Rape and Islamic Sharia

Robert Spencer provides a very nice explanation of the origins of the absurd four witness requirement for cases of rape. The outcome of this requirement is, as you will see below, that it is virtually impossible to charge a man with rape under the sharia:

Pakistan’s President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (1977-1988) implemented the Hudood Ordinances in 1979. Hudood crimes are those considered most serious in Islamic law. These laws returned the crime of rape to the realm of Islamic law, making a rape victim liable to being prosecuted for adultery if she could not produce four male Muslim witnesses who would testify that they had actually witnessed the rape.

This law comes from the Qur’an. Accusations of adultery against Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, and Muhammad’s desire to exonerate her brought about the requirement that four male Muslim witnesses must be produced in order to establish a crime of adultery or other sexual indiscretions: “Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they produce not witnesses, they verily are liars in the sight of Allah” (Qur’an 24:13; see also 24:4 and Bukhari, vol. 3, book 52, no. 2661).

Aisha’s own word counted for nothing to establish the falsity of the accusations against her -- so to this day Islamic law restricts the validity of a woman’s testimony, particularly in cases involving sexual immorality. Says the Qur’an: “Call in two male witnesses from among you, but if two men cannot be found, then one man and two women whom you judge fit to act as witnesses; so that if either of them commit an error, the other will remember” (2:282). And Islamic legal theorists have restricted women’s testimony even farther, limiting it to, in the words of one Muslim legal manual, “cases involving property, or transactions dealing with property, such as sales” (‘Umdat al-Salik, o24.8). Otherwise only men can testify.

Consequently, it is even today virtually impossible to prove rape in lands that follow these Sharia provisions. As long as men deny the charge and there are no witnesses, they get off scot-free, because the victim’s account is inadmissible. Even worse, if a woman cannot produce four male witnesses, she may end up incriminating herself simply by making the charge: she has by charging a man with rape made an admission of adultery. That accounts for the grim fact that, according to the Muslim feminist group Sisters in Islam, as many as seventy-five percent of the women in prison in Pakistan are, in fact, behind bars for the crime of being a victim of rape.


Steve Scott said…
Of course, it's not adultery for the man.
Anonymous said…
It is sad that some muslims have made laws that vindicate rape victims when the Koran says nothing of rape and the only example of rape (that I know of)in the early history of islam led to the perpetrator being sentenced to death.
Anonymous said…
for rapist to be punished, atleast 4 male witnesses are required who affirm that the girl is raped
now think yourself if the rapist will rape a girl in front of 4 or more men , and these guys will have to testify. rapists have upper hand in islam
moreover, if the girl is unable to prove rape, she is killed by stoning or expelled
Safie said…
The case of Hazrat Aisha R.A is a case where both she and the person were innocent and accused by some other men as being involved in an act of adultery.Which is interpreted wrongly and the law is always used as a female being raped and trying to proof her innocence by providing 4 witnesses, where as it is for a case where you accuse two people for adultery and to proof them both guilty you have to bring 4 witnesses..!! Now just think if you and an other person whose is innocent are accused of adultery how many witnesses will you like?? 1 or 4?? obviously 4..!!
owais said…
I knw this may sound awkward n people would think its so easy to get away.But still you can see the effectiveness of the law.In countries that implement SHARIA law the number of rapes committed(not proved but reports ) are far far less then in developed n so called female independent countries like USA.The mere thought of being killed if caught is so effective then any person would think 1000 times to even abuse a women let alone raping her..... Its unfortunate how western media gives only half information and makes world into believing that in ISLAM women are oppressed.They give biased view ..they never tell that a guy is killed if proved ..they never say guy also have to have hijaab...they never tell that its d only religion that gave women the right to hv share in both husband's and paternal property.
Abu Daoud said…
Owais, I do not think that what you are saying is reasonable or correct. Just because the REPORTED number of rapes is lower does not mean that the actual number of rapes is lower. Also, requiring four witnesses means that men can rape a woman and will never be prosecuted for it.

My Muslim neighbors and friends. I invite you to consider Jesus. Consider Jesus who stood up for a woman who was caught in adultery. He stood up for dignity and forgave her, and this led to a new and changed life for her. In the same way, he can change your life for he knows you and respects your dignity as a woman. Jesus disagrees with the Muhammad, who said that God created men a level above women (2:228).

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