The advocates of stoning can and do claim that they are simply implementing Islamic law. The caliph Umar, one of Muhammad’s closest companions, maintained that the punishment of stoning for adultery (this story doesn’t specify the method of punishment, but the outcome of the punishment is the same in any case) was originally in the Qur’an:
‘Umar said, “I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, “We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book,” and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession.” Sufyan added, “I have memorized this narration in this way.” ‘Umar added, “Surely Allah’s Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him.” (Bukhari, vol. 8, bk. 82, no. 816)
“Allah’s Apostle” is, of course, Muhammad, who did indeed carry out stonings. Here is the hadith in which he challenges the rabbis about stoning, and in which there is amidst the barbarism and brutality a final act of love and compassion:
The Jews came to Allah’s Apostle and told him that a man and a woman from amongst them had committed illegal sexual intercourse. Allah’s Apostle said to them, “What do you find in the Torah (old Testament) about the legal punishment of Ar-Rajm (stoning)?” They replied, (But) we announce their crime and lash them.” Abdullah bin Salam said, “You are telling a lie; Torah contains the order of Rajm.” They brought and opened the Torah and one of them solaced his hand on the Verse of Rajm and read the verses preceding and following it. Abdullah bin Salam said to him, “Lift your hand.” When he lifted his hand, the Verse of Rajm was written there. They said, “Muhammad has told the truth; the Torah has the Verse of Rajm. The Prophet then gave the order that both of them should be stoned to death. (‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said, “I saw the man leaning over the woman to shelter her from the stones.” (Bukhari, vol. 4, bk. 56, no. 829)
Even the monkeys practiced stoning, according to another hadith:
During the pre-lslamic period of ignorance I saw a she-monkey surrounded by a number of monkeys. They were all stoning it, because it had committed illegal sexual intercourse. I too, stoned it along with them. (Bukhari, vol. 5, bk. 58, no. 188)
Muhammad’s example is, of course, normative for Islamic behavior, since “verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much” (Qur’an 33:21).
“Couple stoned to death in Loralai village,” by Saleem Shahid for Dawn, February 17 (thanks to all who sent this in):
QUETTA: A man and a woman were stoned to death in a village in Loralai district on Sunday after a cleric issued a fatwa against them, sources said.
A Levies Force official, Abdul Latif Jogezai, said the incident took place in Manzkai village early in the morning. “The people of the village stoned to death the man and the woman who were not married to each other. Rather, they were married to other people,” he said. He said the two were killed on suspicion of having illicit relations. No funeral prayers were offered for them.
The slain man, Daraz Khan, was buried in Katoti area and the woman in her village.
After hearing about the incident, personnel of the Levies Force reached Manzkai village and arrested the cleric who had issued the fatwa and six of the men who stoned the couple to death, Mr Jogezai said.
He said a case had been registered against the people of the village. Most of the residents fled from the village to avoid arrest, he added.