4. Adultery in Islam

Stoning to Death for committing adultery.

In Sharia the punishment of stoning to death (Rajam) has been prescribed for married men or women who have committed adultery. The punishment of flogging by one hundred lashes and banishment for one year is prescribed for unmarried adulterers (fornicators).
Adultery and fornication is proven either by a confessesion, pregnancy or if there are four trustworthy men who must have seen the crime being committed with their own eyes, while the testimony of women is not accepted.

Qur’an prescribes lashing for pre-marital and extra-marital sex, but stoning is not in the current version of the Qur’an (Rajam). It is, however, found in all Hadith collections. According to Muhammad’s companions, a verse that did order stoning existed at one time and they did recite and memorised it and was carried out by Muhammad. According to Muhammad’s wife Aisha, the verse of stoning was revealed, and the paper was under her pillow. When Muhammad died, they were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.

Q17:32 – And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.

Q7:33 – Say, ‘Verily, my Lord has prohibited the shameful deeds, be it open or secret, sins and trespasses against the truth and reason.

Q24:2 – The adulteress and the adulterer, you shall lash each of them with one hundred lashes, and do not let any pity overtake you regarding the system of God if you believe in God and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment.

Q24:3 – The adulterer shall marry only an adulteress or a polytheist woman, and an adulteress shall marry only an adulterer or a polytheist man; such marriages are forbidden for believers.

-Translators have disagreements about whether verse Q4:15 is about adultery, lesbianism or whoredom. Arabic word in used in Qur’an is Alfahishata.

-Rashad Khalifa, Bijan Moeinian, Edward Palmer, Ahmed Raza, Faridul Haque, Hamid Aziz translates it as adultery.
Q4:15 – Those who commit adultery among your women, you must have four witnesses against them, from among you. If they do bear witness, then you shall keep such women in their homes until they die, or until GOD creates an exit for them.

-Translators Maulana Daryabadi, George Sale, John M. Rodwell translates it as whoredom.
Q4:15 – If any of your women be guilty of whoredom, produce four witnesses from among you against them, and if they bear witness against them, imprison them in separate apartments until death release them, or God affordeth them a way to escape.

-Kamal Omar, Ahmed Ali, M. Ahmed & Samira, The Monotheist Group 2011 Ed. translates it as lesbianism.
And the two women who commit lewdness, you shall bring four witnesses over them from amongst you; if they bear witness, then you shall restrict them in the homes until death takes them, or God makes for them a way out.

Sahih Bukhari – Volume 8, Book 82, Hadith 817
Narrated Ibn `Abbas: …Allah sent Muhammad with the Truth and revealed the Holy Book to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the Verse of the Rajam (the stoning of married person (male & female) who commits illegal sexual intercourse, and we did recite this Verse and understood and memorized it. Allah’s Messenger did carry out the punishment of stoning and so did we after him. I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, ‘By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah’s Book,’ and thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed. And the punishment of the Rajam is to be inflicted to any married person (male & female), who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if the required evidence is available or there is conception or confession.

Sahih Muslim – Book 17, Hadith 4194
‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas reported that ‘Umar b. Khattab sat on the pulpit of Allah’s Messenger and said: Verily Allah sent Muhammad with truth and He sent down the Book upon him, and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him. We recited it, retained it in our memory and understood it. Allah’s Messenger awarded the punishment of stoning to death (to the married adulterer and adulteress) and, after him, we also awarded the punishment of stoning, I am afraid that with the lapse of time, the people (may forget it) and may say: We do not find the punishment of stoning in the Book of Allah, and thus go astray by abandoning this duty prescribed by Allah. Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah’s Book for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or it there is pregnancy, or a confession.

Sahih Bukhari – Volume 8, Book 82, Hadith 822
Narrated Abu Huraira and Zaid bin Khalid: The verdict of Allah’s Messenger was sought about an unmarried slave girl guilty of illegal intercourse. He replied, “If she commits illegal sexual intercourse, then flog her (fifty stripes), and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse (after that for the second time), then flog her (fifty stripes), and if she commits illegal sexual intercourse (for the third time), then flog her (fifty stripes) and sell her for even a hair rape.” Ibn Shihab said, “I am not sure whether the Prophet ordered that she be sold after the third or fourth time of committing illegal intercourse.”

