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I'm well aware that in the Islamic history there is a need of 4 witnesses for a rape to be proved.

Has that happened before? How? I mean has there ever been a woman who claimed X has raped me and then the prophet said are there witnesses and then 4 witnessed were gathered and then the man got punished?

Additionally has there ever been any incident where an alleged rapist got punished regardless of the number of witnesses (e.g. no witnesses were found or there was only 1 witness)? If so when? Why?

I'm only interested from the time of the prophet Muhammad until the end of Ali's government

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Refer to this QA from IslamQA.info as well as this one about evidence for rape in Shariah.

In short, rape may be punished under the following:

The evidence for Zina is 4 witnessesses, a confession or a clear proof (e.g pregnancy).

The evidence for Qisas \ Diyat is two witnesses or an oath with corroborating evidence.

The evidence for Harabah is two witnesses.

The evidence for Tazeer is not prescribed, the judge will decide based on the evidence he has,


There is a hadith about a rape case in the time of the Prophet(p.b.u.h), it involves an eventual confession, but it is not clear what evidence the Prophet considered before the confession:

"A women went out during the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) to go to Salat, but she was caught by a man and he had relations with her, so she screamed and he left. Then a man came across her and she said: 'That man has done this and that to me', then she came across a group of Emigrants (Muhajirin) and she said: 'That man did this and that to me.' They went to get the man she thought had relations with her, and they brought him to her. She said: 'Yes, that's him.' So they brought him to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and when he ordered that he be stoned, the man who had relations with her, said: 'O Messenger of Allah, I am the one who had relations with her.' So he said to her: 'Go, for Allah has forgiven you.' Then he said some nice words to the man (who was brought). And he said to the man who had relations with her: 'Stone him.' Then he said: 'He has repented a repentance that, if the inhabitants of Al-Madinah had repented with, it would have been accepted from them.'"

[Tirmizi and Sunan Abu Daud]

A case of rape that happened in the caliphate of Umar(p.b.u.h), evidence is not mentioned:

"A governmental male-slave tried to seduce a slave-girl from the Khumus of the war booty till he deflowered her by force against her will; therefore 'Umar flogged him according to the law, and exiled him, but he did not flog the female slave because the male-slave had committed illegal sexual intercourse by force, against her will." Az-Zuhri said regarding a virgin slave-girl raped by a free man: The judge has to fine the adulterer as much money as is equal to the price of the female slave and the adulterer has to be flogged (according to the Islamic Law); but if the slave woman is a matron, then, according to the verdict of the Imam, the adulterer is not fined but he has to receive the legal punishment (according to the Islamic Law). [Saheeh Bukhari]

There is a story about Ali(p.b.u.h) where a woman accused a man of rape, presenting a semen stained cloth as evidence (it was found to be forged).

It is reported that a woman desired a young man and she tried to seduce him but the young man refused. She went away and got an egg. She put the white (of the egg) on her dress. Then she began to make accusations against the young man and had him brought before the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. She claimed: "This young man has treated me shamefully. He has raped me."

She took her dress and showed the white (on it) from the egg, saying: "This is his semen on my dress." The young man began to cry, pleading and swearing his innocence from her accusations. "Order someone to heat water until it is very hot," the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, told Qanbar. "Then bring it to me while it is still like that." The water was brought and he ordered it to be thrown on the woman's dress. They threw it on it and the water collected up the white of the egg and they came together. He ordered it to be taken and given to two of his followers. He said: "Taste it and spit it out."

They tasted it and found that it (tasted like) egg. He ordered the young man to be freed and the woman to be flogged as a punishment for her false accusation. [Kitab Al Irshad p.96]

  • 1
    If I understand this correctly, rape itself (i.e. the use of force specifically in order to coerce sex out of someone - the connection between illegal intercourse and coercion) is not a separate crime in shariah? The intercourse is a crime, and the coercion is a crime, but the connection between the two is not a separate criminal offense? – G. Bach Apr 5 '17 at 14:12

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