Stoning to Death is not Shariah Law
(The author of this article is the Editor in Chief of Al-Balaagh, a bi-monthly published from Lenasia, South Africa. He is a widely known Muslim writer, author, and journalist. In August 2001 he received an Award of Honor fo4r his 50 years of extraordinary service in the cause of Islam. He has written more than 30,000 letters in 50 years at the rate of 3 to 5 letters a night - to various people around the world, answering their queries, or thanking them for something).
Apropos of the brouhaha surrounding the case of the hapless Amina Lawal whom the Nigerian “Islamic Shariah Court” has sentenced to death by stoning, certain aspects of this whole ugly “stoning to death” scenario need to be clarified - aspects that are conveniently ignored by the legists and jurisprudents who sit in judgment of people’s lives.
“Shariah” is defined as ‘a body of doctrines that regulate the lives of those who profess Islam”. The doctrines are derived, inter alia, from two principal sources: the dictates of the Divine Being as enunciated in the Holy Quran, and the exemplary life of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S), referred to as the “Sunnah”.
Stoning to death has been emphasized time and again as the “Shariah” law. It most certainly is NOT! The punishment prescribed by the Shariah of the Quran is ONE HUNDRED LASHES each to the adulterer and the adulteress, in public. (24:2)
The Quran makes no distinction whatsoever (as the “maulanas” do!) between adultery and fornication, between married individuals and/or single persons. Zina, in the Quran, refers to adultery (sex outside marriage), and that’s that.
No committer of adultery or fornication has - ever since the lexicological birth of these two English words - come up with a PUBLIC declaration that he has found any difference between the two! Such factitious distinction, such a semantic convolution, has been “discovered” by, and exists only, in the fertile imagination of the “maulanas” and Hadith writers - past and present. These gentlemen are extremely fond of sexual hair-splitting, and have perpetuated this misconception, this flapdoodle, ad nauseam! Such logomachy (argument about words and their meaning) is the preoccupation of those who have nothing better and positive to contribute to our deen!
The bottom line is that though the words may be different, but the end experience from both operations is identical!
The idea of flogging the guilty couple in public is to disgrace them for the shameful act they committed - and not to inflict physical damage. The punishment may also be televised as the Americans do when murderers are gassed or given the lethal injection.
For a married slave-girl, the punishment is Half of that given to free women - that is, FIFTY stripes (4:25). If a woman is to be stoned to death, pray, how on earth can one HALVE this punishment? The silence of the legists, jurists and Imams to this question is ear shattering! This, of course, indicates absolutely, and without the slightest shadow of a doubt whatsoever, that the Almighty NEVER prescribed stoning as punishment for adultery, but FLOGGING A HUNDRED TIMES.
Stoning to death for adultery is Biblical Shariah - NOT an Islamic Shariah. When a woman apprehended in adultery was brought to Hazrat Eesa (AS). he pronounced the time-honored verdict, lie told the huge crowd: “Let him who is without sin among you, be the first to cast a stone at her.” (John-8). The entire crowd dispersed, realizing that not a single one among them was without sin. But Jesus himself could have stoned her, because he was without sin. But he did not. He told her to “go and sin no more”, thus showing his exemplary mercy and incomparable compassion to the woman!
Now, the most important fact of this whole ugly business of stoning to death to be remembered is that the Almighty Allah is ALL-COMPASSIONATE, ALL-LOVINC, ALL-MERCIFUL. He says of Himself in the Qur'an: “Your Lord has prescribed for Himself MERCY.“(6:54). If Allah is so Merciful, so Forgiving, and so Compassionate, then how is it possible that He cancels all these beautiful Attributes of His by enacting a law for punishing adulterers (for a human weakness) that is so DREADFUL, so inconceivably BARBARIC, and boggles the human imagination by its sheer SAVAGERY?
