Perhaps the real title of this article should be ...
"Who Do We Worship: Men or Allah?"
... because STONING IS NOT IN THE QUR'AN except as an act or threat by unbelievers.
Most of the orthodox scholars of the four Madhabs of Sunni Islam tell us that the correct Sha'riah punishment for the married adulterer is Rajm (stoning); the orthodox scholars of Shi'a Islam are divided on this issue; and all of the orthodox scholars of Ibadhi Islam reject stoning.
THIS ISSUE OF STONING IS NOT SOME SOME ECHO FROM A BARBARIAN PAST;
it is central to how we each approach our deen.
There is a great deal of evidence that stoning is an early error propagated by certain over-zealous leaders; and has now become so deeply intertwined that to admit the error would shake the roots of the orthodox understanding of Sha'riah.
What is this evidence?
First, and most important, even thought some scholars tell us to stone, the Qur'an still says lash.
The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.
Given that Allah says one thing and some scholars report that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salaam) did another, believers should obey Allah.
But there is a way to get closer to the truth here.
- Gather all the hadith that report that stoning was called for by the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa salaam).
- Identify those which occured before the revelation of an-Noor 24:2.These can be disregarded, as the instruction to lash the adulterer had not yet been given.
- Identify those which cannot be dated(as to before or after the revelation of an-Noor 24:2).These must be disregarded, because they might have occurred before 24:2.
- Identify those cases where the defendants were Jewish.These too must be disregarded for, as you probably know, the Prophet(sallallahu alaihi wa salaam) was in a treaty with the Jews in Medina under which Muslims would be judged by Islamic law, and Jews would be judged by Judaic law. And Jewish law DOES call for stoning.
- Now examine the few hadith you have left.A small straggling group of them. Hadith that allege that the Prophet(sallallahu alaihi wa salaam) sentenced Muslim adulterers to stoning AFTER the revelation of an-Noor 24-2. (Have you found any at all?)
- If you have, then to those hadith I recommend you first apply this one...
In the Farewell Pilgrimage , the Prophet(sallallahu alaihi wa salaam)is reported to have said: "Forging lies against me has beencommon to a great extent. However, it will increase. He who forgeslies against me intentionally should find himself a place in Hell. When you receive any hadith, you should first measure itaccording to the criteria of the Qur'an and my Sunna. If it conforms to them,you will then adopt it. If not, you should then throw it away."
-- Quoted from At-Tabirsi's Alihtijaj
Note that he is reported to have said "criteria of the Qur'an AND my Sunna" NOT "criteria of the Qur'an OR my Sunna". If a report of his words is not constent with either the Qur'an OR the body of other collected sayings: throw it away.
Or do you still think stoning conforms to the Qur'an?
To test this, find stoning in the Book of Allah. Search carefully.
Let us save you some time: not only will you NOT find the command to stone ANYWHERE in the book of Allah, if you carefully read His book ayat by ayat you will find exactly five mentions of the act of stoning by men...
- Nuh threatened with stoning by disbelievers (ash-Shu'araa 26:116)
- Ibrahim's father threatens Ibrahim with stoning (Maryam 19:46)
- Men in the cave scared of stoning by disbelievers (al-Kahf 18:20)
- The three messengers threatened with stoning by disbelievers (Yas-Sin 36:18)
- Shu'aib threatened with stoning by his people (Hud 11:91)
Read these ayah. Read them carefully and in context.
IN EVERY CASE stoning is shown to us to be a practice of men only when those men are UNBELIEVERS.
Unless one believes that Allah creates His book by chance and happenstance one MUST heed the underlying message:
*In every account in the Qur'an only unbelievers are known to stone.*
The mainstream orthodox stance(s) on stoning are based largely on hadith records, records reportedly narrated through Omar, reports that tell us that he claimed to remember the "ayat-ul-rajm" (verse of stoning). Read that again: it is reported that Omar claimed an ayat was missing from the Qur'an.
Even if Omar did accurately remember such a verse, would that be a call for believers to ignore the works of the only One who has the power to remove such a verse?
ALLAH has REMOVED such a verse IF it existed at all!
This makes any stories of an "ayat-ul-rajm" powerful proof indeed - proof AGAINST stoning.
Proof against stoning is found elsewhere in the Qur'an, but this is only of importance for those who believe the Word of Allah to be the greatest authority.
Are you of those? Then read on...
In al-Kahf Musa says to his companion...
Faintalaqa hatta itha laqiya ghulaman faqatalahuqala aqatalta nafsan zakiyyatan bighayri nafsinlaqad ji/ta shay-an nukran
(So they went on until, when they met a boy, he slew him. [Musa] said: Have you slain an innocent person otherwise than for manslaughter? Certainly you have done an evil thing.)
So, in the law as known to Musa, killing for any reason – other than for the crime of killing itself - is a thing NUKRAN, an evil act. This is by the word of Prophet Musa as reported through an isnad that includes Allah Himself. (Can we all agree that this is a reliable chain?)
We should now be clear on this, inshallah: In al-Khaf 18:74 Allah has shown us the limits as they were as known to Musa and in the law as sent via him: NO KILLING except as punishment for killing.
Come forward to the law as set down in the Qur'an. We are oft reminded of the evil of killing, and the laws against killing from prior scriptures are confirmed.
On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.
One exception is given us, in that same ayat - "those who spread mischief through the land".
Now we know Allah is just and He is merciful, and expects us to try to be,too. Let's test your notion of justice...
An unmarried traveling salesman becomes adept at seducing lonely housewives. He does this as often as he can.
Who has "spread mischief through the land"?
The salesman, moving through the land? Or one of the stay-at-home wives who succumbed to him?
It should be clear that only someone willing to twist meanings into nonsense would name the woman. It should be clear that NOWHERE in the Qur'an is killing her made legal.
By the report of Allah Himself, killing her will be a thing NUKRAN. By the examples given by Allah Himself, only unbelieving men stone.
May Allah open our hearts to the truth of His book.
And, as always,