1. Adultery and its Seriousness
Hazrat Ali (A) has reported from the Holy Prophet (SA) who said, “When the crime of adultery in my followers will be appalling, the number of premature deaths will be on increase.” (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 34)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (A) has said, “A man who indulges in adultery must be ready for six things, he will face three things in this world and the other three in the world hereafter.
The three things he will face in this world are:
1. His face will become ugly
2. Will be penniless
3. Will die soon
The three things he will face in the world hereafter are:
1. The rage of Allah
2. Very hard questioning.
3. Will remain in the hell forever
2. Adultery by an Unmarried Person
Hazrat Ali (A) used to punish those unmarried men who committed adultery by hundred whips and exile. (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 39).
3. If a Married Man or Woman Committed Adultery
If a married man or woman committed adultery Hazrat Ali (A) awarded them the punishment of stoning to death. (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 39).
4. Rajm (Stoning to Death) Purifies the One Who Committed Adultery)
When Hazrat Ali (A) went to see Sharaha Hamadania (a woman who committed adultery) being stoned to death there was such a huge crowd that it was feared that people would be trampled by one another.
Hazrat Ali (A), therefore, ordered the closure of the City gates. When the punishment was over and the gates were reopened for the people who had accompanied Hazrat Ali (A) to the scene to come in, people started passing remarks on th decased. Hazrat Ali (A) said to them, “Hold your tongue now, the deceased has been purified by the punishment awarded to her.”
7. Adultery With a Woman Who Agrees to the Crime Under Adverse Circumstances
It has been related from Arbaeen Khateeb Baghdadi that a woman was brought to Hazrat Omar (RA). She was found committing adultery on the banks of a certain river of Arbistan. After examining the witnesess Hazrat Omar (RA) awarded her punishment of stoning to death.
Hearing this judgement of Hazrat Omar (RA), she uttered the following words, “O God! Thou knoweth that I am not guilty.”
These words of her enraged Hazrat Omar (RA) further. He said to her, “You committed adultery and still you dare belie the witnesses.”
When she was being carried to the place where she was going to be stoned to death, she met Hazrat Ali (A) who was passing by that way.
Seeing her, he asked the executioners to take her back to Hazrat Omar (RA) for further investigation. When she was taken back to Hazrat Omar (RA), Hazrat Ali (A) asked her to relate her story to him (Hazrat Ali (A)). The woman in question related her story to as follows:
“My family has some camels. Yesterday, I took them out to the desert for grazing. At about noon I felt thirsty, but I had no water with me to drink, neither there was any water in the vicinity with which I could quench my thirst.”
“A little way off from there,” she continued, there was another man, who had water with him. But when I asked him for a little water to drink, he refused to give a single drop of it to me unless I agreed to commit adultery with him, but I refused.”
“When I felt very thirsty and was about to die of thirst,” further continued the woman, “I agreed, under compulsion though, to allow him to fulfil his carnal desire.
Having heard the story of the woman Hazrat Ali (A) exclaimed, “The one who is compelled by circumstances in case he or she is not disobedient and does not exceed the limits of law and go beyond the restrictions put on him or her by Allah they are not responsible for any crime committed under such circumstances.” Hearing this Hazrat Omar (RA) released the woman.
(Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 190, Biharul Anwar, vol. 9, p. 484, Riaz, vol. 2 p. 259; Zakheeratul Uqba, p. 81, Turuqi Hikmia by Ibne Qaiyum).
11. Different Punishments For One and the Same Crime
Asbagh bin Nabata has reported that five persons who were accused of adultery were once brought to Hazrat Omar (RA). He ordered for their punishment by stoning them all to death.
Hazrat Ali (A) when heard of that, said that the judgeent was wrong.
He then heard them separately and awarded them different punishments as follows:
To the first he awarded the punishment of beheading, stoning to death to the second, whipping to the third and half of the full punishment to the fourth. He set free the fifth after awarding him an ordinary punishment.
When Hazrat Omar (RA) asked Hazrat Ali (A) to explain his above decision, he (Hazrat Ali AS) said to him.
“The first of them is a Zimmi (the one who pays a certain amount to an Islamic State for the safety of his life) who has committed adultery with a Muslim woman; the second is a married man whose punishment under the religious law is stoning to death; the third is an unmarried man, who stands to be punished under the same law by whipping; the fourth is a slave whose punishment in case of adultery as fixed by the religious law is half of the full punishment fixed by the religious law for that crime; the fifth of them is half-mad and has therefore, been awarded an ordinary punishment for one and the same crime committed by others as this punishment has been fixed for such men and women by the religious law.”
