Stoning of women and Islam

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Our elder said, “On the Creator’s pen, passed no error”

By: kawa gharaji

Two days ago, a friend of mine sent me a film called “The Stoning of Soraya”. This film was created on the basis of Fraidun’s Novel and was directed by Siros Nawrasta. The film depicted the harsh realities of Islamic Sharia laws that had violated Human Rights in Iran.

Some of the scenes are so shocking that my mind was kept occupied to them, although I am an Afghanistani and even though I see such violence in my country every day.

This film is about the life and death of a woman who is stoned to death in Iran. This woman’s husband wants to get married with a young and minor-aged girl, but as he doesn’t have the ability to economically support both of his wives, he asks Soraya to divorce. But Soraya does not agree to divorce. Therefore, Soraya’s husband devises a plan and asks Soraya to work in a local man’s house who has lost his wife.

Soraya’s husband together with the local mullah accuses her of adultery. And as a consequence, Soraya is convicted of adultery and in accordance with the Islamic Sharia Law she is then sentenced to death by stoning.

I wanted to describe this film properly. But I thought it would be better that I recommend you to see this film. Because the film is not sacrilegious to Islam, but illustrates the fact that how the Islamic laws can be manipulated as a tool by those who are crazy for power and lust. And how the violence of human rights and violence against women is justified and legalized by the verses of Koran and the Islamic Sharia law. I had myself witnessed a stoning session in Ghazni province which was such a brutal act with those terrible and bloody scenes.

In this situation, where the current government requests to make peace with the Taliban, and yet, there are the people who still remember Taliban’s atrocities and crimes which were justified on basis of verses of Koran. Watching this film and remembering the violence of Taliban in Afghanistan which is unfortunately still happening, caused that I write these few sentences while reviewing the verses of Koran and Islamic Sharia Laws about the stoning.

How educated are Taliban to know and understand the verses of Quran? How inhumane and apathetic are Taliban who have no feeling of pity to other human beings? And the slavery of Taliban for other countries is another topic. But all these things, actually enables me to address about the following problem.

Does stoning sentence in Islam have a legal basis? Or in other words: Is the stoning sentence a certain criminal code of Islam?

To answer this question, it is necessary to search any historical records of this punishment in history books.

According to the written books we have today, the history of Stoning-to-Death goes as far as 600 years before the birth of Christ. But this was a punishment exercised only on military personnel and soldiers. It was a punishment for those who would fall asleep while on duty. But after the emergence of the religion of Judaism, this punishment become more official and entered into the criminal code. This particular punishment was then exercised on those who committed adultery and murder. There is even evidence of stoning punishment exercised on animals.

In Chapter 21 and 22 of Exodus, in Moses commandments it is written that “If a cow attacks a man or woman by its horn, which results in the attacked person’s death. The cow shall be stoned to death and its meat shall not be edible. But the owner of the cow is innocent.

But if the cow is habitual to attacking people with its horns and yet the owner does not contain and tie the cow, then the cow shall be stoned to death and the owner shall be killed. And if the cow attacks a slave, the owner shall receive 30 Misqal silver and the cow shall be stoned to death.

Although there is no direct reference to stoning in Koran, despite the detailed reference of stoning in the Jews’ holy book. But in Islam, many of the Islamic Sharia Laws are inferred from the Sunnat of Prophet Mohammad. As an example, in verse 19 of Sura Loqman, Koran states: “The most hideous of voices, is a donkey’s voice.” While the majority of Muslim countries use donkeys in daily life. As another example, although there has never been anything bad about “dog” mentioned in the Koran, and Sura 18 of Koran states that:

Translation: And you would think them awake, while they were asleep. And We turned them to the right and to the left, while their dog stretched his forelegs at the entrance. If you had looked at them, you would have turned from them in flight and been filled by them with terror.

On the contrary, Muslim people in general think of dogs as unclean due to the Sunnat of Prophet Mohammad. As one of the Prophet’s Hadith states, “Translation: The angels will not enter a house where there is dog or pictures.”

The Sunnis have gone even farther than just thinking of dogs as unclean, hence the enmity of Taliban with Televisions and paintings and sculptures has roots all the way to these Hadith narrated from Prophet Mohammad. And there is no reference of such things in Koran.

Because in Quran, it is stated that, “Translation: They made for him whatever he wanted, arches, statues, bowls as basins, and fixed cauldrons. (We said:) ‘Give thanks, House of David and work’ Yet only a few of My worshipers are thankful.”

Although the Sura in Koran which states about the donkey’s voice is questionable, because the good and the bad, beauty and unattractiveness is what we humans calculate according to our senses and needs, and therefore has a meaning for us. But (excuse me) why God has created the donkey in first place, if He hated the donkey’s voice? Is God hearing like humans?

In order to avoid a lengthy essay, I don’t want to go into this discussion. But I want to expose this to discussion: If Muslims think that Koran is the word of God and complete and the basis of legislation, and is brought to guide the people in the right way, and there is no reference about the dog being unclean or about death by stoning. Why do the Muslims still believe in these things and still exercise them?

There are some narrations that there is a Sura called Rajam (Stoning to death) in Koran. And they narrate that this Sura was eaten by a goat and is therefore destroyed. Some other books describe that this particular Surah was destroyed by Aisha, the champion woman of that time who did not thoroughly obey to Mohammad.

Alshabi narrates in the book Sahih Bokhari, that “After Ali stoned a woman to death in a Friday, he told he had stoned to death according to the Sunnat of the Prophet.

