I have got a question about li’aan1 in ISLAM. I’m very confused regarding the Islamic law of “li’aan” My question is:
Is there a punishment for the woman, if she accuses her husband of adultery? Punishment like “hadd-i kazf2 or any ta`zir, or something else, or is there no punishment in that case?
Some feminist jurists say: “A man who accuses her wife of zinaa is not punished in Islam, however, on the contrary, if the wife accuses her husband of fornication she would be punished? This is not just…”
I would like clarification on this please.
There is no stated difference in the punishment of the man and the woman, where a person accuses his/her spouse of adultery. However, the Qur’an, as is its general style, has explained the law for a situation where the accuser is the husband. Someone may derive from the statement of the Qur’an that the stated law relates only to a situation where the husband accuses his wife for adultery and, therefore, the law would not apply to a situation where such accusation is made by the wife against her husband. In my opinion, such a derivation is not correct. There is absolutely no reason to restrict the application of the law to only where the accuser is the husband. The law applies to both of the two possible situations.
The referred law is summarized as follows:
If a person accuses his/her spouse of fornication, while there are no witnesses of the incident except the accuser, then the accuser would declare four times under oath that he/she is truthful in his/her accusation and a fifth time, he would invoke God’s wrath upon himself/herself, if he/she were to lie. In response, the accused shall be considered as guilty unless he/she declares under oath that the accusation is false and a fifth time he/she would invoke God’s wrath upon himself/herself if he/she were to lie.
If both the accuser and the accused were to make the stated declarations under oath, then the accused shall not be subjected to any punishment and neither would the accuser be considered to have made a false allegation. No punishment shall be implemented upon either of the parties.
I really do not see any reason to restrict the implication of the law to a situation where the accusation is made by the husband. Just as the Qur’an has stated the law for defamation (Qazaf), with reference to unfounded accusations upon pious women, yet it applies to all unfounded accusations whether against men or women, in the same manner the law for ‘li`aan’ (accusation of sexual infidelity) would apply to both possible situations, even though the law is explained with reference to a particular situation only.
I hope this helps.
October 29, 2001