Yesterday, a 25-year old pregnant woman who had gone to the Lahore High Court in Pakistan to testify that She had married her husband by choice and had not been kidnapped, was dragged out by her relatives and stoned to death while the police looked on. Her husband escaped.
Her crime? She disobeyed her parents and married on her own.
BBC showed the blood-stained court premises where the ghastly scene was played out. The father of the woman presented himself to the police, proclaiming his brave deed. He might not be punished. Hundreds of grown up women are stoned and hacked every year in Pakistan, says the BBC, and none has been punished.
A lady panelist from Pakistan said : “There are two kinds of laws in Pakistan: One for the public, and another for what happens among family members. What happens among family members is settled within the family by some compensation to a relative of the victim.” The father who cast the first stone will pay himself blood money and the matter could be settled. Mashallah, that is Shariah Law!
Another panelist, answering Nagaratnam Chetty, the BBC news reader and anchor, expressed his horror and asked: “Where in Islam is such a punishment mentioned?”
Good question, sir, well put.
Clearly, by marrying on her own and not in obedience to her parents is the most serious crime and sin in Islam. Abu Bakr, the Prophet’s favourite and the first man to convert to Islam, is thus quoted:
“It is narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Allah postpones the punishment for one’s sins till the Day of Judgment if He so desires. But He (will) award the punishment for disobeying the parents during this life, before his death.”
Abu Bakr clarified that the son who disobeyed his parents will face punishment twice for the heinous crime – first before his death at the hands of man, and second after death by the judgment of God.
However, the Prophet has not specifically mentioned death by stoning for this grievous combination of crime and sin.
What, then, prescribes stoning by death for disobedience to parents?
The Holy Bible does. Deutoronomy 21:18-21 says:
“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him,19his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.” 21Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. .
Note that the son need not be a drunkard, only stubborn and rebellious as this pregnant Pakistani woman was. The Holly book permits the false accusation (of being drunkard) against him to justify the stoning. What is right for the son is even more right for the daughter, for she is the one who was awarded a bigger punishment for the original sin by God. See Genesis 3:16
Jesus redefined and moderated the law of “eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. However, he had said nothing against stoning to death.
“He who hasn’t sinned, let him cast the first stone” (John, 8:7) is not to condemn stoning as a means of punishment, only to condemn the nature and pevalence of the crime. Actually, the Saviour hesitated before finding this escape route. He also said:
“For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death”. (Matthew, 15:4)
We do not know if the woman cursed her parents, but she surely disobeyed and brought dishonour. Remember, Jesus had also said:
“Do not think that I have come to do away with the laws of Moses and the teachings of prophets. I have not come to do away with them, but to make their teachings come true.”(Matthew 5:17)
The Holy Quran praises the Holy ‘Book’ and accepts its authority (with some historical corrections). Practically every punishment mentioned in Quran is a moderated version of the punishment demanded by the prophets of the Book. In Quran, at least, prescription of punishment is followed by the words to the effect: “If you forgive, God is merciful”. No such caveat exists in the Holy Bible.
So Mr. Panelist of the BBC, the brutal punishment meted out to this unfortunate woman and her baby in her womb is prescribed very much in the Bible, has been certified by Jesus Christ, and carried out by this Muslim man and his family in broad day light outside a court of justice in accordance with the Holy Scripture sacred to both religions.