There is no Quranic basis for the stoning of an adulterer. The concept of stoning does occur in the Quran, but not in describing a punishment for women (or men.) Rather, it appears in the holy book in the context of infidel opponents threatening the stoning to the Prophets and the Faithful. In other words, the concept appears as an evil torment visited by the evil upon the good. The Qur’an exclusively presents torture as a sadistic practice of barbaric peoples. The following Quranic references illustrate this point:
Surah 11, Verse 91:
قَالُوا يَا شُعَيْبُ مَا نَفْقَهُ كَثِيرًا مِّمَّا تَقُولُ وَإِنَّا لَنَرَاكَ فِينَا ضَعِيفًا وَلَوْلَا رَهْطُكَ لَرَجَمْنَاكَ وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْنَا بِعَزِيزٍ
They said: O Shu’aib! we do not understand much of what you say and most surely we see you to be weak among us, and were it not for your family we would surely stone you, and you are not mighty against us.
Surah 19, Verse 46:
قَالَ أَرَاغِبٌ أَنتَ عَنْ آلِهَتِي يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ لَأَرْجُمَنَّكَ وَاهْجُرْنِي مَلِيًّا
He said: Do you dislike my gods, O Ibrahim? If you do not desist I will certainly stone you, and leave me for a time.
Surah 44, Verse 20:
وَإِنِّي عُذْتُ بِرَبِّي وَرَبِّكُمْ أَن تَرْجُمُونِ
And surely I take refuge with my Lord and your Lord that you should stone me to death:
Surah 36, Verse 18:
قَالُوا إِنَّا تَطَيَّرْنَا بِكُمْ لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهُوا لَنَرْجُمَنَّكُمْ وَلَيَمَسَّنَّكُم مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
They said: Surely we augur evil from you; if you do not desist, we will certainly stone you, and there shall certainly afflict you a painful chastisement from us.
Surah 18, Verse 20:
إِنَّهُمْ إِن يَظْهَرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ يَرْجُمُوكُمْ أَوْ يُعِيدُوكُمْ فِي مِلَّتِهِمْ وَلَن تُفْلِحُوا إِذًا أَبَدًا
For surely if they prevail against you they would stone you to death or force you back to their religion, and then you will never succeed.
Surah 26, Verse 116:
قَالُوا لَئِن لَّمْ تَنتَهِ يَا نُوحُ لَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمَرْجُومِينَThey said: If you desist not, O Nuh, you shall most certainly be of those stoned to death.
The concept of the stoning of the adulteress is present in another scripture, namely the Jewish Torah. It is from the Torah that this concept found its way into the corpus of Muslim Law. The subsuming of this cruel practice into Islam is a false and fraudulent act that has no justification. It will go down as one of the biggest crimes in history and all those in support of it will have to take responsibility for it in front of God Almighty.
Stoning women is a practice that was carried over from the Babylonian Talmudic Priests, to their new priestly counterparts within the nascent Islamic legal orthodoxy. In Islam, the practice is traced back to a false narration from the Prophet in the Muwatta, compiled by Imam Malik. The narration, in fact ascribes the abomination falsely to the Prophet, via the second Caliph, Omar. As is well known, the period of Omar’s rule coincides with the conquest by the Caliphate of Babylonia, which was at the time filled with Jewish Academies, highly productive in producing Jewish law. It was during the early centuries 650 CE onward, that much of the known Jewish innovations into the corpus of Islamic law took place. Islamic scholars concede to the phenomenon of “Isra-ee-leeyaat” as the taking up of Jewish practices into Islam during this period.
The Jewish Virtual Library (retrieved 3 Feb 2016) describes the world of Jewish scholarship in Iraq with the advent of Islam around 650 CE as follows:
The Academies of Babylon
At the beginning of the new era, the academies were in the final process of editing the Babylonian Talmud — a colossal work of discourses on almost every discipline, accumulated over the previous four centuries. From this point on, the Rabbis would relate to the Talmud as a closed text (even though, for the most part, it did not appear as a written book for some centuries). The headmasters of these yeshivot were called Geonim, and their eminence was such that the first half of the classic Muslim era is referred to as the Geonic period (mid-7th century to mid-11th century) in Jewish history, a period which spans the entire Abbasid dynasty.
