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The Shariah Court in Muslim-dominated Northern Nigeria has sentenced Amina Lawal to death by stoning for corn-mining adultery. This has engendered much discussion and debate among Muslims and non-Muslims throughout the world. I do not wish to assess the merits and demerits of the case itself, but wish to discuss the sources of the alleged

“Shariah” law of stoning to death as punishment for adultery.


Bukhari (Vol.8. Hadith No. 809): “Narrated Ibn Umar (RA): A Jew and a Jewess were brought to Allah’s Apostle (S) on a charge of committing illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet asked them: ‘What is the legal punishment (for this sin) in your Book (Torah)?’ They replied: ‘Our priests have innovated the blackening of faces with charcoal and Tajbiya’ (being mounted on a donkey, with their faces in opposite directions, then mortified in public). Abdullah bin Salaam said: ‘0 Allah’s Apostle, tell them to bring the Torah.’ The Torah was brought, and then one of the Jews put his hand over the Divine Verse of the Rajm (stoning to death) and started reading what preceded and what followed it. On that, Ibn Salaam said to the Jew: ‘Lift up your hand.’ The Divine Verse of the Rajm was under his hand. So Allah’s Apostle (S) ordered that the two (sinners) be stoned to death, and so they were stoned.”

 The Bible confirms the Verses “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adul­tery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus. 20d0) 

In Deuteronomy 22:23 we read the following: “If a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both into the gate of the city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die.”

 Apart from the Bible, the same view can be found in other classical works in Christianity such as Hastings: “A Dictio­nary of the Bible”, and Cheyne and Black: “Encyclopaedia Biblica”. 

Abu Hurairah’s (RA) version in Sunan Abu Dawood: The Prophet (S) had already received the Divine Verse on punish­ment for adultery 

“Narrated Abu Hurairah (This is Ma’mar’s version, which is more accurate): A man and a woman of the Jews committed fornication. Some of them said to the others: Let us go to the Prophet, FOR HE HAS BEEN SENT WITH AN EASY LAW. If he gives a judgment lighter than stoning, we shall  accept it and argue about it with Allah, saying: IT IS A JUDGMENT OF ONE OF YOUR PROPHETS .. (the story continues). So I de­cide in accordance with what the Torah says. He then com­manded regarding them and they were stoned to death.

 “Az-Zuhri said: We have been informed that this verse has been revealed about them. ‘Verily. We did send down the Torah (to Moses), therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets who submitted themselves to Allah’s Will, judged the Jews’.” (5:44) …. (Hadith 2093) 

The above narration confirms that the Surah An-Noor had already been revealed, with an “EASY LAW” as punish­ment for adultery. Therefore the Jews approached him.

 But Bukhari’s narration (8:804) is not sure: “Narrated Ash-­Shaibani: I asked Abdullah bin Abi Aufa: ‘Did Allah’s Apostle (S) carry out the Rajm penalty (i.e. stoning to death)?’ He said:

‘Yes’. ‘Was it before the revelation of Surah An-Noor or after it?’ He replied: ‘I don’t know’ 

Tafseer-e-Usmani has yet another point of view: (Commentary on Surah An-Noor, Verse 2): “.... and his punishment is ston­ing, as given in Surah Maidah (Verse 43) with the reference of the Taurat: “How do they come to thee (0 Muhammad) for a Judgment while with them is the Taurat - it is the Decision of Allah.” 

Moulvi Shabbir Ahmad Usmani states further: “After the execution of the Divine Order of stoning the Jewish culprits. the Holy Prophet (S) said: ‘0 God, I am the first to revive Thy Commandment after they had made it dead.” 

Moulvi Usmani argues that the Holy Prophet (S) not only gave the punishment of stoning to the Jewish pair, but even applied it himself as an “Islamic” law. “Not a single member of the Ahle Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah dared to differ from it. In other words, the continued SUNNAT and the consensus of the righ­teous men has told us that in this case the Mohammadan Shariah HAS RETAINED THE LAW OF THE TAURAT. 

