90) Why is it that Islam prescribed two types of punishment for the same crime ?
Even though the crime is the same, Islam has prescribed punishments depending upon the state of the perpetrator and the gravity of its effect upon the society. The adultery of the unmarried is a crime. But there was not, before them, any legal way of giving went to their sexual impulses. Besides, the bond of the family is not broken by their action. But what of the adultery of the married ? They have, before them, their lawful mates in whom they can find the satisfaction for their desires. And what of the ultimate consequences of their act? The break-up of the family and, thereby, anarchy everywhere in the society !! Therefore, the punishments for these will necessarily be different. Indeed, when compared with the adultery of the married, that of the unmarried is a smaller crime. It is not right to show mercy to those who, even when in possession of legal means, go out in search of illegal outlets. In fact, they must be punished in exemplary fashion,that too, with a punishment which will deter any otherfrom conemplating to commit this crime. This is the reason why Islam has prescribed the stoning to death of such persons. As for the unmarried, Islam commanded that they be given one hundred lashes of the whip in public which would be consummate with the gravity of their crime. For even though they do cause harm to society, they nevertheless, do not become the cause of the breakup of the family and of the consequent and associated social problems.