September 7th, 2010
08:41 PM ET

What the Quran says about stoning

Editor's Note: CNN Anchor and Correspondent Errol Barnett filed this post over at our sister blog Inside the Middle East.

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.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Iran • Islam • Quran

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Reading is fundamental

    The stoning of women is no where to be found in the Noble Quran nor was it once once stated as the punishment for Adultery.Those of you who haven't made an afford yet to pick up a Quran to educate your self yet, PLEASE read the following below.

    The ADULTERER and the ADULTERESS, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred lashes. And let not pity for the twain withhold you from obedience to Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of believers witness their punishment. The adulterer shall not marry save an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress none shall marry save an adulterer or an idolater. All that is forbidden unto believers. And those who accuse HONORABLE WOMEN but bring not four witnesses, scourge them (with) eighty stripes and NEVER (afterward) accept their testimony – They indeed are evil-doers – Save those who afterward repent and make amends. (For such) lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. As for those who accuse their wives but have no witnesses except themselves; let the testimony of one of them be four testimonies, (swearing) by Allah that he is of those who speak the truth; And yet a fifth, invoking the curse of Allah on him if he is of those who lie. And it shall avert the punishment from her if she bear witness before Allah four times that the thing he saith is indeed false, And a fifth (time) that the wrath of Allah be upon her if he speaketh truth. Quran 24:9

    Tell the believing MEN to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.AND tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers....Qur'an 24:30-31

    And to the commenter (Reality) if you read what you posted you will see that not once was any Muslim commanded to stone anyone nor did they pick up any stones, yet it was the people(Idolaters,polytheist,unbelievers...)who rejected the Islamic message that wanted to stone the Muslims.
    Also to your comment ( 051.033 YUSUFALI: "To bring on, on them, (a shower of) stones of
    clay (brimstone), 051.033 PICKTHAL: That we may send upon them stones of clay,
    051.033 SHAKIR: That we may send down upon them stone of clay,

    Clearly if you were to read/paste the whole verse you and others would see its the story of Sodom and Gomorrah when the Three angels visited Abraham also found clearly in Genesis 18 (KJV).

    (23) Has the story reached thee, of the honored Guests of Abraham? (24) Behold they entered His presence, and said: "Peace!" He said "Peace!" (and thought) "these seem unusual people." (25) Then he turned quickly to his household, brought out a fatted calf. (26) And placed it before them... He said "Will ye not Eat?" (27) (When they did not eat), He conceived a fear of them. They said "Fear not" and they gave him glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge. (28) But his wife came forward (laughing) aloud: she smote her forehead and said: "A barren old woman!" (29) They said "Even so has thy Lord spoken: and He is full of Wisdom and Knowledge." (30) (Abraham) said: "And what, O ye Messengers, is your errand (now)?" (31) They said "We have been sent to a people (deep) in sin― (32) "To bring on, on them, (a shower of) stones of clay (brimstone), (33) "Marked as from thy Lord for those who trespass beyond bounds." (34) Then We evacuated those of the Believers who were there. (35) But We found not there any just persons except in one house: (36) And We left there a Signs for such as fear the Grievous Penalty. Quran 051.023-036 YUSUFALI

    September 8, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  2. (B)iraq Hussein Osama

    in Islam, adultery is a crime. so it is punishable like other crimes in the christian world. notice in the christian world, no one implements christian principles on crime and punishment. if you kill someone, then repent and scream, "i believe in Jesus" "Jesus is the Lord, hallelujah, hallelujah", they don't let you go home scott-free. they still send you to jail and in the more christian of countries, they even "stone you to death"!

    in Islam adultery is akin to killing. if your spouse does not forgive you, the law is that you be put to death by stoning. in order to make it hard to commit adultery and thus end up stone dead, there are measures to help you. women cover their private parts and there is segregation of sexes in the public sphere. no boo ty on TV either. only boo ty you see shaking around is your own wifes. so hers is all you covet!

    within such restraints, adultery comes across as a much more hedious crime than in the christian world, where everything is on public display, at work, in the supermarket and on TV. on top of that you mix freely, to show it off in close quarters. it would be a crime to declare adultery a crime in christiandom! the whole system is designed to promote adultery.

