If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way. (4:15)
Can someone please explain this verse?
Moreover, to prove a rape, four witnesses are required. Is that possible, specially in the contemporary world? And if there indeed are four witnesses (how big an assumption is that, btw?), can they not be pressed for charges of being an aid to the crime and the criminal? Witnessing and not stopping the crime?
1. This verse is related to prostitution as is evident in the WOMEN being specified. They are the ones who primarily have indulged in this act. This is also supported by the fact that in the next verse, the punishment regarding both males and females who commit zina is related.
2. The Quran gives a punishment that they be confined to their homes, as to protect society from their lewd activities. This was a temporary injunction, "until Allah ordains for them another way".
3. Rape is not adultery, nor are 4 witnesses required. Adultery is when 2 CONSENTING adults have sex. Rape is fasaad and corruption, and the state would be in a position to gather all the evidence necessary, including medical examinations. The injunction of 4 witnesses is primarily meant to PROTECT the honour of the accused of adultery.
Ihsan has clarified the verse pretty well.Here is a relevant excerpt
from Renaissance which would elucidate the point furthe
Method of Proving a Crime: Two Exceptions
Since the Qur’an has in no way obligated us to adopt a particular method in proving a crime, it is absolutely certain that a crime stands proven in Islamic law just as it is done so in accordance with the universally acceptable methods of legal ethics endorsed by sense and reason. Consequently, if circumstantial evidence, medical check-ups, post mortem reports, finger prints, testimony of witnesses, confession of criminals, oaths and various other methods are employed to ascertain a crime, then this would be perfectly acceptable by the Islamic law.
It is to this fact that the Prophet’s words ‘to substantiate a crime is the claimant’s responsibility, and the person who refutes it will have to swear an oath’ allude to.
In the words of Ibn Qayyam:
The word ‘bayyinah’ in the language of the Qur’an, of the Prophet (sws) and of his Companions is the name of everything by which the truth becomes evident. Hence contrary to its connotations in the terminology of the jurists, it has a wider meaning because they only use it for two witnesses or an oath and a witness.
However, there are two exceptions to this:
Firstly, if a person accuses a chaste and righteous man or woman having a sound reputation of fornication. In this case, the Qur’an stresses that the accuser shall have to produce four eye-witnesses. Anything less than this will not prove his accusation. Circumstantial evidence or medical examination in this case are absolutely of no importance. If a person is of lewd character, such things have a very important role, but if he has a morally sound reputation, Islam wants that even if he has faltered, his crime should be concealed and he should not be disgraced in the society. Consequently, in this case, it wants four eye-witnesses to testify and if the accuser fails to produce them, it regards him as guilty of qadhaf. The Qur’an says:
Upon those who accuse honourable women [of fornication] and bring not four witnesses as evidence [for their accusation], inflict eighty stripes, and never accept their testimony in future. They indeed are transgressors. But those who repent and mend their ways, Allah is Oft-Forgiving and Most-Merciful. (24:4-5)
Secondly, to purge an Islamic state from prostitutes who, in spite of being Muslims, do not give up their life of sin, the only thing required, according to the Qur’an, is that four witnesses should be called forth who are in a position to testify that a particular woman is a prostitute by profession. In this case, it is not necessary at all that they be eye-witnesses. If they testify with full responsibility that she is known as a prostitute in the society and the court is satisfied with their testimony, then they can be given any of the punishments fixed by the Qur’an for habitual criminals. The Qur’an says:
And upon those of your women1 who habitually commit fornication, call in four people from among yourselves2 to testify over them; if they testify [to their ill-ways], confine them to their homes till death overtakes them or God finds another way for them. (4:15)
Whether it is the question of four witnesses in these two cases, or of other evidence in any other crime it is left to the discretion of the judge whether he accepts someone as witness or not. In this regard, there is to be no discrimination between a man or a woman3. If a woman testifies in a clear and definite manner, her testimony cannot be turned down simply on the basis that there is not another woman and a man to testify alongside her. Likewise, if a man records an ambiguous and vague statement, it cannot be accepted merely on the grounds that he is a man. If a court is satisfied by the statements of witnesses and by any circumstantial evidence, it has all the authority to pronounce a case as proven and if it is not satisfied, it has all the authority to reject it even if ten men have testified.
(Translated from Ghamidi's "Mizan" by Shehzad Saleem)
Slay. How could you doubt if four witnesses are possible in the modern world.
Have you not been to parties where you and your friends bump into a couple in some corner sweating it out.
Also, why should you be guilty for watching the show. There is no punishment for viewing.
I mean, can you imagine you and five of your friends barge in a room and there you see the full show. Ofcourse, you are going to be stunned by the sight for a few minutes. But does that mean, the judge is going to be not understanding, especially if he is male.
Edited by - Omrow on 07/25/2003 18:11:17
Edited by - Omrow on 07/25/2003 18:12:46
Jazakallah, everyone. Just one question.
** 2. The Quran gives a punishment that they be confined to their homes, as to protect society from their lewd activities. This was a temporary injunction, "until Allah ordains for them another way". **
What was the permanent injunction, i.e the other way? Was the injunction in a Quranic verse or a Hadith? I'd be glad to see the reference.
According to Javed Ghamidi from my understanding:
The 'other way' falls under the punishment of spreading corruption and disorder in the land. What is clear from the verse is that these crimes are not just simple acts, but take on the proportion of actually attacking the well-being of the whole community. Prostituion leads to lewdness and sexual activity among MANY members of society, it is not just a sexual act between a couple.
This punishment is outlined in Surah Maidah, and is 'taqteel'. Not only is the punishment administered with respect to the perpetrator, but is also performed in the eyes of a certain section of the public so that their end will be made a befitting example to those that would contemplate performing such acts in the future.
They may be crucified, and their limbs chopped off, or exiled from the land. It is upto the judgesdiscretion to determine a befitting punishment, and it does not necessarily have to be these. For example, the electric chair may be used.