The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement Blog


New area: Miracles, Myths, Mistakes and MattersSee Title Page and List of Contents

latest, 9th July 2018: Can Muslims (-women) marry Non-Believers


See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

Read: Background to the Project

List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3‎ — completed, 28th June 2013


September 5th, 2012

Issue 69

Issue 69 [@1:15:00]: Slide projected with voice – Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 2, Bk 23, Hadith 413 – The Jews brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from amongst them who had committed (adultery) illegal sexual intercourse. He ordered both of them be stoned (to death) near the place of offering the funeral prayers besides the mosque.

Rebuttal 69: Once again the documentary selectively cherry picks certain hadiths while hiding others to provide an out of context half-truths. The other relevant hadiths to this issue will be stated below. The malicious circus continues in the movie whose sole basis for smearing Prophet Muhammad is “damn if you do, damn if you don’t,” even if supposedly the Prophet or for that matter anyone else gave a legal opinion on the subject matter above. This issue is all about an opinion from the Jewish law to the Jews.

To any intelligent reader the first question will be as to why – “The Jews brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from amongst them who had committed (adultery) illegal sexual intercourse?” Did they respect or believed for what Prophet Muhammad stood for?” Nay! They only wanted an alternative to their own law of Torah.

Secondly, what was the basis of Prophet Muhammad when – “He ordered both of them be stoned (to death) near the place of offering the funeral prayers besides the mosque?” The sole basis for the Prophet’s opinion was none but Torah itself.

Thirdly, it was Jews themselves who had investigated the matter fully and had already established the guilt for the accused. All they wanted was the final step of the law i.e. the decision about the punishment to fit the crime, while trying to avoid their own written law in Torah. They hoped against hope that a prophet, no matter how ‘false’ to them, would ignore a revealed Book that was from none but YHWH to its ‘chosen people.’ Ironic indeed it is that it was for the same chosen people who chose to shirk away from their own Torah, but for a good reason. If the Jews sought forgiveness for the accused, then why did they not forgive themselves? Why they had to ask someone else to do it for them? Were they then and even now true believers in their own Torah?

4:43. And how should they appoint you their judge whilst they have with them the Torah which contains the law (and judgment) of Allâh. Yet they turn their backs even after that (you judge between them). And such people are not true believers (neither in the Qur’ân nor in the Torah).[Nooruddin]

They could not help because they were stuck with their dogmas then and as now for the mere fact that there is no concept of forgiveness, neither in their psyche nor in their scripture. This we see in the legal system of the West, where most of the legislators are followers of the old scriptures and the laws that they formulate are punitive with no room for an incentive nor forgiveness to expiate a wrong. A classical case of a shell of a religion where outward ritual and behavior is more important than the soul of the religion. An angry god has to be placated, rather tricked by ordinary humans. A faith that even Jesus could not reform, though he was from the same region, race and religion. It is a twisted logic by this documentary when they blame everyone else, but their own brethren in history on whose doorstep lies the faulty laws of their own God.

Fourth, can the documentary makers point to anyone but the Jews themselves who carried out the judgment when they killed the accused by stoning? By any standards, they were not a helpless minority in Medina. Jewish tribes and groups numbered about 36,000 to 42,000 in Medina at the time of arrival of Muhammad (Issue 7). Compare that with Muslim fighting strength of rag-tag, young and old of only 313 in 2nd year and 700 in 3rd year of arrival of the Prophet in Medina (Issue 1). Why did the Jews kill their own and that too based upon the supposed opinion of a prophet that to them was a ‘false one’ to begin with, and why did they not ignore his opinion? The blame is squarely on the Jews, their Torah, their Judaism, their dogmas and their bigotry for seeking opinion of a ‘false’ prophet that they abhorred from the very start. This example proves beyond doubt that how much superfluous Judaism is. To escape their own law the Jews needed a ‘pagan’ help, and ironically of an ‘illiterate’ who factually could not even read or write. Quran was still in its infancy then and did not cover the stipulated issue at hand in its verses yet. Prophet Muhammad did what any judge would do, he deferred the Jews to their their own Jewish law. The prophet though a law giver was only supposed to convey the law that was revealed to him, not make one of his own choosing or according to the fancies of the Jews:

24:54. …the duty of the Messenger [– Muhammad] is only to deliver the message clearly.

