Someone mentioned a recent enforcement of the punishment by stoning [rajm] in a country and asked Huzooraa whether such a punishment could be meted out even in the current age.
In his letter dated 14 March 2019, Huzooraa gave the following answer to this question:
“The teachings of Islam, including those on punishments, are not specific to any age or country but are universal and permanent. Nevertheless, in regard to Islamic punishments, one should always remember that there are generally two degrees to them; a severe punishment and a relatively moderate punishment.
“The main purpose of these punishments is to prevent evil and to serve as an admonition for others. Therefore, if adultery or fornication is committed by mutual consent and it is proven by the Islamic method of witnessing, then the concerning parties are sentenced to a hundred lashes.
“However, in the case of rape which is of an extremely barbaric nature, or if a rapist has committed this heinous act by abusing young children, then the punishment for such a rapist cannot be merely a hundred floggings. Such a culprit can also be given the extreme punishment such as killing and stoning according to the teachings mentioned in Surah al-Maidah, verse 34 and Surah al-Ahzab, verses 61-63 of the Holy Quran. However, the right to mete out these punishments is given to the ruling government of the time. The teaching has merely given them an option in general.”