Can a Husband Apply the Zina Punishment on His Wife?
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Can Husband Apply Zina Punishment on His Wife?



Reply Date

Jan 06, 2019


As-salamu `alaykum. A single woman committed zina (illegitimate sexual intercourse) with a single man. There were no witnesses. She is now married and confessed to her husband about it. Her husband forgave her and she also repented. She would like to be punished according to the Islamic laws. Can her husband lash her 100 times without anyone being present?



Can a Husband Apply the Zina Punishment on His Wife?

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

1- It is better to let bygones be bygones. There is no need to bring up such a painful past again.

2- Moreover, Muslims are not allowed to tamper with the divine law, and they are also not allowed to take the law into their own hands and start enacting laws based on their personal whims.

Responding to the question, Sheikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah, President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and member of the Fiqh Council of North America, states:

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said: “Allah has set certain limits, so do not violate them.” (Ad-Daraqutni)

In another hadith, the Prophet is reported to have said: “Whoever committed any of these abominable acts but was covered by Allah, let him or her not expose what Allah has covered.”

In general, someone should not speak about what Allah has covered, especially after he or she has repented.

In this situation, since she admitted to her husband about the previous sin, it shows that she is honest and repenting. It is also a good sign that her husband forgave her.

Now, with regard to applying the punishment, it is not required for the husband to apply the Shari`ah penalty on her. The Shari`ah penalties are not to be applied by individuals. There is a process that has to followed, going to the legal system, and making sure that the four witnesses are provided.

The penalty is to be applied by a Muslim judge who gives a court decree for the application of the punishment. Since this is not available, then she has to repent to Allah, ask for forgiveness, and increase her good deeds so that Allah will remove her sins.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

About Muhammad Nur Abdullah

Former president of ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) and member of the Fiqh Council of North America

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