Does Allah Subhaanahoo Wa Ta ‘aala prescribe for Him-self absolute Mercy on the one hand, and then immediately Contradicts Himself by proclaiming a law that is so inhuman, so diabolical in its ferocity, that it has few parallels, if any, in the annals of human history? Those who have not abdicated their reasoning power and rationality will most certainly KNOW that the enemies of Allah and the foes of our Deen have fabricated this story to present our Merciful God in the worst possible light, depicting Him as a Hydra-headed Monster bent mercilessly on exacting a dehumanizing revenge on adulterers!
Yet another factor of paramount importance not to be let out of sight is that the Divine Being does NOT (repeal NOT) allow anybody - neither Moses, nor Dawood, nor Eesa, nor Muhammad (5) - to “assist” Him in the formulation and legislation of His Laws. Allah works solo all by Himself, ALONE! He states this fact in unambiguous terms in the Quran: “And He (Allah) does NOT share His Command with any person whatsoever.”(18:26) And again: “Command /Judgment belongs ONLY to Allah.”(12:40)
It is thus perfectly clear that Allah’s Command, Judgment and Decree is that an adulterous couple should be given one hundred stripes. Who can now DARE to stoning to this Final Command of Allah?
Our Nabi (S) never dared to introduce his own decrees, thus adding to, or superseding, Allah’s Law. The Almighty had issued a very serious, grave warning to him that: “And if he (the Rasool) had fabricated against Us certain sayings, We would most definitely have seized him by the right hand, THEN CUT OFF HIS HEARI”S VEIN.” (69:44-46) In the light of this verse, can the Nabi (S), or did he, bring forth his own (Biblical) law of stoning to death? Did the Rasool (5) have that prophetic independence to add to, subtract from, or interpolate Allah’s Final Judgment and Command?
He never did, because he was mighty AFRAID that he (Rasoolullah Sallal laahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) of all people would be badly PUNISHED if he ever DARED to add stoning to death to Allah’s already stipulated and specified Command of 100 stripes! The Almighty instructs the prophet (S) to tell his people: “Say (O Prophet!): It is NOT FOR ME TO CHANGE IT (THE QURAN) OF MY OWN ACCORD. I FOLLOW NAUGHT BUT WHAT HAS BEEN REVEALED TO ME. INDEED I FEAR, IF I DISOBEYED MY LORD, THE CHASTISEMENT OF A GRIEVOUS DAY”(10: 15)
Read this verse again. Analyze it. See how the Nabi (S) expresses his grave fear that Allah will punish him terribly if he were ever to add to Allah’s Final Decree. Allah’s Final Command on adultery is: 100 lashes. Can the Rasool (S) now, on his own accord, ADD to Allah’s judgment and say in effect: “Although Allah has decreed 100 lashes, but I, Muhammad, your prophet, am adding stoning to death also to this punishment!” Could he have done this? Did he do this? He never did, as we shall indicate and clarify this point further in our discussion on the contradictions in the entire Hadith literature. Just a passing observation: Later Hadith-writers and the Fiqh-fabricators manufactured all this stoning business and ascribed it to our Holy Prophet (S).
THE PROPHET (S) A MERCY TO MANKIND
Allah (SWT) tells us in the Holy Quran that He did not send the Nabi except as a MERCY unto mankind. The Nabi LOVED the people, he LOVED children, he LOVED and had compassion for, animals. Now: could the merciful Nabi of Allah have prescribed such a cruel, BARBARIC, SOUL-DESTROYING punishment of stoning men and women to death? If the Muhadditheen and Fuqaha insist that he indeed did, then this kind of cruelty de- tracts completely from the compassion, tenderness and mercy of Rasoolullah (S) to which Allah himself testifies! We are simply NOT prepared to believe it. Islam, Allah (SWT) and the Rasool (S) had (and still have) plenty of enemies, and this barbaric stoning punishment was introduced into the Hadith literature by the Christians and Yahoods. It is called Israeliyyaat.