Elsewhere in this book is stated where Ibn Abbas was quoted as saying: Omar said: God sent His Messenger and revealed him a book. And within that book was the verse of “stoning” so we read it and understood it all. The Prophet stoned, and we did too. I was afraid if someone after sometime would say “I swear to God we do not see this verse in Koran.” Then he would be deviated after failing to exercise one of the God’s orders.

But the only verse which has mentioned “stoning” in Koran and exists today, is in Sura Maida, which tells the story of a Jewish man and woman who have had sexual intercourse without being married. And they were stoned to death by Mohammad in accordance with the laws of Torah, which means that Mohammad shows his agreement with the commandments of Moses God.

Now whether at first, there existed a verse about “stoning” in the Koran, or not existed. But for now Stoning is a known punishment in penal laws of Islam and is well-known and practiced in many of the Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, the United Arabic Emirates, Sudan and Nigeria. The practice of stoning is like: the convicted person shall be wrapped up in a white cloth and then burry till buttocks if man or till waist if woman. And after that people who have gathered around shall hit them with a relatively middle-sized stones until they both die of a slow death and distress. These brutal actions are justified as the narrative Hadith or traditions of Muhammad.

Although there are some among Muslims who condemn stoning so they can show a beautiful figure of Islam. And they substantiate it as the nonexistence of such order in Koran itself. But Islam is not only comprised of Koran. Koran mostly deals with the generalities of problems and acts just as a constitution which is then explained in detail in many other laws and jurisprudence. And Sunnat is also one of the trustworthy Islamic jurisprudences which deals with penal code and religious obligations and explains in detail the quality and execution of such orders and laws.

The power of Sunnat in Islam is to the extent that, as I mentioned earlier, Muhammad’s personal view of the dog as unclean is today widely accepted among Muslims, despite there is no such reference in Koran.

In Koran most of the issues are not explained and even the religious obligations like prayer and fasting and Zakat and Khums have been pointed out briefly. But the limits and methods and quantities and frequencies of prayer and the number of times to be practiced is explained in Sunnat and Islamic jurisprudence.

Among Muslims, there are many other issues that have not been mentioned in Koran. For example “circumcision”. There is no evidence about whether Muhammad himself was circumcised. Because according to Muslim beliefs, Mohammed was born circumcised. The reason which Mullah Muhsin Kashani a renowned Islamic scholars describes, is “By exercising circumcision, we tie with our blood an unbroken pact with God.” This shows the vulgarity of reasoning in extreme. Why do people have to sign the treaty with blood of their penises? Why, if circumcision is good for men’s health, women in many Islamic countries, despite the losses the doctors have proved, are still circumcised?

One of the reasons of the civil wars in Muslim world is Koran’s generalization of matters and its quietness before many of the issues and obsoleted verses and different narrations of Sunnat of Mohammad. I cannot find a Muslim in the world who accepts all the narrations and Sunnat like Sahih Bukhari, Nahj al Balagha, al-Sahih Muslim, Musnad Ahmad, Alsenin Aldarmy, Almahaly, etc.

In such circumstance, schools of thought and parties understand differently of Islam. And everyone will try to prove their legitimacy so they hold the flag of Jihhad and commence wars on the innocent people.

The first verse in the Qur’an that deals with issues related to sexual relations, is about sanction, which states: “Do not get near the adultery, because it is something terrible and the worst way.” Sura Al Usaraa Verse 32.

The verse that came before it (Sura Al Furqan verse 68) refers to the moral qualities of a faithful, saying: ” And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.”

Since there is death penalty to those who invoke another deity with God and those who murder, therefore committing sexual act outside of marriage can also be a form of retribution.

In the seventh or eighth year AH, the punishment of men and women committing adultery is clearly explained in Koran which states that the punishment for adultery and a man or woman adulterer, is one hundred whiplashes in public. Following this verse, there is another verse which has clarified that marriage is forbidden with a man or a woman who is adulterer. Look at this Sura Al Nur Verses 2 and 3:

Translation: The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of the believers witness their punishment. The fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist, and none marries her except a fornicator or a polytheist, and that has been made unlawful to the believers.

In other part of Sura Nisaa has been stated that: the women who commit adultery, keep them in homes until they die.

When I see all these contradictions, I remember the peom of Hafez in form of sweet irony:


Our elder said, “On the Creator’s pen, passed no error”

Well done to his pure sight error-covering!

Considering the fact that in the religion of Jews and Christians there are more verses with more details about “stoning” and other issues that are in contradiction with the current world and Human Rights, but these religions are always called peaceful and benevolent over mankind. It is necessary that Muslims too should change many of the issues in their religion which is not acceptable and applicable in today’s world.

The reason that Islam is equivalent with violence in today’s world, is the history of Islam and bloodshed in wars of Mohammad at the beginning and the civil wars of Muslims with violence and brutalities, as well as disregard to the different dimensions of Islam.

Most of the Muslims have only learned a handful of words such as Jihad and killing, locking and plundering and stoning and imprisoning. And then they teach these to others and apply them in their lives. While in Koran, although less mentioned, but again there are speeches of loving mankind and benevolence. Such issues are also preached which are good for the benefit of the society as well as for Islam.

Summoning thousands of teenagers and elders and children in sessions of stoning to death and beheading by the Taliban, which I experienced once myself and was forced to bear the witness to that which I never forget, is nothing but the promotion of violence and aggression. And people must campaign against such brutalities and be aware that the current puppet government which is seeking ways to sign peace with Taliban will in fact take Afghanistan once again towards the time of barbarism and savagism.

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