Stoning is Not an Islamic Punishment

stoning islamic punishment

Not too long ago, The New York Times reported that a group of Muslims in Afghanistan had stoned to death a woman accused of adultery. On what legal basis did this group of Muslims base its judgment in committing this gruesome act of stoning?

They could not have based it on the Quran, because the Quran gives clear and definite directives on the punishment of adultery which are completely different from the punishment meted to that unfortunate woman.

Stoning is Not an Islamic Punishment

The punishments for adultery are stated in Ayahs 02-03 of Surah an-Nur:

The adulteress and the adulterer scourge each one of them a hundred stripes, and in the matter of Allah’s Religion let no tenderness for them seize you if you believe in Allah and the Last Day; and let a party of the believers witness their chastisement. The adulterer shall marry none but an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress none shall marry her but an adulterer or an idolator; that is forbidden to the believers.

Furthermore, Ayah 93 from Surah an-Nisa states:

And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him.

So in taking the law in their own hands, this particular group of Muslims has committed a most grievous crime!

References to Stoning in the Quran

The punishment meted to that unfortunate and aggrieved woman is not Islamic in so far as the Quran is concerned. In fact, the method of punishment itself is not Islamic. In multiple places, the Quran states that the method of execution by stoning is a characteristic of Pagan societies. Nowhere is it mentioned as an Islamic practice; but instead, stoning was a form of punishment invented by societies before Islam. Many Prophets of Islam, such as Hz Abraham (AS), were given threats related to stoning by unbelievers. For example:

Ayah 20 of Surah ad-Dukhan:

And indeed, I have sought refuge in my Lord and your Lord, lest you stone me.

Ayah 46 of Surah Maryam:

(His father) said, “Have you no desire for my gods, O Abraham? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me a prolonged time.”

Ayah 20 of Surah al-Kahf:

For they, if they should come to know of you, will stone you or turn you back to their religion; then ye will never prosper.

Ayah 91 of Surah Hud:

They said, “O Shuayb, we do not understand much of what you say, and indeed, we consider you among us as weak. And if not for your family, we would have stoned you (to death); and you are not to us one respected.”

From the above verses, it is clear that stoning was a pagan practice, and the Quran views it as such. It is not an Islamic punishment. Plus, it absolutely was not a method of punishment invented or practised by the Arabs.

Origins of Stoning

So, where did stoning come into Islam from? In reality, it came from later sources, as thoroughly discussed by Theodor Nöldeke in his work Geschichte des Qorâns (1860). According to him, inspiration for stoning as a method of punishment came from the Old Testament.

As a matter of fact, Paul Winter, in his work On the Trial of Jesus (Berlin: Walter de Gruyer & Co, 1961), observed that the Old Testament decrees three methods for putting people to death, as under:

  • The first method is stoning, which is especially applied in the case of an adulteress.
  • The second one is death by burning alive. This method is also applied to an adulteress if she happens to be the daughter of a Rabbi.
  • The third method is cutting the head off by means of a sword.

Conclusion

It is now clear as to from where the abomination of stoning came into Islam. It came not from the Quran, but from alien sources. In other words, it came via those people from Ahl al-Kitab who acted as story tellers and popular commentators on the Quran. They produced a religious lore, some of which found its way into the Islamic practice of later days.

Therefore, while the modern media verticals are happy to term “stoning” as an Islamic practice, it hardly has any Islamic connections. In fact, the so-called Muslim lawgivers who advocate stoning as a form of punishment are mistaken about the teachings of Islam in this regard.

Background Image: Hugo


8 comments

  1. Akhi I know you probably wrote this to benefit people, but this is wrong.
    Don’t misguide the people akhi. Stoning is a part of the shari’ah. For your information there are a couple of hadith which narrate the prophet’ (saw) issuing a command to carry it out. Below is a hadith from Sahih Muslim

    Chapter 4. Stoning of a married person for Zinâ [44181 15 – (1691) It was narrated that ‘Abdullâh bin ‘Abbâs said: “‘Umar bin AlKhattâb said, when he was sitting on the Minbar of the Messenger of Allah : Allah sent Muhammad with the truth, and He revealed the Book to him. One of the things that Allah revealed to him was the Verse of stoning. We recited it, memorized it and understood it, The Messenger of Allah stoned (adulterers) and we stoned them after him. But I am afraid that with the passage of time, people will say, we do not find (the Verse of) stoning in the Book of Allah, so they will go astray and forsake an obligation that Allah revealed. Stoning (is mentioned) in the Book of Allah as a duty which much be carried out on those who commit Zinâ if they are married, men and women alike, if proof is established or if there is pregnancy or a confession”

    And another hadith from Sahih Muslim

    4427] 19 – (1693) It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbâs that the Prophet said to Mâ’iz bin Mãlik: “Is it true what I have heard about you?” He said: “What have you heard about me?” He said: “I heard that you committed Zinâ with the slave woman of the family of so-andso.” He said: “Yes.” He (the narrator) said: “He testified to that four times, then he () ordered that he be stoned.