Sahih Bukhari – Volume 8, Book 82, Hadith 824
Narrated Ash-Shaibani: I asked ‘Abdullah bin Abi ‘Aufa about the Rajam (stoning somebody to death for committing illegal sexual intercourse). He replied, “The Prophet carried out the penalty of Rajam,” I asked, “Was that before or after the revelation of Surat-an-Nur?” He replied, “I do not know.”

Sahih Muslim – Book 17, Hadith 4191
Ubada b. as-Samit reported: Allah’s Messenger as saying: Receive teaching from me, receive teaching from me. Allah has ordained a way for those women. When an unmarried male commits adultery with an unmarried female, they should receive one hundred lashes and banishment for one year. And in case of married male committing adultery with a married female, they shall receive one hundred lashes and be stoned to death.

Sahih Muslim – Book 17, Hadith 4196
Abu Huraira reported that a person from amongst the Muslims came to Allah’s Messenger while he was in the mosque. He called him saying: Allah’s Messenger. I have committed adultery. He (the Holy Prophet) turned away from him, He (again) came round facing him and said to him: Allah’s Messenger, I have committed adultery. He (the Holy Prophet) turned away until he did that four times, and as he testified four times against his own self, Allah’s Messenger called him and said: Are you mad? He said: No. He (again) said: Are you married? He said: Yes. Thereupon Allah’s Messenger said: Take him and stone him.

Sahih Muslim – Book 17, Hadith 4201
Ibn Abbas reported that Allah’s Apostle (may said to Ma’iz b. Malik: Is it true what has reached me about you? He said: What has reached you about me? He said: It has reached me that you have committed (adultery) with the slave-girl of so and so? He said: Yes. He (the narrator) said: He testified four times. He (the Holy Prophet) then made pronouncement about him and he was stoned (to death).

Sahih Muslim – Book 17, Hadith 4206
…A woman from Ghamid and said: Allah’s Messenger, I have committed adultery, so purify me. He turned her away. On the following day she said: Allah’s Messenger, Why do you turn me away? Perhaps, you turn me away as you turned away Ma’iz. By Allah, I have become pregnant. He said: Well, if you insist upon it, then go away until you give birth to (the child). When she was delivered she came with the child (wrapped) in a rag and said: Here is the child whom I have given birth to. He said: Go away and suckle him until you wean him. When she had weaned him, she came to him with the child who was holding a piece of bread in his hand. She said: Allah’s Apostle, here is he as I have weaned him and he eats food. He entrusted the child to one of the Muslims and then pronounced punishment. And she was put in a ditch up to her chest and he commanded people and they stoned her. Khalid b Walid came forward with a stone which he flung at her head and there spurted blood on the face of Khalid and so he abused her….

Sahih Muslim – Book 17, Hadith 4221
Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger was asked about the slave-woman who committed adultery and was not protected (married). He said: If she commits adultery, then flog her and it she commits adultery again, then flog her and then sell her even for a rope. Ibn Shihab said: I do not know whether he said this (his statement pertaining to the sale of slave-woman) at the third or the fourth time. Ibn Shihab said that the word) dafir (used in the text) means rope.

Sunan Abu Dawud – Book 38, Hadith 4364
Ma’iz came to the Prophet and admitted having committed adultery four times in his presence so he ordered him to be stoned to death, but said to Huzzal: If you had covered him with your garment, it would have been better for you.

Sunan Abu Dawud – Book 39, Hadith 4437
Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah said: The Jews brought a man and a woman of them who had committed fornication. He said: Bring me two learned men or yours. So they brought the two sons of Suriya. He adjured them and said: How do you think about the matter if these two persons bear witness to the effect that they have seen his sexual organ in her female organ (penetrated) like a collyrium stick when enclosed in its case, they will be stoned to death. He asked: What is there which prevents you from stoning them: They replied: Our rule has gone, so we disapproved of killing. The Messenger of Allah then called four witnesses. They brought four witnesses. Who testified that they had seen his sexual organ (penetrated) in her female organ like a collyrium stick when enclosed in its case. The Prophet then gave orders for stoning them.

Sunan ibn Majah – Book 9, Hadith 1944
It was narrated that Aishah said: “The Verse of stoning and of breastfeeding an adult ten times was revealed, and the paper was with me under my pillow. When the Messenger of Allah died, we were preoccupied with his death, and a tame sheep came in and ate it.”


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