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Stoning to death: What Qur’an and Bible say?

Updated on August 1, 2013

Stoning to death

The movie, stoning of Soraya M, horrified everybody in the west. Soraya was accused of committing adultery and was stoned to death. This movie made people to think that Islam is very intolerant religion. I read some articles and hubs in which people were blaming Islam to be intolerant, violent and discriminatory towards woman. These comments put me in deep thought. I questioned myself, Is it true? So I researched and studied the subject in detail and this is what I came up with.

In Qur’an there is not a single verse about stoning to death. This is very strange! On the other hand, for adultery the punishment is public flogging.

“The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. “ (Surah Al-Nur: Chapter 24, verse 2)

However, Bible speaks of stoning to death for several crimes, not just for adultery.

1. For cursing Lord (Blasphemy)

“Any Israelite or any other foreigner living in Israel who curses the Lord shall be stoned to death by the whole community”. (Leviticus, chapter 24, verse 16)

2. For worshiping other GOD

“Suppose you hear that in one of your town some man or woman has sinned against the lord and broken his covenant by worshiping and serving other gods or the sun or the moon or the stars, contrary to the Lord’s commandment, If you hear such a report, then investigate it thoroughly. If it is true that this evil thing has happened in Israel, then take that person outside the town and stone him to death. (Deuteronomy, chapter 17, verses 2-5)

“Even your brother or your son or your daughter or the wife you love or your closest friend may secretly encourage you to worship other gods, gods that you and your ancestors have never worshiped…….Kill them! Be the first to stone them, and then let everyone else to Stone them too. Stone them to death. (Deuteronomy: chapter 13, verses 6-10)

3. For disobeying parents

“ Suppose someone has a son and he is stubborn and rebellious…his parents are to take him to the leaders of the town where he lives and make him stand trial. They are to say them, ‘our son is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey us; he wastes money and is drunkard.’ Then men of the city are to stone him to death, and so you will get rid of this evil. Everyone in Israel will hear what has happened and be afraid.” (Deuteronomy: chapter 21, verses 18-21)

4. For breaking Sabbath

“Once, while Israelites were still in wilderness , a man was found gathering firewood on Sabbath. He was brought to the Moses and Aaron, and the whole community, and was put under guard…….then the Lord said to the Moses, the man must be put to the death ; the whole community is to stone him to death outside the camp.” (Numbers: chapter 15, verses 32-36)

5. For consulting spirit

“Any man or woman who consults the spirits of the dead shall be stoned to death; any who does this is responsible for his own death.” (Leviticus: chapter 20, verse 27)

6. For a woman who is not virgin at her marriage night

“If the charge is true (woman not being virgin at her marriage night) and there is no proof that she was virgin, then they are take her out to the entrance of her father’s house, where the men of her city are to stone her to death. She has done shameful thing among our people … this way you will get rid of this evil.” (Deuteronomy: chapter 22, verses 20-21)

7.To Achan for taking condemned things

“…..and Joshua said, ‘Why have you brought such trouble on us? The Lord will now bring trouble on you!’ All the people then stoned Achan to death; they also stoned and burnt his family and possessions. They put a huge pile of stones over him, which is there to this day. That is why that place is still called Trouble Valley. Then the Lord was no longer furious.” (Joshua: chapter 7, verses 1-26)

8. For adultery

“ If a man is caught having intercourse with another man’s wife, both of them are to be put to death. In this way you will get rid of this evil.” (Deuteronomy: chapter 22, verse 22)

“ Suppose a man is caught in a town having intercourse with a woman who is engaged to someone else. You are take them outside the town and stone them to death. The woman is to die because she did not cry out for help, although she was in the town, where she could have been heard. “(Deuteronomy: chapter 22, verses 23-24)

Note: I used translation of biblical verses from Good News Bible, 2004 edition.


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    • Bishop J L Hayes profile image

      Jerry Lynn Hayes Sr 

      4 years ago from Texas City, Texas

      Uzma, // Bible is so clear on the stoning to death, there are many verses which prescribe stoning on various sins then why the believers of bible are not practising this law?//

      The Bible is divided into two covenants: The Old Covenant and the New Covenant. We call these the Old and New Testaments. The Old covenant was a dispensation of "Law" while the New Covenant is a dispensation of "Grace." Kathleen, has already pointed out the difference in the Old covenant and the New. You were correct to reference the words of Jesus on the matter of the Law and the prophets. The New Covenant teaching on this matter is twofold: First, Jesus did not come to "do away" but to fulfill the Law and the prophets. Unlike Islam's Qur'an, Christianity's Bible abrogates nothing - but fulfills it. For example the Old covenant animal sacrifices were not abrogated (done away with), but fulfilled in Christ's death on the cross; which death the Qur'an outright denies. Likewise, the punishment for sin prescribed in the Old covenant (such as stoning) was fulfilled in the passion of Christ at the time of His death. Uzma, Christ suffered for the sins of the world so those that believe in Him do not have to. All things from the Old Covenant have their fulfillment in Him. That is the Good News!

      Secondly, The Law of the Old covenant is of three types: ceremonial, civil, and moral. It is the ceremonial and civil (capital punishment is civil law) law of the Old Covenant that are fulfilled in Christ. The Moral (the ten commandments) are good for all time and continue their authority over the People of the Book.

      Thank you for providing me an opportunity to set down these few words in response to your original article.

      You are in our prayers and our request is that you remember us in yours.

      Peace to your house.

    • uzma shaheen profile imageAUTHOR

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 

      4 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      Bishop J L Heyes,

      Qur’an says whosoever commits adultery flog them hundred publicly. Here question arises that if Qur’an says flog the adulterers then why muslims seems to practice stoning to death?

      this is because, there is difference of opinion amongst muslim scholars concerning public flogging and stoning to death. This difference of opinion depends upon the marital status of the both man and woman involved in the sin. Some scholars say as Qur’an does not mention the marital status of adulterer and adulteress so, 100 public flogs is the punishment for both, married and unmarried person. On the other hand, some scholars present their argument that Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) executed stoning to death to those who were already married and flogged who were not married. So, stoning to death is the punishment for the person who is already married and in the presence of his/her spouse commits this sin.

      Whereas those scholars who holds the view that only public flogging is the punishment irrespective of the marital status of the person, present this argument that we don’t have the record of either Prophet(PBUH) continued execution of stoning to death after the revelation of public flogging came down or not.

      As far as hadith of hazart Umer(R.A) is concerned, before commenting on this hadith I want to share following:

      When angel Gabriel used to bring down the revelation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Prophet used to narrate that to his companions (as Prophet did not know how to read and write), when companions used to write it down Prophet used to ask them to recite the narration so he could check was it written correctly. So, Holy Qur’an came into written form in the lifetime of Prophet. The Prophet himself and some of the companions used to memorize the revelation.

      Allah says in Surah Alhijr (15:9)

      We have, without doubt, sent down the Reminder [i.e., the Quran]; and We will assuredly guard it [From corruption].

      This is the divine promise of Allah Almighty for the protection of the Holy Qur’an , how did this promise was kept practically? Since the life time of Prophet to till now, Allah made it possible to protect this Holy Book in the hearts of believers (by memorizing it by heart). Even now, there are hundreds and thousands of believers in the world who has memorized the Holy Book. So, there is no single chance for anyone to add or subtract a single verse from the Qur’an.

      But the case of hadith is not like the case of Holy Qur’an. Hadith have not been protected like the holy Qur’an so, there are many fabricated hadiths along with authentic hadiths. That is why Qur’an holds the authority over hadiths. If there is any hadith which is in contradiction with Holy Qur’an it means that is fabricated. So, the hadith of Umer(R.A) mentioned by you is a fabricated hadith because it is in contradiction with Holy Qur’an.

      At the end, I have humble question to you. Bible is so clear on the stoning to death, there are many verses which prescribe stoning on various sins then why the believers of bible are not practising this law?

      Peace and love for you.

    • Bishop J L Hayes profile image

      Jerry Lynn Hayes Sr 

      4 years ago from Texas City, Texas

      Hello Uzma,

      I want to thank you for the above article. I am excited about being able to read more of your work.

      Having said that, permit me to present some thoughts:

      Concerning stoning: It is a fact that the practice is accepted throughout the Muslim world. One has to ask WHY if the Qu'ran does not prescribe it. Please, I would like your thoughts not he following:

      According to Umar, the companion of Muhammad and Islam's second caliph, "[Allah] sent down the Book (Quran) upon him (Muhamad), and the verse of stoning was included in what was sent down to him." Umar went on to insist that "Stoning is a duty laid down in Allah's Book for married men and women who commit adultery when proof is established, or it there is pregnancy, or a confession." (Muslim 17:4194)

      In other words, there was a verse in the original Quran narration that prescribed stoning adulterers, but it was left out of the compiling process in the years following Muhammad's death. Umar's insistence on the stoning verse is recorded in other volumes that are also among the most reliable Hadith, including Sahih Bukhari 8:817: "I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, 'By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah's Book,' and thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed. And the punishment of the Rajam is to be inflicted to any married person (male & female), who commits illegal sexual intercourse." (Rajam refers to stoning).

    • uzma shaheen profile imageAUTHOR

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 

      4 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      @hummingbird5356: Thank you for stopping by and agreeing with jean.