10:15. …[The non-Muslims say to the Prophet] Bring a Quran other than this or change it. Say: It is not for me to change it of my own accord. I follow only what is revealed to me. Indeed I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the punishment of a terrible day.

Fifth, in a personal space it is one’s choice to forgive or not, but in a communal space, people and their acts are governed by the laws of the community. If someone is punished under a law, and that too by a so called Divine Law, then is the documentary going to blame the judge or blame the Law itself and the people who made that Law? Judges are not supposed to make the law, but follow the existing law. Are they going to smear the judge for a verdict that is not of their own liking? Quran addressed such bigotry and mentality of the followers, inventors and tamperers of the previous scriptures and their delegating the role of a judge to Prophet Muhammad in the following verses:

4:41. O Messenger! let not those who vie with one another in (- spreading) disbelief,- those of them who say with their mouths, `we believe’, but their hearts believe not, and those of them who judaised, grieve you. They are the acceptors of falsehood and are those who listen for conveying to other people who have not yet come to you. They tear the words (of God) from their proper places (and pervert the meanings thereof and) say, `If you are given this (sort of commandment) accept it and if you are not given this, then be careful.’ And he (on) whom Allâh desires (to inflict) His punishment, you can do nothing to save him from (the punishment of) Allâh. It is these whose hearts Allâh has not been pleased to purify. Ignominy is their lot in this world, and there awaits them in the Hereafter a great punishment.

4:42. (They are) habitual listeners to falsehood, too much given to eat things [i.e. consuming] forbidden [e.g. Usury]. If they come to you (seeking your judgment) judge between them or turn aside from them. If you turn aside from them, they shall do you no harm at all. But if you judge, then judge between them with justice, for surely Allâh loves the just.

4:43. And how should they appoint you their judge whilst they have with them the Torah which contains the law (and judgment) of Allâh. Yet they turn their backs even after that (you judge between them). And such people are not true believers (neither in the Qur’ân nor in the Torah).

4:44. Verily, it is We Who revealed Torah wherein there was guidance and light. According to it the Prophets, who submitted themselves (to Us), did judge for those who judaised and (so also did) the teachers of Divine knowledge, and those learned (in the Law); (they did it) because they were required to preserve some of the Scripture of Allâh and (because) they stood guardians over it. Hence hold not people in awe but stand in awe of Me and do not barter away My Messages for a trifling gain. And he who does not judge according to that (law) which Allâh has revealed, it is these who are the real disbelievers.

4:45. And therein We laid down (the following law) for them (- the Jews); life for life and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth and for (other) injuries an equitable retaliation. But he who chooses to forgo (the right) thereto for the sake of Allâh, it shall be an expiation of sins for him. And whoever does not judge according to (the law) which Allâh has revealed, these it is who are the very unjust.

4:46. And We sent Jesus, son of Mary, in the footsteps of these (Prophets), fulfilling that which was (revealed) before him, of the Torah, and We gave him the Evangel which contained guidance and light, fulfilling that which was (revealed) before it, of the Torah, and was a (means of) guidance and an exhortation for those who guard against evil.

4:47. And let the followers of the Evangel judge according to what Allâh has revealed therein. And indeed those who do not judge according to what Allâh has revealed it is these who are the real disobedient. [Nooruddin]

Sixth, if the documentary makers do not like as to what Torah is about, then they have a choice to ‘burn it‘. A Muslim will never do such a favor to them, because for a Muslim it is an article of faith to not only respect but to believe in the original message of all previously revealed Books, that includes Torah and the Evangel, which the Jews in this issue did not:

4:136. O you who believe! maintain faith in Allâh and in His Messenger and in this perfect Book which He has revealed to His perfect Messenger and in the Scripture He revealed before. And whoso denies Allâh and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Last Day, he has indeed strayed far away (from the truth). [Nooruddin]

