Harassment

Harassment Featured Image
  1. The term “violence and harassment”[1] at work refers to a range of unacceptable behaviours and practices, or threats thereof, whether a single occurrence or repeated, that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm, and includes gender-based violence and harassment.
    1. No person shall sexually harass a worker or an employer.[2]
    2.  
    3. An employer shall ensure that no person shall sexually harass a worker in the course of such worker’s work for the employer.[3]
    4. An employer shall issue a policy statement[4] on sexual harassment which shall contain, at a minimum:
      1. the definition of sexual harassment (as specified in section 14)
      2. a statement:
    5. that every worker is entitled to work that is free of sexual harassment;[5]
    6. that the employer shall take steps to ensure that no worker is subjected to sexual harassment;[6]
  2. that the employer shall take such disciplinary measures as the employer deems appropriate against any person under the employer’s direction who subjects any worker to sexual harassment;[7] and
  3. that provides the process for bringing complaints of sexual harassment to the attention of the employer;[8]
  4. The employer shall bring the policy statement to the attention of each person under the employer’s direction.[9]


[1] Islam stresses on honouring all kinds of relationships, including in employment. Islamic teachings on anti-harassment are based on stress on modesty. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “modesty is a branch of faith”. (Sunan an-Nasa’i: 5006) 

الْحَيَاءُ شُعْبَةٌ مِنَ الإِيمَانِ

At another place, he (ﷺ) said: “One of the admonitions of the previous Prophets which has been conveyed to people is that if you have no modesty, you can do whatever you like.” (Sahih Bukhari: 6120)

إِنَّ مِمَّا أَدْرَكَ النَّاسُ مِنْ كَلاَمِ النُّبُوَّةِ الأُولَى إِذَا لَمْ تَسْتَحِي فَاصْنَعْ مَا شِئْتَ

The Prophet (ﷺ) once said: “The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the Believer is the one from whom the people’s lives and wealth are safe.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i: 4995)

الْمُسْلِمُ مَنْ سَلِمَ النَّاسُ مِنْ لِسَانِهِ وَيَدِهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُ مَنْ أَمِنَهُ النَّاسُ عَلَى دِمَائِهِمْ وَأَمْوَالِهِمْ

While inferring prohibitions on sexual harassment, we have used the Islamic teachings on relationship with neighbours. The Quranic verse 04:36 says, “And worship Allah and do not set up any partners with Him. And treat the parents with moral excellence and (do good to) relatives, orphans, the needy, the close as well as unacquainted neighbours, and your fellows and the wayfarers and those whom you possess. Surely, Allah does not like the arrogant one (i.e., self-conceited) and boastful (i.e., egoist);” (4:36). This implies there should be no kind of harassment in workplace relations and no discriminatory treatment of any worker. The verse prohibits all types of sexual harassment at work, whether the perpetrators are colleagues, subordinates or bosses or even a third party.

وَاعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلَا تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا وَبِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْجَارِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْجَارِ الْجُنُبِ وَالصَّاحِبِ بِالْجَنْبِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَنْ كَانَ مُخْتَالًا فَخُورًا

Islam prohibits all harassment and bullying, as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet. (i.e. abstain from all kinds of evil and dirty talk).” (Sahih Bukhari: 6018).

Harassment

“‏ مَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلاَ يُؤْذِ جَارَهُ، وَمَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيُكْرِمْ ضَيْفَهُ، وَمَنْ كَانَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَلْيَقُلْ خَيْرًا أَوْ لِيَصْمُتْ ‏”‏‏

Similar meaning can be derived from Sahih Bukhari, hadith no. 6138. Other ahadith also emphasize the importance of staying away from harassment, bullying and discrimination of any kind. As Sahih Bukhari has narrated, “The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!” It was said, “Who is that, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)?” He said, “That person whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil. (Sahih Bukhari: 6016).

‏‏ وَاللَّهِ لاَ يُؤْمِنُ، وَاللَّهِ لاَ يُؤْمِنُ، وَاللَّهِ لاَ يُؤْمِنُ ‏”‏‏.‏ قِيلَ وَمَنْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ ‏”‏ الَّذِي لاَ يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَايِقَهُ ‏

Similarly, hadith No. 46/73 from Sahih Muslim and hadith No. 6015 from Sahih Bukhari also stress on treating others (colleagues/neighbours) well.

