Muhammad, the prophet was known as a “Man of Mercy” In fact in Islam, Muhammad, the apostle of Allah, was the most merciful human being ever born as says the Quran: “And We have not sent you except as a mercy to mankind” (21:107).

The Quran’s version of mercy however, may be a little different than yours and mine, when the Prophet meted out merciful justice it often included someone getting stoned to death:

According to Hadith Sahih Bukhari:Volume 2, Book 23, Number 413:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar :
The Jew brought to the Prophet a man and a woman from amongst them who have committed (adultery) illegal sexual intercourse. He ordered both of them to be stoned (to death), near the place of offering the funeral prayers beside the mosque.”

Many cultures practiced this horrible method of execution 1,400 years ago when the Quran was being written, thankfully only a few practice it today. Most of those are ruled by fundamentalist Muslims such as Iran.

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As I write this Sakineh Ashtiani sits in a prison in Iran waiting for her death sentence via stoning to be carried out. 

She will be buried up to her chest, deeper than a man would be, and the stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately, according to an Amnesty International report that cited the Iranian penal code.

The 42-year-old woman from the northern city of Tabriz was convicted of adultery in 2006, and her execution is imminent, said prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei.

Ashtiani did confess but that was beaten out of her with 99 lashes

In an interview with Rooz online, her lawyer, Mohammed Mostafaie reiterated that there are many flaws in her case. Two out of five judges have shown doubt in the case while the verdict must be unanimous. Besides, according to the Islamic Shariat law, 4 unbiased witnesses must testify to the case of adultery who in this case there are none. Sakineh has pleaded for a pardon on two occasions and has been refused. She does not have a plaintiff and her two children have testified to their mother’s innocence but that has all been ignored. Mr Mostafaie affirms that in some cities the judges’ decisions are biased due to cultural beliefs. The fact that in her file Sakineh has confessed to having out of marriage relations (though she has taken back her statement) plays a major role in the judgement.

Mostafaei says his client  couldn’t fully comprehend the  court proceedings. Ashtiani is of Azerbaijani descent and speaks Turkish, not Farsi.

The circumstances of Ashtiani’s case make it not an exception but the rule in Iran, according to Amnesty International, which tracks death penalty cases around the world.

“The majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women, who suffer disproportionately from such punishment,” the human rights group said in a 2008 report.

On Wednesday, Amnesty made a new call to the Iranian government to immediately halt all executions and commute all death sentences. The group has recorded 126 executions in Iran from the start of this year to June 6.

Iran does not proceed with the executions in public as they are afraid of public protests of the horribly brutal method of execution. Worse yet her horrible death will orphan her two children, who have released a letter asking the world to help her mother:

“Is the world so cruel to watch a castostroph happen and pass by it unmoved and indifferent?” Farideh and Sadjad Ashtiani say that they have been living with the pain of having their mother in prison and waiting for the catastroph of her being stoned to death; a word which they so frightened to spell out. “ Our mother is in danger of being killed and she expects the world to save her. Today, all the roads are closed to us and our mother’s lawyer says she is in danger of being killed anyday. We plead with you people where ever in the world you are, with whatever colour or religion, you Iranians and those who feel pain and suffering the way we feel, those who have lost some one dear to them; help us to save our mother. We plead with you write letters to the Iranian authorities to save our morther from this dreadful nightmare. Our mother should not be murdred. She does not have a plaintiff, she should not be killed. Please plead with the authorities to set her free so that she comes back to her children.”Farideh & Sadjad Ashtiani

 This is the “religion of peace” in action. Learning from their founding Prophet dooming an innocent woman to die by a horribly brutal method of execution, and dooming her two children to life without a mother.