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Adultery and its punishment according to Quran

Accusations of people with sexual misconduct are as old as the history of the human race. In many societies, the law of the land is that the word of the accuser is accepted against the word of the accused what we have also learned from the history of Yousuf (12:32-35). However, God strongly condemns sexual misconduct and considers it a gross offense while accusation of someone with sexual misconduct or spreading rumors are very serious matter and are not looked upon lightly by God.

[4:15] Those who commit adultery among your women, you must have four witnesses against them, from among you. If they do bear witness, then you shall keep such women in their homes until they die, or until GOD creates an exit for them.
[4:16] The couple who commits adultery shall be punished. If they repent and reform, you shall leave them alone. GOD is Redeemer, Most Merciful.
[4:24] Also prohibited are the women who are already married, unless they flee their disbelieving husbands who are at war with you. These are God’s commandments to you. All other categories are permitted for you in marriage, so long as you pay them their due dowries. You shall maintain your morality, by not committing adultery. Thus, whoever you like among them, you shall pay them the dowry decreed for them. You commit no error by mutually agreeing to any adjustments to the dowry. God is Omniscient, Most Wise.
[4:25] Those among you who cannot afford to marry free believing women, may marry believing slave women. God knows best about your belief, and you are equal to one another, as far as belief is concerned. You shall obtain permission from their guardians before you marry them, and pay them their due dowry equitably. They shall maintain moral behavior, by not committing adultery, or having secret lovers. Once they are freed through marriage, if they commit adultery, their punishment shall be half of that for thefree women. Marrying a slave shall be a last resort for those unable to wait. To be patient is better for you. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[5:5] Today, all good food is made lawful for you. The food of the people of the scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. Also, you may marry the chaste women among the believers, as well as the chaste women among the followers of previous scripture, provided you pay them their due dowries. You shall maintain chastity, not committing adultery, nor taking secret lovers. Anyone who rejects faith, all his work will be in vain, and in the Hereafter he will be with the losers.
[17:32] You shall not commit adultery; it is a gross sin, and an evil behavior.
[24:2] The adulteress and the adulterer you shall whip each of them a hundred lashes. Do not be swayed by pity from carrying out God’s law, if you truly believe in God and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their penalty.
[24:3] The adulterer will end up marrying an adulteress or an idol worshiper, and the adulteress will end up marrying an adulterer or an idol worshiper. This is prohibited for the believers.
[24:4] Those who accuse married women of adultery, then fail to produce four witnesses, you shall whip them eighty lashes, and do not accept any testimony from them; they are wicked.
[24:11] A gang among you produced a big lie. Do not think that it was bad for you; instead, it was good for you. Meanwhile, each one of them has earned his share of the guilt. As for the one who initiated the whole incident, he has incurred a terrible retribution.
[24:12] When you heard it, the believing men and the believing women should have had better thoughts about themselves, and should have said, “This is obviously a big lie.”
[24:15] You fabricated it with your own tongues, and the rest of you repeated it with your mouths without proof. You thought it was simple, when it was, according to God, gross.
[24:16] When you heard it, you should have said, “We will not repeat this. Glory be to You. This is a gross falsehood.”
[25:68] They never implore beside God any other god, nor do they kill anyone – for God has made life sacred – except in the course of justice. Nor do they commit adultery. Those who commit these offenses will have to pay.
[60:12] O you prophet, when the believing women (who abandoned the disbelievers) to seek asylum with you pledge to you that they will not set up any idols besides God, nor steal, nor commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor fabricate any falsehood, nor disobey your righteous orders, you shall accept their pledge, and pray to God to forgive them. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[65:1] O you prophet, when you people divorce the women, you shall ensure that a divorce interim is fulfilled. You shall measure such an interim precisely. You shall reverence GOD your Lord. Do not evict them from their homes, nor shall you make life miserable for them, to force them to leave on their own, unless they commit a proven adultery. These are GOD’s laws. Anyone who transgresses GOD’s laws commits an injustice against himself. You never know; maybe GOD wills something good to come out of this.

God strongly condemns sexual misconduct and considers it a gross offense (17:32 & 27:54). He also condemns the false accusations of people with such an offense and creating and/or spreading rumors about such accusations as such a crime is detrimental to the society and to the spirit of the people living in such a society (24:15-16). We can easily imagine how detrimental it is to the society when the innocent people are accused with such a crime.

The message that comes out of the Quran is that sexual misconduct, accusation of someone with sexual misconduct or spreading rumors with such accusations are very serious matter and are not looked upon lightly by God. The punishment of the proven adultery for the couple who has committed adultery is 100 lashes ((24:2) or they may be left alone if they repent and reform (4:16) and the punishment for the slaved women freed through marriage is half of the free women i.e., 50 lashes if they commit adultery (4:25). The punishment of those who accuse a married woman of adultery but fail to produce four witnesses is eighty lashes (24:4). Someone may marry a woman who has committed adultery proved by four witnesses to protect the society from such a crime (4:15).

Since the adultery is a gross sin and evil behavior we must protect ourselves from it and must refrain from accusing anyone of sexual misconduct or spreading rumors about anyone of it without having a proof otherwise all our righteous works will be in vain and we will be losers in the Hereafter. We should also come forward to prevent the society from committing such crime when we have the opportunity to do so.

However, it is a surprise to the true believers that the stoning to death as punishment for committing adultery as enforced in many so called Muslim countries is not Islamic rather it is the direct violation of God’s laws as well as cold blooded murder as the punishment of adultery is clearly mentioned in the Quran.

Tafazzal