ADULTERY (FORNICATION)

a) Sexual relations with a woman other than the wife (who came under marriage bond) is called 'adultery'. Regarding the singularities of believers it is said: (23-5:6) "They are those who abstain from sexual indulgence; except with those joined to them in the marriage bond or captive females, (who, before the revelation of the Quranic injunctions, regarding the prevention of the institution of slavery), came into their possessions (47:4) and who, after coming under the marriage bond were given equal status with the wives). There is no reproach in conducting husband-and-wife relations with them."

After this it is said: (23:7); (70:29-31) "But those who indulge in any extra-marital sex, are transgressors, and that is a serious crime under the Divine Law (24:2)."

b) Adultery (fornication) is a crime and except in the case of rape, both man and woman are equally guilty. Thus it is said in Surah An-Noor (24th Chapter of the Quran): (24:2) "The woman and the man guilty of adultery, inflict on each of them one hundred lashes. Let not compassion move you in their case because it has been prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the life Hereafter (i.e. on the fact that since these are Allah's Commandments, their results are bound to appear forth) and let a party of the believers witness their punishment (so as to make sure that the punishment has been given according to Law)."

Nowhere in the Quran is it indicated that four eye witnesses, who have observed the act of fornication, are required to testify. For this, see under the heading "Acts of immodesty" (shameful acts leading towards 'zina') which shall be described later on.

c) The punishment for 'zina' is flogging with hundred stripes each for both man and woman. The punishment of 'stoning' is nowhere to be found in the Quran.

d) If a 'captive' woman commits adultery, her punishment is half as compared to a free believing woman: (4:25) "After slave women enters into wedlock and then become guilty of immodesty (adultery), her punishment is half that of a free woman; (24/4) because they were not brought up under circumstances conducive to a high character and thus, such acts were not considered blamable in their previous life; a high standard of behaviour therefore cannot be expected from them as in the case of a woman of nobility. It is necessary to keep such factors in view while handing out punishment."

An important principle can be inferred from it that while proclaiming judgement for a crime, the circumstances, the upbringing, and! the mental calibre etc. of the criminal ought to be kept in mind. That is what is meant by giving half punishment to a captive woman.

On the other hand it has been said that if the wives of the Nabi commit a crime, their punishment shall be double: (33:30) "O consorts of the Nabi! If any of you were guilty of evidently unseeming conduct, your punishment would be doubled. There shall be no difficulty in doing so, in view of its being a Divine Law, because your life has got to serve as a model for other women.

e) Do not create such circumstances that those under your protection are compelled to commit adultery. Thus it is said in Surah 'An-Noor' (24th Chapter of the Quran): (24:33) "Those of your grown-up girls (maids or slave women) who intend to get married, do not stop them from doing so, for the sake of making any worldly gain. This way they might be compelled to commit adultery. If anybody forces them to such conditions, there is provision in the Divine Law which protects them from this compulsion and provides them means of sustenance. (It is the duty of an Islamic State to provide them such protection)."

Article Category: