Submission (Islam in Arabic), like all the previous religions of God, strongly condemns sexual misconduct and considers it a gross offense. See 17:32, 27:54
Submission (Islam) does not only condemn sexual misconduct but it also condemns the false accusations of people with such an offense and creating and/or spreading rumors about such accusations.
God, the Most Merciful, knows that accusing innocent people with such a crime is detrimental to the society and to the spirit of the people living in such a society.
Accusations of people with sexual misconduct is as old as the history of the human race. In many societies, the law of the land is that the word of the accuser is accepted against the word of the accused.
In the USA, for example, if no proof can be established in favor of either parties, it is usually the word of the accuser against the word of the accused, while in some other societies, if the accused is of a higher social class, his/her word will be accepted instead of the accuser.
God in the Quran does not take but the side of justice and well-being of the society as a whole. The message that comes out of the Quran is that accusation of someone with sexual misconduct or spreading rumors with such accusations is a very serious matter and is not looked upon lightly by God.
God used the strongest language possible to admonish those who commit such an offense by spreading rumors and repeating accusations of sexual misconduct for which they did not have a proof. The proof here, is the personal knowledge of a proof and not just hearing about a proof.
Sura 12 (Joseph-Yousuf) and Sura 24 (Light -Al-Noor) like all the other suras of the Quran, have great lessons for all of us.
[12:111] In their history, there is a lesson for those who possess intelligence. This is not fabricated Hadith; this (Quran) confirms all previous scriptures, provides the details of everything, and is a beacon and mercy for those who believe.
Many of the Muslims (and non-Muslims) today who are reading the history of previous generations in the Quran are not appreciating what these stories mean or what lessons they teach. For them these stories only represent " . . . tales from the past." But God insists on reminding us with the reasons for telling us the history of previous messengers, prophets, communities and nations.
[14:25] ...God thus cites the examples for the people, that they may take heed.
Let us take heed and reflect on the Quranic Justice in the case of false accusations of sexual misconduct and spreading rumors about such accusations. This issue is so important, that God explained it in detail in Sura 24 and gave us a great example of it in Sura 12. For those submitters (Muslims in Arabic), who studied their Quran, they will realize that this important issue is also treated in such a way to show us in detail "How to handle the accusations of sexual misconduct in an Islamic society or community?"
The incident in Sura 24 is in reference to the false accusation of Aysha, the Prophet's wife with sexual misconduct, for which the prophet Muhammed was very upset and disturbed. God elaborated on this incident without mentioning names to teach His true believers a great lesson. Read these verses and reflect on the implications that God put in these words and these verses.
[24:11] A gang among you produced a big lie. Do not think that it was bad for you; instead, it was good for you. Meanwhile, each one of them has earned his share of the guilt. As for the one who initiated the whole incident, he has incurred a terrible retribution.
[24:12] When you heard it, the believing men and the believing women should have had better thoughts about themselves, and should have said, "This is obviously a big lie."
[24:13] Only if they produced four witnesses (you may believe them). If they fail to produce the witnesses, then they are, according to God, liars.
God demands from His true believers before accusing anyone of sexual misconduct or spreading rumors about anyone to have a proof, or to produce four witnesses. Accusations of sexual misconduct that is carried out against anybody who denies them and without verifiable proofs, are considered by God a gross sin. The failure to produce four witnesses means this person or these persons should be considered according to God, LIARS.
[24:15] You fabricated it with your own tongues, and the rest of you repeated it with your mouths without proof. You thought it was simple, when it was, according to God, gross.
What should they do?
[24:16] When you heard it, you should have said, "We will not repeat this. Glory be to You. This is a gross falsehood."
Many Muslims missed these lessons but again God reminds them in 24:17 It is spelled out clearly in this verse
[24:17] God admonishes you that you shall never do it again, if you are believers.
...shall never do it again...
This important lesson is usually forgotten, because many of those who claim to be Muslims fail to uphold the great teachings of the Quran specially if it inconveniences their plans of scheming and plotting against someone they do not like. They may have also looked at these stories in the Quran as "tales from the past."
Stories and history in the Quran are meant to teach us today, for our everyday life and was never meant only for the previous generations. Our generation, at this time of our life, needs this guidance and this kind of justice now as much as the previous generations needed them and even more. Only the true believers will hear and obey, while the hypocrites and disbelievers will try to find excuses not to follow the rules and commandments of God. The Quranic justice is not good enough for them, or in other words, for them, God is not enough nor His book, the Quran. Even for those who might have missed 24:17, God gave us another great lesson in 49:6,
[49:6] O you who believe, if a wicked person brings any news to you, you shall first investigate, lest you commit injustice towards some people, out of ignorance, then become sorry and remorseful for what you have done.