    • uzma shaheen profile imageAUTHOR

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 

      4 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      @Jean Bakula: You are such a positive person that your written words send me positive vibes, may GOD bless you.

    • uzma shaheen profile imageAUTHOR

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 

      4 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      @MG Singh: I am not trying to white wash someone's deeds, I just tried to clarify the misconception that stoning to death does not exist in Qur'an but is there in Torah. As far as hudood ordinance is concerned, it remained very debatable in Pakistan amongst scholars of Islam. Pervaiz Musharaf revised this ordinance and made some changes in it but it is still debatable as scholars have great difference of opinion about this ordinance.

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image


      4 years ago

      Well said, Jean.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 

      4 years ago from New Jersey

      The author of this hub is not responsible for sick people who twist what any religious book says to suit their own needs or desires.

    • MG Singh profile image

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      This is a nice post, but one can't white wash what is happening in some Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia who are interpreting the Koran in way they can deprive women of their rights. What have you to say about the Hooded ordinance in Pakistan itself by Gen Zia?

    • uzma shaheen profile imageAUTHOR

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 

      5 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      @Gypsy Rose Lee: You are so much right when people don't want to obey GOD's laws bad things happen and GOD has provided us law for our own betterment.

      Thank you very much for stopping by, I really appreciate your comment.

    • uzma shaheen profile imageAUTHOR

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 

      5 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      Hello Jean,

      You are right there are woman hating practices but these practices are global, in every society and in every religion followers but this doesn't make us to blame that religion. Its the people and their sick minds which lead to such practices.

      I read your article about that muslim woman, maryam kabeer faye, that was really fascinating. I appreciate your positive heart towards Islam and muslims. Thank you very much for visiting my hub and providing me your insightful comment.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      When people don't want to obey God's laws bad things happen.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 

      5 years ago from New Jersey

      Hello Uzma,

      I think that we also have to look at some of these seemingly woman hating practices as coming from thousands of years ago. I met a lovely Islam woman at a Metaphysical fair who was independent and selling tapestries, and she knew about the Tarot, the reason for my attendance as a reader. She gave me a copy of her book on Islam, Journey through Ten Thousand Veils, Maryam Kabeer Faye. It is very thought provoking. So is When God Was a Woman, by Merlin Stone. This book is THE book if you want to learn about cultures who were led by women and Goddesses, one right near the place of Jesus's birth.

    • uzma shaheen profile imageAUTHOR

      Uzma Shaheen Bhatti 

      5 years ago from Lahore,Pakistan

      Yes indeed, Jesus preached love and forgiveness. I have read the story of woman when pharisees tried to trap the Jesus so, they could accuse him but Jesus replied them very wisely.yes Jesus gave the concept of forgiveness but he also said "Do not think that I have come to do away with the law of Moses and the teachings of prophets. I have not come to do away with them, but to make their teachings come true". So, we can not ignore the law of Moses.

      you said that Qur'an says the woman and man should be put to death for adultery, plz give the reference of that Qur'anic verse which says so because I have read Qur'an many times and I can say for sure there is no verse of death for adultery but it says public flogging and I have given reference for this in hub.

      I know there are documented stories of putting woman to death for adultery and those reports inspired me to do research and write this and next hub. If muslims are doing wrong it does not mean that Islam is wrong similarly if a christian does any thing wrong it doesn't meant that christianity is wrong, the purpose of writing this and my next hub is to eliminate this misconception. My message is love and peace for all.

      There is difference of opinion between islamic scholar for executing stoning to death to adulteres, but which scholars fevers this punishment they put so many conditions before executing it, without fulfilling those conditions an islamic judge can not execute it.

      Prophet Muhammad emphasized more on repenting than giving punishments. he executed this punishment on those who volunteered for this, and during execution He said, if you had hide your sin and had repented for it, it would have been better for you. I will write these things in detail in my next hub ISHALLAH.

      Thank you Kathleen for your insightful comment, I welcome comments and discussions, by doing so we can eliminate misconceptions and come more close to each other. love and peace for you.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      John 8: 1 - 11 is the reference for Jesus' command to the woman taken in adultry.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      All your biblical references are from the old testament when believers only had the law to guide them. The new testament brought believers the concept of grace and forgiveness. What did Jesus say to the woman taken in adultry? Go and sin no more after telling her accusers, he who is without sin cast the first stone.

      The Qur'an says the woman and the man should be put to death for adultry? Do you have an example of a man being killed for sex outside of marriage? There are many documented instances of women being killed for being victims of rape with no punishment for the rapist.

      I respect the research you've done for this hub. I'm interested in being part of the discussion that it prompts.


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