Hazrat Omar (RA) while accepting the above judgement of Hazrat Ali (A) said, “May I not live in the nation wherein there is no Abul Hasan for solving such problems.”
(Manaqib, vol. 2, p. 183; Nasikhut Tawarikh, vol. 2, p. 732, Biharul Anwar vol. 9, p. 478)
2. If Adultery is Committed by a Man Whose Wife is Away From Him
Hazrat Ali (A) was on pilgrimage to Mecca when a man who accused of adultery was produced before him. The judgement by Hazrat Omar (RA) who was a caliph then, was to stone the man to death. On hearing of the above judgement delivered by Hazrat Omar (RA) in the case in question, Hazrat Ali (A) said to him;
“The total punishment fixed by the religious law in such a case is whipping and not stoning to death, because the wife of the man involved in it is away from him.”
Hearing this decision by Hazrat Ali (A), Hazrat Omar (RA) said, “May not Allah allow me to survive the time when I am in a difficulty and Abul Hasan is not there to solve it.”
(Manaqib Khawarzami through Bihar vol. 9, p. 478; Manaqib Shehr Aashob vol. 2, p. 183).
13. Adultery With a Christian or a Jewish Woman
Hazrat Muhammad bin Abubakr once wrote to Hazrat Ali (A) asking him that if a male Muslim commits adultery with a Christian or a Jewish woman what punishment should be awarded to them.
Hazrat Ali (A) wrote back to him, “If the Muslim male is a married one, stone him to death, if unmarried, he should be punished by hundred whips. The Christian or Jewish woman, if involved in such a case should be deported to their people to treat her as they liked. (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 39).
20. If Adultery is Committed by Those Who are Dangerously Ill
A man was once brought to Hazrat Ali (A) who was to be punished under the religious law for committing a certain crime, but as he had several wounds on his body, Hazrat Ali (A) said that he should be spared for some time till he recovered from those wounds. when his wounds healed, Hazrat Ali(a) ordered for his total punishment. (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 45).
It has been reported by Imam Jafar Sadiq (A) that a man was suffering from dropsy was presented before the Holy Prophet (SA). He was accused of adultery. The Holy Prophet (SA) asked the woman involved in the case as to whether she had agreed to the crime to which she replied that she became aware of the fact when he had attacked her and overpowered her. Thereafter, the Holy Prophet (SA) asked the man as to whether he admitted his crime, to which he replied in the affirmative, but he was not a married man. The Holy Prophet (SA), therefore, sent for a branch of the palm tree.
Then, He (S) caught hold of a hundred thin straws from that branch and beat the man therewith. From both the above reports, if taken jointly, it would be clear that a Muslim judge has the discretion of awarding either of the two punishments in such cases, i.e., he may award the punishment there and then as was done by the Holy Prophet (SA) or he may wait till the person recovers from illness. In case the one and the only way adopted by the Holy Prophet (SA) is followed by the judges in all such cases the fear of punishment would vanish from the minds of the peopleHowever, the judge must decide each case on individual merits and award the required punishment accordingly. In case there is no hope of the survival of the person from that disease as was surely in the case decided by the Holy Prophet (SA), he may follow the Holy Prophet (SA) in his judgement, but in case there is hope of survival of the accused from a certain disease or wounds as in the case decided by Hazrat Ali (A) wherein there was a certainty that the accused would servive his wounds which were expected to heal sooner or later, the judge may follow the latter with discretion which is allowed to him in such cases. (Note by Allama Jazairi; Abu Turab, (Urdu) vol. 2, p.88).
21. If Adultey is Committed With an Insane Woman
A question was put to Hazrat Ali (A) about an insane woman with whom adultery was committed and she had become pregnant , to which the Holy Imam (A) replied.
“An insane woman is just like an animal and is out of the control of her mind. Therefore, there is no punishment for her if she is involved in a case of adultery i.e., neither stoning to death nor even whipping or exile.” (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 46).
Allama Jazairi in his collection of judgements of Hazrat Ali (A) titled ‘Abu Turab’ (Urdu) vol. 2, p. 89) has added the following note to the above judgement.
“The above judgement is particularly meant for an insane woman. If an insane man who is either completely mad or his brain is slightly deranged is involved in such a case he cannot escape the punishment fixed for adultery for the reason as explained in the following tradition of Imam Jafar Sadiq (A) who has said .”
“If an insane man or a woman? whose brain is half deranged indulges in adultery, he would be stoned to death, provided he has a wife, otherwise he would be whipped.”