Another point to ponder is the following. The Qur'an says:
“The adulterer cannot marry any but an adulteress or an idolatress; and the adulteress cannot marry but an adulterer or an idolater; it is forbidden to believers.” (24:3) The question is: how on earth can the adulterer and the adulteress ever have a chance of marrying if they are stoned to death? In order for marriage to take place, both the man and the woman have to be ALIVE ... not DEAD (by stoning)! Can the so-called “maulanas” and other
Upholders of the Hadith who do not pay much heed and respect to Allah’s Word (the Qur'an) answer this question?
The Quran is a Perfect Book. Allah (SWT) did not leave out anything in this Book of books, as the following verses of the Qur'an testify: (i) “We have NOT neglected anything in the Book.” (6:38); (ii) “Nor anything green or dry, but (it is all) in a clear Book.” (6:59); (iii) “And We have revealed the Book to thee (O Prophet!) explaining ALL things, and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who submit.” (16:89); (iv) “And certainly We have made clear for mankind in this Qur'an EVERY KIND OF DESCRIPTION.”(17:89).
Now: since Allah (SWT) insists that He has made EVERYTHING clear in the Qur'an, and has not left out ANYTHING, then how come He did not, or had “forgotten” (Na-oozubillah) to include that “all-important” (in the eyes of the Hadith-upholders) punishment of stoning to death for adultery’? Or, (a thousand Taubahs!) in the vocabulary of the Divine Being, the words “EVERYTHING” and “ANYTHING” do not carry the same meaning as the normal, human vocabulary does? Can the “maulanas” explain this Divine “forgetfulness”?
The truth is that human minds conceive, and human hands interpolate, extrapolate, mutilate, mangle, add to, subtract from, and embellish a clear-cut, uncomplicated Law of Allah. Allah decreed 100 lashes. This is too simple and not enough for the detractors of the Quran... so they ADDED this extra, un-Qur'anic punishment of stoning to the Law of Allah. And in so doing, they VIOLATED the following Command of Allah: “Say (O Prophet!): O People of the Book, EXAGGERATE NOT in the matter of your religion unjustly, and follow not the low desires of people who went astray.” (5:77). And again: “O People of the Book, EXCEED NOT THE LIMITS in your religion, nor speak about Allah but the truth.” (4:171)
Allah says: EXCEED NOT THE LIMITS in matters of the Deen/Shariah. But those who love to throw stones at the holy Qur'an just would NOT accept the Quranic punishment of 100 lashes, and added their own punishment of stoning to death - thus EXCEEDING THE LIMITS demarcated by Allah!
Allah Almighty has explained and clarified EVERYTHING in the Quran. But, in His infinite Wisdom, He knew that people, with their puny minds, would still bicker, recriminate, argue, quibble, altercate, DIFFER, and thus create conflicts among themselves unnecessarily, causing commotion and confusion in the Ummah.
To this end, the Almighty gave IMPLCIT instruction to the Prophet (S) in the Quran: “Surely! We (Allah) have revealed unto you (O Muhammad) the Book with Truth, SO THAT YOU MAY JUDGE BETWEEN PEOPLE BY MEANS OF WHAT ALLAH HAS SHOWN (REVEALED) TO YOU.” (4:105)
Allah (SWT) has decreed 100 lashes for the adulterous couple. The legists were not satisfied with a mere 100 lashes, so they created the controversy that the couple must also be stoned to death. Therefore Allah (SWT) instructs His Messenger (S) that he must “judge between people by means of what Allah has shown to you,” that is, follow only the law of 100 lashes, and NOT stoning, or any other form of punishment!
Another verse also makes this point ABSOLUTELY clear. Says Allah (SWT): “And We have not revealed to you the Book except that you make clear to them that (matter) wherein they DIFFER. And as a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe.” (16:64)
People, who do not place their TOTAL, ABSOLUTE, UN-DIVIDED faith and Eemaan on Allah’s Qur'an, will forever argue and debate and DIFFER. Allah’s Law on punishment for adultery is CLEAR, unambiguous AND UNEQUIVOCAL - 100 lashes. Period! But those who are weak in their faith on the Qur'an still DIFFER, and maintain that stoning to death is also a punishment.
