Question: What should be the punishment for ‘rape’ according to Qur’an?
Qur’an determines principles and measures to formulate the punishments for crimes, and then introduces exemplary solutions.
Crimes are categorized according to their qualities: towards a person, towards society, towards God.
Punishments are also categorized as worldly and ethereal, so are the verses related to these categories.
Let us see the particular principle that Allah introduces for criminal law:
“Whoever commits an evil shall not be requited except with its equivalent (mithl); but whoever acts righteously, whether male or female, while they are faithful—such shall enter the Garden, and they will be provided for therein without account.” (Al-Mu’min 40:40)
“The requital of an evil (deed) is an equivalent evil (punishment). Whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is given by Allah. Indeed, He does not like the wrongdoers.” (Ash-Shura 42:40)
According to our researches performed in the light of Qur’an, two types of sanctions must be imposed on the rapist. The first of them is compensation, and the second one is punishment.
The rightful due of Allah that arises by the crime is between the criminal and Allah. If the criminal repents and corrects himself, then he is relieved from the burden of ethereal punishment. Since the punishment of his crime is considered in public-order crimes, the criminal cannot escape the punishment by any means, after conviction. The compensations can be forgiven by the aggrieved party since they are considered as sanctions of personal crimes:
Compensations may vary by the situation of the aggrieved party. One or more of the following may be approved at a time:
a. Criminal Fine (Blood Money/Diyat): The compensation to be paid in return of the injuries that have occurred due to rape is determined based on blood money in full.
b. Equivalent Marriage Gift  (Mehr al-Misl): Basing on the probabilities that the aggrieved party’s marriage may end, or she may never marry, or she may have to marry a spouse who is not her equivalent; the perpetrator is fined to pay for the marriage gift of an equivalent girl/woman to the aggrieved one.
For example, a virgin girl may lose the chance to marry an equivalent man she deserves or may have to marry a widowed man after being raped. Similarly, a married woman may face the probability of being divorced by her husband. Therefore, an ‘equivalent marriage gift’ penalty is imposed on the perpetrator.
c. Hukumat al-Adl: The compensation to be paid in the case that the aggrieved party loses the economical benefits she owns. Its amount is determined and decided by the experts in a proper method. As an example, the perpetrator is bound to pay such compensation when the aggrieved party loses her job, or her environment, or her prestige.
2. SURGICAL CASTRATION PUNISHMENT
Since the perpetrator has forcibly harmed an organ, which is legally and ethically forbidden to be touched, he deserves his organs being harmed. The damage caused by the perpetrator will influence the aggrieved party till the end of her life. Due to this characteristic of the crime, the punishment on the perpetrator must also be permanent. The only punishment with this characteristic is surgical castration. Therefore, punishment for rape is surgical castration.
Regarding the objections that claim; “permanent damage is done in return for a one-time damage”: that one-time damage influences the aggrieved party till the end of her life so, its consequences are permanent. The same principle applies to theft; and the thief has to live without a hand until the end of his life.
And regarding the other objections that the punishment is severe: severity of the punishment sources from the severity of the crime. Punishment for ordinary theft is amputation of one hand only; but in case of theft by fraud, one foot is amputated in addition to one hand (See Qur’an 5:33). The severity of the punishment increases by the severity of the crime.
 Translator’s Note: The word we translate as ‘marriage gift’ is ‘mehr’. Mehr is money or properties given to the bride, and NOT to any of her relatives, by the groom upon marriage. Details about mehr may be found on the following link: http://www.islamandquran.org/fatwas/mehr.html
The article on this issue will be published online after being published in a peer-review journal.
Dr. Adem YILDIRIM