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What is the punishment for adultery? Flogging with a 100 stripes (men and women) [24:2], "confine them to houses until death do claim them (lifelong house arrest - for the women) [4:15]. For men: "If they repent and amend, leave them alone" [4:16]. 24:2 contradicts both the procedure for women and men in Sura 4. And why is the punishment for women and men equal in Sura 24 but different in Sura 4?
Al-Noor(24):2 is the punishment for unwed adulterers (men and women both). If someone is unwed and performs adultery then they are whipped 100 lashes and banished for one year. This is described in detail by the prophet (pbuh) himself in, for example, the Hadeeth of Abu-Hurairah and Zaid ibn Khalid Al-Juhani (in the Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim). On the other hand, the verses of Al-Nissa(4):15-16 were an early revelation in the early years of Islam and contain an explicit condition at the end. They say "...until death comes unto them or God ordains for them a [different] path." This indeed occurred a number of years later when God revealed this "other path" with the new regulation of Al-Noor(24):2. This issue too can be studied in the Hadeeth of the prophet (pbuh) narrated by Ubadah ibn Al-Saamit (in the Musnad of Ahmad, 5/318). Further, contrary to his claim, Al-Nissa(4):16 is speaking about both men and women, not as he claims, only men. The "dual" form of all verbs are used throughout. It says:
"And the two among you who are guilty thereof, punish them both. But if they both repent and mend [their ways] then leave them both alone. Verily! Allah is Oft-Relenting, Most-Merciful."
A minority of commentators have suggested that this verses applies to
sodomites as suggested by Mujahid, and this opinion appears to have been adopted by Yusuf
Ali in his translation. However the consensus in this matter is that it refers to the
adulterous partners, man and woman. Nowhere in the original Arabic verse does the word
"man" or "men" appear. It only repeats the word "both" as
seen in the above translation. For more on this issue you may read "Safwat
Al-Tafaseer" by Muhammad Al-Sabooni.
Back to Responses to the so called "Contradictions" in the Noble Quran.
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