All the above is stated on the assumption that the hadith is authentic and actually states as to what happened. The corroborated aspects of the hadith will become clear in the discussion to follow. If the above hadith is correct, then its full burden is on Torah, not on Quran, nor on Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad Ali in his landmark book “The Religion of Islam” fully clarifies the incidence and all the ancillary aspects of the issue at hand. Pages 556-560 of the said book are reproduced below:

Punishment for adultery

Adultery, and false accusation of adultery, are both punishable according to the Qur’an:

The adulteress and the adulterer, flog each of them (with) a hundred stripes, and let not pity for them detain you from obedience to Allah if you believe in Allah and the last day, and let a party of believers witness their chastisement” (24:2).

In the case of slave-girls, who are guilty of adultery , the punishment is half of this:

Then if they (the slave girls) are guilty of adultery when they are taken in marriage, they shall suffer half the punishment for free married women” (4:25).

These are the only verses speaking of punishment for adultery , and they clearly show that flogging, and not death or stoning to death, is the punishment for adultery. In fact 4:25 precludes all possibility of death having ever been looked upon by the Qur’an as a punishment for adultery. It speaks clearly of the punishment of adultery in the case of married slave-girls, and says further that punishment for them is half the punishment of adultery in the case of free married women. It is generally thought that while the Qur’an prescribes flogging as a punishment for fornication, i.e., when the guilty person is not married, stoning to death is the punishment for adultery, and that this is allegedly based on the Prophet’s practice. But the Qur’an plainly speaks of the punishment for adultery in the case of married slave-girls as being half the punishment of adultery in the case of free married women (muhsanat), and therefore death or stoning to death cannot be conceived of as possible punishment in case of adultery as it cannot be halved, while imprisonment or flogging may be. Thus the Qur’an not only speaks of flogging and not death, as punishment for adultery, but it positively excludes death or stoning to death.

Flogging

A few words may be added as to the method of flogging. The Arabic word for flogging is jald which means skin, and jalada signifies he hit or hurt his skin (LL). Jald (flogging) was therefore a punishment which should be felt by the skin, and it aimed more at disgracing the culprit than torturing him. In the time of the Prophet, and even for some time after him, there was no whip, and flogging was carried out by beating with a stick or with the hand or with shoes {RM. VI, p. 4}. It is further stated by the same authority that the culprit was not stripped naked for the infliction of the punishment of flogging; he was only required to take off thick clothes such as would ward off the stroke altogether. According to a report of Ibn Mas’ud, baring the back for flogging is forbidden among the Muslims, and according to Shafi’i and Ahmad, a shirt or two must be left over the body {RM. VI, p. 5}. It is further related that it is preferable to give the strokes on different parts of the body so that no harm should result to any one part, but the face and the private parts must be avoided {RM. VI, p. 5}.

Stoning to death in Jewish law

As already shown, stoning to death, as a punishment for adultery, is nowhere spoken of in the Qur’an; on the other hand, the injunction to halve the punishment in certain eases is a clear indication that stoning to death was never contemplated as the punishment of adultery in the Holy Book. In Tradition, however, cases are met with in which adultery was punished with stoning to death. One of these cases is expressly mentioned as that of a Jew couple:

“The Jews came to the Prophet with a man and a woman from among them who had committed adultery; and by his order they were stoned to death near the place where funeral services were held” (Bu. 23:61).

Further explanation of this incident is given in another report where it is stated that when the Jews referred the case to him, he enquired of them what punishment the Torah prescribed in case of adultery. The Jews tried at first to conceal the fact that it was stoning to death, but on `Abd Allah ibn Salam giving the reference,

{Note: That the present Torah does not give stoning as the punishment for adultery is clear proof that the text has been altered. The Gospels show that such was the punishment up to the time of Jesus. “And the scribes and the Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? (Jn. 8:3-5)}

they admitted it, and the guilty persons were dealt with as prescribed in Torah (Bu. 61:26). According to a third version, which is the most detailed, the Jews who desired to avoid the severer punishment of stoning for adultery said one to another:

“Let us go to this Prophet, for he has been raised with milder teaching; so if he gives his decision for a milder punishment than stoning, we will accept it.”

