Stoning an adulterer to death not supported by Islamic law – Mustapha Abdul-Hamid

Islamic scholar and chief executive officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, has stated that the punishment for adultery in Islam is the administering of 100 lashes of the whip and not the stoning of offenders to death as is popularly known.

Dr Abdul-Hamid made the assertion when he delivered a paper at the GIMPA Faculty of Law’s Faculty Workshop and Colloquium series on Thursday 30 March 2023.

Research motivation

At the commencement of his presentation, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, indicated that four major happenings motivated him to embark on the study in order to provide further scholarly arguments to illuminate the position of those of who disagree with the position that punishment for adultery in Islam is stoning to death.

Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid with Dean of the GIMPA law faculty, Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Budu
The four developments according to the Islamic scholar and politician are; the case of Amina Lawal in Katsina, Nigeria (2002 – 2009), his encounter with an interviewee at the University of Cape Coast, the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and a personal quest to illuminate law students’ understanding of Islamic jurisprudence.

The crime of Zina

The workshop / colloquium was themed; “To Repent or to Die? An Examination of the “Crime” of “Zina” in Islam”. Before reaching the conclusion, he did as the punishment for adultery in Islam, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid defined the crime of “Zina” as “Illicit sex, that is, sexual intercourse between two people who are not married to each other, irrespective of whether one of them is married to someone else), essentially concluding that “Zina” stands for both fornication and adultery.

A cross-section of law students of the GIMPA law faculty at the workshop
“There is no word in Arabic for adultery, separate from fornication and therefore there cannot be a penalty for that which does not exist.

“Those who argue for stoning as punishment for adultery derive their authority from the hadith (the second source of law in Islam).

“Such authority is null and void because it contradicts an explicit provision of the Qur’an” Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid said in his presentation.

“The Threshold for establishing adultery is too high to meet (Qur’an 24: 4 – 5) and the hadiths on stoning fail the test of logical consistency when examined against the principles of hadith criticism.

“Repentance and forgiveness by Allah are the ultimate restitution for Zina not death. My clear position is that punishment for adultery in Islam is 100 lashes of the whip, not stoning to death.

Other attendees of the GIMPA law faculty colloquium
“There are many Mujtahids who hold the same view as me including the entire Ahmadiyya fraternity” the Islamic scholar, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid added.

In attendance

In attendance as the special guest of the dean of the GIMPA law faculty, Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, was Professor Engobo Emeseh, Dean of the Bradford University School of Law, in the United Kingdom.

Also in attendance was the only Muslim Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, His Lordship Justice Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu.

GIMPA Faculty of Law

The GIMPA Faculty of Law is one of the ideal faculties in Ghana for the pursuit of legal scholarship and training of would-be lawyers, legal academics and policymakers.

Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid with Dr Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, and Professor Engobo Emeseh, Dean of the Bradford University School of Law, in the United Kingdom
Since its establishment in 2010, GIMPA Law has quickly emerged as a preeminent centre of learning, emerging among the Ghanaian Law Faculties as the Faculty of choice.

The faculty’s rigorous standards and tested pedagogies prepare its students for an increasingly competitive legal educational environment and a complex legal marketplace.

The carefully crafted atmosphere within the school presents a congenial environment for students to fully achieve their potential and advance nascent talents in the law.

Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, His Lordship Justice Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu at the workshop
With its deep-rooted belief in the efficacy of practical lawyering, GIMPA Law provides clinical legal education, including student participation in law clinics, moot courts and practical courses of study from first year of enrolment through to graduation.


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