Therefore the Almighty says that judgment on this “difference” and “conflict” in the Ummah on this vexing question of adultery and its punishment MUST be given SOLELY from the Book of Allah - and NOT from any Hadith or Fiqh books. And this Judgment in the Quran is indisputably clear - 100 hashes, and NOT stoning to death! Can any thing be clearer than this’?
Those who took upon themselves to write the Hadith books (in shameless DEFIANCE of the Rasool (S) who expressly said: “Do NOT write down anything from me except the Qur'an, and if you have written anything down, then ERASE It,”) left no turn unstoned, to gnaw, ratlike, at the fabric of Islam, thus destroying it. They put words into the mouth of the Rasool (S), thus presenting him in a very bad light - words that our Beloved Rasool (S) could never, NEVER have uttered!
We must remember that the Rasool (S) was sent as a Messenger to mankind in order to IMPLEMENT Allah’s Laws -NOT to COMPLEMENT them, or infringe, violate or supersede them with his own instructions! The Prophet (S) had made it abundantly clear that: “I FOLLOW ONLY THAT WHICH IS REVEALED TO ME’ (6:50). Stoning to death for adultery was NOT revealed to the Nabi (S), therefore he NEVER followed it! If the Prophet (S) had decreed stoning to death in the face of Allah’s clear-cut Law of 100 lashes for adultery, then Allah would have cut off his heart’s vein! (69:44-46)
One of the most mystifying arid blatantly incomprehensible aspects of this stoning business reported in the papers is that in every case of adultery, it is invariably the WOMAN that is to be stoned to death, and the man does not get so much as even a reprimand! This has happened in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and now in Nigeria.
Why this sex discrimination? Is the man not guilty? We all know that it takes “two to tango”. It seems, however, that in the Fiqh and Hadith of the “maulanas” - past and present -adultery can be committed unilaterally! The woman, being an ADULT, is perfectly capable of handling ADULTERY on her own. The participation of man is redundant, not necessary after all, he is a chauvinistic pig, and woman has liberated herself sufficiently through bra-burning to achieve orgasmic nirvana -without man’s nettlesome, insertional interference!
This is the “Shariah” of the Imams, mullahs, jurists and Hadith writers who have made Islam a totally ILLOGICAL and SENSELESS religion in the eyes of people who value reason. and whose faculty of rationality is NOT paralyzed! These two “sources” of the Islamic Shariah — Fiqh and Hadith-have made Islam the butt of ridicule and opprobrium in the eyes of the non-Muslim world!
En passant, a very significant point to ponder upon is the following. We say that stoning to death is Mosaic Law, Hazrat Moosa (AS) was a major prophet of Allah, and Allah (SWT) revealed His Commandments to him. So it is taken for granted that Allah decreed stoning to death for adultery as part of the Mosaic dispensation in the Tauraat. Which means that Allah was cruel and barbaric (a thousand Taubahs!) when He revealed the stoning law to Moses. but later relented, realizing His “mistake”, and expurgated this savage law, not including it in the Qur'an! (Astaghfirullah!)
Our contention is that Allah (always Merciful and Benign), NEVER ever enacted this horrible law, as enshrined in the Tauraat, in the first place! The stoning law was manufactured by the Jewish Rabbis, who were masters of interpolations, additions, subtractions and expunction (expurgation). They actually “manhandled” the original Tauraat, inserting their own Rabbinical laws therein in their apostils, or marginal notes, (Arabic: HAASHIYAAT). Thus it can he seen, with a little insight, that Stoning to death is not even Mosaic law, but a law devised by the conspiratorial machinations of the Rabbis of yore who were truly ollamhs (Arabic: Allamahs), full of the wisdom of the ages, and nonpareil theologians. Their scholarly learning was certainly enviable. So these “gentlemen of the cloth” inserted scores of rules, regulations, exhortations, prohibitions and instructions in the Divine book, passing them off as “Revealed’, that is, from God Almighty Himself. Stoning to death for adultery is one of these laws, and it is therefore a RABBINICAL law and not a REVELATIONAL law.
