What is the wisdom behind the punishment of stoning the married person who commits adultery? -Shaykh ibn al-’Uthaymeen

In the name of Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful

What is the wisdom behind the punishment of stoning the married person who commits adultery?

By Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-’Uthaymeen may Allah have mercy on him

The Shaykh mentions this point of benefit in his explanation of Imaam an-Nawawi’s 40 Ahadith under the 17th hadith that states,

On the authority of Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,

لَا يَحِلُّ دَمُ امْرِئٍ مُسْلِمٍ إلَّا بِإِحْدَى ثَلَاثٍ: الثَّيِّبُ الزَّانِي، وَالنَّفْسُ بِالنَّفْسِ، وَالتَّارِكُ لِدِينِهِ الْمُفَارِقُ لِلْجَمَاعَةِ

“It is not permissible to spill the blood of a Muslim except in three (instances): the married person who commits adultery, a life for a life, and the one who forsakes his religion and separates from the community.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The married person who commits adultery is killed by throwing rocks at him/her. The stoning should not be done with large rocks because it may kill the individual too fast causing the purpose of stoning to be missed out on. The stoning should (also) not be small rocks because it may afflict suffering on the individual before he/she dies. Rather, the rocks should be average in size and the Zaani (married individual who commits adultery) is pelted until they die, whether they be man or woman.

If one were to ask, “Why are they killed in this manner? Why aren’t they given a swift killing with the sword as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

إنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ الْإِحْسَانَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ، فَإِذَا قَتَلْتُمْ فَأَحْسِنُوا الْقِتْلَةَ

‘Verily Allah has prescribed ihsan (perfection) in all things. So if you kill then kill well…’” [Muslim, 1955]

Response: The intent of “ihsan” does not mean to choose the easiest path in carrying out the killing, rather, what is intended by “ihsan” is to choose the best type of killing that agrees with the legislation. Allah said,

“…And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm Faith.” [Surah al-Maa’idah: 50]

Therefore, killing the Zaani by way of stoning is the best method which agrees with the legislation.

If one were to ask, “What is the wisdom behind killing them in this manner?”

Response: Fulfilling the desire of intercourse is not felt specifically on one body part, but rather it is felt on the entire body. Therefore, just as the married Zaani’s body takes pleasure in this prohibited act, then it is befitting for the entire body to also feel the pain of this punishment.

If one were to ask, “When is it confirmed that one is a Zaani?”

Response: Zinaa (act of adultery) is affirmed once there are four acceptable men who see the private part of a male in the private part of a woman. There is no doubt that being able to witness this is very hard. This is why Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah 728 AH (may Allah have mercy on him) said that there was no case of Zinaa proven during his time.

A second way to affirm Zinaa is if the one who committed the act admits it.

Translators’ addition:

What is the wisdom behind making the testimony so difficult?

Al-Qurtubee 671 AH (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Jaami’ li Ahkaam al-Qur’aan (5/83):

“Allah has stated that testimony in a case of Zinaa must be given by four people, so as to make it hard for those who are testifying to such a thing, and to conceal people.”

Translated by: Abu Awzaa’ee AbdusSalaam

الفقير الى الله

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