Added: January 7, 2017 – Last updated: January 7, 2017


Author: Hina Azam

Title: Rape as a Variant of Fornication (Zinā) in Islamic Law

Subtitle: An Examination of the Early Legal Reports

Journal: Journal of Law and Religion

Volume: 28

Issue: 2

Year: 2012-13 (Published online: April 1, 2015)

Pages: 441-466

ISSN: 0748-0814 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 2163-3088 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Medieval History: 8th Century, 9th Century | Prosecution: Laws / Islamic Law


Links: (Free Access)

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Author: Hina Azam, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin –

Abstract: »The contemporary treatment of rape in the penal codes of Muslim nations has come under increasing scrutiny over the last two decades, as several high-profile cases have arisen in which women have claimed sexual assault but been unable to bring sufficient proof of non-consent. In some cases, claimants have subsequently been punished for fornication (zinā) because their accusations were seen as constituting confession to consensual illicit sex, while in other cases, a resulting pregnancy has been taken as evidence of the same. These cases have illustrated the particular problems that stem from defining rape as a coercive variant of fornication, or zinā.
These cases have largely arisen in the context of national efforts to Islamize the legal code by bringing laws into line with perceived sharī'a guidelines. This slew of cases has prompted journalists, human rights groups and Muslim reformers to ask whether contemporary “Islamic” rape laws are really continuous with the classical Islamic juristic tradition, or whether they may in fact represent distortions of that tradition. A central point of debate has been over whether Islamic juristic discourse truly placed rape—that is, a man's unlawful sexual intercourse with a woman against her will—under the category of zinā, or not.« (Source: Journal of Law and Religion)


  I. Method and Sources (p. 444)
  II. Rape as a Variant of Zinā (p. 446)
    A. Qur'anic Passages Relevant to Defining and Penalizing Sexual Violence (p. 447)
    B. Zinā and Rape in the Legal Reports (p. 451)
  Conclusion (p. 460)
  Appendix: Methodological Concerns (p. 462)

Wikipedia: Law: Laws regarding rape / Zina