Joined: 04 May 2009, 16:10
The first verse in that Chapter declares the Chapter mandated! So, how can anybody even think of doing something else?
Turns out Ihaab Abduh beat me to this observation, in his book استحالة وجود النسخ بالقرآن, pages 388-389, and he adds a gem: The verb فرضناها
(mandated it) is in the past tense, indicating that this matter is settled and already decided! That there can be no alternative ruling ever. Amen.
Ihaab then offers many good points to refute the possibility that there is any penalty for adultery other than what the Quran specified,
- There is no ruling in the Quran of stoning for any offense.
- That the only stoning mentioned in the Quran is something the disbelievers do to the believers! For instance,
- 24:2 warns Muslims of feeling pity for fornicators as they are flogged. Stoning to death is a more horrific sight to watch than flogging. All the more reason to feel pity. It makes no sense, Ihaab says, that God would not mention the stoning as a penalty then instruct Muslims not to feel pity for the stoned.
- The penalty of adultery by a married woman accused of it by her husband, but without collaborating witnesses, is العذاب (torment), per 24:8. Stoning, Ihaab argues, is a league above torment, since the tormented may survive the torment but stoning only stops when the stoned one is dead.
I see his point and agree with him. However, I can see a refuting argument: the punishment in this case is reduced because no witnesses could be produced. Thus, the pro-stoning crowd may argue, the penalty for adultery is stoning if there are four witnesses and flogging if there aren't. However, according to Ihaab, they didn't say that! They also said the penalty in this case is stoning. Knowing that the accused wife can always escape the punishment, whatever it is, by swearing by God she's innocent, it takes a saint not to save her life with a false oath! So, now a convicted adulteress is a saint?!
- According to
The penalty for an adulteress slave girl married to her master is half that of the free woman. Death cannot be halved! But 100 floggings can. Ihaab adds that the verse clearly calls marriage إحصان, the same word the pro-stoning crowd used to specify stoning for married fornicators. Therefore, there can be no doubt that God is talking about two married women one getting half the punishment of another!
Ihaab mentions a strange interpretation, made by Ash-Shaafi`i in his famous book الرسالة, that "those whom I learn from of the people of knowledge told me that إحصان means Islam." Ihaab refutes this by showing all the verses in the Quran which mention the word. They all mean chastity by way of marriage, never once mean Islam. Ihaab also wonders why Ash-Shaafi`i neglected to mention who told him so. Why did he keep their names a secret?
Ibn Katheer attempted to explain and concluded that Ash-Shaafi`i meant a narration which has been rated weak by some and unrecognized by others. Ibn Katheer said that the opinion that the word means Islam is made by Ibn Mas`ood, Ibn Umar, Anas, Al-Aswad ibn Yazeed, Sa`eed ibn Jabeer, `Ataa', Ibrahim An-Nakh`i, Ash-Sha`bi, As-Suddi and Az-Zuhri. On the other hand, the word meant marriage, said Ibn Abbaas, Mujaahid, Ikrima, Taawoos, Sa`eed ibn Jabeer (another report), Al-Hasan, Qataada, Ash-Sha`bi (another report) and Az-Zuhri (another report) among others. Furthermore, Ali ibn Abi-Taalib has ruled flogging in these cases. Ibn Katheer agreed that the word means marriage and said that At-Tabari said the same thing.
What is even stranger is that the verse, 4:25, clearly says, "your believing [slave] girls", so they are already Muslim before marriage, Ihaab elaborated.
- A man is not allowed to pester his wife to get back some of what he spent on her, unless she committed adultery,
Ash-Shaafi`i implied a change in his opinion about stoning because of this verse. He said that an adulteress can give back some of her dowry to her husband so she can leave him, known in Islam as Khul` (severance). Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Katheer and At-Tabari agreed. Scholars who were pro-stoning tried to explain the new position of Ash-Shaafi`i (you can't pester a dead woman!) by saying that the verse is not talking about adultery but about bad character! That is simply untenable, because the words God uses in 4:19 describe a clear debauchery (فاحشة مبينة) and most exegetes have stated it means adultery.
Among those who opined that the debauchery is bad character are Ibn Abbaas (in one report), Ikrima (in one report) and Ad-Dhahhaak (in one report) as well as An-Nawawi and Al-Bayhaqi. Some scholars even said that 4:19 was abrogated!
Ironically, I don't see a necessary conflict between 4:19 and stoning, though I fully disagree that stoning is indicated in Islam at all. The reason there is no conflict is that after the adulteress wife is dead from stoning, her husband will inherit a portion of her estate, and that includes some of his dowry.
Among those who opined that the debauchery is adultery are Ibn Abbaas (in another report), Ibn Mas`ood, Sa`eed ibn Al-Musayyib, Ash-Sha`bi, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Muhammad ibn Seereen, Sa`eed ibn Jabeer, Mujaahid, Ikrima (in another report), `Ataa' Al-Khuraasaani, Ad-Dhahhaak (in another report), Abu-Qilaaba, Abu-Saalih As-Suddi, Zayd ibn Asalam and Sa`eed ibn Abi-Hilaal.