The Quran holds all wrongdoers liable. The verse 16:106 says that “The one who disbelieves after having believed, except someone who is coercively forced to do so, and at heart remains contented with belief (as before), but (of course) he who (adopts) disbelief (afresh) wholeheartedly with an open mind, on them is a wrath from Allah and for them is a fierce torment..” (16:106)

مَنْ كَفَرَ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ إِيمَانِهِ إِلَّا مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَكِنْ مَنْ شَرَحَ بِالْكُفْرِ صَدْرًا فَعَلَيْهِمْ غَضَبٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

This also refers to wrongdoing in any kind of employment relationship. The verse implies that those (wrongdoers) who harass or those who do not hold the harassers liable for their actions should and will face punishment.

[2]  Islam prohibits sexual harassment, as referred to in the Quranic verse 24:33, “And those who cannot afford marriage (for lack of financial means) should adopt chastity until Allah enriches them out of His bounty. And from amongst (the male and female slaves) under your control, those who seek to write out a deed (of manumission—freedom through earning and paying,) write it for them, and free them (under the given condition) if you see any good in them. Pay them (also yourselves) out of that wealth which Allah has given you (to help them get freedom). And do not force your maids into prostitution to obtain the benefit of the worldly life if they desire to keep themselves chaste (or wish to safeguard their chastity through marriage). And whoever will compel them, then (even) after they are compelled, Allah is Most Forgiving, Ever-Merciful.” (24:33)

وَلْيَسْتَعْفِفِ الَّذِينَ لَا يَجِدُونَ نِكَاحًا حَتَّى يُغْنِيَهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ وَالَّذِينَ يَبْتَغُونَ الْكِتَابَ مِمَّا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ فَكَاتِبُوهُمْ إِنْ عَلِمْتُمْ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا وَآتُوهُمْ مِنْ مَالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي آتَاكُمْ وَلَا تُكْرِهُوا فَتَيَاتِكُمْ عَلَى الْبِغَاءِ إِنْ أَرَدْنَ تَحَصُّنًا لِتَبْتَغُوا عَرَضَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَنْ يُكْرِهْهُنَّ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ مِنْ بَعْدِ إِكْرَاهِهِنَّ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ

This verse implies the prohibition of sexual harassment, sexual trafficking and other kinds of sexual misconduct as well as forced labour, especially in employment relationships of employer and worker. The verse also implies that workers/subordinates cannot be forced to engage in immortal activity due to their economic dependence on the employer.

The Quran also forbids any kind of sexual harassment. The verse 07:81 says, “Verily, you go after men for your lust, leaving the women; you are in truth given to transgression.” (7:81)

إِنَّكُمْ لَتَأْتُونَ الرِّجَالَ شَهْوَةً مِنْ دُونِ النِّسَاءِ بَلْ أَنْتُمْ قَوْمٌ مُسْرِفُونَ

This implies the prohibition of all kinds of sexual harassment and misconduct at the workplace and in employment relationships.

[3] The Quranic verse 24:33 can also be applied here. The Quran says,”…And force not your maids to prostitution, if they desire chastity, in order that you may make a gain in the (perishable) goods of this worldly life…”

وَلَا تُكْرِہُوْا فَتَيٰتِكُمْ عَلَي الْبِغَاۗءِ اِنْ اَرَدْنَ تَحَصُّنًا لِّتَبْتَغُوْا عَرَضَ الْحَيٰوۃِ الدُّنْيَا

This verse prohibits employers from forcing workers into illegal activities at the workplace, including sexual harassment. Employers carrying out and/or allowing any sexual harassment of their workers to gain any undue benefit is forbidden in Islam.

