March 31, 2005
Dear questioner! Thanks a lot for your confidence in us and your eagerness to understand the true teachings of Islam and find guidance. May Allah help us fulfill His Commands!
First of all, a correction should be made to the following phrase in your question: “the punishment specified for the person who commits adultery is 80 lashes”. It’s to be noted that as regard flogging - as a punishment specified for an unmarried person guilty of fornication – it’s 100 and not 80 lashes. In the very beginning of Surat An-Nur, it is stated that 100 lashes is the punishment specified for unmarried adulterer and adulteress, Allah says: (The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.) (An-Nur 24: 2).
Coming to the issue of stoning to death as a punishment for married adulterer and adulteress, the statement that there is no verse stipulating that punishment is not correct. It is to be made crystal clear that the punishment is explicitly sanctioned by both the Qur’an and the Prophetic Tradition. Before explaining this further, it’s to be stressed that such punishment should not be a cause of wonder, especially when we know that it had been there in the Divine Scriptures revealed before the Glorious Qur’an. There is a reference to this punishment in the Bible, for instance. It reads: "If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die." (Deuteronomy 22: 22) and also in Leviticus, we find the following verse:"If a man commits adultery with another man's wife-with the wife of his neighbor-both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death" (Leviticus 20: 10).