    September 8, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  3. GSA

    Ask a mdoerate Christian what it says about killing in the name of god in the bible and you will get one answer, then ask an extremist Christian the same question and you will get a totally different and opposite story. Now show the answer from the moderate on tv one time and show the answer from the extremist a 1000 times and let's see what the world thinks of Christianity. Just saying.

    September 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      whats a moderate christian? an adulterer?

      September 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
  4. George

    The war between Islam and the civilized world is the final battle written of in the Bible. As anyone who has eyes can see, and anyone who has ears can hear, Islam seeks to dominate the world. If you are not a Muslim you are a infidel and should be killed.

    September 8, 2010 at 9:46 am |
    • JohnQuest

      George, Christianity took over the world by force, this is no difference (modern weapons maybe), but the idea of spreading religion at the point of a sword is not unique to Muslims. What do you think is meant by "bringing democracy to the masses"?

      September 8, 2010 at 10:07 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "The war between Islam and the civilized world is the final battle written of in the Bible. As anyone who has eyes can see, and anyone who has ears can hear, Islam seeks to dominate the world. If you are not a Muslim you are a infidel and should be killed."

      The Muslims are not good at war. We could kick their a$$. We could have cheap gas again. LOL

      September 8, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • Nonimus

      Excuse me, there's a war between Islam and the "civilized" world? When did that happen? I don't remember anyone declaring war on Islam, or the the "civilized" world (whatever that is).

      Peddle your hysteria elsewhere.

      September 8, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • NL

      Was civilized Rome at war with Christianity almost two thousand years ago?

      September 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      "the muslims are no good at war"

      thats why islam is the religion of peace!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  5. corso

    Even for this woman in the interview, its hard to defend islam, geee

    September 8, 2010 at 9:17 am |
  6. Woody

    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 were 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 states business and it’s 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 its representatives. I'm sure that your god is quite capable of administering the proper punishment without human assistance.

    September 8, 2010 at 8:57 am |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      one only need to visit a 70-year old extermination camp in Poland to see how civilized you are!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • dutchblitz1

      There was also Bosnian Muslim units in the SS and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Al-Husseini, was a close friend of Adolf Hitler.

      September 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      how many egyptian, indian, pakistani, indonesian, malaysian, algerian, moroccon, sudanese, palestinian, iraqi, persian, saudi, and nigerian units were there in Hitler's SS?? Bosnia? bosnia is in europe!

      September 8, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  7. Ahmad Hosein

    there is no stoning for adultery in the christian world. which is why adultery is rampant among christians. it is even glorified on TV and in cinema. connect the dots! duh!

    September 8, 2010 at 3:54 am |
    • Reality

      Why did today's pope, prelates, preachers, imams and rabbis, so focused on society's se-xual sins, lose sight of clerical se–xual sins?

      Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

      Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

      Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of ped-ophilia are married.

      Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have s-ex with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy"

      Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods

      Neither is being an atheist or pagan since ped-ophilia is present in all walks of life,

      If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedop-hiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, imams, married men/women), divorce for ad-ultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law) and the death penalty or life in prison for mur-der ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

      September 8, 2010 at 8:26 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Ahmad Hosein, does the punishment really fit the crime, Capital Punishment for adultery? This makes sense to you, although it makes no sense at all to me (and I would predict it makes no sense to the other 5 billion of us non Muslims), I would have less problems if it were applied to all citizen of that country, both men and women, those in power and the working class, the rulers and the ruled, but that is not the case. I Muslim countries men are superior to women, rulers are superior to the ruled, and the clerics are superior to all. I think it is the second most factor of why Muslims countries are no longer powerful of for that matter even respected around the world.

      September 8, 2010 at 9:58 am |
    • Nonimus

      I'm sure if the punishment for jay-walking (crossing a street outside of the designated crossing area) was stoning that it would cut down on jay-walkers too. Does that mean we should stone people for jay-walking?