- A man cannot force the wife he's divorced while she is still in her grace period, `Idda, to leave the house, unless she committed adultery,
Her getting out of the house is redundant if she is stoned to death!
- The origin of stoning is the Old Testament, see for instance Deuteronomy 22:24, Kings 21:13 and Deuteronomy 17:2. Ihaab quotes a number of hadeeths and opinions of scholars that echo the Old Testament almost word for word! That is a red alarm for any God-fearing Muslim.
- One hadeeth, reported by Abu-Daawood and Ibn Hanbal narrates that the Prophet (PBUH) ordered an adulterer be stoned. As the man was being stoned, he panicked and managed to run away. Abdullah ibn Unays found him and killed him. When the story reached the Prophet, he said, "Shouldn't you have left him perhaps he would repent and God may accept his repentance?"
So, does that mean that a stoned adulterer may be left alone if he manages to escape? Or does it mean that if he repents, he's let go? If so, who wouldn't do that to escape death? And if an adulterer may skip stoning by repenting, then he got away scot-free without even being flogged! Thus, a married fornicator has an advantage over an unmarried fornicator!
- Ash-Shaafi`i and Abu-Yoosuf said that an enemy adulterer who's been given safe haven is stoned, while Abu-Haneefa and Maalik said he is not. So, now an enemy gets away with adultery while a Muslim cannot?!
- Ash-Shaafi`i, Ibn Hanbal and Abu-Yoosuf said that an apostate adulterer is stoned, while Abu-Haneefa and Maalik said he is not. So, apostasy can save a man from getting killed?! Some, such as Ibn Al-Qayyim, said that if he goes back to Islam afterward, he is not stoned then either. Do you see a loophole here?
Al-Hattaab agreed that the apostate adulterer is not stoned even after he comes back to Islam, but adds that if he commits adultery again afterward then he is stoned. Well, what if he apostates again? He knows the routine by now.
Ihaab comments that life and death is now decided by scholars instead of God.
- Scholars disagreed about what constitutes a valid testimony of adultery:
- Some said four are required, others said two are enough.
- Some said a man and two women can be witnesses, others said only two men.
- Some said witnesses can be from people of the Book, others said they have to be Muslims.
- Some said there are four conditions for a valid witness (e.g., Al-Bayjarami), others said six (e.g., Ar-Rassaa`), others said seven (e.g., Az-Zayla`i, Ibn Al-Humaam, Ibn `Aabideen and Al-`Abbaadi), others said eight (e.g., As-San`aani Az-Zaydi), others said nine (e.g., Atfeesh Al-Abaadhi) and others said ten (e.g., As-Saawi, An-Nafraawi, Al`Adawi and Ibn `Arafa Ad-Dusooqi).
- Some said the conditions for proving إحصان (protection by marriage), which change the penalty from flogging to stoning, apply equally to men and women, others, such as Maalik, the Shaafi`is and some Hanbalis said they don't. They said that if the conditions apply to the woman's husband, she is a qualified adulteress! Some Hanbalis excluded a "woman" younger than nine (!) who is married.
- Abu-Yoosuf, Ash-Shaafi`i, Ibn Qadaama, Az-Zuhri and in one report of Ibn Hanbal said that Islam is not one of those conditions. Most others, such as Abu-Haneefa, Zayd ibn Ali, `Ataa', An-Nakh`i, Ash-Sha`bi, Mujaahid, Ath-Tawri and Ibn Abdil-Barr disagreed. Gives an advantage to non-Muslims over Muslims, doesn't it?
- Scholars disagreed about mentally ill adulterers. Some, such as Ibn Al-Majishoon, said they are stoned, others said they are not.
- Ibn Abi-Shayba said that if a married man commits adultery with a minor girl, he is not stoned, only flogged, and no penalty on her. And if a boy fornicates with a grownup woman, she is not stoned, only flogged and the boy is beaten up only. Encourages child molestation, doesn't it?
- Scholars disagreed about a man who is flogged for fornication and then it was discovered that he is married, should he be stoned? Some said he is stoned too, others, such as Al-Balkhi said no. Another loophole.
- Al-Kharashi said that if a woman claims she committed adultery because her husband has not had sex with her for a long time and her husband denies it, she is stoned. But if a man says the same, he is not stoned. Need I comment?
- Ibn Al-Qaasim said if four sons testify that their father committed adultery the father is stoned, unless he is rich (!) The reason being that the sons may be trying to inherit him! He added that they are then flogged for false testimony! Ashhab and Ibn Al-Lubbaad agreed. Now your money can keep you alive.
- Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami and Zakariyya Al-Ansaari both said that in a time of dire need, one may kill and eat an adulterer or an apostate. `Izzud-Deen ibn Abdis-Salaam agreed about grownups but spared boys. Al-Bayjarami said that the man may be cooked or grilled.
Ihaab reiterates that this kind of conflicting views, lack of logic and absurdity is the direct result of relying on narrations instead of making the Quran the only arbiter. He quotes,
Ihaab then moves on to the alleged stoning hadeeths. Coming up next.
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.