Allah (SWT) has been Merciful, Loving and
Compassionate from AZAL, from Eternity, from the very beginning of Time. Thus
he could not suddenly or progressively, at some point in Time, have lost His
Mercifulness when He revealed the Tauraat to Hazrat Moosa (AS) wherein He is
alleged to have promulgated the callous, inhuman, absolutely CRUEL law of
stoning to death for men and women guilty of adultery!
Hadith is man made and thus fallible. The Holy Qur'an is Allah’s unadulterated, Pure Word, and therefore it is Infallible. Are we going to place our total, fanatical credence on man’s surmises and conjectures in matters of Deen, or hold on solidly to the Commands of Allah in the Qur'an? Remember what Allah (SWT) says: “Hold on solidly, all together. to the Rope of Allah (the Qur'an), and do NOT become disunited.” (3: 102)
Allah has also PERFECTED His Deen for us. He says: “This day have I PERFECTED for you your religion...“ (5:3). Allah did NOT include that so-beloved-of-the-jurists’ “stoning to death” law in the Qur'an - a law which the Hadith writers insist WAS originally a part of the Quran, but somehow got lost. This means that Allah’s claim that He PERFECTED His Deen is, then, false! (A thousand Taubahs!) Allah also says that: “We have revealed the Reminder (Qur'an), and We are its Guardian” (15:9) How did He guard His Book when so many verses, including the verses of’ Rajm (stoning to death for adultery) are missing from His Book’?
Allah (SWT) insists that ALL judgments (and this, of course, includes judgment on stoning) MUST be given from the Holy Qur'an, Allah’s clear instruction to Rasoolullah (S) is: “And We have not revealed to you the Book except that you may make clear to them (matters) WHEREIN THEY DIFFER, and as a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe.” (16:64; also 4:105), Muslims differ on the question of stoning to death. So what’s the solution? REFER THE MATTER TO THE QUR'AN FOR ALLAH TO DECIDE. And Allah has decided that there is NO stoning to death, but only 100 times flogging for adulterers. In spite of this absolutely unequivocal Command of Allah, why are we still foolishly holding on to the hoary, toothless and stoop-shouldered Hadithic belief in stoning to death?
Another straightforward aayat of the Quran states: “O Prophet! Deliver that which has been revealed to you (the Qur'an) from your Lord.” (5:67) Allah has revealed in the Quran that the punishment for adultery is 100 stripes, and the Nabi (S) delivered it. Why are we now compromising this judgment of Allah with our own untenable and tenuous argument in favour of stoning?
Allah (SWT) insists that all judgments MUST (repeat MUST!) be given from the Holy Qur'an - NOT from Fiqh books, NOT firm the writings of Imams, NOT from Hadith books. He says: (if “And those who do not give judgment from the Qur'an, are the WRONGDOERS (5:45); (ii) “And those who do not give judgment from the Qur'an, are the TRANSGRESSORS (5:47). And, finally, using a very strong term, the Almighty says: (iii) “And those who do not give judgment according to the Qur'an, are the DISBELIEVERS (Kaafiroon).” (5: 44)
Before we bring this article to a close, let us take a passing look at the much-vaunted Hadith literature on which the mullahs- past and present - pin their Eemaan, their devotion, their faith, their everything. One dare not criticize a single Hadith, no matter how ridiculous it is, otherwise one becomes a “Kaafir”, they asseverate.
In the entire corpus of Hadith, there are scores of senseless, laughable, risible, absurd Ahadith that sorely tax one’s reason and common sense. We shall give here just ONE single such Hadith, and leave it to you to draw your own CONFUSION! This Hadith is very germane, very relevant to our discussion on adultery and stoning.