    Wallahi there are numerous hadith but I can’t post all here, please verify next time before writing such akhi. May Allah forgive us.

  2. السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

    Brother, firstly I advise you to Fear Allah (SWT) as Allah (SWT) forbids speaking without knowledge, and following desires. You state “It is now clear as to from where the abomination of stoning came into Islam. It came not from the Quran, but from alien sources.”

    Ibn Rajab (RH) says in Jami’ Al-‘Ulum Wal-Hikam (Pg. 175) in the Explanation of Hadith 14; Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (RA) narrates; the Prophet (PBUH) said “It is impermissible to take the life of a Muslim who bears testimony that there is no God but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah, except in one of three cases: the adulterer, a life for a life, and the renegade Muslim [apostate], who abandons the Muslim community.”

    Ibn Rajab (RH) comments on this Hadith saying “These are the three cases in which it is permissible to take the life of a Muslim who testifies that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Killing in each of these cases is agreed upon among the Muslims.”

    Then he comments on part of the Hadith relating to the Adulterer as follows; “The legal punishment for an adulterer and adulteress in Islam according to the consensus of Muslims, is stoning to death. The Prophet (PBUH) stoned Ma’iz and the woman coming from a tribe called Ghamid. Ibn ‘Abbas deduced that stoning is the legal punishment from the Qur’an verse that reads [5:15] “O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book.”

    Ibn ‘Abbas said, “He who denies stoning, purposelessly denies Qur’an. Then, he recited the above verse and said, “Stoning was one of the legal rules concealed by the people of the scripture.”

    You state “In fact, the so-called Muslim lawgivers who advocate stoning as a form of punishment are mistaken about the teachings of Islam in this regard.” You know better than Ibn ‘Abbas (RA)? Are you saying he is mistaken? Was he not a lawgiver? I understand why you maybe want to deny this act in Islam because you fail to accept this brutal reality. However, we as Muslims must understand Islam only has certain laws to deter people away from the disobedience of Allah (SWT). Whether it is cutting off the hand of the one who steals, stoning the adulterer, executing apostates, these severe methods of punishments are only placed as a deterrent of committing that particular sin.

    Who would want to steal after seeing someone’s hand being cut off? Who would want to commit adultery when they see how painful it looks? Understand that this earth belongs to Allah (SWT) and only the law of Allah (SWT) should be applied over it, not the law of this Murtad of this Kafir. The religion of Allah (SWT) has come to destroy ‘Kufr’ so that the Word of Allah (SWT) would be the Highest. It is there to take people from the darkness of ignorance to the light of Islam, from the shackles of man-made invention to the Justice of Islam, and if Allah (SWT) says you stone the adulterer and chop the hand off the one who steals, then who are you to say otherwise? May Allah (SWT) forgive for us our sins and mistakes, those done in public and in secret, we ask Allah (SWT) to guide us to the Path that Pleases Him (SWT), the path of those upon whom He has bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked His anger or of those who are astray. Ameen.

    1. *Correction(s) Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) said “He who denies stoning, purposelessly denies *the Qur’an.”
      “not the law of this Murtad *or this Kafir.”

      1. The Quran never ordered stoning.It stated that the punishment for adultery is flogging.The Quran takes precedence over Ibn Abbas.

        1. Allahu Akbar, before I say anything I want to narrate to you this Hadith Insha’Allah. A Hadith in Ibn Majah; Miqdam bin Ma’dikarib Al-Kindi narrated that: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Soon there will come a time that a man will be reclining on his pillow, and when one of my Ahadith is narrated he will say: ‘The Book of Allah is (sufficient) between us and you. Whatever it states is permissible, we will take as permissible, and whatever it states is forbidden, we will take as forbidden.’ Verily, whatever the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has forbidden is like that which Allah has forbidden.” Sanad: Hasan.

