“Islamic Legal Analysis of Zina Punishment of Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, Zamfara, Nigeria”
Question Presented:Is the hadd punishment for zina the proper sharia punishment for an unmarried pregnant girl, who claims that the pregnancy resulted from unwanted sexual relations with three men in an arrangement made by her father as payment for his debt?
Short Answer:The majority shari'a opinion is that pregnancy is not admissible as proof of zina because it is merely circumstantial evidence. These jurists reject the element of doubt introduced into prosecutions based upon circumstantial evidence, especially for zina, where the Quran specifically demands four eyewitnesses to such charges. This majority position is the most compelling one and therefore, the zina conviction against Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, being based only upon the circumstantial evidence of her pregnancy, should be overturned.Even under the minority Islamic legal school (Maliki) which allows pregnancy as proof of zina, this proof is negated where there is evidence of coercion, where there is any element of doubt, or where there is mitigating evidence against punishment of the particular defendant at hand. In this case, there is evidence of coercion and doubt, as well as mitigation. Therefore, the zina conviction of Bariya Ibrahim Magazu should not stand. A long analysis follows this short answer.