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Question 238: Assalam aleikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuhu. I would like to ask a question concerning rape. I live in Finland and now there have been lots of reports of rapes happening. In all the cases the rapist is an asylum seeker. Latest rape happened in Sweden where a swedish woman was raped and after she was raped she walked for 100 meters and was raped again by another asylum seeker. This made me think, what is the punishment of rape according to ahlulbayt (as)? May Allah bless you all.

Answer 238: Adultery is a great sin according to the Quran. God, the Exalted, says: “Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).”[1] In this short verse, three important points have been mentioned:
A) The verse says “do not get near adultery” which not only incorporates an emphasis but it also connotes that the evil of adultery normally has certain preliminaries which drives a man to adultery gradually. An unlawful gaze, nudity, immodesty, reading sex stories, watching porn movies, bad company, privacy with a non-mahram (a man’s being together with a woman in a private place) and finally not taking action for marriage and unreasonable restrictions imposed by both sides in this regard serve as preliminaries leading a person to adultery. The aforementioned short verse forbids all of the above in an implicit manner. However, the Islamic traditions forbid each one of them separately.

  1. B) The sentence “إِنَّهُ كانَ فاحِشَةً” [verily, it is a shameful (deed) and an evil] consists of three emphasis (The term ‘verily’ plus the past tense of the verb ‘kana’ and the term evil) makes further tangible the greatness of this tangible sin.
  2. C) The sentence “ساءَ سَبِيلًا” [it is a bad way] indicates that this evil act opens the road to other evils in society.”[2]

In any event, both zina (which is intercourse taking place between a man and woman who aren’t married (permanently or via mut’ah) and the other acts that lead to it and are usually done before it are great sins, and the practical difference between the two is that in the former (zina), the Islamic governor or judiciary can carry out the hadd on the fornicating individual (which is a punishment specified in the Quran)[3].

On the other hand, if the man and woman haven’t committed zina and what they have done are other unchaste acts between each other, they have still sinned and the judiciary can punish them; the punishment’s harshness depending on the greatness of what they have done (this type of punishment is called ta’zir).

Note: If a man has raped a woman he would be executed, according to Islam.[4] If the woman has no choice but to kill him there would be no problem to do so. Considering the man’s blood is wasted, if she kills him there is no need to pay his blood money.[5]

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[1] . Isra (Night Journey), 32, وَ لا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنى إِنَّهُ كانَ فاحِشَةً وَ ساءَ سَبِيلًا As for the prohibition of adultery/fornication, see: Al-Furqan, 68 and 69; Al-A’raf, 33; Al-An’am, 151; Kulayni, Ya’qub, translated by Mustafavi, Sayyid Jawad, Usul-e Kafi, vol.3, pg. 391, Wafa Publications, 1382 (2003); Najafi, Muhammad Hassan, Hurr Amili, Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol.28, Kitab al-Hodud, Jawaher al-Kalam, vol.41, pg. 260 and 258, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Lebanon, 1981.

[2] . Tafsir Namuneh, vol.12, pg. 103.

[3] . Nur:2 “الزَّانِيَةُ وَ الزَّاني فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ واحِدٍ مِنْهُما مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ وَ لا تَأْخُذْكُمْ بِهِما رَأْفَةٌ في دينِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَ الْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَ لْيَشْهَدْ عَذابَهُما طائِفَةٌ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنينَ” (As for the fornicatress and the fornicator, strike each of them a hundred lashes, and let not pity for them overcome you in Allah’s law, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day, and let their punishment be witnessed by a group of the faithful).

[4] . Imam Khomeini, Tahrirul Wasilah, Vol. 2, Pg. 439, Hadd al-Zina, al-Ikrah ala al-Zina; Khuei, Sayyid Abul Qasim, Mabani Takmelah al-Minhaj, Pg. 194, question 153. There is no difference between Mohsen (married man) and other than that.

[5] . Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Istiftaat (legal advice) Jadid (new), Vol. 3, questions 899 and 900, the school of Imam Ali bin Abi Talibs (as) publication, Qom, second edition, 1427 A.H.

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