4 witnesses necessary to prove Rape

Rape in Islamic sharia is equivalent with that of a Highway robbery. Hudud punishments are those punishments which are specified in Quran and Hadith. It needs 4 adult, male witnesses OR confession of the criminal to deliver prescribed Hudud punishment for adultery, rape, robbery etc. That's the Islamic Sharia.

Sahih Bukhari, Vol 8, Book 82, Hadith 816, Narrated Ibn Abbas,

Umar said, "I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, "We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book," and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession."

Sufyan added, "I have memorized this narration in this way." Umar added, "Surely Allah's Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him."

Therefore, according to this divine law, Hudud punishment for rape which is death penalty could only be given in two cases:

1. Confession by the rapist, or

2. Testimony of 4 (adult, male) witnesses.

A raped woman's accusation on another person is simply not enough. In Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 40, (Chapter: Regarding one deserving of the punishment coming to confess) Hadith 29, we read: Narrated Wa'il ibn Hujr:

When a woman went out in the time of the Prophet (pbuh) for prayer, a man attacked her and overpowered (raped) her. She shouted and he went off, and when a man came by, she said: That (man) did such and such to me. And when a company of the Emigrants came by, she said: That man did such and such to me.

They went and seized the man whom they thought had had intercourse withher and brought him to her. She said: Yes, this is he. Then they brought him to the Apostle of Allah (pbuh).

When he (the Prophet) was about to pass sentence, the man who (actually) had assaulted her stood up and said: Apostle of Allah, I am the man who did it to her. He (the Prophet) said to her: Go away, for Allah has forgiven you. But he told the man some good words (AbuDawud said: meaning the man who was seized), and of the man who had had intercourse with her, he said: Stone him to death.

He also said: He has repented to such an extent that if the people of Medina had repented similarly, it would have been accepted from them. Abu Dawud said: Asbat bin Nasr has also transmitted it from Simak.

In this particular Hadith we see, Muhammad was about to pass the judgement but didn't do so until the rapist confessed of the crime. Only after the original rapist confessed did Muhammad deliver his verdict and sentenced the original rapist to death. This is an important to remember.

Proof of Zina (adultery) or Zina Bil-Jabr (rape) liable to Hadd shall be one of the following:

(a) The accused makes confession or

(b) There are at least four Muslim adult male witnesses

[source: Pakistan Hudood Ordinance VII of 1979 amended by Ordinance XX of 1980]

Proof of adultery or rape liable to Hadd shall be one of the following:

a. The accused makes confession, or

b. There are at least four Muslim adult male witnesses.

[source: Codified Islamic Law Volume 1, Law#133]

Punishment will take place when Zina or rape have been proved by witness.

[source: Codified Islamic Law #135]

Sharia Law rejects the witness of women in Hudood cases.

[source: Hanafi Law-Page 176, 353, Shafi’i Law- page 638 Law#o.24.9, Criminal Law in Islam and the Muslim World –page 251, The Penal Law of Islam – Kazi Publications Lahore- page 44, 45]

The evidence of women is originally inadmissible on account of their weakness of understanding, want of memory and incapacity of governing.

[source: The Penal Law of Islam – Kazi Publications Lahore- page 44 – 45]

What happens when the rapist do not confess or the raped woman is unable to provide 4 male witnesses?

The Qadhi (islamic judge) may consider Tazir punishments. The judge may accept other evidences such as DNA, circumstantial etc and deliver the Tazir. If rape is not proven then the judge may dismiss the case. Or, depending upon how fundamentalist The sharia court is...the judge may reject Tazir and dismiss the case because of lack of witnesses.

The raped woman then may get accused of adultery (zina) because she confessed of having a sexual intercourse or becomes pregnant as a result of rape. Then she might get stoned to death.
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.

4 Responses to this post

    Skeptic Mind said...

    Dear Opus, your comment is more suitable for this post so I'm giving my reply here. You wrote,

    "I can see where you are coming from (Sorry I'm posting in a wrong section I guess), but dear friend you are talking about 'Qadhf' (False or unproven accusation for adultary) or 'Zena' (Adulraty). False accusation of zenna (Qadhf) was put under Hudud (Crime against the God) after Ayesha scandal. And it requires for witnesses. Means if you accuse some woman or anybody for zena you must submit four witnesses. That's what Q24:4 is also saying."

    The false or true accusation is actually irrelevant. 4 witnesses are required to prove the crime of adultery or zina. The main point is FOUR witnesses. Your original query was...

    "Islam requires only two male witnesses to varify something. Four witness is needed if only they are all female."

    ...to which I replied by pointing out 4 witnesses case scenario. I think that was a conclusive answer.

    You wrote,

    "But Shariah also opens the option of"Tazir", means even if enough witnesses are ot found, judge can punish the offender for his crime. Hudud offenders are offen punished under "Tazir".]

    I've mentioned Tazir in this article. Perhaps you didn't read this article?

    You further wrote,

    "But rape is a different case. Adultery involves illegal consent of both party, where rape is sexually exploiting someone against his/her wish and often by force. For some strange reason rape doesn't fall under Hudud, rather it has a more controversial way of justice.]

    Again, I mentioned this in my article. Rape is considered an equivalent of highway robbery in islamic sharia. But this isn't true that rape doesn't fall under Hudud. It can, since we have a Hadith where prophet Muhammad delivers the Hudud punishment for rape. Hudud punishments are those punishments that are mentioned in the Quran and Hadith. I proved with evidence in this article that if a Qadhi wants to deliver hudud punishment for rape, then 4 adult, male witnesses are a must. Please read the above article.

    "To convict someone the victim has to accuse someone. No appeal will be granted and no proof or witnessis necessary. Guilty will be stoned till death. See some related Hadith for this where Muhammad punished someone falsely accused for rape and real culprit admitted his crime. (Muhammad or Omar? I forgot!)"

    Incorrect. Please read the above article!

    "Anyway Zaid didnt need four witnesses because memorizing Quraan isn't a Hudud crime."

    Irrelevant. My original question was why during the first compilation of the Quran, 2 witnesses criteria was choosen instead of 3 or 4 or 5 witnesses. Certainly this task is more important than proving a crime. In fact this is the most important task - preserving god's words. So, why not 4 witnesses? Do you understand what i'm saying dear Opus? In some scenario islam requires 4 witnesses but in this scenario only 2 witnesses are ok to authenticate Allah's word!! Does that not strike you as unusual?

    Anonymous said...

    As you can see, if u r a practical person, that all these hidup law are made up by a man with self interest. A testimony by the raper and get stoned till death is a fairy tale. People will try to protect themselves. What is the raper says that he is innocent? What is the next step? Letting free and wait for 4 witnesses. Remember that the 4 witnesses must have seen the whole rape scenes to be exact.


Finished reading? Then please do LEAVE A COMMENT — whatever you are thinking right now! Peace ツ