But Umar Ibn Khattab (RA) and Ibn Abbas (R) inform us that there was a DIVINE VERSE ABOUT RAJM. “Allah sent Muhammad (S) with the Truth and revealed the Holy Book to him, and among what Allah revealed was the verse of Rajm. We did RECITE this verse and UNDERSTOOD and MEMORISED it. But that verse got lost ... or abrogated.” (Bukhari 8:817). 

Of course the Jews also knew about this verse, that is why they said in happy anticipation that: “HE (MUHAMMAD) HAS BEEN SENT WITH AN EASIER LAW  A  JUDGMENT LIGHTER THAN STONING.” 

Ibn Katheer, the Classical Commentator. Says that the Prophet (S) had a verse about stoning but refused to write it when asked to do so

Commenting on Qur’anic verse (24:2), Ibn Katheer states: “A person came to the Holy Prophet ... and mentioned Rajm (stoning to death for adultery), saying: ‘0 Prophet! Write for me the verse on Rajm the Holy Prophet (S) replied: ‘I am not able to do so now’. In these and similar words was the narration, and Nasai (one of the Hadith books of the Sahah Sittah) has also narrated this. Thus all these narrations are proof of the fact that the Divine Verse of Rajm was WRITTEN (Maktoobatun). Although this verse was abrogated in recitation, the order for its implementation was re­tained.”


Comment:    What a contradiction of Shabbeer Ahmad Usmani’s point of view, according to which the Prophet (S) had derived the law of stoning to death from the Taurat! ... and here we have Ibn Katheer contending that there WAS already a Rajm verse in exist­ence but the Holy Prophet (S) REFUSED TO WRITE IT DOWN. WHY did the Nabi (S) refuse to write the verse down? Let the “maulanas” answer this question!



(1) The Jews came to the Holy Prophet (S) because they were aware that HE HAS BEENSENT WITH AN EASY LAW, that is, 100 lashes for adultery, instead of their own (Jewish) law of stoning to death. 

(2) Moulvi Shabbeer Ahmad Usmani contends that the Holy Prophet (S) derived this law of stoning to death from the Taurat, and that he even thanked Allah for the fact that he could revive a dead law. 

(3) Ibn Katheer and Nasai tell us that the Prophet (S) REFUSED to write down an existing Divine verse about Rajm. 

(4) Umar Ibn Khattaab (RA) and Ibn Abbas (RA) inform us that the Rajm verse was lost ~ abrogated. They are not sure on this point. 

(5) Allamah Al-Suyuti, the eminent classical Mufassir, has this to say: “The Book (Qur’an) is before everybody and there is NO reference to Rajm in it whatsoever. 

After a thorough examination of all the Ahadith on the sub­ject of stoning to death, he came to this conclusion: “The asser­tion that a verse about Rajm was revealed, is based on Ahadith that are AHAAD (isolated), and these CANNOT supersede the Quranic injunction (of 100 lashes) or cast doubt on its purity.” (Al-Suyuti. ITQAAN FEE ULOOM AL-QURAN. Vol. 2,P. 26) 



I have given opinions of the Mufassireen and the Sahaaba that matter. No doubt the reader will be as confused as ever and will wonder what on earth happened to the needle of Truth in the haystack of bewilderingly conflicting, CONTRADICTORY Ahadith! Is stoning to death Quranic law, or is it a Biblical law? 

If you, the reader, wish to find peace of mind and certainty of knowledge on this question, then COME BACK TO ALLAH’S PURE UNADULTERATED WORD. Only the Holy Qur’an is ab­solutely free of vexing, infuriating Contradictions, whereas the Hadith (on which the “maulanas” base ALL their so-called “argu­ments” in favour of stoning) is full of elisions, evasions and ab­surdities! 

May Allah (SWT) save our souls from being entangled with the asphyxiating incubus of Hadith. The solution to ALL our problems lies ONLY in the Quran. And our ultimate SALVATION as well!


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