Qadhf ie, wrongly accusing someone of
fornication can assume two forms:
Firstly, if a person accuses a chaste
and righteous woman or man of fornication.
Secondly, if such an accusation takes
place between a husband and wife.
In the first case, the law of Islam is
that the accuser shall have to produce four witnesses. Anything less than this
will not prove his accusation. Circumstantial evidence or medical examination in
this case are absolutely of no importance. If a person is of lewd and loose
character, such things have a very important role, but if he has a morally sound
reputation, Islam wants that even if he has faltered, his crime should be
concealed and he should not be disgraced in the society. Consequently, in this
case, it wants four eye-witnesses to testify and if the accuser fails to produce
them, it regards him as guilty of Qadhf.
According to the Qur’ān, the details of
the punishment of Qadhf are:
1. The criminal shall be administered
2. His testimony shall never be accepted
in future in any matter and as such he shall stand defamed in the society.
In the second case, according to the
Qur’ān, if there are no witnesses the matter shall be decided by pledging oaths.
In Islamic law, this case is termed as Li’ān. The husband shall swear four times
by Allah that he is truthful in his accusation and the fifth time he shall swear
that the curse of Allah be on him if he is lying. In reply, if the wife does not
defend herself in anyway, she shall be punished for fornication. If she refutes
the allegations, she shall only be acquitted from the punishment if she swears
four times by Allah that the person is lying and the fifth time she says that
the wrath of Allah be on her if he is telling the truth.
The same procedure shall be adopted if
the wife accuses the husband.
If such an incident takes place between
a husband and wife, they shall no longer remain in wedlock according to the
verse ‘The man guilty of fornication may only marry a woman similarly guilty or
an idolatress and the woman guilty of fornication may only marry such a man or
an idolator. The believers are forbidden such marriages’ (24:3), and it is
essential that a court legally separate them.
The Qur’ān says:
“Those who accuse honourable women
and bring not four witnesses as an evidence [for their accusation], inflict
eighty stripes upon them, and never accept their testimony in future. They
indeed are transgressors. But those who repent and mend their ways, Allah is
Oft-Forgiving and Most-Merciful. And those who accuse their wives but have no
witnesses except themselves shall swear four times by Allah that they are
telling the truth and the fifth time that the curse of Allah be on them if they
are lying. But it shall avert the punishment
from the wife if she swears four times by Allah and says that this person is a
liar and the fifth time she says that the curse of Allah be on her if he is
telling the truth.” (24:4-9)
Administering eighty stripes and not
considering a person eligible to bear witness are punishments of the Herein,
while in the Hereafter he shall be counted among the transgressors except if he
repents and mends his ways.