Inside the Middle East
September 7, 2010
Posted: 1649 GMT

From Errol Barnett, CNN

It may surprise some to find out that the Quran says absolutely nothing about stoning. However, the case of an Iranian woman being sentenced to death by stoning for adultery has lead many to criticize the Muslim faith for its practices. But reasons for the act are much more complicated and vary among Muslim countries – like Egypt and the UAE. As it turns out, the punishment stems from generations of interpretation of Hadith; narrations concerning the Prophet Mohammad. Many Islamic countries have implemented their own versions of implementing Hadith which has subsequently created volumes of legal precedent for certain punishments. Diana Hamade, a legal expert with International Advocate Legal Services, explained this to me from Dubai. It also raises the question; Outside the Vatican, can any one country represent an entire faith? And how much does interpretation of religious texts in other faiths lead to deep divisions among the faithful?

Watch the interview and post your thoughts.

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Boni   September 7th, 2010 7:17 pm ET

I think they should practice the real Muslim faith and stop making up stuff as they go along!

roymiii   September 8th, 2010 1:20 am ET

The public needs to remember that if it's not covered in the Qur'an it will almost always be in one of the hadith. If you try, you can buy one of many books that will give you examples of this. Main stream muslims fail to tell non-muslims about the hadith, which is second only to the qur'an. Check it out. There are any references of muhammad and others endorsing the practice of stoning. In fact there was a whole chapter on it left out of the Qur'an.

destinyinabox   September 8th, 2010 2:39 am ET

the problem is..people confuse culture with religion..

Mohamed Z. R   September 8th, 2010 5:48 am ET

Not only is stoning not mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, but God makes it almost impossible for someone to be actually punished. The act in itself must be observed by at least 4 witnesses and even then God says in the Holy Qur'an that "it is better to forgive".
There is a hadith (secondary source of Islamic law) that says the Prophet (PBUH) ordered stoning, however it is well known that 1. the individual insisted that the Prophet punished him and 2. The Prophet was known to rule by Judaic law prior to revelation of verses of the Holy Qur'an which abrogated the laws of the Jews and/or Christians.

Brian Macker   September 8th, 2010 6:01 am ET

"It may surprise some to find out that the Quran says absolutely nothing about stoning."

It may surprise Errol Barnett that the Qur'an is not the only Islamic religious literature that is respected. There are the Hadith's which are of equal esteem to the Muslims as the bible is to Christians, and also the Sharia law. Both of those sanction stoning. That is enough and the fact that the Qur'an is silent on the matter only bolsters the fact that it is Islamic to punish by stoning.

Mohammad himself proscribed and oversaw many a stoning. In fact, he was in charge of the beheading of ever male in one Jewish tribe because he felt some members of that tribe had conspired against him. He then sold the survivors into slavery, taking many sex slaves for his men.

The Quran itself encourages a long list of atrocities and terror tactics against non-Muslims, so it isn't exactly bloodless. It has entire sections titled "The Spoils [of War]" and "The Ranks [of War]" with complete instructions on how to conquer, enslave, practice genocide, turn women slaves into baby factories, murder political opponents, torture the innocent to extract the whereabouts of booty, and the like.

The protesters against the mosque (and Islam in general) know far more about it than the author of this article. Stoning is integral to Islam, and is proscribe at least six times in the Hadith and is universal in Sharia law.

Brian Macker   September 8th, 2010 6:02 am ET

That was prescribed, not proscribed.

Woody   September 8th, 2010 12:09 pm ET

Let me get this straight. Writings from 1300 years ago apply in the 21st century. Do Muslims ever actually think and apply common sense to anything? Islam, as practiced in theocracies, is the laughing stock of the civilized world, and rightly so. Torturing people, or for that matter, any other living things to death is barbaric. It doesn't matter what book it's written in, or who wrote the book, it's WRONG. If the person being executed was a mass murderer, it would be wrong. Adultery? Give me a break! What goes on between two consenting adults is a personal matter. It's none of state's business and it certainly none of any religion's business. Civilized countries have understood this for many, many years. Islam just doesn't seem to get it. If you believe in your omnipotent god, your god doesn't need human beings to be it's representatives. I'm sure that your god is quite capable of administering the proper punishment without human assistance. This incident is an embarrassment to every Muslim in the world.

CHRIS   September 8th, 2010 4:23 pm ET

It is funny how much people don't know about other religions but also funny how much people don't know their own history or religions. Christians Bible call for all sorts of outdated practices like slavery, submissive wives, murder, and live animal sacrifice. Islam is not a new religion. Hatred is not new. Americans need to buck up stop being scared and grow up and educate yourselves. During the middle ages Christians had what the radical Muslims want and it was called the dark ages. LOOK IT UP FOOLS. Radical Christians are probably more dangerous to American culture because we don't even recognize its ideology as radical at all. P.S. Hitler was a Christian.

John A   September 9th, 2010 11:45 am ET

We can examine any society at any point in history and find positive and negative aspects. Who can say Christian societies have never shed innocent blood? Who can say Jewish societies have never shed innocent blood? Who can say Muslims have never shed innocent blood? Equally who can say any of these groups has never contributed to the evolution of man?

Not surprisingly no person with half a brain could make such claims, as all mentioned groups are made of mere people and express the same shortcomings in a multitude of different ways. i.e. was McCarthy much different from a fanatical religious cleric?

But to get a grip on the situation we can look at our tax systems. If you agree with the war on terror please tick a box on your tax form which allows the government to take and extra 20% tax from your salary to pay for the war on terror. I have a feeling when all those with anti Muslim rhetoric need to take direct financial responsibility for their views, we we all start to live in peace and without a need to incite and disrespect other cultures.

patricia   September 9th, 2010 9:17 pm ET

how was the bible and quran written when centuries ago people were uneducated and surely unable to write,but millions of people are willing to believe hearsay,well only the easy to brainwash people.

Umari Ayim   September 10th, 2010 1:14 am ET

Both the Torah and the Bible have stories of ancient practices that the followers of the religion no longer apply to modern life, i.e, stoning. Yet I don't see Christians or Jews sticking to a set of beliefs and traditions more than a thousand years old. So why can't followers of Islam, discard these barbaric practices at this point when the human race has advanced technologically and mentally?
No doubt Christianity and Judaism has had its own share of atrocities but followers of Islam have been in dogged pursuit to preserve their not so enviable position as proponents of violence and archaic laws. Errol, you may not see stoning in the Koran, like Brian said, Koran is not the only Islamic literature that is respected. The truth is often times hidden from the hurried unbeliever. Sincere Muslims must expunge this ancient practices from their modern legal systems for the world to regard Islam in a positive light.

Karim Adam   September 10th, 2010 9:27 am ET

Looking at the Islamic Holy Book the Koran, many aspect of the written state forgive your enemy and pray for them in time of hardness. I belive Prophet Mohammed itself preach the forgiveness of Sin committed to another. The problem we are facing is the interpreter, they interprit every verson of Koran to suit their present stuation. You can imagine how they can persuade another to blow itself up. They used the idot who cannot think to carry out this barbaric method of die. They themself will never allow thier relation or children to commit this act of evil rather used the idot for this action. I belive the woman sentences to death has some kind of relation with the judge relative but failed, the next unternative way to punish her was to find some allegation agaist her and used his power to retaliate. please stop this barbaric way of punishment.

John A   September 10th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

Patricia says:
how was the bible and quran written when centuries ago people were uneducated and surely unable to write,but millions of people are willing to believe hearsay,well only the easy to brainwash people.
Patricia, you do know the Jews claim to have the oldest know religion.
They say its 5000 years old. I guess the message of Judaism was first painted on a cave wall by some Neanderthal. Does that make Judaism even more of a backward and brainwashed teaching?

Ash   September 13th, 2010 6:39 pm ET

How could some of the writers on these commentaries claim that the Prophet Mohammed Or Islam preaches forgiveness? I'm not deviating from the blood thirsty history of Christianity or Judaism, but both of those religions have fended these atrocities and where could you find a church that justifies (from the scripture) the killing of none Chrisitians.
No dis respect to fellow Muslims, but anyone who reads the bigraphy of the Prophet Mohammed or the Quran (and the Haddith) can not ignore the fact that they hold a lot of hostility towards non-muslims!
Simply pay a visit to any Islamic country and study their Islamic law! Non Muslims hold limited rights, unless they convert to Islam!
It's about time that Muslims in the West pay attention to the right of Non Muslims in Islamic countries (it should work both ways)!

Rahul   September 14th, 2010 5:31 am ET

Ash thats absolutely true! It should work both ways!

Something to think about :)

Edina   September 16th, 2010 12:20 am ET

Mohamed Z. R is your typical garden variety Muslim who has no respect for other faith and is proud to say so. In fact Islam and Muslims regard Islam is the only true religion of God (Allah) and all other faiths are either false or curropted. This arrogant and exclusive attitude is very much part of the Islamic 'teaching and tradition'

Of course STONING is also part of the Islamic 'teaching and tradition', see below:

The 'basic form' of the report [of `Ubada] runs as follows:
The Prophet said, 'Take it from me! God has now appointed a way for women: the virgin with the virgin, one hundred strokes and a year's banishment; the non-virgin with the non-virgin, one hundred strokes and stoning.' (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 74 quoting Safi`i, "Risalah", p. 20)

The descent of inspiration [wahy] was troublesome to the Prophet. His face would go ashen in colour. One day inspiration came down upon him and he showed the usual signs of distress. When he recovered, he said, 'Take it from me! God has now appointed a way for women: the non-virgin with the non-virgin and the virgin with the virgin. The non-virgin, one hundred strokes and death by stoning, the virgin, one hundred strokes and banishment for a year.' (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 74 quoting Ahmad b. al Husain al Baihaqi, "al Sunan al Kubra", 10 vols., Haiderabad, 1925-38/1344-57, vol. 8, p. 210)

We could tell when the inspiration descended upon the Prophet. When the words, 'or until God appoint a way', were revealed, and the inspiration ascended, the Prophet said, 'Take heed! God has now appointed the way: the virgin with the virgin, one hundred strokes and banishment for a year; the non-virgin with the non-virgin, one hundred strokes and death by stoning.' (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, pp. 74-75 quoting Sulaiman b. Da'ud al Tayalisi, "Sunan", Haiderabad, 1904/1321, p. 79)

It is related that when a woman guilty of adultery was brought before `Ali, he flogged her and then had her stoned. Someone protested: 'but you have inflicted two penalties!' `Ali replied, 'I stoned her in accordance with the Sunna of the Prophet and flogged her in accordance with the Book of God.' (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 75 quoting Ahmad b. `Ali b. Muhammad al `Asqalani, ibn Hajar, "Fath al Bari", 13 vols, Cairo, 1939/1348, vol. 12, p. 103)

[`Umar said: ] Do not complain about stoning. It is a just claim and I am minded to write it in the mushaf. I fear that with the passage of time some will say, 'We do not find stoning in the Book of God', and on that pretext they will neglect a divine ruling which God revealed. Stoning is a just claim against the married person who fornicates, when there is adduced valid proof, or pregnancy ensues, or a confession is offered. (John Burton, The Collection of the Qur'an, 1977, p. 77 quoting Ahmad b. `Ali b. Muhammad al `Asqalani, ibn Hajar, "Fath al Bari", 13 vols, Cairo, 1939/1348, vol. 12, p. 119)
The above hadith, however, does not say explicitly if the verse was sunna or part of the Qur'an.


Errol Barnett has not done proper research and CNN has been promoting Islam at the expense of other faiths, shame ...

Edina   September 16th, 2010 12:35 am ET

Those who claim the Bible also contains STONING and other unacceptable/repugnant practices, please note, they are longer done and not in a long time.

The Christians who kill and muder do not do it in the name of God/Christ or Christianty. Islamists kill and muder in the name of Islam and Allah. This is the major difference. Strangely there is hardly any condemnations come from Muslim and their leaders or states.

There is no STONING or any other repugnant practices taught by Christ, not one in the New Testament of the holy Bible. Similarly I can't imagine these sort of practices mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures.

Yet plenty Quranic passages that advocates these repugnant practices and they are still being practised by a large majority of Muslims.

John A   September 17th, 2010 8:29 am ET

Edina, If Muslims commit terror in the name of Allah, then Catholics commit pedophilia in the name of Jesus.

1 Million Iraqis dead over a lie. Put that in context with your pompous talk.

The state of Palestine has been murdered in the name of Judaism. Again how does that fit with your pompous talk!

Try getting of you pretentious high horse and send your own children into the front line of Iraq. Then come back and talk, because at the moment you sound like a middle aged white girl who sits in church to pretend she's a Christian and does nothing to protest the mass murder that her fellow citizens have supported in Iraq, Palestine, Vietnam, Korea etc......

Filipe   September 20th, 2010 1:38 pm ET

John A,

"The state of Palestine has been murdered in the name of Judaism."

What a hoot !!!!!!!

Who ever told you there was a "State of Palestine" ?????

Well, let me inform you-- there NEVER has been a "State of Palestine" in the entire history of the world !!!! Never !!!

Jack Abiddon   November 11th, 2010 4:42 pm ET

It's quite funny how these kind of arguments spring up everywhere. Everyone's arguing like children. Grow up.

Dawn R.   November 13th, 2010 11:44 pm ET

"...the problem is..people confuse culture with religion...."

Tell that to all the Islamic governments where the Islamic culture and religion are both mixed. Most often they have the worst human rights abuses along with Communist regimes.

People in Western nations, where religion is viewed as a personal faith, have very little understanding regarding Islam. In many parts of the world when one is born in an Islamic family the child is considered a Muslim automatically...and is possibly punished by either the state's, civil, or religious laws as well as by family should he/she convert to another faith.

The same cannot be said of Christians.

B Chainer   November 14th, 2010 10:46 pm ET

It is very simple to actually read the relevant religious writings that are being discussed here, however, that takes time and effort. Many people prefer to simply give their preconceived views on the various teachings and histories of the various religions and cultures without actually researching from multiple viewpoints.

I believe that a person should make every effort to approach these matters from an objective and unbiased viewpoint, discarding preconceived notions, and ask these two questions:

1. What exactly does the religious literature state about the topic being discussed?

2. Historically or currently when a certain group performs an action that may be deemed to be evil, barbaric, oppressive, etc, was that action actually in line with the teachings of that group's religious literature, or was that group actually contradicting their own religious literature?

Now specifically pertaining to this article and the comments I see here, my conclusions are this:

1. Islamic culture and traditions across nationalities are built squarely upon the Hadiths as well as the Qur'an, and stoning was practiced by Mohammed and has been practiced by Muslims as punishment for adultery from the beginning.

2. Jesus never commanded or excused pedophilia, thus John A is wrong for blaming Christianity for the actions of pedophile Catholic priests, as they are contradicting their own belief system...and on a related note Mohammed married a 6 year old girl and consummated the marriage when she was 9 and he was in his 50s, so the act of pedophilia is condoned in Islam and marriage to prepubescent girls is legal in many modern Islamic nations.

3. The Jewish identity is both cultural and religious, however it is primarily religious and citizenship and the Right of Return in the modern state of Israel is based squarely on religious beliefs. The Jewish culture itself across many nationalities of diaspora is united only by a common religious culture, and Zionism as secular politics cannot be separated from religious belief about proper ownership of that land.

Thus I agree with John A that millions of Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian I might add, have been murdered in the name of Judaism, and a study of Jewish religious literature specifically the Talmud does not, in my opinion, show any contradiction between Jewish belief system and the aggressive actions of Israel.

On a related note, the original violent Muslim expansions, and the modern jihadist violence, are in line with Mohammed's teachings on jihad.

On a related note, the Crusades were not in line with Jesus' teachings, as Jesus commanded no violence, nor any political or military entity to represent him on earth.

On a related note, the United States of America is not a Christian nation in name or practice, and the actions of the American government in various wars cannot be attributed to Christianity, as they are not in line with the teachings of Jesus, as Jesus commanded no violence, nor any political entity to represent him on earth.

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