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Rajm is an Arabic word that means "stoning". It is commonly used to refer to the Hudud punishment wherein an organized group throws stones at a convicted individual until that person dies. Traditionally it is called for in cases of adultery where the criteria for conviction are met. The appropriate punishment for adultery committed by a married man or married woman with someone who is not legal to him/her and there is a confession from either the adulterer/adulteress or the confession of testimony of four witnesses (as prescribed by the Quran in Surah an-Nur verse 4). Other Muslims disagree entirely regarding its legality, arguing that it cannot be found in the Qur'an. However Surah an-Nur deals with adultery in regard to unmarried men and women (regarded as fornication as the Arabic word Zina, describes both fornication and adultery) and does not prescribe the punishment towards those who commit adultery whilst married.
In some schools of Islamic law the punishment of stoning has been prescribed as punishment for married men or women who have committed adultery, following a confession or the testimony of four eye-witnesses. It has no basis in the Qur'an however it is found in Hadith (e.g. Sahih Muslim 17:4191 - 4209 and 17:4916 & 17:4194) . Persons who accuse a woman of adultery but are not able to bring four witnesses are liable to a punishment of 80 lashes and to be unacceptable as witnesses unless they repent and reform. The testimony of those who accuse their own spouse without any other witnesses may be accepted if they swear by God four times that they are telling the truth with a fifth oath to incur God's condemnation if they be lying. The accused shall be considered innocent if they swear by God four times that the spouse is a liar, again with the fifth oath inviting God's wrath if the spouse be telling the truth.
The Qur'an mentions nothing with regards to stoning.
In the Hadith
Among prominent records of the words of the Prophet (ahadith) mentioning stoning is the Hadith of Umar's speech of forbidding Mut'ah, Prophet's last Hajj sermon and the Hadith of the Verse of Stoning. There are also other hadith regarding stoning. Sahih Muslim Book 17 has several hadith regarding Stoning specifically (17:4191-4209,4914)
There is disagreement among modernist Islamic thinkers as to the applicability of stoning for adultery as, while religious texts often give examples both with and without stoning, the Quran does not prescribe stoning as a punishment for any crime, mentioning only lashing as punishment for adultery. However some schools maintain that the punishment may nevertheless be exacted on the grounds that hadith can establish laws which the Qur'an does not mention.
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, a self-proclaimed Pakistani Islamic scholar and a proponent of Islamic law in Pakistan, has postulated that the Quran does not support Rajm for adultery- his views are based on a close reading of the Quranic text.[Quran 24:2] Ghamidi claims that stoning is prescribed only in extreme cases - for someone who rapes or habitually commits fornication as prostitutes do, which then constitute malfeasance in the land that is punishable according to other Quranic verses.[Quran 5:33-34]
- Nigerian scholars promoting Sharia law as support for women's rights. September 13, 2005
- 5th Delay in Nigerian Gay Trial. Two men facing death by stoning for the alleged crime of sodomy .... September 14, 2005
- Probativeness of Sunna [1-3]
- Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Burhan, Al-Mawrid
- Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Mizan, The Penal Law of Islam, Al-Mawrid