Women who commit illegal sex, take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them (i.e. women) to houses until death comes to them or Allah ordains for them some other way. And the two persons among you who commit adultery hurt them both. Quran 4:15-16

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Quran: Chapter 6, La Yuhibbu’, Sura: 4 ‘An-Nisa’ ‘The Women’, Verse: 15

Verse 15: And those of your women who commit illegal sex, take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them (i.e. women) to houses until death comes to them or Allah ordains for them some other way.

Verse 16: And the two persons among you who commit adultery hurt them both. And if they repent and do righteous good deeds, leave them alone. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Explanation by Ibne Kathir: [The respected Imam, Abu Al-Fida’, `Imad Ad-Din Isma il bin ‘Umar bin Kathir Al-Qurashi Al-Busrawi– born in Busra 701 H– died in Damascus in 774 H// b. 1301 Christian Era– d. 1373CE. http://www.dar-us-salam.com/authors/hafiz-ibn-kathir.htm ]

The Adulteress is Confined in her House; A Command Later Abrogated

At the beginning of Islam, the ruling was that if a woman commits adultery as stipulated by sufficient proof, she was confined to her home, without leave, until she died.

Allah said,

وَاللاَّتِي يَأْتِينَ الْفَاحِشَةَ مِن نِّسَآئِكُمْ فَاسْتَشْهِدُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَرْبَعةً مِّنكُمْ فَإِن شَهِدُواْ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ فِي الْبُيُوتِ حَتَّىَ يَتَوَفَّاهُنَّ الْمَوْتُ أَوْ يَجْعَلَ اللّهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلاً ﴿١٥﴾ 

And those of your women who commit illegal sexual intercourse, take the evidence of four witnesses from among you against them; and if they testify, confine them (i.e. women) to houses until death comes to them or Allah ordains for them some (other) way.

`Some other way’ mentioned here is the abrogation of this ruling that came later.

Ibn Abbas said,

“The early ruling was confinement, until Allah sent down Surah An-Nur (Surah 24) which abrogated that ruling with the ruling of flogging (for fornication) or stoning to death (for adultery).”

Similar was reported from Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, Ata Al-Khurasani, Abu Salih, Qatadah, Zayd bin Aslam and Ad-Dahhak, and this is a matter that is agreed upon.

Imam Ahmad 

[samia2010oct- Full name Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hambal (b. 164 A.H. Baghdad /780 CE. – d. 241 A.H. Baghdad / 855 CE) http://www.renaissance.com.pk/mjuletfor96.html ]

recorded that Ubadah bin As-Samit said,

“When the revelation descended upon the Messenger of Allah, it would affect him and his face would show signs of strain. One day, Allah sent down a revelation to him, and when the Messenger was relieved of its strain, he said,

خُذُوا عَنِّي، قَدْ جَعَلَ اللهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلًا، الثَّيِّبُ بِالثَّيِّبِ، وَالْبِكْرُ بِالْبِكْرِ، الثَّــيِّبُ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ، وَرَجْمٌ بِالْحِجَارَةِ، وَالْبِكْرُ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ ثُمَّ نَفْيُ سَنَة

Take from me: Allah has made some other way for them. The married with the married, the unmarried with the unmarried. The married gets a hundred lashes and stoning to death, while the unmarried gets a hundred lashes then banishment for a year.”

Muslim and the collectors of the Sunan recorded that Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Prophet said,

[samia2010oct- Full name Imam Abu’l-Husain ‘Asakir-ud-Din Muslim b. Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naisaburi (b. 202 H – d. 261H/ 817 CE– d. 874 CE) http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/Imam_muslim.htm

The book Sunan Abu Dawud was authored by Imam Abu Dawud. Full name Imam Abu Dawud Sulaiman ibn Ash`ath ibn Ishaq ibn Bashir ibn Shaddad ibn `Umar ibn `Imran al-Azdi Sajastani, born in Sajistan, Khurasan, in 202 A.H., 817 CE, died on Friday 16th Shawwal 275 A.H., 889 CE, at the age of 72. http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/imam_abu_dawud.htm ]

خُذُوا عَنِّي خُذُوا عَنِّي، قَدْ جَعَلَ اللهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلًا، الْبِكْرُ بِالْبِكْرِ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ وَتَغْرِيبُ عَامٍ، وَالثَّيِّبُ بِالثَّيِّبِ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ وَالرَّجْم

Take from me, take from me. Allah has made some other way for them: the (unmarried) gets a hundred lashes and banishment for one year, while the (married) gets a hundred lashes and stoning to death.

At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih”.

