The Invented Islam - "Stoning to Death"

Unfortunately, there are many who think that ‘stoning to death’ is a punishment laid out in Qur’ȃn or promoted by Islam for acts such as adultery. The fact is that Qur’ân never sanctions stoning to death as a punishment for anyone for any crime. There is a maximum punishment for proven adultery in Qur’ân. In verse 24:2 you read:

الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ

Strike the fornicatress and adulteress and the fornicator and adulterer on the body of each one of them a hundred times. (24:2)

وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاءَ فَاجْلِدُوهُمْ ثَمَانِينَ جَلْدَةً وَلَا تَقْبَلُوا لَهُمْ شَهَادَةً أَبَدًا

“Strike eighty times on the bodies of those who calumniate chaste women, and who do not support (their accusation) with four eye witnesses, and never accept their testimony (because) it is they who are the disobedient (and break the law)” (24:4).

The requirements to carry out this punishment are four eye witnesses (أَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاءَ) and not testimony based on hear-say. If four eye witnesses are not produced, the accusation is dropped and the accuser is considered defamer and is to be punished.

The purpose of these verses is three fold: First, to abolish the Jewish and pagan custom of stoning adulterers to death and provide an alternative to it; secondly, to express extreme dislike of Allȃh for such an act. Thirdly, protect women from false accusations. By putting condition to bring four eye-witnesses, make such a punishment extremely difficult to carry it out. Many popular translations of verse 24:3 in the Qur’ân you read an adulterer can only marry another female adulterer, but if stoning to death for adultery was a punishment, this verse would be unnecessary and illogical.

Even though there is no mention of stoning in the Qur’ȃn, many Muslim clerics cite instances in the hadîth, the acts and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, when discussing the legitimacy of the practice of stoning in Islam. The most authentic of the Books of Ahadîth differ and contradict each other (a topic dealt elsewhere).

The Arabic word used for “stoning” is rajam رجَم and for “stoning to death” is رجم حتٌئ الموت. There is no doubt there are some narrations mentioned in the Books of Muslim Tradition dealing with rajam رجَم. The question is what does rajam mean and what meaning the Holy Qur’ân gives to this word. The classical Arabic dictionaries such as Qȃmûs, Lisȃn al-‘Arab, Tȃj al-‘Arûs, the English Dictionary of Lane and Imam Rȃghib give following meanings to rajam: To stone, cast stones; curse; revile; expel, put a stone (on a tomb), speak conjecturally; guess, surmise. Rujûm رجوم means, shooting stars; thrown off; damned; throw one out with curse. Marjûm مرجوم Stoned, thrown out, cursed. Yarjumû/ Yarjumûna يرجمون : They pelt with stone; they stoned; they condemned. Arjumanna ارجمن: I shall certainly cut off all relations. Narjumanna نرجمنٌ: We shall surely excommunicate. Marjûmîn مرجُمين : Those who are thrown out, despised. Rajîm رجيم: One thrown off (with curse), rejected. All these meanings are to be found in Qur’ȃnic verses (cf. 11:91, 18:20, 19:46, 36:18, 44:20, 26:116). The root with its above forms has been used in the Holy Qur’ân about 14 times, and never in the sense of stoning to death for any punishment. You read in Noble Qur’ân:

فَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ

“And when you recite the Qur’ân, seek refuge with Allâh from satan, the rejected” (16:98).

You do not seek refuge from satan who is ‘stoned to death’ but who is out-casted, rejected and thrown out. The following words of Qur’ân make the meaning more clear: قَالَ فَاخْرُجْ مِنْهَا فَإِنَّكَ رَجِيمٌ “(God) said (to satan), ‘Then get out of this (state); you are surely driven away” (38:77). In the Traditions the Holy Prophet must have used the word rajam in this sense and not stoning to death” رجم حتٌئ الموت, for otherwise he was acting against the clear Qur’ânic injunction mentioned in 24:2. You cannot challenge the Arabic wording of the Traditions, but you can challenge the meaning given to them and their rendering into another language.

“Stoning to death” – Endorsed in Bible: In Bible you read: “If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.” (Deut. 22.22-24). Stoning is the method of execution mentioned frequently in the Torah. The crimes punishable by stoning were the following:

  • BreakingSabbath, (Numbers 15.32–36)
  • Homosexual practices (Leviticus 20.13), both should be stoned
  • Enticing others to polytheism (Deut. 13.7-11)
  • Cursing God (Lev. 24.10–16)
  • Engaging inidolatry (Deut. 17.2–7) or seducing others to do so (Deut. 13.7–12)
  • “Rebellion” against parents, after repeated warnings (Deut. 21.18–21)
  • Getting married as though a virgin, when not a virgin (Deut. 22.13–21)
  • Rape, the man should be stoned, (Deut. 22.25-27)

Prior to early Christianity, particularly in the Mishnah, doubts were growing in Jewish society about the effectiveness of capital punishment in general (and stoning in particular) in acting as a useful deterrent. Subsequently its use was dissuaded by the central legislators. In the following centuries the leading Jewish sages imposed so many restrictions on the implementation of capital punishment as to make it de facto illegal. The restrictions were to prevent execution of the innocent, and included many conditions for a testimony to be admissible that were difficult to fulfill.

Unfortunately, these “Israîliyȃts” crept into the fearful minds of Muslim clergy, afraid of their own weaknesses while ‘facing’ women. According to Islamic law, punishment for adultery (see 24:2) may only be inflicted by the verdict of a regularly constituted court qualified members. There must be the most trustworthy and convincing testimony of at least four qualified eyewitnesses to the crime (cf. 24:2-4). The culprit must be a person of legal age and of sound mind, and the crime be proven to have been committed of the culprit’s free will and without the aid of others. False accusation is punishable with 80 lashes.