The Holy Qur’an, however, confirms the slaying of an international murderer and the stoning of married fornicator and fornicatress with reference to the Heavenly Book (Torah), and has greatly condemned those religionists who claim to believe in the Heavenly Revealed Books but refuse to promulgate the Heavenly Law.
Finally, the Holy Prophet is addressed by God in the following words:
And We have sent down on thee (O Prophet!) the Book with Truth confirming the former Books, and guarding (Muhaiminan) their subjects. So judge between them according to what God has sent down, and do NOT follow their wishes leaving aside the Straight Path which has come. (Chapter 4: Verse 48).
This verse concludes that these laws of the Torah are now under the custody (Muhaimin) of the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Prophet should not care about the wishes and desires of anyone. So, neither he cared nor his loyal Companions took any notice of the whims and fancies of the enemies. That is why when the Caliph Umar (may God be pleased with him) came to know, through Divine Inspiration, that the perverted sects will deny these laws one day (as the Khaarijees, Anti-Hadith and Modernist groups of our time are doing), he stood on the pulpit and proclaimed this Divine Commandment of stoning to death for adultery in the presence of the Prophet’s Companions and their followers with great force and emphasis, saying that it is the truth proven from the Book of God. See Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Mahaaribeen, Bab-ur-Rajm. The authentic Hadith reports form part of Islamic Law and cannot be divorced from it. After all, the Holy Prophet of Islam was the greatest commentator of the Qur’an, as it was revealed to him.
In conclusion, it must be said that if the Muslim authorities execute or judge according to a Law other than that of Islam, disbelieving the Divine Law, they shall become Infidels without doubt, like those Jews who had rejected the Divine Punishment of Stoning to death mentioned in their Torah. But the great and real Infidels will be those who have got the destiny of the Muslim Nation in their hands but fail to promulgate the Laws of Islam. Instead, they exult in the promulgation of British, American, or Russian Law; or Law created by their own will, wishes, whims and fancies. It is a tragedy of fate that most of the Muslim Countries and modern scholars abhor Islamic Law and love the Laws of the Infidels. Partial Implementation of Islamic Law does not equal the Islamic way of life.
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Umhlanga Rocks, KZN,