The movie “The Stoning of Soraya M.” shakes the foundations of Radical Islam
On Friday night June 26th, the E Street Cinema in Washington, DC hosted a packed showing of the film, “The Stoning of Soraya M.” The suffering of the woman portrayed in the movie is based on the story of an actual stoning that took place in Iran in 1986, as described in Freidoune Sahebjam’s book “The Stoning of Soraya M.”
This extraordinary movie must raise many questions in the collective conscience of mankind.
The first question is: Does the Muslim world expect that non-Muslims -after watching such punishment- believe that “Islam is the religion that gave women their rights?” [a sentiment shared by many Muslims]
The second question is: If Islam is truly against the stoning of adulteress, where are the approved Sharia (Islamic law) books that clearly and explicitly say that stoning is obsolete? Further, where are the voices within the Muslim world and Islamic organizations in the West that stand against such inhumane punishment?
To date, all main Islamic schools of jurisprudence -with no single exception -approve stoning for adultery. The difference in views within Islamic Sharia law about stoning is not about the punishment itself but rather over nuances which include the size of stones required for a proper stoning.
If modern Islamic theology continues its support of the stoning of women, Muslims must not expect anything but criticism of their religion. Historically, stoning is mentioned in the Bible; however, both Jewish and Christian scholars unambiguously agree that it cannot be applied anymore. Currently, the stoning of women for the crime of adultery is practiced almost exclusively in the Islamic world.
Instead of providing lectures about how Islam is “tolerant” and “peaceful,” Islamic scholars and organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] and the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] must be clear on their stance against such barbaric practices. If these organizations refuse to stand boldly against stoning, it will be difficult for them to speak against their critics and the “Islamophobic” community. In fact, developing a phobia of a system of law that promotes the stoning of human beings until death is the most normal reaction of any sane individual.
This movie –in my view- is the most powerful weapon in the war against Radical Islam. The reason is simple. Peaceful Muslims with a conscience only have three possible responses to the film.
First – to reject stoning; a fundamental concept in the Sunna of prophet Mohamed (his acts and deeds) and adopt only the Quran. Stoning as a punishment for adultery is only mentioned in the former. This response can shake the foundations of the entire religion of Islam as the Sunna plays an integral part. The main pillar of Islam (Emad Aldeen) or the five prayers has never been described in the Quran itself and is only mentioned in the Sunna. In fact, the Quran only calls for prayer three times a day [see Quran Sura 11 :verse 115]. Rejecting parts of the Sunna such as stoning to avoid the criticism of Islam will subsequently cast doubt on the only source for the main pillar of Islam, the five prayers.
Second – selective use of the Sunna; this will demonstrate to many Muslims that the Prophet Mohamed is not “the perfect role model” for mankind. This –by itself- can shake another major foundation of the religion which requires Muslims to follow the footsteps of the Prophet. This presents a Catch-22 for many Islamic scholars who are now faced with the reality of what they currently promote and teach in mainstream Islam.
Third – proving that stoning exists in the Quran; Islamic scholars may try to teach Muslims that stoning had been mentioned in as a verse in the Quran that was later abrogated -only from the writings of the Quran- but remained a valid law. This Islamic theological concept is established in “Al-Bukhari” and “Muslim”, the most authentic Hadith books in Islam. [See Minjaj Al-Muslim by Al-Jaza’iry, a lecturer in the Nobel Prophet Masjid; Vol (2) page 506] Such books do quote the verse that existed in the early Quran, but was not included in the final version. This too can raise doubts in the mind of many Muslims about the authenticity and accuracy of the available Quran.
In conclusion, this movie will produce nothing short of an earthquake in current Islamic theology. On one hand, accepting the act of stoning will make many Muslims unable to defend Islam as a religion of peace or one that gave women their rights. On the other hand, rejecting this barbaric punishment can raise doubts about following the Prophet as the “perfect role model” and will create distrust in the authenticity of the Sunna and/or the Quran. In both situations, Islamic theology will be shaken.
Some apologists might say that the stoning depicted in this movie did not conform with Sharia Law as there were only two witnesses who testified while Sharia Law requires four. This should not in any way discredit the reality that Islamic Sharia still promotes the stoning of women to death if they commit adultery. Rather, the question that must be asked is: Does having four witnesses make the stoning in any way a humane form of punishment?
Today, many women living in countries controlled by Sharia Law such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia, as well as regions under the Taliban have been murdered by stoning. Such terrorism against women must end. I urge you to encourage others to see this film, which is currently playing in select theatres across the United States.
To find out more about the film online, visit their website at: http://www.thestoning.com