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Qadhf (Arabic: القَذْف) is attributing adultery or sodomy to another. Jurists have mentioned conditions for the perpetrators such as maturity, sanity and being Muslim to prove qadhf and administer its hadd (prescribed punishment). The prescribed punishment for qadhf is eighty lashes, but it is enforced if the one subject to qadhf demands it. Also, if the person subject to qadhf does not demand the hadd for qadhf, or accepts the claim of the qadhf, or the accuser of qadhf provides evidence to prove his claim, the hadd for qadhf will be revoked.

Qadhf is a great sin and has certain rulings, including that the testimony of the accuser of qadhf is not accepted, and according to the majority viewpoint, a person who has been sentenced to receive the hadd for qadhf three times will be killed a fourth time.

Meaning and significance

Qadhf is accusing someone of adultery or sodomy. The word “qadhf” means “to throw stones, words, etc.” It is said that one who accuses another of qadhf is in fact throwing a wrong attribute at the other. In jurisprudence, the accuser is called a “qadhif” (Arabic:قاذف) and the person who is accused is called a “maqdhuf” (Arabic: مقذوف).

Qadhf is among the great sins and in a narration from the Prophet (s) along with magic, polytheism, murder, unlawful use of orphan’s property, usury and fleeing from war during jihad, which are mentioned as seven destructive sins. Qadhf is discussed in the chapter regarding hudud (penal codes) in the books of jurisprudence. Also, articles 245 to 261 of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran, which are adopted from Twelver Shiite jurisprudence discuss about qadhf and its rulings.


The hadd for qadhf is eighty lashes, if proved by the testimony of two just men or the confession of the accuser of qadhf twice. The source for this ruling is the verse four of Qur'an 24, narrations and jurists’ consensus.

Also, the testimony of someone who attributes qadhf to another and cannot prove it is not accepted.

Increase of punishment

According to the majority viewpoint, a person who has been sentenced to receive the hadd for qadhf three times will be killed a fourth time. However, Ibn Idris al-Hilli believes that if a person receives the hadd for qadhf twice, he should be killed a third time.

Cases in which the hadd for qadhf is revoked

The hadd for qadhf will be revoked in the following cases:

  • The accused person or his heirs (in the event of the accused person’s death) forgive the accuser.
  • The accuser brings evident proof for his claim.
  • The accused person accepts the accusation attributed to him.

The reason for punishment of qadhf

According to Nasir Makarim Shirazi in Tafsir-i nimuna on the Qur'an, the purpose of administering the hadd for qadhf is to protect the honor of people and to avoid the social and moral corruptions of qadhf. If corrupt people are not punished if they accuse and falsely attribute transgressions to others, the people’s honor and dignity will be threatened and people will become pessimistic about each other and families will collapse.

Conditions for enforcing the hadd

In order to prove and administer the punishment for qadhf, special conditions have been stated for each of the accused and the accuser. If one of these conditions is not met, the punishment for qadhf will not be imposed and the accuser will be punished with ta'zir (discretionary punishment). Maturity, sanity, intention and volition are among the conditions of the accuser. Therefore, if a child or an insane person commits qadhf against someone, the hadd for qadhf will not be imposed on him, but he will be disciplined (ta'zir). Also, if someone slanders another inadvertently or out of compulsion, he is not entitled to receive the hadd. Some have said that the accuser must also be aware of the meaning of what he is saying. The jurists have considered the condition of the accused to be ihsan. Ihsan means maturity, sanity, freedom (being free against being a slave), being Muslim and chastity; However, Ihsan has also been interpreted as marriage.

Also, in order to administer the hadd for qadhf, the accused person must demand it from the religious authority, because the hadd for qadhf is the right of the people, and the religious authority can enforce the rights of the people if the owner of the right demands its enforcement. To prove the entitlement to receive the hadd for qadhf, the words must explicitly or in the common view refer to adultery or sodomy.

Other rulings

Some of the rulings about qadhf are as follows:

  • If a person accuses a group of qadhf collectively, if they demand the hadd for qadhf together, one hadd will be administered on the person, but if each of them individually demands the hadd for qadhf, one hadd per each of them will be imposed on the person. Also, if a person accuses a woman of adultery with a man, if the two of them demand the hadd together, one hadd will be administered on the accuser, and if they demand it separately, two hadd will be administered on the person.
  • A father who accuses his child of qadhf, the hadd for qadhf will not be imposed on him, but he will receive ta'zir.
  • The hadd for qadhf will be inherited; meaning that, if the accused person dies, his heirs inherit the right to demand the hadd.
  • If two people accuse each other of qadhf, the hadd will be abolished and both of them will receive ta'zir.


  1. Li’an is where a man accuses his wife of adultery and provides no evidence or proof, thus, in the presence of the judge, he repeats his claim four times and then says, “May God curse me if I am among the liars.”


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from قذف in Farsi WikiShia.