“Amru bin Maymoon says that in the Days of Jahiliyyah, he saw a whole lot of monkeys gathered around ONE monkey who had committed Zina (adultery), and were stoning it to death. So he (Maymoon) also joined the group (of monkeys) to stone that monkey to death.” (Bukhari)
NB. Please note that the Hadith says that it was only ONE monkey who had committed Zina! What happened to the other monkey? The Hadith does not specify whether the poor monkey caught in adultery was a male or female. We bet our topi and kurta on the fact that it was a FEMALE monkey, the poor thing, because the male always gets off scot-free after doing his job. We wonder if those other monkeys who were stoning this hapless female, were not some sort of members of the
"Shariah“ Court of the Day of Jahiliyyah!
Anyway, this was just a digression. What we want to know is that since when have monkeys (who are animals) become Mukallaf ( obliged) to follow religion? Religion and religious laws are for HUMAN BEINGS ... NOT for animals! And what would one think of a companion of the Rasool (S) who joins a group of animals in an act that no sane person can ever believe?! There is certainly some monkey business here!
An interesting fact here is that the Companion’s name who reported this monkey-Hadith is, wait for it, MAYMOON! “Maymoon” in Persian means a “monkey." . A strange coincidence, but we don’t think that there is any simian connection here between human and animal.
When one comes across such Ahadith in Bukhari, which has been called “THE MOST CORRECT BOOK AFFER THE BOOK OF GOD”, then one wonders how much of truth is there in the other Ahadith ... the stoning ones included. Can any rational being place any premium, credence or reliance on such absurdities with which Bukhari and the other Hadith books abound’? You be the judge!
Allah’s (SWT) verdict on Hadith:
The Almighty knew that human beings will give greater respect and love - over and above the Qur'an - to the Hadith literature. That is why He warned Muslims in the following words: “These are God’s Revelations (Qur'an) that We convey to you, setting forth the Truth. In what other HADITH, if not in God and His Messages, will they, then, believe.” (45:6)
Allah (SWT) makes it clear in this verse that the Qur'an IS the Hadith. With this verse, Allah has dismissed the contention of all the Hadith-worshippers who give priority to books written by men, over Allah’s Kalaam.
Yet another aayat explicates matters further: “Some people take vain, frivolous HADITH (like this monkey-business Hadith) IN ORDER TO LEAD OTHERS ASTRAY FROM THE PATH OF ALLAH WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE ANDTO MAKE IT A MOCKERY. For such there is a humiliating punishment.” (31:6)
Rasoolullah’s verdict on the Hadith:
Three famous sayings of our Nabi (S) should be remembered. In the Hadith books we find the following:
· “Narrators will come to you from me purporting (to narrate) Hadith, so examine and analyze it on the touchstone of the Qur'an. If it accords with the Quran, then accept it, if not, then discard it.”
· “He is not from us who does not suffice on the Qur'an.”
· “Judge whatever Hadith is attributed to me on the Book of Allah. If it agrees with it (the Qur'an), then it is from me, and I have said it.”
* * * **
The Final Judgment on any matter in which the Ummah differs and is in conflict with one another (as in this stoning case), then NOBODY BUT ALLAH has the Final Say, as He has clearly indicated in this aayat: “And if you differ in any matter among yourselves, then the Final Judgment is with Allah.” (42:10) The Final Judgment on the punishment for adultery has been given by Allah - which is 100 stripes. Are we now going to dispute, quibble and contradict Allah and say: Sorry, 0 Allah. there is also that little matter of stoning to death for adultery which You. Being so busy minding the Universe. Forgot to include it in your Book. And about which we are humbly reminding You. Hope You don‘t mind!
Dare we question and debate with Allah (SWT)? But the Hadith-writers and the Fuqaha had the contumely, the nerve, the temerity, the contumacy, and the audacity to do so. In so doing, we think they have reserved their permanent place in you-you know where!!
The apparatchiks of the Nigerian Shariah Court
should revamp their knowledge of Qur'anic laws, before they commit judicial
murders in the name of “Islamic Shariah” - which is not only an egregious
effrontery, but also a positive affront to mankind!
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