[4] The employer, as well as the worker, should observe whether their directions and activities come under the definition of Al-Fahsh, Al-Munkar and Al-Baghy, i.e. Bullying and Harassment. The comprehensive verse 16:90 gives guidelines for both employer and worker, when it says,” Verily, Allah enjoins Al-Adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but Allah Alone – Islamic Monotheism) and Al-Ihsan [i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allah, totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet(ﷺ)  in a perfect manner], and giving (help) to kith and kin (i.e. all that Allah has ordered you to provide them with, e.g., wealth, visiting, looking after them, or any other kind of help, etc.): and forbids Al-Fahsh’ (i.e. all evil deeds, e.g. illegal sexual acts, disobedience of parents, polytheism, to tell lies, to give false witness, to kill a life without right, etc.), and Al-Munkar (i.e. all that is prohibited by Islamic law: polytheism of every kind, disbelief and every kind of evil deeds, etc.), and Al-Baghy (i.e. all types of oppression), He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” (16:90)

*The translation of this verse is taken from the Noble Quran, A translation into modern English language by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D. & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan. (https://noblequran.com/)

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

[5]  The verse 24:33, as quoted above, can be applied here as well. Sexual harassment at the workplace is forbidden. Forced labour of any kind including of a sexual nature is prohibited and cannot be enforced upon a worker.

[6]  The Quran has instructed employers to create an environment free of sexual harassment. As stated in 17:32, “And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Fahishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).” (17:32)

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنٰٓى إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا

The work environment, policies and code of conduct should be devised in such a way that it does not allow or lead to such types of evils. Similarly, the verse 17:37 also talks about having a code of conduct at the workplace when it says, “And do not swagger on the earth. Certainly, you cannot cleave the earth (with the force of your arrogance), nor can you reach the mountains in height. (You will remain what you are.).” (17:37). Sexual harassment happens since the perpetrator feels more powerful than the victim and does it with impunity.

وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَخْرِقَ الْأَرْضَ وَلَنْ تَبْلُغَ الْجِبَالَ طُولًا

Moreover, the verse 24:02 says, “The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. (This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime but if married persons commit it, the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allah’s Law).”

الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ وَلَا تَأْخُذْكُمْ بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَائِفَةٌ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

The highlighted part implies that punishments given to sexual harassers and other offenders should be made known in the workplace in order to deter future harassers and ensure an environment where no worker is subjected to sexual harassment.

In the same way, Quranic verses 24:19 and 31:06 also imply that workers who disrupt the work environment through actions leading towards harassment should be punished by the employer in order to prevent further sexual harassment and ensure the protection of all workers.

Harassment

“Indeed, those who like that lewdness should spread amongst the Muslims, for them is an agonizing punishment in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah knows (the intentions of such people) and you do not know.” (24:19)

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ تَشِيعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ [24:19]

Whether harassment is through the sharing of pornography or other obscene images, it is prohibited. “And of people, there are those who buy absurd narrations to make the people lacking in knowledge lose the path of Allah and to mock this (path). It is they for whom there is a painful torment.” (31:06)

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا أُولَئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ

In addition, the Quran also refers to how workers can help each other in the workplace by following a code of conduct. While Musa helped women in watering their animals, he did not engage in unnecessary talk. The verse 28:23-24 says, “And when he arrived at the watering (well) of Madyan, he found there a crowd of people watering (their flocks). And on a side, he saw two women, withdrawn, holding back (their goats. Musa [Moses]) asked: ‘Why are you (standing) in this condition?’ Both said: ‘We cannot water (our goats) till the shepherds take back their flocks, and our father is an aged man. So, he watered their (flocks) and then turned back to the shade and submitted: ‘O Lord, I am in need of whatever good You send down to me.” (28:23-24)

وَلَمَّا وَرَدَ مَاءَ مَدْيَنَ وَجَدَ عَلَيْهِ أُمَّةً مِنَ النَّاسِ يَسْقُونَ وَوَجَدَ مِنْ دُونِهِمُ امْرَأَتَيْنِ تَذُودَانِ قَالَ مَا خَطْبُكُمَا قَالَتَا لَا نَسْقِي حَتَّى يُصْدِرَ الرِّعَاءُ وَأَبُونَا شَيْخٌ كَبِيرٌ
فَسَقَى لَهُمَا ثُمَّ تَوَلَّى إِلَى الظِّلِّ فَقَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي لِمَا أَنْزَلْتَ إِلَيَّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَقِيرٌ

[7] Islam places great importance on punishment for sexual harassment. No matter the status of the sexual harasser at a workplace, the sentence should still be executed. The implementation of law should start from the top, not the bottom. It is narrated that “a woman of Quraish, from Banu Makhzum, stole, and she was brought to the Prophet. They said: ‘Who will speak to him concerning her?’ They said: ‘Usamah bin Zaid.’ So, he came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and spoke to him. But he rebuked him, and he said; ‘Among the Children of Israel if a noble person stole, they would let him go. But if a low-class person stole, they would cut off his hand. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, if Fatimah bint Muhammad were to steal, I would cut off her hand.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i: 4900)


إِنَّ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ كَانُوا إِذَا سَرَقَ فِيهِمُ الشَّرِيفُ تَرَكُوهُ وَإِذَا سَرَقَ الْوَضِيعُ قَطَعُوهُ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَوْ أَنَّ فَاطِمَةَ بِنْتَ مُحَمَّدٍ سَرَقَتْ لَقَطَعْتُهَا

Sa’ad b. Ubada brought the Prophet (ﷺ) a man deficient in build and sick, a member of the clan, who had been found in the act of having illicit intercourse with a slave woman of theirs. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Get for him a stalk of the raceme of a palm-tree with a hundred twigs and strike him once.” (Mishkat al-Masabih 3574).

أَنَّ سَعْدَ بْنَ عُبَادَةَ أَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِرَجُلٍ كَانَ فِي الْحَيِّ مُخْدَجٍ سَقِيمٍ وُجِدَ عَلَى أَمَةٍ مِنْ إِمَائِهِمْ يَخْبُثُ بِهَا، فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «خُذُوا لَهُ عِثْكَالا فِيهِ مِائَةُ شِمْرَاخٍ، فَاضْرِبُوهُ بِهِ ضَرْبَةً

Similarly, the importance of punishment for sexual harassment can be observed when a worker or employer who sexually harasses, makes fake complaints of harassment, libels and/or slanders in a workplace, or an employer discriminates in giving justice. As narrated in Abi Dawud, “Usamah bin Sharik said “I went out with the Prophet (ﷺ) to perform Hajj, and the people were coming to him. One would say “Apostle of Allah(ﷺ) I ran between Al Safa’ and Al Marwah before going round the Ka’bah or I did something before its proper time or did something after its appropriate time. He would reply “No harm will come; no harm will come except to one who defames a Muslim by acting wrongfully. That is the one who will be in trouble and will perish.” (Abi Dawud: 2015)

عَنْ أُسَامَةَ بْنِ شَرِيكٍ، قَالَ خَرَجْتُ مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم حَاجًّا فَكَانَ النَّاسُ يَأْتُونَهُ فَمَنْ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ سَعَيْتُ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَطُوفَ أَوْ قَدَّمْتُ شَيْئًا أَوْ أَخَّرْتُ شَيْئًا ‏.‏ فَكَانَ يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ لاَ حَرَجَ لاَ حَرَجَ إِلاَّ عَلَى رَجُلٍ اقْتَرَضَ عِرْضَ رَجُلٍ مُسْلِمٍ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ فَذَلِكَ الَّذِي حَرِجَ وَهَلَكَ ‏”‏ ‏.

The Quran also stresses punishment for sexual harassers. The verse 24:02 (in above footnotes as well) is also relevant here. “The woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment. (This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime but if married persons commit it, the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allah’s Law).”

The punishment, as provided under the law, must not be reduced out of pity and must be made public. Similarly, as narrated below, it implies criminal penalties for sexual harassment and focuses on the application of punishment on the perpetrator.

“A governmental male-slave tried to seduce a slave-girl from the Khumus of the war booty till he deflowered her by force against her will; therefore ‘Umar (RA) flogged him according to the law and exiled him, but he did not flog the female slave because the male-slave had committed illegal sexual intercourse by force, against her will.” (Sahih Bukhari: 6949)

أَنَّ عَبْدًا مِنْ رَقِيقِ الإِمَارَةِ وَقَعَ عَلَى وَلِيدَةٍ مِنَ الخُمُسِ، فَاسْتَكْرَهَهَا حَتَّى اقْتَضَّهَا، فَجَلَدَهُ عُمَرُ، الحَدَّ وَنَفَاهُ، وَلَمْ يَجْلِدِ الوَلِيدَةَ مِنْ أَجْلِ أَنَّهُ اسْتَكْرَهَهَا

This incident implies equal treatment when applying punishment from the law on whoever the sexual harasser is at the workplace. In addition, Sahih Bukhari hadith No. 6633 refers to using severe punishment to sexual harassers with higher authority in the workplace.

“Two men had a dispute in the presence of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). One of them said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Judge between us according to Allah’s Laws.” The other who was wiser, said, “Yes, O Allah’s Apostle! Judge between us according to Allah’s Laws and allow me to speak. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Speak.” He said, “My son was a labourer serving this (person), and he committed illegal sexual intercourse with his wife, the people said that my son is to be stoned to death, but I ransomed him with one-hundred sheep and a slave girl. Then I asked the learned people, who informed me that my son should receive one hundred lashes and will be exiled for one year, and stoning will be the lot for the man’s wife.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Indeed, by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, I will judge between you according to Allah’s Laws: As for your sheep and slave girl, they are to be returned to you.” Then he scourged his son one hundred lashes and exiled him for one year. Then Unais Al- Aslami was ordered to go to the wife of the second man, and if she confessed (the crime), then stone her to death. She did admit, so he stoned her to death.: (Sahih Bukhari:6633)

أَنَّ رَجُلَيْنِ اخْتَصَمَا إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ أَحَدُهُمَا: اقْضِ بَيْنَنَا بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ، وَقَالَ الآخَرُ، وَهُوَ أَفْقَهُهُمَا: أَجَلْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، فَاقْضِ بَيْنَنَا بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَأْذَنْ لِي أَنْ أَتَكَلَّمَ، قَالَ: «تَكَلَّمْ» قَالَ: إِنَّ ابْنِي كَانَ عَسِيفًا عَلَى هَذَا – قَالَ مَالِكٌ: وَالعَسِيفُ الأَجِيرُ – زَنَى بِامْرَأَتِهِ، فَأَخْبَرُونِي أَنَّ عَلَى ابْنِي الرَّجْمَ، فَافْتَدَيْتُ مِنْهُ بِمِائَةِ شَاةٍ وَجَارِيَةٍ لِي، ثُمَّ إِنِّي سَأَلْتُ أَهْلَ العِلْمِ، فَأَخْبَرُونِي أَنَّ مَا عَلَى ابْنِي جَلْدُ مِائَةٍ وَتَغْرِيبُ عَامٍ، وَإِنَّمَا الرَّجْمُ عَلَى امْرَأَتِهِ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «أَمَا وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَأَقْضِيَنَّ بَيْنَكُمَا بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ، أَمَّا غَنَمُكَ وَجَارِيَتُكَ فَرَدٌّ عَلَيْكَ» وَجَلَدَ ابْنَهُ مِائَةً وَغَرَّبَهُ عَامًا، وَأُمِرَ أُنَيْسٌ الأَسْلَمِيُّ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ امْرَأَةَ الآخَرِ، فَإِنِ اعْتَرَفَتْ رَجَمَهَا، فَاعْتَرَفَتْ فَرَجَمَهَا

Furthermore, the Quranic verse 24:04 sets out punishment for fake allegations of harassment at the workplace as well. As the verse states, “And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes, and reject their testimony forever, they indeed are the Fasiqin (liars, rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” (24:04)

وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَأْتُوا بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاءَ فَاجْلِدُوهُمْ ثَمَانِينَ جَلْدَةً وَلَا تَقْبَلُوا لَهُمْ شَهَادَةً أَبَدًا وَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

In the same way, the Quranic verse 24:6-9 also sets the punishment for workers or employers on making fake sexual harassment allegations at the workplace.

“And those who accuse their wives (of adultery) and have no witnesses except themselves, the testimony of such a person is to swear (himself) four times by Allah that he is truthful (in his accusation). And the fifth time (to say) that Allah’s curse be upon him if he is a liar. And (similarly) this can avert the punishment from that (woman too) if she (herself) gives evidence, swearing four times by Allah that he (the husband) is a liar (in accusing her). And the fifth time (to say) that Allah’s wrath be upon her if he (the husband) is truthful.” (24:6-9)

وَالَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ أَزْوَاجَهُمْ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُمْ شُهَدَاءُ إِلَّا أَنْفُسُهُمْ فَشَهَادَةُ أَحَدِهِمْ أَرْبَعُ شَهَادَاتٍ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ
وَالْخَامِسَةُ أَنَّ لَعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ إِنْ كَانَ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ
وَيَدْرَأُ عَنْهَا الْعَذَابَ أَنْ تَشْهَدَ أَرْبَعَ شَهَادَاتٍ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَمِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ
وَالْخَامِسَةَ أَنَّ غَضَبَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا إِنْ كَانَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ

Besides, a hadith narrated in Sunan Abi Dawud implies that punishment may be multiplied on account of multiple offences at the workplace, including any fake allegation of sexual harassment that should not be ignored and given due punishment.

