Sharia Alert from modern, moderate Indonesia. Actually, they got off lightly: the Qur’an commands lashes for adultery, but there is more to the story. The Qur’an says: “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” (24:2). In another place Allah directs that adulterous women be confined to their homes until they die: “If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way” (Qur’an 4:15).
These punishments are harsh enough, but at least they seem to hold out some hope that the traditional Islamic penalty of stoning for adultery, which is still carried out in states that enforce Sharia in its fullness, can be mitigated. However, that hope is illusory. The Hadith says that the Qur’an originally contained a verse enjoining stoning for adultery, but it was inadvertently dropped:
Allah sent Muhammad with the Truth and revealed the Book (the Qur’an) to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the Verse of the Rajam (the stoning of married person (male and female) who commits illegal sexual intercourse, and we did recite this Verse and understood and memorized it. Allah’s Messenger did carry out the punishment of stoning and so did we after him.
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 Rajm is to be inflicted to any married person (male and female) who commits illegal sexual intercourse if the required evidence is available or there is conception or confession.
So in this Indonesia really is moderate: all they got was the lash — and so few lashes! Isn’t Islamic moderation grand?
From Reuters, with thanks to Liz:
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) – Two people in Indonesia’s Aceh have been caned for adultery, the latest case of public punishments since courts in the province were allowed to implement Islamic sharia law. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation but only Aceh has the right to adopt sharia law in the judicial system.
Aceh courts received that freedom in 2003 as part of an autonomy package Jakarta offered in an attempt to quell separatist passions in the province, where thousands died in a long-running insurgency.
“Both of them were arrested by sharia police in a kiosk in Sawang district two weeks ago after they were caught in an intimate situation,” Tengku Marnus Labsyar, head of the South Aceh Sharia’s office, told Reuters by telephone.
He said the woman was a 23-year-old widow, while the married man was a 35-year-old teacher.
Television footage showed first the man and then the woman, both dressed in white, given nine and seven strokes respectively with a rattan stick on a platform surrounded by a jeering crowd in the compound of the Kasik Putih mosque in Samadua, a town in the south of Aceh.
The woman was led away sobbing after receiving her punishment from a blindfolded man man wearing a red robe. The caning took place on Friday.