reprimanded, over and over again, to be generous to women and to be kind, compassionate, fair and just in their dealings with women. Even in divorce, when the chances of anger andvindictiveness are high, it is stressed that men are to separate with grace, equity and generosity.Forbidding cruelty against children and women is apparent from rulings against female infanticideand rights of inheritance given even to an unborn child; and the kindness mandated even whendivorcing your wife. There are numerous ahâdîth about the rights of children to respect and dignity.The same holds true for respect and the unprecedented rights given to women.Relevant verses from the Quran:Sûrah an Nâs 4.119'O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will...'Sûrah an Nûr 24.33'... And do not, in order to gain some of the fleeting pleasures of this worldly life, coerce your slavewomen into whoredom if they are desirous of marriage, and if anyone should coerce them, then,verily, after they have been compelled (to submit in their helplessness), God will be muchforgiving, a dispenser of grace (to them).During the time of the Prophet (saw) punishment was inflicted on the rapist on the solitaryevidence of the woman who was raped by him. Wa'il ibn Hujr reports of an incident when awoman was raped. Later, when some people came by, she identified and accused the man of rapingher. They seized him and brought him to Allah's messenger, who said to the woman, "Go away, for Allâh has forgiven you," but of the man who had raped her, he said, "Stone him to death."(Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)During the time when Umar (raa) was the Khalifah, a woman accused his son Abu Shahmah of raping her; she brought the infant borne of this incident with her to the mosque and publicly spokeabout what had happened. Umar (raa) asked his son who acknowledged committing the crime andwas duly punished right there and then. There was no punishment given to the woman. (Rauf)Islamic legal scholars interpret rape as a crime in the category of Hiraba. In ‘Fiqh-us-Sunnah’,hiraba is described as: ‘a single person or group of people causing public disruption, killing,forcibly taking property or money, attacking or raping women (hatk al ‘arad), killing cattle, or disrupting agriculture.’The famous jurist, Ibn Hazm, had the widest definition of hiraba, defining a hiraba offender as:‘One who puts people in fear on the road, whether or not with a weapon, at night or day, in urbanareas or in open spaces, in the palace of a caliph or a mosque, with or without accomplices, in thedesert or in the village, in a large or small city, with one or more people… making people fear thatthey’ll be killed, or have money taken, or be raped (hatk al ‘arad)… whether the attackers are oneor many."Al-Dasuqi held that if a person forced a woman to have sex, his actions would be deemed ascommitting hiraba. In addition, the Maliki judge Ibn ‘Arabi, relates a story in which a group wasattacked and a woman in their party was raped. Responding to the argument that the crime did notconstitute hiraba because no money was taken and no weapons used, Ibn ‘Arabi replied indignantlythat "hiraba with the private parts" is much worse than hiraba involving the taking of money, andthat anyone would rather be subjected to the latter than the former.