The advocates of stoning in Abu Dhabi 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).
An Abu Dhabi criminal court sentenced an Asian housemaid to stoning to death after she was found guilty of committing adultery while married.
The maid had been rushed to hospital following abdominal pains and tests showed she was pregnant after sleeping with another man.
Newspapers said the maid confessed in court that she committed adultery and the judge handed down the sentence on the basis of her confession in line with Islamic law.
It was the first time in many years that a person was sentenced to stoning to death in such a case in the UAE. Judicial sources said the maid can appeal the sentence.