It is no wonder that the incorporating of this vile and inhuman practice happened during this early period. The tool that was used to inject it into Islam was false hadith, of which millions were in circulation by that time. By their time, the famous Muslim Babylonian scholars Bukhari (810 CE – 870 CE) and his student Imam Muslim (815 CE – 875 CE) testified to the widespread practice of inventing sayings and attributing these to the Prophet Muhammad.
The Stoning of Women Clearly Violates the Quran
The Qur’an has stated in no unclear terms what the actual punishment is for adultery. Take a look at this verse from the Qur’an and try to see of there is anything unclear about it. (Emphasis is mine)
Surah An-Noor, Verses 1-2:
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful…
سُورَةٌ أَنزَلْنَاهَا وَفَرَضْنَاهَا وَأَنزَلْنَا فِيهَا آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
(This is) a chapter which We have revealed and made obligatory and in which We have revealed clear communications that you may be mindful.
الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِّنْهُمَا مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ وَلَا تَأْخُذْكُم بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ
وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَائِفَةٌ مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
(As for) the fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them, (giving) a hundred stripes, and let not pity for them detain you in the matter of obedience to Allah, if you believe in Allah and the last day, and let a party of believers witness their chastisement.
Where is the doubt in these verses that the punishment for Zinna (fornication/adultery) is lashing NOT stoning. I suddenly hear some voice shouting the words “But that is for the unmarried person. The Married adulterer must be stoned!” That is the voice of the brainwashed person arguing with God Almighty. Let me explain. The concept of Zinna (Fornication) as used in the Quran includes both categories, married or unmarried. The word Zinna in the Quran refers to BOTH fornication AND adultery. There is no verse anywhere in the Holy Book that prescribes stoning as a punishment for adultery in any way. If you want to go on believing in it, you need to invoke the Hadith. But keep in mind the words of God almighty in the above verse: “This is) a chapter which We have revealed and made obligatory and in which We have revealed clear communications.” Continuing to call for stoning of women means allowing weak narrations to override what Allah Almighty has clearly prescribed.
Why do Muslim Priests Refuse to Denounce this Practice?
The stoning of women is a practice that dates back many, many centuries to the age of the “Salaf us Saalih” or the “Fine Forerunners” of Islam. Indicting a practice so deeply engrained in the religion is akin to questioning the very foundations of the faith. Conceding that such a huge mistake could have been made would result in a major crack right across the legal foundations of Shariah Law. It could in fact lead to the very questioning of Hadith as a second major source of Shariah Law.
I believe that this is exactly what is needed. Beyond the indisputable word of Allah as contained in the Holy Quran, Muslims should be questioning every single man-made contribution to Islamic Law. That is the great purge that is needed.
Shaykh Ahmad Mansour further refutes the Law of Stoning in the Islam…
The Lie of Stoning in Narrations (Hadith):
1. Although the stoning punishment was invented in Abbasid era, it was never unanimously approved. The contemporary Sunnah scholars admit that Al-Mu’tazala and Rejectionist (Khawarej) rejected the stoning. (Sayyed Sabiq, Sunnah Scholarship, 2/347, the Encyclopedia of Scholarship based on the four dogmas, 5/69 written by Abdel-Rahman Al-Jazzeeri).