          And in another Hadith and I’m amazed how accurate this is; ‘Umar Ibn Khattab (RA) said “Verily Allah sent Muhammad (ﷺ) with the truth, and he revealed the Book to him. Among what was revealed to him was the Ayah of stoning. So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stoned, and we stoned after him. I fear that time will pass over the people such that someone will say ‘We do not see stoning in the Book of Allah.’ They will be misguided by leaving an obligation which Allah revealed. Indeed stoning is the retribution for the adulterer if he was married and the evidence has been established, or due to pregnancy, or confession.” Sanad: Sahih

          The evidences are many and clear. As it is said “When proven wrong, the ones who are Truthful will correct themselves, whilst the ignorant will keep on arguing.” And that is the nature of ignorant people, they have a mind-set of “Tell me what I want to hear, otherwise don’t speak the truth.” I ask you By Allah (SWT), are these two evidences not enough? If you continue to reject this particular law of Shari’a then here are the words of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) who said “If you reject Islam, Allah will destroy you.” (Bukhari Vol.4 3620, 3621) And rejecting Shari’a is rejecting Islam, so Fear Allah (SWT) and accept what has been commanded.

          1. Assalam Alaikum brother

            The point that brother Muhammad Saffouri begins his argument with is that a group of men stoned a woman in Afghanistan, and she was accused of adultery.

            The Quran 24:02 does describe the punishment for adulterous behavior, and it is flogging. No mention of stoning is made. In that case, do you not think flogging is the Islamic punishment for adultery, rather than stoning?

  3. The punishment of adultry is clearly mentioned in Surah an-Nur
    “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.
    Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry and but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden.”
    The Quran 24:02-03
    If Stoning is punishment prescribed by the Allah, why didn’t Allah mentioned it in the Quran? Where Allah is giving each and every detail of the issue… The punishment and than later how to treat them and how to punish them what if someone is wrongly accusing a chaste woman or man of adultry without witnesses?

    Talking about the stoning mentioned in Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith 7543 Narrated Ibn `Umar:
    “A Jew and Jewess were brought to the Prophet (ﷺ) on a charge of committing an illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet (ﷺ) asked the Jews, “What do you (usually) do with them?” They said, “We blacken their faces and disgrace them.” He said, “Bring here the Torah and recite it, if you are truthful.” They (fetched it and) came and asked a one-eyed man to recite. He went on reciting till he reached a portion on which he put his hand. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Lift up your hand!” He lifted his hand up and behold, there appeared the verse of Ar-Rajm (stoning of the adulterers to death). Then he said, “O Muhammad! They should be stoned to death but we conceal this Divine Law among ourselves.” Then the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered that the two sinners be stoned to death and, and they were stoned to death, and I saw the man protecting the woman from the stones.”

    The Prophet punished the JEW and JEWESS according to their Sharia, mentioned in the Torah. If the punishment of Stoning was to be allowed in Islam Why Would Prophet (PBUH) asked for Torah?

  4. As Salaamu Alaykum Wa Rahamatullah Wa Barakatu. Brothers Sufyan and Anjum Insha’Allah I will answer you both. First to start with Br. Sufyan.

    You mention “The point that brother Muhammad Saffouri begins his argument with is that a group of men stoned a woman in Afghanistan, and she was accused of adultery.” And Muhammad Hussein the one who posted this said “Not too long ago, The New York Times reported that…” Now before I continue, do you see anything wrong with Mohammad Hussein’s statement? He starts off with “The New York Times reported that…”

    I’m if correct I’m pretty sure all of us here are all following Qur’an and Sunnah? No? Allāh (SWT) says [49:6] “O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.”

    Allāh (SWT) is telling us if a rebellious evil person, if a ‘Fāṣiq’ (Evil-doer) comes to you with information, verify it. How about if the source is not a ‘Fāṣiq’ but a ‘Kāfir’ (Disbeliever)? Isn’t that all the more reason to verify? If people were to check for themselves and verify the information they hear; they would have most certainly been guided to the truth. But now everything we hear, whether on the television or in the newspapers we read, we believe without question. As one of the scholars say “We must verify what we hear, especially today with the mouthpiece of ‘Shayṭān’ (The Devil) the western media.”

    That is the first mistake is that you even Believe in the words of these ‘Kuffar’. The second mistake is that you only take Qur’an (From what I can see) and you completely neglect the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ), in this aspect. A Hadith in Tirmidhi (2676); the Prophet (ﷺ) says “Beware of the newly invented matters, for indeed they are astray. Whoever among you sees that, then he must stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa,’ cling to it with the molars.” The Prophet (ﷺ) tells us you stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided Khulafa’, and they are who? The Sahaba (RA). Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq(RA), ‘Umar ibn Khattab (RA), ‘Uthman ibn Affan (RA) and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA). We stick to their way.