It is God's Quranic justice system that requires four witnesses to prove an accusation of sexual misconduct of a man or a woman, See 24:3-9. However, the utmost justice is represented by the fact that, if you have no witness then it is the word of the ACCUSED against the word of the ACCUSER and it is God who will then judge them and condemn the liar. WHEN THERE IS NO WITNESS, GOD DOES NOT GIVE THE JUDGMENT TO US (Humans), knowing that man is biased by nature, where hatred, prejudice, ignorance and jealousy may influence his judgment. The judgment then rests with the law of God in the Quran. A liar, being the accused or accuser, will not escape God's justice either in this life or in the Hereafter.
For those who falsely accuse women of sexual misconduct, God specified the punishment for them in this life, as well as His wrath in the Hereafter.
[24:4] Those who accuse married women of adultery, then fail to produce four witnesses, you shall whip them eighty lashes, and do not accept any testimony from them; they are wicked.
[24:23] Surely, those who falsely accuse married women who are pious believers have incurred condemnation in this life and in the Hereafter; they have incurred a horrendous retribution.
For the accusations of sexual misconduct that is exchanged between husbands and wives, God set their rule also in Sura 24.
[24:6] As for those who accuse their own spouses, without any other witnesses, then the testimony may be accepted if he swears by God four times that he is telling the truth.
[24:7] The fifth oath shall be to incur God's condemnation upon him, if he was lying.
[24:8] She shall be considered innocent if she swears by God four times that he is a liar.
[24:9] The fifth oath shall incur God's wrath upon her if he was telling the truth.
[24:10] This is God's grace and mercy towards you. God is Redeemer, Most Wise.
God spared no words to tell us that He means every order in these verses of Sura 24.
[24:1] A sura that we have sent down, and we have decreed as law. We have revealed in it clear revelations, that you may take heed.
[24:34] We have revealed to you clarifying revelations, and examples from the past generations, and an enlightenment for the righteous.
ACCUSATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
AND THE MESSENGER OF GOD:
The prophets and messengers, being humans like us, had been subjected to all kinds of crimes that can be committed against a human being. They were subjected to everything from accusations of sexual misconduct to murder and anything in-between. The prophet Muhammed was verbally abused, physically assaulted and emotionally insulted by those who lived around him and could not accept his message of worshipping God alone. They even insulted his beloved wife Aysha by falsely accusing her of sexual misconduct and spreading rumors about it. As we know now these insults and accusations did not represent the weakness of the prophet Muhammed, but rather the strength of his message. People with poor issues need not be attacked because their message will fall apart by itself. People with real strong issues are like a tree full of fruits at which people throw all kinds of rocks. Nobody throws rocks at a dry fruitless tree.
History will repeat itself. When the people cannot face the issues, they try to assail the character - a game one may play in politics, but not with God. The example given to us in sura 12, is almost a reflection of what some misguided people can do and are doing these days.
A messenger of God, Joseph, was accused of sexual misconduct with his master's wife. Although he was innocent, denied the accusations and there were no witness but the accuser, he was thrown into the prison. According to the hypocrites and misguided people, Joseph would be labeled a fraud, because he was accused, convicted and jailed.
Despite that, Joseph was chosen as a messenger of God even before he was sent to the prison. God could have spared him these false accusations and the prison, but God wants to teach us a lesson. God makes it a lesson for all the generations to come, including our generation. What happened to Joseph did not change the fact that Joseph was a messenger of God and did not change his message of worshipping God alone. It enforces the fact that , accusing anyone or even convicting him and putting him in jail is no proof of wrong doing if there is no proof, no witness and as long as the accused denies the accusations.
Again, history repeats itself and the messenger of the covenant was accused in the same exact way, accusations he adamantly denied , but the misguided people and the hypocrites disregarded God's commandments in the Quran (see 24:11-15) and tried to assail his character to revenge for what he did of exposing their misguidance and the false teachings they uphold beside the Quran. Today's hypocrites and misguided people come armed with web sites, HTML files and new technology that will as much be their witness on the Day that God will ask them why they did not take heed from the Quran.
Accusations, insults, physical abuses or murders are part of our testing, we, the human beings. We are put through these tests to have the disbelievers and the hypocrites exposed and to purify the true believers and advance them to higher ranks.
[2:155] We will surely test you through some fear, hunger, and loss of money, lives, and crops. Give good news to the steadfast.
More important is the fact that these accusations, insults or murders of the messengers, the prophets and/or the righteous people will not change the truth, or the message, because the truth will always prevail. The message will always be the same, WORSHIP GOD ALONE.
[9:32] They want to put out God's light with their mouths, but God insists upon perfecting His light, in spite of the disbelievers.
The lessons in Sura 12 and Sura 24 cannot be disregarded except by those who refuse to believe God in His own book, the Quran. For them, to call themselves Muslims is an insult to Islam (Submission), an insult to GOD of the book and an insult to the Prophet who brought that same book.