Chapter-6 Sexual Relations and Crimes

1. 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)."

2. Sodomy and female to female manipulation.

If two men (or two women) are guilty of lewdness, give them suitable punishment. (The punishment has not been prescribed by the Quran). But if there exists a possibility of their correction, the court in its own opinion can forgive them. (4:16) Those two men who commit such shameful act, should be suitably punished; but if they show penitence, reform and mend their ways, they should be forgiven. There is room for forgiveness in the Divine Law (which in most cases becomes a blessing in checking crimes)."

The word in this verse is a masculine gender (i.e. two men) but by deduction it can also be "two women"; that is why we have included it in the heading above (which means two lesbian women. The Holy Quran has described homosexuality as the most hateful act in verses (7:81) and (27:55). This highlights the fact that such sexual acts are a crime.

3. Preliminaries that incite adultery.

a) Those women who commit such shameful acts which lead towards adultery, and four eye witnesses are available for this act, such woman shall be forbidden to leave their homes: (4:15) "If any of your women are guilty of shameful acts (which lead towards adultery) take the evidence of four reliable witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify and the crime is proved, confine them to houses, until death claims them, or Allah ordains for them some (other) way, (for example they get married, if they are unmarried)."

The punishment for adultery is mentioned in verse (24:2) and punishment for slandering (false accusation) in verse (24:4).

The word in this verse is often translated as 'adultery', but we do not consider it correct because the Quran has ordained 'a hundred lashes' as punishment for adultery (24:2) and here the punishment is 'confinement in the homes'; and thus it does not mean adultery. It means such immodest acts which, if not constrained, can result in adultery. That is why we have described it under the heading 'Preliminaries leading to adultery'. It is nowhere given in the Quran that witnesses are required to prove the commission of adultery.

b)If a married woman commits an act of lewdness, some amount can be reduced from her dower (at the time of divorcing her consequent to such an act). It has been described earlier under the heading 'DOWER'. (4:19).

4. Immodest actions.

a) Do not go near lewdness (immodesty), open or hidden; (6:152) and (7:33). Do not ever get close to immodesty either in thought or in action, be it open or secret.

b) The circulation of talks regarding acts of immodesty is prohibited. It is a crime to do so: (24:19) "Remember! Those who wish to propagate talks of lewdness among the believers, will have a grievous penalty in this life and in the life Hereafter. Allah knows (how destructive are such acts,) and you know not."

This includes all acts and means which cause diffusion of actual immodesty or thoughts about it.

c) There is room for forgiveness if those who commit such acts and mend their ways: (3:134) "Those of the believers, who commit an indecency, or having wronged themselves (or others) due to oversight or a slip, do not

persist with it and earnestly revert to Allah for forgiveness: by so doing they save themselves from the harmful effects of their wrongdoings. As a matter of fact, nothing can save them from the harmful effects of wrongdoings except turning towards the Divine Law."

5. Pestering honourable women or spreading gossips about them.

This is a heinous crime for which the punishment extends from withdrawal of their citizen's rights to death sentence.

In Surah Ahzaab (33rd Chapter of the Quran) it is said:(33:59) "O Nabi! Tell your wives, daughters and the believing women that they should let down upon them overgarments (when they come out of their homes) This is more proper so that they may be recognised (as noble women) and Allah is ever forgiving, merciful."

After this it is said: (33:60-61) "You take this precaution and if even after this the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease and those who stir up sedition in the city, desist not, force shall certainly be used against them; then they will not be able to stay in as your neighbours for any length of time. They shall have a curse on them, wherever they are found; their rights of citizenship shall be confiscated. If even then, they do not mend their ways, they shall be seized and put to death mercilessly."

6. False accusation (Calumny).

a) One who makes a false accusation against honourable women, must produce four witnesses. If the accusation is proved to be false, his punishment is eighty stripes and after this his evidence shall not be accepted. However, if there is possibility of his correction, he can be excused. (24:4-5) moreover (24:23) and (60:12)

Chastity is an invaluable asset and a Permanent Value, therefore it must be firmly protected. Thus it is ordained: "Those who make a false accusation against chaste woman and produce not four witnesses in support (of their allegation), flog them with eighty lashes, and reject the evidence of such untrustworthy people; (confiscate their human rights) thereafter, if still they do not come to the right path, give them more severe punishment (24/23) _ for such men are wicked transgressors. However, if they discard their erroneous ways thereafter and mend (their conduct), they can be excused because in the Divine Law there is room for forgiveness and excuse, (with this, the casual criminal not only gets protection but also is not deprived of the means of sustenance)".

b) Anybody who raises a charge against his own wife (accuses her of adultery) and fails to produce witnesses, he should take an oath upon Allah four times and in the fifth oath invoke a curse of Allah. But if the wife takes a similar oath five times for her exoneration, she shall not be considered a criminal: (24:6-9) "And for those who raise a charge against their spouses and have (in support) no evidence except their own, the matter will be decided thus: they should bear testimony four times (with an oath) by Allah that they are solemnly telling the truth, and the fifth (oath) should be that they solemnly invoke the curse of Allah upon themselves, if they are telling a lie."

With this the wife shall be considered guilty. But it would avert the punishment from the wife, if she bears witness four times (with an oath) by Allah that (her husband) is telling a lie. And the fifth oath should be that she solemnly invokes the wrath of Allah on herself if (her accuser) is telling the truth.

c) If a person commits a crime and blames it on some other person, it shall be considered a double crime (on account of his own and that of false allegation on others): (4:112) "If any one falls into error or commits a crime and throws it on to one who is innocent, he carries (on himself both) a falsehood and a flagrant sin. As such he has loaded himself with a double crime (with the load of his own crime and the load of the false allegation)."

7. Privacy.

One should not enter other people's houses without permission. (24:27-29) "O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have sought permission from and complimented those in them. This upkeep of social etiquette is best for you, so that your society may observe the highest principles of social living.

If you find none in the house, enter not until you have been permitted to do so: if you are asked to go back, go back without any feelings of displeasure. It will lead you to decency and Allah knows well all that you do. However, there is no restriction on you if you enter houses not used for living, which serve some (other) use for you (for example such houses in which is kept the common goods.) You may enter such a house but without any bad-intention. Remember that Allah's Law of Requital knows what you reveal and what you hide."

8. Rebellious women.

For this, first of all attempt should be made to make them realise their erroneous attitude. But if they are adamant, separate their beds temporarily and if they still do not mend their conduct, the court can give them corporal punishment [i.e. beating - (4:34)]. This has been described earlier under the heading 'Divorce'.

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