The Punishment for the Illegal Relationship in Islam
The punishment for illegal sexual act with a woman is hundred lashes. The penalty of illicit sexual intercourse between a married woman and married man is stoning to death.
Hazrat Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:-
"There are three types of people with whom Allah will not even speak on the day of Qiyamat. There is a terrible punishment for them. One of these three group will that be of the women who inspite of having husbands commit adultery with others."
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:-
"Whoever commits Fornication with a married woman. Both of their sexual organs will give out such a stink that it would be felt even at the distance of five hundred years. This stench will hurt the people of Hell. And such fornicators will be subjected to the most severe punishment."
Islam prescribes very strict and severe laws of punishment for the wrong doers. This is necessary. It is only the severity of a law that compels average individuals to abide by it. But, however severe the punishments prescribed in Islam may be, they are always tampered by Allah's Mercy and Compassion. Hadd (punishment) for adultery can only be executed if there are four just witnesses who have seen the sin being committed with their own eyes. Obviously the worldly punishment can be given only to those who publicly and shamelessly behave like beasts. It is truly amazing that even for such loathsome behaviour, Islam orders leniency in punishment. For example, only a married person who commits adultery is to be stoned to death. The punishment for an unmarried person is a hundred lashes.
The present day youth is caught in the mire of economic and moral decline. They are mentally disturbed and unstable. They believe it is advantageous to avoid the bonds and responsibilities of marriage and satisfy their natural needs with illicit relationships.
Islamic law first takes into consideration the condition and helplessness of the fornicator, and only then does it prescribe the punishment. The fornicators are divided into seven groups and different penalties are fixed for them.
1) Stoning to death.
2) Stoning and lashes - both.
3) A hundred lashes and exile from the city after shaving the head.
4) Fifty lashes.
5) Seventy five lashes.
6) "Zighas"- it means picking up the lash many times to hit once.
7) The penalty of Fornication and fine - both.
Following are the legal rulings, according to jurisprudence and traditions.
1) In order to establish the crime of adultery, four just male witnesses are required; or three just male and two just female witnesses or two just male and four just female witnesses. If two just male witnesses and four just female witnesses state that they have witnessed the act, and if the sinner or the fornicator does not have a legal wife, or the fornicator woman does not have a legal husband, than they are not stoned to death. They are only given a hundred lashes each.
2) All the witnesses must testify that the crime had occurred at one and the same place.
3) All the witnesses must testify that a crime has occurred at the same time.
4) All the witnesses must testify in the same sitting.
5) If four just people quote the testimony of four just witnesses it is not sufficient.
6) If four just witnesses testify that a certain woman has committed Fornication, their testimony shall not be accepted if they are not familiar with this woman since they do not know her and it could be that she is the legal wife of that man.
7) If three of the four witnesses testify and the fourth one refrains from testifying, or if his testimony differs from the previous three witnesses, the three witnesses who have testified shall be punished for qazaf (defaming a chaste man or woman of adultery).
8) If the fornicator confesses his crime thrice, but refrains from the fourth confession, he cannot be punished. For a penalty to be lawful, it is necessary to confess four times.
9) He must make four confessions in four different sitting. He cannot be penalised if he makes four confessions in one sitting.
10) It is not permitted for the Judge to goad the accused to confess. He must also not be prompted to complete sentences (that is words must not be put into his mouth). The Judge must try to maintain purity, chastity and dignity among the common people and must try his utmost that the crime of adultery is not proved. The Judge must try to give such suggestions to the accused that he may be able to save himself from the penalty by falling into doubts and uncertainties. It is also the duty of the Judge to encourage the accused to plead innocence.
11) When a married man confesses of adultery four times but later pleads innocence, the penalty of stoning will not be imposed upon him. His punishment shall be reduced.
12) A new convert to Islam who is unaware of the punishment shall not be punished.
13) If the adulterer is unmarried and he is suffering from some illness, the jurist is authorised to beat him with a broom of twigs or a branch of date palm. He should consider these as lashes. He could also beat him with a branch or broom and consider each of its twig equivalent to one lash.
14) The lashing should be so controlled that the flesh of the body is not affected. The accused can only be punished when he has committed the crime willingly. (If someone is forced to commit Fornication, penalty cannot be imposed upon him ).
15) If a man mistakes a woman to be his legal wife and has sexual intercourse with her, then he cannot not be punished.
This is thus the detailed analysis of the laws prescribed by the all Beneficent and the all Merciful Allah, who knows His creatures very well. He has prescribed such regulated punishments for a serious sin like Fornication.
(Extract from the book "Greater Sins" by Shaheed DastGhaib)