Question: Are 4 witnesses needed to prove rape ?

Absolute truth

لا إله إلا الله
َQuestion: َIs this true ?

• A woman or girl who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
• Testimonies of 4 male witnesses are required to prove rape of a female (Quran 24:13).
• A woman or girl who alleges rape without producing 4 male witnesses is guilty of adultery.


Praise be to Allaah.

Nothing in Quran or Prophet's traditions suggest what you say. Rape is an abhorrent crime that is forbidden in all religions and in the minds of all wise people and those who are possessed of sound human nature. All earthly systems and laws regard this action as abhorrent and impose the strictest penalties on it. Islam has a clear stance which states that this repugnant action is haraam and imposes a deterrent punishment on the one who commits it. Islam closes the door to the criminal who wants to commit this crime.

One of the misconceptions towards Islam is that a rape victim gets punished, while the rapist gets unpunished and can walk away free. It is assumed by some that men in Islam can commit rape with impunity. Another lie anti-Muslim propagandists spread is that a victim who has been raped has to produce four witnesses in order for the rapist to get convicted and punished. Critics have never produced any evidence, either from the Quran or Hadith anywhere indicating that there has to be four eye-witnesses for a rapist to get punished. The only time when there has to be four eye-witnesses needed is for adultery, and this is practically impossible to convict anyone with.

The ayah in question actually reads: “Why did not those, who gave currency to this charge [of impropriety], bring four witnesses to prove it? Since they have not brought the required witnesses, they are indeed liars in the sight of Allah.” [1]

This ayah, like the preceding ayah calling for four witnesses, protects women. If, for example, someone accuses a woman of adultery then he or she must produce four witnesses to corroborate the accusation. Failing that, the woman is innocent, and the accuser is a liar. No other scripture affords women this level of protection against false accusation. Likewise, nothing in the Qur’an or the traditions (Hadith) validates the allegation that a woman must provide four witnesses to prove she was raped.

On the contrary, numerous traditions related to rape also prove that the woman is not to be punished. It is the height of absurdity to suggest that a rape victim faces punishment. Abdul-Jabbar ibn Wa’il ibn Hujr reported on the authority of his father that a woman was raped in the time of Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad punished the rapist but prescribed no punishment for the victim [2]. In another tradition, Alqamah ibn Wa’il Kindi reports on the authority of his father that Prophet Muhammad punished a rapist but not the victim [3]. We challenge critics to cite a Qur’anic verse that prescribes such injustice or a tradition in which Prophet Muhammad punished the victim but not the rapist.

[1] Qur’an 24:14.

[2] Tirmidhi, Book: Punishments, Chapter: On woman who is raped.