[samia2010oct- Imam Abū ‛Īsa Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsa ibn Sawrah ibn Mūsa ibn al Ḍaḥḥāk al-Sulamīat-Tirmidhī (b. 209 AH in Khurasan– d. 279 AH at Bawag /824 CE 892 CE) http://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/about ]

Allah said,

وَاللَّذَانَ يَأْتِيَانِهَا مِنكُمْ فَآذُوهُمَا … 

And the two persons among you who commit illegal sexual intercourse, punish them both.

Ibn Abbas and Sa`id bin Jubayr said that;

[samia2010oct- ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas b. 619 CE d. 690 CE. Abdullah ibn Abbas was the son of ‘Abbas, an uncle of the noble Prophet. He was born just three years before the hijrah. When the Prophet died, ‘Abdullah was thus only thirteen years old. He passed away at the age of seventy one in the mountainous city of Ta’if. http://sunnahonline.com/library/history-of-islam/299-abdullah-ibn-abbas

Sa`id bin Jubayr also known as Abū Muhammad, was born in KufaIraq in 665 CE/ 44 AH. was martyred in the month of Sha’bān, 95 AH (ca. May 714) at the age of 49. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sa’id_ibn_Jubayr ]

this punishment includes cursing, shaming them and beating them with sandals.

This was the ruling until Allah abrogated it with flogging or stoning, as we stated.

Mujahid said,

[samia2010oct- Imam Mujahid Ibn Jabar al-Makhzumi al-Makkee, b. in 20H/ 640 CE or 21H/ 641 CE. d. 103H/ 721 CE or 104H/ 722 CE. http://www.islamlife.com/religion2/component/content/article/69-later-scholars/602-imam-mujahid-ibn-jabar-al-makhzumi ]

“It was revealed about the case of two men who do it.”

As if he was referring to the actions of the people of Lut, and Allah knows best.

The collectors of Sunan recorded that Ibn Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said,

مَنْ رَأَيْتُمُوهُ يَعْمَلُ عَمَلَ قَوْمِ لُوطٍ، فَاقْتُلُوا الْفَاعِلَ وَالْمَفْعُولَ بِه

Whoever you catch committing the act of the people of Lut (homosexuality), then kill both parties to the act.

Allah said,

… فَإِن تَابَا وَأَصْلَحَا …

And if they repent and do righteous good deeds,

by refraining from that evil act, and thereafter their actions become righteous.

… فَأَعْرِضُواْ عَنْهُمَا …

leave them alone,

do not verbally abuse them after that, since he who truly repents is just like he who has no sin.

… إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا ﴿١٦﴾

Surely, Allah is Ever the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.

The following is recorded in the Two Sahihs:

إِذَا زَنَتْ أَمَةُ أَحَدِكُمْ، فَلْيَجْلِدْهَا الْحَدَّ، وَلَا يُثَرِّبْ عَلَيْهَا

When the slave-girl of one of you commits illegal sexual intercourse, let him flog her and not chastise her afterwards.

because the lashes she receives erase the sin that she has committed.

{Disclaimer;  Explanation by Ibne Kathir is researched and written by  http://www.quran4u.com/Tafsir%20Ibn%20Kathir/004%20Nisa.htm#١٥  – I just copy-pasted from that site. I only added the date of births, date of deaths of the scholars and the places at which they took place. I also added some more text color than in the original article.}

Explanation by samia2010oct:

At the time of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH the society was so low in morals and ethics that the adulterers and adulteresses did not use to hide from public. People used to know about the adulterers and adulteresses. These types of people were accepted in the society. As I understand in Verse 15 a woman who chooses to commit adultery (consensual sex) openly and people can see men going into her house and coming out of her house, then four witnesses must give the name of men with whom she does not have any other relationship other than illegal sex.

This Verse is not for ‘rape victims’ or ‘rape cases’, where the rapist is a sinner and an aggressor. He makes sure that the case remains unknown and is always against the will of the victim.

More over Verse 15 was abrogated, abolished and annulled by another Verse which is; Quran: Chapter 18 ‘Qad Aflaha’ ‘Successful indeed are’, Sura: 24 ‘An Nur’ ‘The Light’, Verse: 2: The, Zaniya, fornicatoress and the, Zani, fornicator, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity with hold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let the party of believers witness their punishment.

All types of illegal sex, whether between opposite sexes or between same sexes or with children or with animals, is strictly prohibited. Illegal sex is Big Sin, Gunaahe Kabira. For Big Sins, Gunaah e Kabira, there is the punishment of unbearable burning of whole body by Unending Fire. At this point we also remember that there are many sins for which the punishment by Allah starts in this world too and this sin is one of them.


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