see also Marriage.
Upon the testimony of four witnesses, or if the husband caught his wife in the act, he is to swear "by Allah four times that he is truthful and the fifth that Allah's damnation be brought upon him if he was lying", the adulterer and adulteress are to be punished. It is said that the wife would be given the final word and would acquit herself completely if she takes a counter-oath "swearing four times by Allah that the man is a liar, and the fifth that Allah's damnation be brought upon her if he was truthful". Those who falsely accuse chaste women are to be flogged with 80 stripes (an-Nur 24:4-10). Though adultery is mostly considered a grave sin in Islam, in certain situations Muhammad commanded his followers to commit adultery!
Much controversy has surrounded the source of the punishment for adultery. The penalty prescribed in the Qur'an is 100 stripes (an-Nur 24:2). However, Muslim jurists have made a distinction between pre-marital sex and extra-martial affairs. Some traditions say that the verse is missing from the Qur'an. The sharia rests its authority on the hadiths to prescribe the penalty of stoning for married adulterers.
* ``Umar in his reign as Caliph recalled that "God sent Muhammad and sent down the Scripture to him. Part of what he sent down was the passage on stoning, we read it, we were taught it, and we heeded it. The apostle stoned and we stoned them after him. I fear that in time to come men will say that they find no mention of stoning in God's book and thereby go astray in neglecting an ordinance which God has sent down. Verily stoning in the book of God is a penalty laid on married men and women who commit adultery."'' (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah, tr. Guillaume, p. 684) (Also, Sahih Bukhari 93.21, Muslim, Hudud 1691, Tirmizi, Hudud 8.1431, Abu Dawud 41.1, Itkan 2.34)
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:Similar reports were recorded by Imam Ahmad in part one of his Musnad (in the Musnad of Umar under the caption of the hadith Al-Saqeefah, pages 47 and 55). Ibn Hisham recorded similar things in his Sirah of the Prophet, part 2, page 658 (second printing, 1955).
..... In the meantime, 'Umar sat on the pulpit and when the callmakers for the prayer had finished their call, 'Umar stood up, and having glorified and praised Allah as He deserved, he said, "Now then, I am going to tell you something which (Allah) has written for me to say. I do not know; perhaps it portends my death, so whoever understands and remembers it, must narrate it to the others wherever his mount takes him, must narrate it to the others wherever his mount takes him, but if somebody is afraid that he does not understand it, then it is unlawful for him to tell lies about me. 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 Apostle 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. And then we used to recite among the Verses in Allah's Book: 'O people! Do not claim to be the offspring of other than your fathers, as it is disbelief (unthankfulness) on your part that you claim to be the offspring of other than your real father.' (Sahih Bukhari 8.817)
* ``Again, there is a tradition from A'isha, the propet's wife, that a certain chapter which now consists of 73 verses once contained no less than 200, and that when 'Uthman compiled the Quran the missing verses could not be found. One of them was called the Verse of Stoning, and is said to have contained the order to stone a man or woman who had committed adultery. It cannot be affirmed with any certainty that this verse ever formed part of the Quran; it is more likely that it was either a genuine hadith of the prophet or very early invention of one of his followers. The fact remains that this verse is said to have been part of the original Qur'an. Many early authorities say so, and what is very significant is that the first Caliphs punished adultery by stoning; this is still the penalty prescribed in Muslim law-books, whereas the Quran (an-Nur 24:2) prescribes a hundred stripes. In this case there is not sufficient evidence in favour of abrogation to claim it as proof, though it remains to be explained why, if the Quranic penalty is scourging the shari'a should decree stoning.'' (Guillaume, Islam, 2nd ed. 1956, pp. 191)Some Muslims have tried to explain this away by saying that God's book may not necessarily mean the Qur'an, but simply "the ordinance of God". It is not clear, however, whether such usage are common. One need to ask, what other God's book are there, and is everything binding (as in the case of adultery)?
``'Although Zina covers both fornication and adultery, in the opinion of Muslim jurists, the punishment laid down here applies only to unmarried persons. As for married persons, their punishment, according to the sunnah of the Prophet is stoning to death.'
The recorded tradition states:-Abdullah bin Umar says that a group of Jews came to the Prophet and said, "A man and a woman of our nation have comitted adultery." The Prophet asked them, "What does the Torah says about pelting stones?" They replied, "We humiliate them and give publicly to their evil act and punish them by flogging." Abdullah bin Salam said, "You are telling a lie. Bring the Torah which also ordains pelting stones." So they brought the Torah and one of them having covered his hand the verse relating to the pelting of stones read out the verse preceding it and the verse after it.
Abdullah bin Salam said, "Take off your hand." And the verse about pelting stones was seen clearly. The Jew said, "Abdullah bin Salam is right. The verse about pelting stones is there." Then the Prophet directed that both the committers of adultery be stoned to death and they met their fate. (traditions collected by Muslim and Bukhari) (In Yusuf Ali's commentary no. 2954 on verse an-Nur 24:2)
"Ubadah ibn Samit reported that the Prophet said, "Take orders from me. Yes take from me orders. The Exalted Allah has fixed a procedure for women. If a virgin commits adultery with a bachelor, she should be punished with one hundred flogs and exiled for one year, and if a married man commits adultery with a married woman, then both of them should be punished with one hundred flogs each and both should be stoned to death." (Muslim)
Other hadiths said that the page containing the verse was eaten by a goat just after Muhammad death's. (Ibn Maja, Nikah, 36.1944, Ibn Hanbal, 5.131,132,183, 6.269) Ibn Qutaiba said that "the goat is a holy animal." And he asked a counter question: "Why not believe in God's power? As He destroyed the people of Aad and Thamud, He is also able to destroy His revelations by using even a goat!"
According to al-Baqarah 2:106, "Whenever a verse is abrogated, God will substitute a better one or at least a similar one". It is not clear, in this case of the stoning verse, what verse replaced it.
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