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The Adulteress is Confined in her House; A Command Later Abrogated Print E-mail

At the begining of Islam, the ruling was that if a woman commits adultery as stipulated by sufficient proof, she was confined to her home, without leave, until she died. Allah said,

﴿وَاللَـتِى يَأْتِينَ الْفَـحِشَةَ﴾

يعني الزنا

﴿مِن نِّسَآئِكُمْ فَاسْتَشْهِدُواْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَرْبَعةً مِّنْكُمْ فَإِن شَهِدُواْ فَأَمْسِكُوهُنَّ فِى الْبُيُوتِ حَتَّى يَتَوَفَّاهُنَّ الْمَوْتُ أَوْ يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلاً﴾

(And those of your women who commit illegal sexual intercourse, take the evidence of four witnesses from among you against them; and if they testify, confine them (i.e. women) to houses until death comes to them or Allah ordains for them some (other) way.) `Some other way' mentioned here is the abrogation of this ruling that came later. Ibn `Abbas said, "The early ruling was confinement, until Allah sent down Surat An-Nur (chapter 24) which abrogated that ruling with the ruling of flogging (for fornication) or stoning to death (for adultery).'' Similar was reported from `Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Abu Salih, Qatadah, Zayd bin Aslam and Ad-Dahhak, and this is a matter that is agreed upon. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said, "When the revelation descended upon the Messenger of Allah , it would affect him and his face would show signs of strain. One day, Allah sent down a revelation to him, and when the Messenger was relieved of its strain, he said,

«خُذُوا عَنِّي، قَدْ جَعَلَ اللهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلًا، الثَّيِّبُ بِالثَّيِّبِ، وَالْبِكْرُ بِالْبِكْرِ، الثَّــيِّبُ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ، وَرَجْمٌ بِالْحِجَارَةِ، وَالْبِكْرُ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ ثُمَّ نَفْيُ سَنَة»

(Take from me: Allah has made some other way for them. The married with the married, the unmarried with the unmarried. The married gets a hundred lashes and stoning to death, while the unmarried gets a hundred lashes then banishment for a year.)'' Muslim and the collectors of the Sunan recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Prophet said,

«خُذُوا عَنِّي خُذُوا عَنِّي، قَدْ جَعَلَ اللهُ لَهُنَّ سَبِيلًا، الْبِكْرُ بِالْبِكْرِ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ وَتَغْرِيبُ عَامٍ، وَالثَّيِّبُ بِالثَّيِّبِ جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ وَالرَّجْم»

(Take from me, take from me. Allah has made some other way for them: the (unmarried) gets a hundred lashes and banishment for one year, while the (married) gets a hundred lashes and stoning to death.) At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih''. Allah said,

﴿وَاللَّذَانَ يَأْتِيَـنِهَا مِنكُمْ فَـَاذُوهُمَا﴾

(And the two persons among you who commit illegal sexual intercourse, punish them both.) Ibn `Abbas and Sa`id bin Jubayr said that this punishment includes cursing, shaming them and beating them with sandals. This was the ruling until Allah abrogated it with flogging or stoning, as we stated. Mujahid said, "It was revealed about the case of two men who do it.'' As if he was referring to the actions of the people of Lut, and Allah knows best. The collectors of Sunan recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said,

«مَنْ رَأَيْتُمُوهُ يَعْمَلُ عَمَلَ قَوْمِ لُوطٍ، فَاقْتُلُوا الْفَاعِلَ وَالْمَفْعُولَ بِه»

(Whoever you catch committing the act of the people of Lut (homosexuality), then kill both parties to the act.) Allah said,

﴿فَإِن تَابَا وَأَصْلَحَا﴾

(And if they repent and do righteous good deeds), by refraining from that evil act, and thereafter their actions become righteous,

﴿فَأَعْرِضُواْ عَنْهُمَآ﴾

(leave them alone), do not verbally abuse them after that, since he who truly repents is just like he who has no sin,

﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ تَوَّاباً رَّحِيماً﴾

(Surely, Allah is Ever the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.) The following is recorded in the Two Sahihs:

«إِذَا زَنَتْ أَمَةُ أَحَدِكُمْ، فَلْيَجْلِدْهَا الْحَدَّ، وَلَا يُثَرِّبْ عَلَيْهَا»

(When the slave-girl of one of you commits illegal sexual intercouse, let him flog her and not chastise her afterwards. ) because the lashes she receives erase the sin that she has committed.

.﴿إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَـلَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً - وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَـتِ حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّى تُبْتُ الاٌّنَ وَلاَ الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً ﴾

(17. Allah accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon ﴿afterwards﴾; it is they to whom Allah will forgive and Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.) (18. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: "Now I repent;'' nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them, We have prepared a painful torment.)

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