In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Rape - Quran's perspective and misconceptions

Rape is a sexual, social, and violent crime that has been continuously on the rise as the morals of the society decline and the religious values deteriorate. The religion of Submission (Islam in Arabic), like all the monotheistic religions, looks down with disgrace on all kinds of crimes, including of course sexual crimes. Rape, being a combination of several kinds of crimes wrapped in one name is therefore, one of the worst.

As we all know, rape is different than adultery or fornication where there is a consensual agreement on having sex. It is also different than prostitution where sex out of marriage is paid for. Rape involves an attempt to empower a weaker or a threatened person to accept unwillingly the sexual advance of the attacker. Most sociologists look at rape as a violent crime based on oppression of another person. God in the Quran , condemns all the elements that constitute the crime of rape, i.e. Sex, violence, and oppression.

God strongly condemns any kind of sexual relationships out side of marriage.

[5:5] …….. You shall maintain CHASTITY, not committing adultery, nor taking secret lovers. Anyone who rejects faith, all his work will be in vain, and in the Hereafter he will be with the losers.

[24:30] Tell the believing men that they shall subdue their eyes (and not stare at the women), and to maintain their CHASTITY. This is purer for them. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything they do.

[24:31] And tell the believing women to subdue their eyes, and maintain their CHASTITY.

About the believers; God teaches us:

[23:5] And they maintain their CHASTITY.

And in Sura (Chapter) 70, again:

[70:29] They keep their CHASTITY.

In addition to condemnation of the sexual crime involved in rape as we can see above, God strongly condemns the oppression element of rape in the strongest possible language. God, in the Quran, describes oppression as "worse than murder." This puts rape among the worst crimes committed by a human being in the sight of God.

[2:191] …….. OPPRESSION is worse than murder. See also, [2:217]

God in the Quran also did not save the words to condemn prostitution, especially when oppression and forcing the young girls is a factor and this makes it different than a prostitution practiced by consenting adults, and it would place it in the category of rape. Of course both kinds are condemned but adding the oppression factor changes its nature into a rape with its consequence of higher need for a stronger punishment.

[24:33] ……..You shall not force your girls to commit prostitution, seeking the materials of this world, if they wish to be chaste. If anyone forces them, then GOD, seeing that they are forced, is Forgiver, Merciful.

From the above Quranic position we see that Rape is one of the hideous crimes and one of the worst in the sight of God. It is considered a complicated crime that involves violence, oppression and sex.

The punishment for such crime however was not assigned any one specific punishment to allow every case to be judged individually and according to every community standard keeping in mind that it is one of the worst crimes and therefore expected to be given the worst punishment permitted under the civil law allowed in every community.

There has been a misconception and confusion regarding rape and its relation to another sexual crime, adultery. The confusion connecting rape and adultery should not exist as both are two different crimes and their circumstances and punishments cannot be the same. They are not looked at them as the same nor given an equal treatment in Submission (Islam). The need for four witnesses in case of adultery when no other evidence exists does not apply in cases of rape where modern science allows the use of advanced techniques to identify the rapist with the highest accuracy. The victims of rape, if they notify the authority immediately, will have enough proofs to convict most, if not all the accused rapists, as the physical facts including semen, saliva, blood, hair, fibers, skin scraps, bite marks,.....etc. are so many and easy to identify to convict the rapist.

It is important to note here that women who are victims of rape have enough time (as much as 6 days) to use available medical treatments to avoid any possible pregnancy. If the rape victim waited until she finds out that she is pregnant, it is too late and she has no excuse to kill the child created in her womb, there is any.

There is no truth to the claimed rumor that the rape victim has to present four witnesses to prove the rape when there are so many other physical proofs. This requirement is needed only if a person who has no other proof accused an un-expected person of such a crime. In our modern society, no one will be convicted with no proof or any person can accuse any person at any time with no proof and gets away with it. Islam is justice, for both the victim and the accused. The least of the proofs is eyewitness, and God sees to it that the four witnesses (who do not have to be men) , will be a better guarantee against a deliberate plot to scheme an innocent person. The wrong application and/or understanding of the Quranic law related to rape in Submission (Islam) is but a reflection of the desertion of these so called "Islamic" countries" to the law of the Quran in favor for their man made laws, or corrupted religious laws originated from sources other than the Quran. Anti Islamic campaigners try to take advantage of these wrong application of the law and to slander Submission (Islam) in the eyes of the ignorant public who do not educate themselves about the true nature of Islam.

Other lies and misconceptions about Submission (Islam) and rape/sexual assault:

  1. Islam (Submission) treats both men and women equally and a woman victim of rape cannot be blamed for the crime that happened to her. There is no where in the Quran any indication to blame the rape victim instead of blaming the rapist. When and if this happens, it does not represent Islam but represents cultural understanding and man made laws, not God's commands in the Quran.
  2. The so called sex slaves, or captives of wars are not permitted in Islam, nor the rape of women captured during war. No slaves are allowed any more in Islam. All the stories circulating around and found on some sites on the Internet or missionaries' books are derived from the corruption deliberately spread in the books called Hadith and Sunna which were written about 200 years after the death of the prophet Muhammad. These books do not represent Islam nor the Islamic law, but rather represent man made laws written against the commands of the prophet Muhammed and the commands of God in the Quran. None of these Hadith stories and its corruption represent Islam, and should never be used to represent Submission(Islam). Submission is represented by God's law (Quran alone) and it is very clear in the Quran. A book, that God called complete, perfect and fully detailed. Islam holds the highest moral values when it comes to the prisoners of wars and their rights. Women captured during war time are not possession of the victorious army as some claim, but they are to be treated like all prisoners of wars with respect and dignity. Islam does not give any permission to abuse these women, use them as sex slaves, rape them or force them to marry anyone. If any Muslim army broke these laws at any time during the old days or recent days, they were only representing their own failure and they never represented Islam (Submission). Their action cannot be considered representing Islam as much the action of Adolf Hitler cannot be considered as representing the peaceful loving side of Christianity.

We have an obligation to educate the public and increase their awareness of this crime and how it is handled in a just manner in Submission (Islam). We should make every effort to try to move the people back to the beautiful moral values called for by God in the scripture. Only then we will see this crime diminishing and the safety of our loved ones increased.

Resources for Rape Victims and their Families:

  2. National Sexual Violence Resource Center