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Stoning and Islam

Although stoning has a long history in a number of different traditions (including Jewish and Greek histories) the practice has since grown to be associated with Islam and Muslim cultures. In fact, there is no mention of stoning in the Quran, and the practice is only implied in the Hadith in the context of the Prophet Muhammad's dealings with Jewish Law.

Stoning is a highly debated topic within the Muslim religious community, and reputable Iranian clerics, such as Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatollah Yousef Saneii and Ayatollah Seyyed Mohamamd Mousavi Bojnourdi, have spoken out against it. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi, too, has spoken out against the practice, explaining that stoning should not be accepted as Islamic Law and only serves to humiliate and defame Islam. Others have led lively theological debates to convey that the practice is not Islamic.

Many Muslim nations such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Tunisia, Algeria and others have banned death by stoning. Despite calls for abolition from around the globe, stoning still occurs in several countries, either under law or by the community.

To learn more about Stoning and Islam, see:

"Islam and Abolition Are Compatible"
Interview with Mustapha Bouhandi, Professor Comparative Religion

In this interview by IPS news, Mustapha Bouhandi, professor of comparative religion at Hassan II University in Casablanca, states that the Quran does not support the death penalty, and that to oppose the death penalty is not to go against the teachings of Islam.

"In Khomeini's Opinion, Original Judiciary did not Order Stoning"
Interview with Ayatollah Bojnourdi
(In Persian)

Ayatollah Bojnourdi, who was very close to Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, states that Khomeini himself passed an order to the Iranian Judiciary banning stoning under pressure from European states. According to Bojnourdi, Khomeini agreed that the Quran does not dictate stoning, and thus removed it from his fatwa.

"Practice of the Stoning Is In Our Laws"
Interview with Shirin Ebadi:

Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi gives her opinion on the stoning issue. She takes a partially human rights framework to argue for its abolition and gives religious arguments for why it should be banned. Giving background on the judicial system in Iran, Ebadi also explains why a judicial moratorium is not enough to stop stoning.

"Comparative Study of Stoning Punishment in the Religions of Islam and Judaism"
By: Sanaz Alasty
In Justice Policy Journal, Volume 4-No.1-Spring 2007.

Alasti gives an academic comparative study on stoning in religions of Judaism and Islam. He argues that stoning, as an obvious human rights abuse, should be reinterpreted within the framework of Islam in order to be banned. He provides detailed background on the religious interpretations of stoning in the two religions.

"Fatwa Banning Practice of Stoning"
[In Persian]

Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, who is known for his moderate views and more women-friendly interpretations of Sharia, states that stoning and other physical punishments within the "Law of Retribution" (qisas) such as hand cutting can be declared as prohibited or forbidden (mamnoo`) during the absence of the "hidden Imam".