execution method
Saint Stephen, first martyr of Christianity, painted in 1506 by Marx Reichlich (1460–1520)
(Pinakothek of Munich)

Stoning, or lapidation, is a method of capital punishment where a group throws stones at a person until the subject dies from blunt trauma. It has been attested as a form of punishment for grave misdeeds since ancient times. Its adoption in some legal systems has caused controversy in recent decades.


  • To execute anyone by stoning is barbaric and disgraceful. To execute a woman for adultery in this cruel way simply beggars belief. Iran should abolish the sentence of stoning once and for all.
  • The faithful live at second hand exclusively and stone the prophets in their turn.
    • William James, The Varieties or Religious Experience (1902), Lectures XIV and XV, "The Value of Saintliness"
  • Let twenty pass, and stone the twenty-first,
    Loving not, hating not, just choosing so.
    • Robert Browning, "Caliban upon Setebos", line 102, in Dramatis Personae (1864)


The Bible on Wikisource

  • A man also or woman that is a medium, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
  • And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death.
  • If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, so that he dies: so shall you put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
  • If a young woman that is a virgin be betrothed unto a husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then you shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and you shall stone them with stones so that they die; the young woman, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he has violated his neighbor's wife: so you shall put away evil from among you.
  • And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, "Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!" Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died.
  • He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.


  • 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.
  • The Jews came to Allah's Apostle and told him that a man and a woman from amongst them had committed illegal sexual intercourse. Allah's Apostle said to them, "What do you find in the Torah (old Testament) about the legal punishment of Ar-Rajm (stoning)?" They replied, (But) we announce their crime and lash them." Abdullah bin Salam said, "You are telling a lie; Torah contains the order of Rajm." They brought and opened the Torah and one of them solaced his hand on the Verse of Rajm and read the verses preceding and following it. Abdullah bin Salam said to him, "Lift your hand." When he lifted his hand, the Verse of Rajm was written there. They said, "Muhammad has told the truth; the Torah has the Verse of Rajm. The Prophet then gave the order that both of them should be stoned to death. ('Abdullah bin 'Umar said, "I saw the man leaning over the woman to shelter her from the stones.
  • from Ali when the latter stoned a lady to death on a Friday. 'Ali said, "I have stoned her according to the tradition of Allah's Apostle.
  • Ubada b. as-Samit reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Receive (teaching) from me, receive (teaching) from me. Allah has ordained a way for those (women). When an unmarried male commits adultery with an unmarried female (they should receive) one hundred lashes and banishment for one year. And in case of married male committing adultery with a married female, they shall receive one hundred lashes and be stoned to death.
  • Ibn Abbas reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said to Ma'iz b. Malik: Is it true what has reached me about you? He said: What has reached you about me? He said: It has reached me that you have committed (adultery) with the slave-girl of so and so? He said: Yes. He (the narrator) said: He testified four times. He (the Holy Prophet) then made pronouncement about him and he was stoned (to death).


  • These are [executed by] stoning: [a male] who sleeps with his mother, with the wife of his father, with his daughter-in-law, with a male, [or] with an animal; a woman who causes an animal to sleep with her; the blasphemer; the idolater; one who gives of his children to Molekh [a particular form of idolatry], the ba'al 'ov [necromancer] and yid'oni [soothsayer]; one who desecrates the Sabbath; one who curses his father or mother; one who sleeps with a betrothed maiden; the mesit [one who entices an individual to commit idolatry]; the mediach [one who entices a city to commit idolatry]; the sorcerer; and the wayward and rebellious son. One who sleeps with his mother - [he] is liable [for violating two prohibitions, for the prohibition of sleeping with his] mother and for [the prohibition of sleeping with] his father's wife. Rabbi Yehudah says, he is only liable for [sleeping with] his mother. One who sleeps with his father's wife- [he] is liable for his father's wife and for a married woman, whether [the act occurs] in his father's lifetime or after his father's death, whether [she is his father's wife] through betrothal or through completed marriage. One who sleeps with his daughter-in-law- [he] is liable for his daughter-in-law and for a married woman, whether in his sons's lifetime or after his son's death, whether [she is his son's wife] through betrothal or through completed marriage. One who sleeps with a male or with an animal, or a woman who causes an animal to sleep with her- [even] if a person has sinned, how has the animal sinned [such that it also receives execution by stoning]? Rather, since [the animal] caused a person to commit an offense, Scripture therefore said, [the animal] should be stoned. Another explanation: [the animal is stoned] so that the animal not be passing through the market-place and [lead people to] say, "This is the one that caused so-and-so to be stoned."
    • Mishnah Sanhedrin 7:4

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