The Dirty Woman
A woman came to Prophet Muhammed, asking for purification.
The Prophet asked, “For what are you asking?”
She replied in a low voice, “I’m sinful. I’ve committed adultery.”
“Do you know the punishment for this?” asked the Prophet with a concerned look.
“Yes, I do. The punishment of adultery for a married Muslim is to be stoned to death, and slashed a hundred times for a single one.” replied the woman, calmly.
“Are you married?” asked the Prophet with a soft voice.
“Yes, I am. I’ve cheated my husband, and now I’m asking for the purification from Allah.” replied she, with tears in her eyes.
Pausing a moment, the Prophet asked, “Is there a seed conceived in your womb? So far as you know.”
“Yes, I think I’m two months pregnant.” She lowered down her glance.
“In that case, come back to me after you deliver the baby. The baby is innocent.” said the Prophet.
The woman left without receiving any punishment or rebuke. Neither her name nor her contact was kept by the Prophet.
Seven months later, appeared the woman again in front of the Prophet.
“I have delivered the baby yesterday, and now I come back for the purification.” said the woman.
“Where is your baby?” asked the Prophet.
“I left the baby with my husband at home.”
“Go back and breastfeed the baby for two years. A baby needs a mother.”
Again, the woman left without receiving any punishment or rebuke. Neither her name nor her contact was kept by the Prophet.
Two years later, came the woman again to the Prophet.
“I have breastfed my child for two years. Now I’m here for purifying my sins.”
“Where is your child?” asked the Prophet.
“The child is in good hands.” said she in a peaceful tone with a smile.
“Ok, so now you shall be purified.” said the Prophet.
After the punishment was done, on the ground was her body with blood and dirt. The Prophet asked his companions to arrange a funeral prayer on her body. At that moment, a companion of the Prophet, Umar Ibn Al Khattab─ later the second Khalifa, asked with surprise, “Pray on a sinful dirty woman?”
Immediately, the Prophet rebuked him, “Her repenting was equal to the repent of seventy companions like you. No one is cleaner than her in Allah’s eyes.”
In all the Islamic history during the reins of Prophet Muhammed as well as the four Khalifas, this was one out of the only two cases, both married and single, that the punishment of adultery was ever practiced. (The other case was a married man who turned himself in, but he couldn’t bear the pains and ran away in the middle of the punishment.) No matter married or single the Muslim is, the accusation of adultery should be supported by at least four Muslim witnesses. If one of the witnesses shows a little bit of hesitation or uncertainty in his testimony or he couldn’t pass the interrogation of the judge, four of them shall receive severe punishment for false accusation. So it’s almost impossible for this kind of case to be established unless the person involved turns himself/herself in to the judge of Islamic community.
The prophet hoped she never came back to ask for purification, simply because she could ask for forgiveness in different easier ways. However, she insisted on making sure that she was forgiven, which was why she chose the hardest way.
The law of Allah may look cruel, yet it serves more as warning than execution. The honor killing executed by Muslims nowadays in some countries thus brings forth this question: How far are they from the real Islam?
A real Muslim takes this life as the cause for the Hereafter. Compared to the eternal happiness in Paradise, this life is transient even if it lasts for more than a hundred years. This is why that “dirty woman” insisted on receiving the purification even after almost three years, during which she could escape and keep her child with her without being caught. From the very beginning, she could keep this secret without being discovered. But she knew Allah was watching, and she cared about Him. In fact, she could choose easier ways, as Allah says in Chapter 4 Verse 48, “Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin.” But she wanted to be sure that she was forgiven before she died, which made her choose the harder way which is to admit and to receive the punishment.
真正的穆斯林將此生視為後世的根源；與天堂永恆的幸福相較，此生即使超過一百年也極其短暫。此乃為何那位「不潔的女人」即使過了將近三年的時間，仍堅持接受淨化；其實，那三年她大可帶著孩子遠走高飛而不被抓到。從一開始，她就可守住這個祕密而不被發現，但她知道 阿拉在看著她，而且她真的很在乎 祂。事實上，她可以選擇比較容易的方式，因為 阿拉在《古蘭經》第4章第48節說：「 阿拉確實不饒恕以物配主之罪，但 祂會依自己的意欲赦免比它輕微的罪。以物配主者確實已犯了巨大的罪。」但她想確定自己在死前已得到饒恕，才選擇這種自首且接受刑罰的最困難方式。
Through the whole story, the man who committed adultery with this woman never showed up. He didn’t turn himself in and no one was trying to check him out for execution. He might have chosen to be punished in the Hereafter, which is more serious according to Islam. This is why death penalty “or what is equal” is considered purification, which brings real life to the person. However, he might have repented in other ways. Only Allah knows.
The rules in Islam are never about punishment, revenge, hatred, or controlling others. Rules are put by Allah to guide us to perfection in this life before the Hereafter.
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