It is then related that the Prophet went with them to their midras (the house in which the Torah was read), and asked them what punishment was prescribed in their sacred book. They tried to conceal it at first but the truth had to be admitted at last, and the Prophet gave his decision saying: “I give my judgment according to what is in the Torah” (AD. 37:26).

Jewish practice followed by the Prophet at first

These reports leave not the shadow of a doubt that stoning was the punishment of adultery in the Jewish law, and that it was in the case of Jewish offenders that this punishment was first resorted to by the Prophet when he came to Madinah. There are other reports which show that the same punishment was given in certain cases when the offenders were Muslims, but apparently this was before the revelation of the verse (24:2) which speaks of flogging as the punishment for both the adulterer and the adulteress, it being the practice of the Prophet to follow the earlier revealed law until he received a definite revelation on a point. A suggestion to that effect is contained in a tradition:

“Shaibani says, I asked `Abd Allah ibn Abi Aufa , Did the Holy Prophet stone to death? He said, Yes. I said, Was it before the chapter entitled the Light (the 24th chapter) was revealed or after it? The reply was, I do not know” (Bu. 87:6).

The chapter referred to is that which speaks of flogging as a punishment for adultery, and the question shows clearly that the practice of stoning for adultery was recognized as being against the plain injunction contained in that chapter. It is likely that some misunderstanding arose from the incidents which happened before the Quranic revelation on the point, and that that practice was taken as the Sunnah of the Prophet. The Khwarij, the earliest Muslim sect, entirely rejected stoning to death (rajm) as a punishment in Islam {RM. VI, p. 6}.

The question seems to have arisen early as to how an adulterer could be stoned, when the Qur’an prescribed flogging as the only punishment for adultery. `Umar is reported to have said that “there are people who say, What about stoning, for the punishment prescribed in the Book of Allah is flogging” {Ah. I, p. 50}. To such objectors `Umar’s reply was:

“In what Allah revealed, there was the verse of rajm (stoning); we read it and we understood it and we guarded it; the Prophet did stone (adulterers to death) and we also stoned after him, but I fear that when more time passes away, a sayer would say, We do not find the verse of rajm in the Book of Allah” {Bu. 87:16}.

According to another version he is reported to have added:

“Were it not that people would say that `Umar has added in the Book of Allah that which is not in it, I would have written it” {AD. 37:24}.

The argument attributed to `Umar is very unsound. He admitted that the Qur’an did not contain any verse prescribing the punishment of stoning for adulterers, and at the same time he is reported as stating that there was such a verse in what Allah revealed. In all probability what `Umar meant, if he ever spoke those words, was that the verse of stoning was to be found in the Jewish sacred book, the Torah, which was undoubtedly a Divine revelation, and that the Prophet stoned adulterers to death. The use of words “Book of God” (Kitab Allah) for the Torah is common in the Qur’an itself, the Torah being again and again spoken of as Kitab Allah or the Book of God, or al-Kitab, i.e., the Book {2:213, etc.}. In all likelihood `Umar only spoke of rajm as the punishment of adultery in the Mosaic law and he was misunderstood. At any rate he could not have spoken the words attributed to him. Had there been such a verse of the Qur’an, he would have brought it to the notice of other Companions of the Prophet, when a complete written copy was first prepared in the time of Abu Bakr at his own suggestion. The words, as attributed to him in some of these reports, are simply meaningless. How could he say that there was a verse of the Qur’an which he would have written down in the Qur’an, but he feared that people would say that he had made an addition to the Qur’an, that is to say, added to it what was not a part of it? A verse could not be said to be a part of the Qur’an and not a part of the Qur’an at one and the same time.

