FORNICATION Arabic zina’ زناء
The word zina’ includes both fornication with an unmarried person and adultery with a married person. [ADULTERY.]
The sin of fornication must be established, as in the case of adultery, either by proofs or by confession.
To establish it by proof, four witnesses are required, and if any person bring an accusation against a woman of chaste reputation and fail to establish it, he must be punished with eighty stripes. [QAZF.]
When a person for conscience sake confesses the sin of fornication, the confession must be repeated four times at four different appearances before a qazi, and the person confessing must be very exact and particular as to the circumstances, so that there can be no mistake. A self-accused person may also retract the confession at any period before, or during, the infliction of the punishment, and the retraction must br accepted.
The punishment for fornication is one hundred stripes (or fifty for a slave). The scourging to be inflicted upon a man standing and upon a woman sitting; and the women is not to be stripped. It should be done with moderation, with a strap or whip which has no know upon it, and the stripes should be given not all upon the same part of the body. [DIRRAH.]
In some countries banishment is added to the punishment of scourging for fornication, especially if the sin is often repeated, so as to constitute common prostitution.
The law is founded upon the following verse in the Qur’an, Surah xxic 2-5: –
“The whore and the whoremonger – scourge each of them with an hundred stripes; and let not compassion keep you from carrying out the sentence of God, if ye believe in God and the last day; And let some of the faithful witness their chastisement.”
“The whoremonger shall not marry other than a whore or an idolatress; and the whore shall not marry other than a whoremonger or an idolater. Such alliances are forbidden to the faithful.”
“They who defame virtuous women, and bring not four witnesses, scourge them with fourscore stripes, and receive ye not their testimony for ever, for these are perverse persons-
Save those who afterwards repent and live virtuously; for truly God is Lenient, Merciful!”
The Muslim law differs from Jewish law with regard to fornication: see Exodus xxii 16, 17:- “If a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins Deut. Xxii 25-29: – “If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city and lie with her, then ye shall bring them out unto the gate of the city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel because she cried not, being in the city, and the man because he hath humbled his neighbor’s wife; so shalt thou put away evil from among you. But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her to lie with him, then the man only that lay with her shall die. But unto the damsel shalt thou do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death….If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found, then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.”
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam