Last year, a rape case shook Pakistan. Two men raped a woman in front of her children after she ran out of fuel outside Lahore on her way to Gujranwala. After the rape was reported, protests ensued across the country and people demanded the perpetrators be punished in the most gruesome way possible.
Days after the incident was reported, Prime Minister Imran Khan suggested chemical castration as a punishment for rapists in an interview to a local news channel.
Three months later, President Arif Alvi signed an ordinance, allowing chemical castration for those convicted of raping women and children.
The announcements, however, faced a fierce backlash from the religious community. Consequently, the government decided to send the law to the Council of Islamic Ideology for a review.
In a session on October 27, 2021, the council declared that chemical castration was against the tenets of Islam and suggested that alternative effective penalties should be proposed.
SAMAA Digital asked leading scholars heading various Madrassas why this punishment was considered against the principles of Islam.
Jamia Darul Uloom Korangi
Jamia Darul Uloom Korangi clearly, in its fatwa, ruled that using chemical castration did not conform with the teachings of Shariah. It is not allowed in Islam to make a person impotent using medicines or chemicals. Since it affects the ability to reproduce, it is tantamount to making a person impotent, which is not permissible in Islam.
Ulema belonging to various schools of thought agree that depriving a person of manhood is akin to killing him and because of this, the person depriving them of this ability would be liable to pay Diyat.
They also cited from the Holy Quran and Sunnah that Allah has prescribed cutting off a person's hand for stealing, but for rape, there’s no order for cutting off a man's reproductive organ.
The fatwa added that if the person is married, then castration would have the effect of depriving their wife of her marital rights.
If the person is a serial offender and has committed the crime multiple times, then they can be sentenced to death as penalty.
Jamia Banuri Town
Jamia Banuri Town, in its fatwa, maintained that the punishment for rape is fixed in the Holy Quran and Hadith. If the rape is proven and the accused is married, then they should be stoned to death. For a bachelor, the punishment is 100 lashes.
Chemical castration is un-Islamic because it would mean going against the punishment endorsed in Quran and Hadith, the fatwa maintained.
Jamia Ashrafia Lahore
Mufti Abdullah of Jamia Ashrafia told SAMAA Digital that only punishments prescribed in Shariah should be sentenced. Exceeding them is not right, he pointed out.
Mufti Abdullah added that he supports the CII’s decision of declaring chemical castration of rapists un-Islamic.
What is chemical castration?
Unlike popular opinion, chemical castration has nothing to do with physically damaging a man’s penis, neither does it involve burning it with acid.
You may want to read: Imran Khan and chemical castration: the Pakistan rape punishment debate
The procedure involves the use of drugs or chemicals to repress a man's sexual desire. They administered to reduce the testosterone levels of a man. Chemical castration is not a one-time thing, rather requires multiple doses at regular intervals.
Countries such as the US, UK, South Korea, Indonesia, Germany, Denmark and Sweden have laws for chemical castration against sex offenders but this procedure is voluntary.
It was also proposed by a number of politicians in India after the Delhi gang rape case in 2012. It was later rejected because "chemical castration fails to treat the social foundations of rape which is about power and sexually deviant behavior”.