There is further evidence in tradition itself that `Umar himself, at least in one reported case (and it is a reliable report), punished adultery with flogging as laid down in the Qur’an in 24:2, and not with stoning to death. According to Bukhari, one of `Umar’s collectors, Hamzah by name, found that a married man who had committed adultery with his wife’s slave girl had been punished by `Umar with a hundred stripes, and he referred the case to `Umar, and `Umar upheld his first decision {Bu. 39:1}. His own action therefore negatives the report which attributes to him the statement that stoning to death as a punishment for adultery was an ordinance contained in a Quranic verse. An explanation is sometimes offered, that such a verse had been revealed but that it was abrogated afterwards, though the ordinance contained in it remained effective. There is no sense at all in this explanation. If the words of the verse were abrogated, the ordinance contained in those words went along with them. No ordinance can be given except in words, and if the words are abrogated, the ordinance is also abrogated. If therefore such a verse was ever revealed (for which there is no testimony worth the name), the admission that it was abrogated leaves the matter where it was before its revelation {see also pp. 37-46 of “The Religion of Islam”}.

Accusation of adultery

A false accusation of adultery is punished almost as severely as adultery itself:

And those who accuse free women and bring not four witnesses, flog them (with) eighty stripes and never accept their evidence, and these are the transgressors – Except those who afterwards repent and act aright; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful (24: 4,5).

It may be added here that while in ordinary matters two witnesses are required {verse 2:286}, in the case of an accusation of adultery four witnesses must be produced. Thus a case of adultery can be established only on the strongest possible evidence. That circumstantial evidence is accepted is shown by the Qur’an itself in Joseph’s case who, when accused of an assault on the chief’s wife, was declared free of the charge on circumstantial evidence {verses 12:26-28}. There are also a number of traditions showing that circumstantial evidence was accepted when it led to the establishment of a certain fact.

In the current issue that the documentary tries to malign Prophet Muhammad with is actually an egg on the face of the makers of the movie themselves who still cling to their Torah. Anyone who reads Quran, will not find the nonsense of stoning in it, for which one has to refer to Torah itself. This case in point is directly addressed by Quran:

3:23. Have you not seen those who are given a portion of the Book?

[Footnote] The Jews are spoken of as being given only a portion of the Book, because much of it had already been lost. Moreover, the Torah was not a complete law.

They are invited to the Book of Allah [– Quran] that it may decide between them, then some of them turn back and they withdraw.

[Footnote] The reference here is to the broad principles of religion regarding which the Jews and the Christians differed. The Book of Allah is the Holy Quran which gave a decision in the differences between them.

The take away message from the above discussion is that Jews needed Quran then and now. Factually, the documentary must be thanked for raising an issue that vehemently makes an urgent case for abrogation of Torah. If nothing else, at least for its human tampered law that must be abandoned and the hadith under discussion proves that irrespective of whether stoning was written in Torah, the Jews factually wanted to abandon it themselves. It was this avoidance of law in Torah that was the sole reason for their coming to the Prophet in the hope for an alternate Law. An alternate law that did come, thought a little late as outlined in verses 24:2 and 4:25 above. It is to these necessities of the law that Quran states:

2:106. Whatever Message We abrogate or abandon it, We bring a better (Message) than that or (at least) the like of it [that which is with them, though mostly tampered]. Do you not know that Allâh is indeed Possessor of power to do all He will. [Nooruddin]

16:101. And Allâh knows very well the need of what He reveals [in light of tampering of the older Scriptures], yet when We replace a revelation [because of its tampering] with another revelation [afresh] they say (to you), `You are only a fabricator (of lies).’ The truth is, however, that most of them know nothing [of how much their Scriptures have been tampered with overtime]. [Nooruddin]

Unbeknownst to the documentary, it has only proven beyond doubt in the current issue that:

3:4. … And He has revealed (the Qur’ân as) the Criterion of judgement (between truth and falsehood)…[Nooruddin]


References:

Note: {text enclosed in the curly brackets above contains the footnotes of the printed edition of the book – Religion of Islam}
Note: [text enclosed in square brackets above is not part of the original quoted sources]
Unless stated otherwise, all verses and corresponding footnotes above are from the translation and commentary of Holy Quran – Muhammad Ali, edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz
Holy Quran – Nooruddin
The Religion of Islam – Muhammad Ali
Yahweh – Wikipedia
Chosen People – Wikipedia
Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t – The Phrase Finder
Dove World Outreach Center Quran-burning controversy – Wikipedia

Leave a Reply