2. The oldest narrations about stoning were mentioned in Nowata of Malik in a narration by Mohammad Ibn Hassan Sheibani. The narration started as: (Malik told us that Yahya Ibn Saeed heard Saeed Ibn Mossayyab said: When Omar Ibn Al-Khattab came from Mina …etc). That means the original narrator of this anecdote was Saeed Ibn Mossayyab. He claimed that Omar delivered an oration claiming the existence of the stoning verse in Qur’an, but it was omitted. However, Ibn Mossayyab was two years old when Omar was assassinated. How can a crawling baby telling stories about Omar. So, it is impossible for Ibn Mossayyab to be the narrator. Also, it is impossible for Omar to say something like that. It means that Omar accused the Qur’an of being forged and this is blasphemy. God, Almighty, said: “We revealed this Qur’an, and we are protecting it.” Al-Hijr 9. So, as far as the subject, this narration is false. In this narration, they attribute a verse to stoning that says:” The senile man and women shall be stoned if they commit adultery”. It is very well known the concept of senile does not indicate the marital status. One can reach this stage and stays single. Mohammad Ibn Hassan Sheibani felt this shortcoming in the meaning and realized by commenting on another narration about the Jewish adulterers (Narration no. 694):( Any Moslem man committed adultery with a woman and was married to a free Moslem woman and copulated with her, and then he shall be stoned. This is the “married” man. If he did not copulate with her or she was A Jewish or Christian, then he is not married and no stoning. He shall be flogged with hundred lashes. This is the saying of Abu Haneefah and the majority of scholars). Sheibani (a student to Abu Haneefah and one of the two scholars in the Hanafis) put a specific definition and a correction to the narration of stoning related to Omar that included adulterous “senile” people. In his definition, “senile” was no longer the criterion for stoning the married adulterer, but also, the Moslem who married a free Moslem woman. However, the one who married a Jew or a Christian, his marriage is not complete and no punishment for his adultery.
3. There is another anecdote in Mowata no. 692. This anecdote is completely false under all measures. Malik narrated this anecdote from Ibn Shehab (Al-Zuhry) who narrated this by himself. Al-Zuhry lived towards the end of the Umayyad era and was one of the followers who never met the Prophet, peace be upon him, or lived his time. Even though we read the following in Mowata: (Malik told us that Ibn Shehab told us that a man admitted committing adultery during the reign of the Prophet. The man testified against himself and was ordered to be stoned. Ibn Shehab said: For this, one can incriminate himself by self-confession.
4. The narrations were iterated after Malik. Shafi’e, Bukhari and Moslem wrote them. Sometimes these narrations claim that certain verses in Qur’an did exist and omitted. Bukhari, died yr 256 A.H., narrated from Omar Ibn Khattab, who died 200 years before him, about verses that were omitted from Qur’an and Omar declared them late. Some of these narrations claim that the stoning rite was stemmed from the monkey’s society before Islam. Bukhari narrated in his anecdote no. 3560:” Naeem Ibn Hmmad told us about Hasheem about Amr Ibn Meimoun saying: I saw before Islam a bunch of monkeys stoning an adulterous monkey, and I did the same with them. It seems that the monkeys’ society before Islam was ahead in applying the stoning. Anybody asked about this monkey’s marital status? Did the narrator discuss this issue with the Clergy of the monkeys and how to prove the occurrence of adultery? Did the monkeys use four witnesses? All of these narrations contradicting themselves.
5. Contradiction in narrations:
Contradiction is the main characteristic of Narrations. Two kinds of contradictory characters appear in narrations: partial contradiction in the details of the same story, and major contradiction among different stories. As an example of the latter, Bukhari produced a narration about a man came to the Prophet and admitted committing adultery. The prophet avoided him. The prayer time came and the man witnessed the prayer with the Prophet. He reiterated his confession to the Prophet and demanded to be punished. The prophet said to him: did you not pray with us? The man said: yes. The Prophet said: God forgave your sin. This means that prayer forgives the sins and negates the stoning. This is a stark contradiction with other narrations that are damped with the stoned victims’ blood.
While Bukhari, Shafi’e and Malik narrations emphasized that the punishment for the married adulterer is only stoning, we found that Moslem narrated repeated stories emphasizing in them that the Prophet said: The punishment of the single is 100 lashes and one year exile. The married punishment is 100 lashes then stoning. The danger in these narrations that it made the punishment for the married adulterer was 100 lashes before being killed stoning. This is another contradiction with other narrations.
These stories and anecdotes were written in the books of narrations to become major source of legislation for Moslems. Especially, when the scholars and the storytellers celebrated them and everyone re-iterated these narrations as “real” and “rites”. This was emphasized by the application of these narrations that sent many men and women victims to death based on legislation God never authorized.
R. Y. (2016) Great Rabbis of the Muslim Empire | Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved February 03, 2016, from https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/muslim_rabbis.html
Mansour, A. (Retrieved 2016) The Stoning Myth. Retrieved February 04, 2016, from http://www.ahl-alquran.com/English/show_article.php?main_id=2687