What is the reason (wisdom) behind the punishment of rajm (stoning to death)? Why does Islam, which is a religion of love apply it?
"A ruler must have grace and mercy on his right side and wrath and education on his left side. Reward is a necessity of his mercy; and education necessitates punishment."
It does not befit the dignity of a ruler not to reward those who obey and not to punish those who disobey; both of them are signs of weakness. God Almighty is free from deficiencies like that.
We should state it clearly that decrees like rajm are among heavy grave deterrent sanctions in Islam. One of the common aims of humanity and heavenly religions is to ensure the continuation of the generation. Fornication is a mean, illegitimate way that degenerates and intermingles generations in terms of various legal and human criteria. It is a grave crime and an attractive mechanism of committing crime for spirits. We cannot expect a heavenly religion like Islam not to take a deterrent measure to prevent such a mean crime. To punish a criminal is not contrary to mercy and love; it is a necessity of justice.
By using the phrase "do not approach fornication" instead of "do not commit fornication" miraculously, the Quran prohibits people from approaching fornication let alone committing it. For, the phrase "do not approach fornication" is more fluent than the phrase "do not commit fornication". To say "do not approach" to someone is more effective than to say "do not do"; the phrase "do not approach fornication" expresses prohibiting from the things that can lead to fornication like touching, kissing, looking and winking. Doing the things that lead to fornication confirms fornication. Fornication is a very bad deed and a major sin. Besides, fornication is a very bad way in that it opens the veil of a passing fad, causes the confusion of generations, leads to haram deeds, violates the rights of others and demolishes the columns of the community by demolishing the family, spreads anarchy, causes agony and spreads immoral diseases.
Sheikhu'l-Islam Alusi states the following because it is death for children: "For it narrows and sterilizes generation. A person whose parents are not legitimate is like a dead person. (Alusi, Ruhu'l-Maani, Daru'l-Fikr, 8/67.) What can be the attempts and activities of the dead people related to the issues of the Islamic law?"
After all of the deeds that lead to fornication are forbidden, Islamic law regards the crime of fornication as violation of public rights and punishes it accordingly; it makes punishment and sanctions of fornication heavier to deter people. In fact, the crime of fornication shakes the foundations of the family and threatens it. The family is the basis of the community. If such a crime becomes free, it will spread in the community, causing the family to collapse the community to be corrupted and the generation to degenerate. However, the Islamic law regards the maintenance of the community to be superior to everything and gives great importance to it.
Therefore, the Islamic law punishes fornication severely and prohibits all kinds of fornication in order to keep people safe from its dreadful effects and to protect the community. Furthermore, it does not want the married people who commit adultery to live and regards them as very bad examples.
Fiqh scholars unanimously agree that a single person who commits fornication and who is not a slave whether male or female needs to be flogged with one hundred stripes. For, Allah states the following: "The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication― flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment." (an-Nur, 24/2)
Fiqh scholars also agree unanimously by giving various evidence that a married person whether male or female is stoned to death when he or she commits adultery.
The punishment of hadd, which also includes rajm, becomes definite in two cases: confession (the person who has committed fornication admits it) and witnesses (4 male witnesses). The necessary conditions for the punishment to be given to a person are: 1. To be sane, 2. To have reached the age of puberty, 3. To be able to choose, 4. To know that it is haram.
As it is seen, Islam stands against man in every stage of this way, tries to keep him away from this ugly deed and advises him to live in a legitimate atmosphere and within the boundaries of chastity.
Yet, no matter how strong the system is and no matter how sound the rules it introduces are, not much will be solved if the individual does not have a pure conscience to accept that system and those rules. Therefore, along with very strong and sound rules, individuals should be raised in a way to apply those rules and they should be raised to have pure conscience lest the suggestions and advice should be heeded. The Quran takes man to the point "No matter what you do where and when, you are under the control of God Almighty, " and makes him do all of his deeds in such an atmosphere.
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