One of the fundamental premise of the Islamic penal law is that nobody except the perpetrators of crime is to be punished. For that reason, Islam does not permit humiliating those who lead lives of purity by casting allegations against their names. Indeed, those who do make such allegations are duty-bound to produce four witnesses to back their claim. In the event that they fail to do so, it will not be those against whom the allegation is made, but on the contrary, it will be those who allege who will be punished. The Qur'an makes clear the punishment for those who make the false allegation of adultery thus: 'And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations) - flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after : for such men are wicked transgressors.' (Qur'an 24:4)
It is the hobby of some people to conjure up allegations against married couples. It is no small problem that such people create in society. If it is known that the punishment for such is an award of eighty lashes, none will go around with such false accusations. Nobody will then consider making an allegation without four witnesses to back them up. How many, indeed, are the people in our society who, because of the false allegations raised against them, are unable to face even their close friends and relations. Our media, after all, often make use of such gossip to enhance their popularity. All such misconduct, however, is alien to the Islamic society. The situation, wherein decent people are, without proper reason, immersed, and done away with, in the quicksand of false allegations, will not prevail in that society. Indeed, the Qur'anic injunction is to publicly award eighty lashes to such as will venture forth in that despicable path.
The punishments fixed by Islam for adultery are harsh. If married, they are to be stoned to death! If unmarried, they are to be awarded a hundred lashes! Islam which determines such punishments, has also prescribed laws so that the innocents are not punished. It is only if one can produce four eye witnesses that he should raise the allegation of adultery against the name of another. If this was not done, the person who raised the allegation would then be in a fix. Such would then be awarded eighty lashes. The possibility of false testimony here is very remote indeed. A person will venture to make such an allegation only if he is certain that many more people have witnessed the act being committed. It is for the same reason that the possibility of the innocent being punished is quite improbable.