Adultery in Islam from two different angles: Traditional Islam vs Quranism – Part I
August 7, 2011 1 Comment
In this article (defining our terms), Traditional Islam is Sunnism and Quranism is the belief that the Quran is the supposed sole authority of sharia in Islam.
I have recently been investigating details on the adultery penalty in Traditional Islam compared to Quranist Islam. I would like to share them with you if you are interested in truth, because a part of truth is to hear your “opponent”, although I don’t want to be one.
The subject is adultery in the Quran and sunnah. Lately, I’ve had the chance to read a book on the interpretation of chapter 24 (Tafseer Surat An-Noor by M. A Al-Hasan and A. F Abu Albah – dated 1983. Old, I know), where the first part exclusively dealt with the penalties and regulations of adultery in “Islam”. I found them to be awfully bigot and contradicting. I still don’t understand why any Muslim woman ever got into an Islam-ruled marriage.
Moving on, this book preaches that chapter 24 is dealing with the social relationship between men and women, highlighting the act of fahisha. The writer/s insisted that adultery is, indeed, an act of fahisha – thus saying that 24:2 is an abrogation of 4:15-16.
I wish to discuss the penalty of adultery in traditional Islam with you bit by bit, simply because it is a must. The first detail includes abrogation in the Quran.
Although the Quran mentions that a verse (ayah, actually) could have been abrogated (and only ONCE, being 2:106), there’s a big chance “abrogation/naskh” in the Quran means something else. Well, whether it means abrogation or not, who said you can “cancel” one verse using another? What logic would allow this? All based on a possible contradiction you found? What about the many verses that state the Quran is clear, comprehensive, and of no fault (39:28, 41:3, 10:37, etc)? So in what name dare you annul or abolish a certain law made by the deity you acknowledge as GOD by another law made by Him when you have previously learned that no contradictions exist?
In fact, 39:28 mentions the Quran is free of awaj, literally meaning something free of crookedness. The Quran is thus straight-forward, and so, there is no chance of sudden “turn-backs”. And yet, some scholars of traditional Islam recognizes such turn-backs under the name of abrogation.
4:15, roughly speaking, states that if “women” among you commit a fahisha, and four witnesses gave testimony against them, they should be sentenced to house-arrest for life or until “God helps them find a way out”. Then 4:16 states that, if “two of you” commit it, then you should hurt them; that, if they repent, you can stop. Traditionally, 4:15 is an exclusive call against “obscene” women while 4:16 can be general (considering the grammar rules of Classical Arabic) and yet is not (to them). To them the verses say that (as the writer himself explained) if a woman commits such an obscenity, she would be locked up in her own house for life or until God offers her a way out, and if a man commits the same level of crime (the crime at level fahisha) would only be rebuked and admonished.
You think this is bigot? Wait ’till we discuss more of this. This, after all, if you are a traditional Muslim, the religion you settled for, and are thus obliged to study and know it.
Anyway, the entire point is that 4:15-16 were abrogated by 24:2. But let us, for a moment, imagine a world where no “contradiction” such as this was ever found (no, reader, it is not a contradiction, but a technicality). We have two options: ONE, we either say that a fahisha can be something horrible, but non-sexual, or that, TWO, “adultery” in the Quran could be something horrible, but non-sexual. Either ways, those two verses will have to work together, in harmony. Only one can be about adultery (if you think it’s about adultery anyway – I don’t), and only one can be about fahisha, and yes, either “adultery” or fahisha is sexual, but not both. Adultery can not be fahisha neither be a part of it, and vice versa.
Now, was it so hard to find a way to fit both statements of LAW in one book without having to abrogate either of the two?