Islam, law, and political control in contemporary Iran

This article does not focus on stoning only, but does explain the doctrine of Maslahat[analogy] or Zarurat[necessity], which has important implications to the stoning issue (starting on page 213.) Many religious scholars have admitted that stoning is an “Islamic” punishment and thus part for shariah. However, they can legitimately reject or ban such punishment, and any law, if causes enough harm to the Islamic Republic. Leaders of the Islamic Republic use the doctrine of Maslahat or Zarurat (overwhelming necessity) to justify laws that do not directly correspond to or even contradict Islam. As a principle or method of law, this doctrine derives its validity from the idea that the basic purpose of legislation in Islam is to secure the welfare of the people by promoting their benefits and by protecting them against harm. Ayatollah Khomeini himself said: “The government is empowered to unilaterally revoke any shariah agreements which it has concluded with the people when these agreements are contrary to the interest of the country or Islam.” If one can show stoning fits into this category of damaging the reputation or security of Islam or the Islamic Republic, it can be legitimately banned.

Tamadonfar, Mehran
Source publication: 
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 40, No. 2 (Jun., 2001), pp. 205-219