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Offline Reader Questions

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Immoral Acts and Punishment
« on: February 04, 2012, 10:47:57 AM »
Dear Brother Salam
Would we be right to judge, from the verses 4:15-16 below, that immoral acts between two women or two men are punishable?
"As to those of your women who commit sexual perversity, call in four of you to witness against them, and if they bear witness then confine them to their houses, until death overtakes them or Allah makes for them a way out"
"And if two of your males commit the same (act of indecency), then punish them both, so if they repent and amend (keeping their conduct good) then turn aside from them, verily Allah is Oft-Returning (with compassion), Ever Merciful."

In the West, offences such as these are considered a personal business and the state does not regard them as decent or indecent. The state, however, is quick to act when an adult involves children in their pervert acts.

Offline Joseph Islam

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    • The Quran and its Message
Re: Immoral Acts and Punishment
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2012, 10:52:33 AM »
Salamun Alaikum brother.

The simple answer is yes.

The Quran remains unambiguous. However, with regards 4:16 no particular punishment is stipulated which would be judged according to circumstances. No doubt, serious repetitive transgressions if proven, may attract serious punishments.

However, if a sexual act between two men was proven then a minimum punishment of 24:2 can be argued for. The Arabic word 'zani' in the proper language of the Arabs means the 'mounting upon a thing'. Now in common parlance, it is usually understood to be unlawful sex whether adultery of fornication between a man and a woman. However, such unlawful liaisons can also arguably be extended to homosexual liaisons. If anything, a homosexual act between two men from a Quran's perspective would not only be unlawful sex, but also a transgression against nature. This could possibly be another reason why there is Quranic silence as to the exact punishment.

It is to be appreciated that 'personal business' can readily infuse as a wider societal ill and gain popular acceptance which is what the Quran clearly wants to curtail. It is often a slippery slope and Satan's lure is usually found in small steps as it slowly grates the moral psyche of the masses. The Quran clearly deems it fit to demarcate boundaries of what is and what is not acceptable, private or not. From a Quran's perspective this is not acceptable and if proven, punishable. There have been many nations mentioned in the Quran that found their works which seemed fair to them. Mass acceptance of a particular behavioural practice does not necessarily legitimise it in the sight of God.

After all, we have not been presented on Earth for mere sport, but are being trialled.

With regards 4:15, given the type of evidence that is required, this most likely refers to acts which have a risk of causing societal fitna such as prostitution (as an example). In this case, permanent house arrest is stipulated. This does not mean starve them to death. It just means that they are permanently confined to their living boundaries possibly as a measure to contain the ill. Of course, if proved, any acts of 'zina' would of course first imply punishment stipulated in 24:2.

However, where verses in Chapter 24 deal with men and women guilty of 'zina', 4:15 refers to 'faahisha' of women. Zina (24:2) is a form of 'faahisha' (lewdness) but not all 'faahisha' is zina. One would question whether women 'pimps' would also be considered guilty of 'faashisha' if four witnesses provided testimony against them. This is point often missed. Verse 4:15 speaks of 'faahishata' (lewdness) and does not restrict it to 'zina'.

There is also the statement 'aw yaj'ala-lahu lahunna sabilan' (or God makes for them a way) which is noteworthy. This seems to leave the doors open for some sort of reprieve, albeit the reprieve is not explicitly stipulated by the Quran. However, I personally do not believe that the lack of stipulation infers any sort of abrogation in favour of the legislation in 24:2.  Clearly, God's knowledge is infinite, He is not time bound to stipulate legislations, or to wait until circumstances forces Him to reveal new legislation. The coordinating conjunction 'or' (Arabic 'aw') is quite pivotal here to understand in 4:15. The Quran does not say 'hatta' (until) God provides a new way, which would be indicative of a possible abrogation in favour of a new legislation. Rather, it gives an either or scenario. (i.e. either confine them or God manifests another way for them).

The intentional ambiguity in the reprieve of 4:15, possibly leaves open the idea of reform or forms of repentance.

In the end, only Allah knows best.

I hope this helps, God willing.

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell