Islam on Rape

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Kaleef K. Karim

One of the misconceptions towards Islam is that a rape victim gets punished while the rapist gets unpunished and can walk away free. It is assumed by critics that men in Islam can commit rape with impunity. Another lie Islamophobes, Anti-Islam propagandists do spread is that a victim who has been raped has to produce four witnesses in order for the rapist to get convicted and punished. Critics have never produced any evidence either from the Quran or Hadith anywhere indicating that there has to be four eye-witnesses for a rapist to get punished, this is just made up by crazy deluded Islamophobes, they are a bunch of hateful mischief-makers. The only time when there has to be four eye-witnesses needed is for adultery, and this is practically impossible to convict anyone with this.

At the time of Prophet Muhammad (p) a woman went out for prayer and a man tried raping her, ‘she shouted’ and ran off, she got away. The woman informed a man, that such and such happened to her. This incident was reported to Prophet Muhammed (p) and he declared the man who had done such evil thing, to be stoned to death. Here is the Hadth:

Narrated Wa’il ibn Hujr: When a woman went out in the time of the Prophet for prayer, a man attacked her and overpowered (raped) her. She shouted and he went off, and when a man came by, she said: That (man) did such and such to me. And when a company of the Emigrants came by, she said: That man did such and such to me. They went and seized the man whom they thought had intercourse with her and brought him to her. She said: Yes, this is he. Then they brought him to the Messenger of Allah. When he (the Prophet) was about to pass sentence, the man who (actually) had assaulted her stood up and said: Messenger of Allah, I am the man who did it to her. He (the Prophet) said to her: Go away, for Allah has forgiven you. But he told the man some good words (Abu Dawud said: meaning the man who was seized), and of the man who had intercourse with her, he said: Stone him to death. Abu Dawud said: Asbat bin Nasr has also transmitted it from Simak. Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud [Prescribed Punishments (Kitab Al-Hudud)] 437 In-book reference: Book 40, Hadith 29. English translation: Book 39, Hadith 4366

What we see from the above Hadith, is a woman reported what had happened to her, that a man tried raping her and the accused when proved was stoned. One main important thing in this Hadith, if you all noticed is that the woman did NOT need four witnesses, her own testimony was enough to convict/punish the perpetrator.

In another Hadith it’s reported that a slave who was in charge of other slaves, he forced a slave-girl among the slaves who he was in charge, he had forced intercourse with her. When the companion of Prophet Muhammad (p), Umar Ibn Khattab found out what had happened, he had the slave who raped the girl to be flogged and the victim walk away without getting punished:

Malik related to me from Nafi that a slave was in charge of the slaves in the khumus and he forced a slave-girl among those slaves against her will and had intercourse with her. Umar ibn al-Khattab had him flogged and banished him, and he did not flog the slave-girl because the slave had forced her. Muwatta Malik » Hudud English reference: Book 41, Hadith 15 Arabic reference : Book 41, Hadith 1517

As we see from the Hadith already shown, it’s evident that a victim does not get punished. The assumption by Anti-Islam evil mischief makers that the victim gets flogged because she reports been raped is false. The only person that gets punished if found to be guilty, is the rapist. In another hadith the head of State, the ruler of the Muslims Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (5th Caliph) gave judgement on a rapist:

Malik related to me from Ibn Shihab that Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan gave a judgement that the rapist had to pay the raped woman her bride- price. Yahya said that he heard Malik say, “What is done in our community about the man who rapes a woman, virgin or non-virgin, if she is free, is that he must pay the bride-price of the like of her. If she is a slave, he must pay what he has diminished of her worth. The hadd-punishment in such cases is applied to the rapist, and there is no punishment applied to the raped woman.” English reference: Book 36, Hadith 14 Arabic reference: Book 36, Hadith 1418
Muwatta Malik » Judgements

Again we see clear evidence that the rapist gets punished and there is no punishment for the victim. You would have also noticed in the above Hadith that the rapist had to pay compensation to the victim.

Oliver Leaman who is a Professor of Philosophy and Zantker Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Kentucky reiterates what I mentioned at the start of this article that the only time when there is four witnesses needed is for adultery:

“Critics also point to the lack of equal protection for victims of rape in Muslim countries that follow Sharia. They allege that it is impossible to prove rape. For purposes of this discussion, it is important to note that the Sharia makes a distinction betweenadultery and rape and applies different rules. As the Quran clearly states, the proof that adultery has occurred requires four eye-witnesses to the act, which must have been committed by a man and a woman not validly married to one another, and the act must have been wilfully committed by consenting adults. Proof can also be determined by a confession. But this confession must be voluntary, and based on legal counsel; it must be repeated on four separate occasions, and made by a person who is sane. Furthermore, those who bring a charge of adultery against an individual must provide four eye-witnesses. Otherwise, the accuser is then accorded a sentence for defamation (which means flogging or a prison sentence), and his or her testimony is excluded in all future court cases. Thus it is clear that the required testimony of four male witnesses having seen the actual penetration applies to illicit sexual relations, not to rape. The requirements for proof of rape are less stringent.
Rape charges can be brought and a case proven based on the sole testimony of the victim, providing that circumstantial evidence supports the allegations. It is these strict criteria of proof which leads to the frequent observation that where injustice against women does occur, it is not because of Islamic law. It happens either due to misinterpretation of the intricacies of the Sharia laws governing these matters, or a cultural traditions; or due to corruption and blatant disregard of the law, or indeed some combination of these phenomena.”[1]

Conclusion: It is evident from Prophet Muhammad (p) and all the way to the followers of the companions, they have always punished anyone who had forced intercourse with a female. The assumption by critics that there has to be four witnesses in order for a rapist to get convicted is outright lie as shown already. Four witnesses are not needed when it comes to rape, the only time four witnesses are needed is for adultery. In light of the evidences shown Islam forbids rape, and anyone found to be engaged in such under Islamic law, would be punished severely.

Article: Islam on Forced Marriages:


[1] Controversies in Contemporary Islam By Professor Oliver Leaman page 78

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