The person who has reported the above tradition of the Holy Imam (A) proceeding further says as under :
“When I asked the Holy Imam (A) as to why there were two different punishment for an insane man and an insane woman, he replied.”
“It is because the man involved in such a case commits the crime deliberately and sensibly i.e., with full knowledge of his sensual feelings and as to how he should do it, whereas the woman with whom the crime is committed and who is only an object in the case and has no sense at all as to what is being done with her but at times she is totally ignorant of it.” (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 46).
23. Adultery In Dream
A man brought another man, holding him by the opening in his shirt, to the first caliph, Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA), and said to the caliph, “This man says that he was discharged by dreaming adultery with my mother last night.”
The caliph wondered as to what he should say in the matter. Hazrat Ali (A) who was also present in the mosque at the time said to the caliph. “In such a case the justice is this that the man who has described his dream to the other man should be made to stand in the sun-shine and the punishment orders should be carried out on his shadow as he dreamt adultery only in a dream and the man should also be struck with one or two whips, so that he should not trouble people with such loose talk in future.”
(Manaqib Shehr Aashob vol. 2, p. 179).
1. Confession by a Man of Having Committed Adultery
It has been reported by Sheikh Sudooq (AR) that a man once came to Hazrat Ali (A) and confessed that he had committed adultery and requested him to purify him of his sin, but Hazrat Ali (A) turned his face to another direction. The man stood up again and said: “Ya Ali. ! I have committed adultery.”
Hazrat Ali (A) again turned his face from his side to another direction and engaged himself in talking with some other people present there. But the man once again addressed Hazrat Ali (A) in the same way, confessed again before him of having committed adultery and requested Hazrat Ali (A) earnestly to purify him of his sin.
Hazrat Ali (A) asked him :
“Why are you saying this” ?
“For purification of my sin”, said the man. At first Hazrat Ali (A) said without addressing any man in particular:
“Why people dont’ hide their own sins as Allah hides them …from the eyes of other people ?
The second time when the man requested him again to purify him of his sin, Hazrat Ali (A) remarked :
“What else is there which is better than penitence ? When the man stressed the point for the third time, Hazrat Ali (A) told him that if he repeated his words of confession once again he would have to punish him as had been ordered by Allah;
But when the man, despite the warning by Hazrat Ali (A), repeated the words of confession once again, he asked him as to whether he was physically sound and if his mind was working all right.
When the man replied in the affirmative, Hazrat Ali (A) said to him.
“All right, let me make an enquiry about the soundness of your brain at my own as you have told me now. Therefore, you better wait a bit and come to me after some time when I have completed my enquiry.”
After Amir-ul-Momineen Hazrat Ali (A) had made his private enquiry about the soundness of the man’s brain and it proved to be in proper form the man appeared before him again and insisted on the punishment for his above mentioned crime and for his purification thereby.
Hazrat Ali (A) then asked the people to gather next day outside Kufa with the condition that all of them had each a veil on their faces.
On the subsequent day when most of the residents of Kufa had collected outside the city of Kufa, Hazrat Ali (A) addressed them as follows :-
“O the people of Kufa! You have all collected and come here to witness this man to be stoned to death, but I bind you in the name of Allah to do so only if none of you has committed a crime for which punishment was necessary.”
Hearing the above words of Hazrat Ali (A) most of the spectators left the scene. But according to the report of Kulaini (may the peace of Allah be on him) only three persons were left on the scene. They were Hazrat Ali (A) himself and his two sons, Hazrat Imam Hasan (A) and Hazrat Imam Husain (A). When all other people had left, Hazrat Ali (A) hit the man with a big and heavy stone first, sounding the words or ‘Takbir’ (God is the greatest of all). Thereafter, Hazrat Imam Hasan and Hazrat Imam Husain (A) hit him with stones turn by turn till the man was dead and his soul (in all probability) had reached paradise.
Therefore, Hazrat Ali (A) pulled the dead body of the man out of the ditch which was dug previously for the purpose of stoning him to death, brought him to the city of Kufa, led his funeral prayer and buried him.
When people asked him as to why he had not given him the last bath, Hazrat Ali (A) replied as under:
“The patience he manifested while being stoned to death gave him such a bath of purity that he did not require any bath thereafter “ (Biharul Anwar, vol. 9 p. 494 through Abu Turab (Urdu) by Allama Jazairi, vol. 2, pp. 129-l32).
5. Conditions of Confession
Besides mentioning the perfect frame of mind, freedom to confess or not to confess and maturity as conditions of confession Hazrat Ali (A) has also said :
“If an accused in some case of theft admits to have committed the crime in question his hand is not to be cut off” (Wafi, vol. 9, p. 64).