    And ‘Umar Ibn Khattab (RA) is telling us “I fear that time will pass over the people such that someone will say ‘We do not see stoning in the Book of Allah.’ They will be misguided by leaving an obligation which Allah revealed.” You don’t believe ‘Umar (RA)? Even though you are ordered to by the Prophet (ﷺ)? Fear Allah (SWT) Brother. And you ask me “The Quran 24:02 does describe the punishment for adulterous behavior, and it is flogging. No mention of stoning is made. In that case, do you not think flogging is the Islamic punishment for adultery, rather than stoning?”

    My response would be, based on the evidences provided which have been authentically established I have no reason to disbelieve in stoning. It has been commanded so [2:285] “We hear and we obey.” Don’t question why Br. it is very dangerous.

    Now Br. Anjum. You state “If Stoning is punishment prescribed by the Allah, why didn’t Allah mentioned it in the Quran?” I would say to you, didn’t Allah (SWT) forbid suicide in Qur’an? Allah (SWT) says [4:29] “And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.” Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir, he sub-titles this as “Forbidding Murder and Suicide.” Again the title itself is self-sufficent as evidence. Now, we read in another verse [2:54] “And [recall] when Moses said to his people, “O my people, indeed you have wronged yourselves by your taking of the calf [for worship]. So repent to your Creator and kill yourselves. That is best for [all of] you in the sight of your Creator.”

    Strange. One minute Allah (SWT) is telling us don’t commit suicide and then Musa (AS) is telling his people kill yourselves. And Allah (SWT) is approving of that. Now why do I mention these two examples? It is for the purpose of interpretation. I’m trying to show you how important ‘Tafsir’ (Interpretation) of the Scholars is, in Islam. Let’s now analyze properly what these two examples mean. The first verse I quoted [4:29] that is forbidding suicide, and the second example [2:54] seems to be allowing suicide, correct? Now let’s see what the Scholars have to say. Ibn Kathir says in his Tafsir of [2:54] “This was the repentance required from the Children of Israel for worshipping the calf.”

    Then he says “Allah ordered Musa to command his people to kill each other. He ordered those who worshipped the calf to sit down and those who did not worship the calf to stand holding knives in their hands. When they started killing them, a great darkness suddenly overcame them. After the darkness lifted, they had killed seventy thousand of them. Those who were killed among them were forgiven, and those who remained alive were also forgiven.”

    You see the understanding of the Scholars? So was this verse [2:54] actually telling the people to commit suicide? No. They were commanded to kill each other, but because they could be killing their own mothers, daughters, fathers, brothers and sons it is as if they are killing themselves, because you could go and kill your father and mother, it is like you are killing yourself.

    Now if the Sahaba (RA), the direct students of the Prophet (ﷺ) are telling us stoning is permitted by their interpretation, then who are you or anyone to say no to that? This verse [5:15] “O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our Messenger making clear to you much of what you used to conceal of the Scripture and overlooking much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear Book.” Ibn ‘Abbas (RA) is telling us “He who denies stoning, purposelessly denies the Qur’an. Then, he recited the above verse [5:15] and said, “Stoning was one of the legal rules concealed by the people of the scripture.” And that’s exactly what you said, you state “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Lift up your hand!” He lifted his hand up and behold, there appeared the verse of Ar-Rajm (stoning of the adulterers to death). Then he said, “O Muhammad! They should be stoned to death but we conceal this Divine Law among ourselves.”

    Doesn’t that statement of the one-eyed man go hand-in-hand with the statement of Ibn ‘Abbas (RA)? “Stoning was one of the legal rules concealed by the people of the scripture.”? So how are you using this as an evidence when it is proving exactly what I am telling you? And your question “If the punishment of Stoning was to be allowed in Islam Why Would Prophet (PBUH) asked for Torah?” To prove a point, from this it seems that the Prophet (ﷺ) already knew the Jews conceal some of their scripture, then why else would the Prophet (ﷺ) tell him lift up his hand if there was nothing to hide? And Allah Knows Best. The evidences are clear Brothers, if you are sincere in your claim of truth you will accept what has been presented, if not your account is with Allah (SWT). And Allah (SWT) is the Best of Judges.

Comments are closed.