      September 8, 2010 at 10:28 am |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      why not! if jay walking destroys lives, we sure should!

      September 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
    • Ahmad Hosein

      if men are not superior to women in the christian world, why do they occupy 90% of the positions of power and wealth?

      September 8, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      the only lives destroyed by adultery are the living humans that get stoned to death for being accused.

      September 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
    • (B)iraq Hussein Osama

      i assume your comment is directed at the millions and millions of children of broken marriages that adultery produces (smile).

      September 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • Sharon

      I think you are misunderstanding Christians. Stoning is what each countries rules are and what that country believes in. It is a cultural thing. I am sure if you ask the minority of Christians that live in Muslim countries (that believe in stoning) believe the same way as their Muslim counterparts. There are however a lot of Muslim countries that do not use stoning as a form of punishment. I believe what your talking about is Christian countries that don't believe in stoning. Remember just because you see movies showing adultery in them doesn't mean that those actors/actresses are Christians. One good thing about being a Christian is we are given choices. We can either choose the Christ like path or not. To be Christian is to be Christ like. Children born of Chriistian parents are not automatically presumed Christian. It is a choice! If we choose the later we will be judged by God, but only by God can we be judged and judged fairly. For he sees all and knows all. We as man cannot judge fairly. If one wants to commit adultery he can find ways to do it. In some countries orfi marriage is legalized. It is called legal adultery and is very common, but in the eyes of God it is the same thing. Regards,

      January 1, 2011 at 4:20 am |
  8. Reality

    018.020 YUSUFALI: "For if they should come upon you, they would
    stone you or force you to return to their cult, and in that case
    ye would never attain prosperity."

    018.020 PICKTHAL: For they, if they should come to know of you,
    will stone you or turn you back to their religion; then ye will
    never prosper.

    018.020 SHAKIR: For surely if they prevail against you they would
    stone you to death or force you back to their religion, and then
    you will never succeed.

    019.046 YUSUFALI: (The father) replied: "Dost thou hate my gods,
    O Abraham? If thou forbear not, I will indeed stone thee: Now get
    away from me for a good long while!"

    019.046 PICKTHAL: He said: Rejectest thou my gods, O Abraham? If
    thou cease not, I shall surely stone thee. Depart from me a long

    019.046 SHAKIR: He said: Do you dislike my gods, O Ibrahim? If
    you do not desist I will certainly revile you, and leave me for a

    036.018 YUSUFALI: The (people) said: "for us, we augur an evil
    omen from you: if ye desist not, we will certainly stone you. And
    a grievous punishment indeed will be inflicted on you by us."

    036.018 PICKTHAL: (The people of the city) said: We augur ill of
    you. If ye desist not, we shall surely stone you, and grievous
    torture will befall you at our hands.

    036.018 SHAKIR: They said: Surely we augur evil from you; if you
    do not desist, we will certainly stone you, and there shall
    certainly afflict vou a painful chastisement from us.

    044.020 YUSUFALI: "For me, I have sought safety with my Lord and
    your Lord, against your injuring me.

    044.020 PICKTHAL: And lo! I have sought refuge in my Lord and
    your Lord lest ye stone me to death.

    044.020 SHAKIR: And surely I take refuge with my Lord and your
    Lord that you should stone me to death:

    051.033 YUSUFALI: "To bring on, on them, (a shower of) stones of
    clay (brimstone),

    051.033 PICKTHAL: That we may send upon them stones of clay,

    051.033 SHAKIR: That we may send down upon them stone of clay,

    September 8, 2010 at 12:15 am |
    • collegepark

      None of the translations you posted have anything to do with stoning as a punishment for adultery... The article did explicitly say the Quran does not mention stoning, but I think we all know what it is referring to. If you want to take those words out of context, post on FOX news, because that's what they do best.

      September 9, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  9. Kate

    You're wasting your time, people don't want facts, they want soundbites.

    Just sayin'

    September 7, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.