Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i
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Punishment of stoning to death in Islam (2)

Question:
After reading you blog I have got this impression that 'stoning to death' must not be put into frequent practice. Instead, this is a third degree penalty for those who repeatedly commit this shameful act. If this is the case, then why is there so much misunderstanding about it? Whats the real punishment then? lashing ? I know someone from LUMS who taya had those villages in Punjab and was the head of punchayet...my friend used to tell me how his taya would pronouce karo kari and that was SO common in his village.

Response:
I'll put down my response in points.

1. What Muslims normally say about Islam may not necessarily be real Islam. True Islam is what Qur'an and sunnah reflect.

2. If the Qur'an and hadith are apparently in conflict, the matter must be resolved in favour of Qur'an.

3. The Qur'an very clearly specifies that the punishment for zina is hundred lashes. Zina is extra-marital sex, no matter whether done by a bachelor or a married person.

4. The Qur'an mentions that the punishment for married slave girls who commit adultery is half much as that of their free counter parts (4:25). There can be no halving of stoning to death. Hundred lashes can be halved to fifty lashes.

5. Qur'an clearly states that humans cannot be killed except for two reasons: if they commit murder or are guilty of creating mischief on earth. Anyone who kills another person for reasons other than these two, according to Qur'an, has as if killed the entire mankind. (5:33) A simple act of adultery, even though a highly despicable act, is not in the category of creating mischief on earth.

6. One of the punishments for creating mischief on earth is to kill the person doing it in a manner that it becomes example for others. Mischief on earth has to do with crimes which cause the life, honour, or property of common people at the mercy of criminals.

7. One way of administering that punishment is through stoning the criminal to death. The prophet implemented that punishment on the rapists and those who were perpetrating sex-related crimes in Madinah. Another evidence of it can be found in verse 33:61.

8. When all ahadith on the subject are considered, one finds lots of problems in them. When they are understood in the light of Qur'anic guidance one can see the Qur'anic purpose getting implemented in some of them by the prophet, alaihissalaam. Others have to be declared as either incomplete or incorrect understanding of the reporters.

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