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"And what was the Verse of Stoning?" He said, "The married man and the married woman when they commit adultery, they stone without doubt1 as a punishment from God."'

(2) We read in the 'Kitabu'l-Burhan' that 'Umar said, 'Were I not afraid lest people should say that I have added to the Qur'an I would have recorded it (i.e. the Verse of Stoning).'2

(3) Another tradition is traced back to Abu Imama ibn Sahal to the effect that his aunt said: 'The Prophet ... read to us the Verse of Stoning, saying, "If an old man and an old woman commit adultery stone them both for the pleasure they have sought."'

(4) Al-Hakim quotes another tradition from ibn Sait saying: 'When Zaid ibn Thabit and Sa'id ibn al-'As were writing out the Qur'an, they came to this verse (i.e. Verse of Stoning), Zaid said, "I have heard the Prophet say, if an old man and old woman commit adultery stone them both."'

(5) According to the same tradition, 'Umar said: 'When this verse came down I went to the Prophet and said, "May I record this verse?" But it seems he disliked it ...'

(6) An-Nisa'i quotes a tradition similar to the previous one about 'Umar.

1 الشيخ والشيخة إذا زنيا فارجموهما البتة
2 See Nöldeke, Geschichtes des Qorans, p. 194, and Sell's Rescensions of the Qur'an, p. 6, note 3.

(7) In the 'Itqan' (on Fada'ilu'l-Qur'an) ibn Durais cites a tradition ascribed to ibn Aslam to the effect that 'Umar once addressed a large audience and said: 'Doubt not concerning stoning, for it is lawful. I would have written the Verse of Stoning in the Qur'an, but Ubai ibn Ka'b said to me, "Dost thou not remember when thou once camest unto me while I was asking the Prophet to recite the verse to me, and he pushed me in my chest? And thou saidst unto me, 'Dost thou ask the Prophet to recite the verse to you when people are committing adultery like beasts?"' 1

(8) 'Ayesha, whose testimony, though a woman's, counts whole, not half, knew of this verse at and after the death of Muhammad, as we shall see.

Thus it is evident that the witnesses of the Verse of Stoning were the most important of the Companions, such as 'Ayesha, the wife of the Prophet, 'Umar ibnu'l-Khattab, one of his successors, Zaid ibn Thabit, his secretary and editor, with others—very many more than the quorum of two required to authenticate any verse.

The assumption is that the Verse was caused to be forgotten.

Some Muslims claim that this verse was caused by God to be forgotten, as God has the right to cancel or abrogate any verse. The Qur'an says: 'And whatever verse we cancel or cause

1 وأخرج ابن الضريس في فضل القرآن عن يعلى بن حكيم عن زيد أن عمر خطب الناس فقال: لا تشكّوا في الرجم فإنه حق ولقد هممت أكتبه في المصحف فسألت بن أبي كعب فقال: أليس أتيتني وأنا أستقرئها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلّم فدفعت في صدري وقلتَ تستقرئه آية الرجم وهم يتسافدون تسافد الحمر" (الاتّقان)

Jalaluddin As-Suyuti (d. 1505), Al-'Itqan fi 'ulum al-Qur'an, p. 351.

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