Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Stoning as a Punishment for Adultery

shah-wali-allah-s-treatises-on-islamic-lawI don't understanding why stoning is acceptable in Islam. I understand that zina is a terrible sin but to me Islam is a religion about forgiveness and it's about believing that Allah is infinitely merciful.

That is why I can't reconcile the punishment of stoning and the teachings of Islam. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could shed some light on this topic.

- dabedeen

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  1. As Salamualaikum, dabedeen,

    This matter is not something in our discretion. This is not man made law for adultery. The punishment of stoning is Allah's Law. If we do not understand, we say "we hear and we obey". But it is always good to understand the wisdom while believing even if we don't understand.

    Allah Is infinitely Merciful, He Is also the Most Just. He Says:

    نَبِّئْ عِبَادِي أَنِّي أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
    [O Muhammad], inform My servants that it is I who am the Forgiving, the Merciful.
    وَأَنَّ عَذَابِي هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الْأَلِيمُ
    And that it is My punishment which is the painful punishment.

    Consider a person who is unmarried committing Zina (Fornication). This makes fornication common in the society and the news of it encourages our kids to have the same mindset. It corrupts the society in that women lose their honor and become an object of pleasure and a tool of fulfilling desire. These are only some reasons why an unmarried fornicator is punished with a 100 lashes in Islamic Law. The people who see this punishment being given will think twice even before thinking about zina.

    Now consider a married person committing zina (adultery). It destroys families, spreads corruptions, destroys the life of a partner and what not? The effect of this is very huge, which has been made to seem very little in our society. This is the danger of being very gentle on zina. We can see how widespread zina is. Would this be so rampant if the Islamic Law was followed all over the World? It is impossible.

    But it is not as easy as just saying it. It has many conditions that have to be fulfilled in order for the hadd to be taken place.

    I have read that from the time of Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam until that of Imam ibn Taymiyyah Rahimahullah, nobody had ever been convicted and stoned to death for adultery (based on the witnesses). I have also read one of our recent scholars (most probably Imam ibn Baaz Rahimahullah) say that from the time of ibn Taymiyyah until today, nobody has ever been convicted and stoned to death for adultery based on witnesses. If there are no witnesses, the accused has to accept the sin to the judge/ruler.

    This is unlike what some ignorants do today. They forget the conditions and implement the hadd. They are just normal people, laymen, while the hadd has to be declared by the ruler or the judge (Qaadhi).

    Remember this Hadith from Bukhari:

    Narrated Ibn `Abbâs ﺭَﺿِﻲَ اﻟﻠﻪُ ﻋَﻨْﻬُﻤﺎ : Hilâl bin Umaiyya accused his wife of committing illegal sexual intercourse with Sharik bin Sahmâ' and filed the case before the Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ The Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ said (to Hilâl), ``Either you bring forth a proof (four witnesses) or you will receive the legal punishment (lashes) on your back.'' Hilâl said, ``O Allâh's Messenger! If anyone of us saw a man over his wife, would he go to seek after witnesses?'' The Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ kept on saying, ``Either you bring forth the witnesses or you will receive the legal punishment (lashes) on your back.'' Hilâl then said, ``By Him Who sent you with the Truth, I am telling the truth and Allâh will reveal to you what will save my back from legal punishment.'' Then Jibril (Gabriel) came down and revealed to him: ``And for those who accuse their wives...'' (V.24:6-9)  The Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ recited it till he reached: ‘... (her husband) speaks the truth?'' Then the Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ left and sent for the woman, and Hilâl went (and brought) her and then took the oaths (confirming the claim). The Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ was saying, ``Allâh knows that one of you is a liar, so, will any of you repent?'' Then the woman got up and took the oaths and when she was going to take the fifth one, the people stopped her and said, ``It (the fifth oath) will definitely bring Allâh's Curse on you (if you are guilty).'' So, she hesitated and recoiled (from taking the oath) so much so that we thought that she would withdraw her denial. But then she said, ``I will not dishonour my family all through these days,'' and carried on (the process of taking oaths). The Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ then said, ``Watch her; if she delivers a black-eyed child with big hips and fat shins then it is Sharik bin Sahmâ's child.'' Later, she delivered a child of that description. So the Prophet ﺻﻠﻰ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ said, ``If the case was not settled by Allâh's Law, I would punish her severely.''

    and also remember this from Bukhari:

    Narrated Ibn `Abbâs ﺭَﺿِﻲَ اﻟﻠﻪُ ﻋَﻨْﻬُﻤﺎ : `Umar said, ``I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, `We do not find the Verses of the Rajm (stoning to death) in Allâh's Book (the Qur'ân)', and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allâh has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajm be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses, or pregnancy, or confessions.'' Sufyân added, ``I have memorized this narration in this way.'' `Umar added, ``Surely Allâh's Messenger ﺻﻠﻰ اﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ carried out the penalty of Rajm , and so did we after him.''

    Allah's Law is perfect for the mankind and the most just. It is just that we understand some clearly while some seem difficult to understand. On the latter, we should try to understand, but if we can not, we should not be worrying ourselves about them, but we should say that whatever Allah Has decided is best for us, whether we understand them or not.

    I have closed this post to further comments.

    Abu Abdul Bari Editor