“A man of Bakr ibn Layth came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and made confession four times that he had committed fornication with a woman, so he had a hundred lashes administered to him. The man had not been married. He then asked him to produce proof against the woman, and she said: I swear by Allah, Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), that he has lied. Then he was given the punishment of eighty lashes of falsehood.”               (Sunan Abi Dawud: 4467)

أَنَّ رَجُلًا مِنْ بَكْرِ بْنِ لَيْثٍ أَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَأَقَرَّ أَنَّهُ زَنَى بِامْرَأَةٍ أَرْبَعَ مَرَّاتٍ، فَجَلَدَهُ مِائَةً، وَكَانَ بِكْرًا، ثُمَّ سَأَلَهُ الْبَيِّنَةَ عَلَى الْمَرْأَةِ، فَقَالَتْ: كَذَبَ وَاللَّهِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ فَجَلَدَهُ حَدَّ الْفِرْيَةِ ثَمَانِينَ

[8]  The Quranic verse 24:6-9 also refers to an inquiry process which is needed to confirm the complaint of sexual harassment at the workplace and collect evidence, where admission of wrongful evidence will be punished. As mentioned, “And those who accuse their wives (of adultery) and have no witnesses except themselves, the testimony of such a person is to swear (himself) four times by Allah that he is truthful (in his accusation). And the fifth time (to say) that Allah’s curse be upon him if he is a liar. And (similarly) this can avert the punishment from that (woman too) if she (herself) gives evidence, swearing four times by Allah that he (the husband) is a liar (in accusing her). And the fifth time (to say) that Allah’s wrath be upon her if he (the husband) is truthful.”

Moreover, verse 05:106 also implies a just inquiry procedure where effective measures to collect concrete evidence are present.

“O, believers! When death approaches anyone of you, then at the time of making a bequest there should be two men of integrity from amongst you (for) taking testimony, or (any) two men from amongst others if you are travelling in the land. If (in the meanwhile) the agony of death overtakes you, detain both of them after Prayer. If you suspect (them), they shall both swear by Allah: ‘We shall not sell it for any price, even though one is a (very close) relative, nor shall we conceal the testimony (ordained) by Allah. (If we hide it,) we shall be amongst sinners there and then.” (05:106)

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا شَهَادَةُ بَيْنِكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ حِينَ الْوَصِيَّةِ اثْنَانِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِنْكُمْ أَوْ آخَرَانِ مِنْ غَيْرِكُمْ إِنْ أَنْتُمْ ضَرَبْتُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَأَصَابَتْكُمْ مُصِيبَةُ الْمَوْتِ تَحْبِسُونَهُمَا مِنْ بَعْدِ الصَّلَاةِ فَيُقْسِمَانِ بِاللَّهِ إِنِ ارْتَبْتُمْ لَا نَشْتَرِي بِهِ ثَمَنًا وَلَوْ كَانَ ذَا قُرْبَى وَلَا نَكْتُمُ شَهَادَةَ اللَّهِ إِنَّا إِذًا لَمِنَ الْآثِمِينَ

Similarly, verses 05:107 and 05:108 refer to confirmation of evidence as necessary in the inquiry process for justice to prevail. As the verse 05:107 says, “If then, it gets known that these two had been guilty of sin, let two others stand forth in their places, nearest in kin from among those who claim a lawful right. Let them swear by Allah (saying): “We affirm that our testimony is truer than that of both of them and that we have not trespassed (the truth), for then indeed we should be of the wrongdoers.” (05:107)

فَإِنْ عُثِرَ عَلَى أَنَّهُمَا اسْتَحَقَّا إِثْمًا فَآخَرَانِ يَقُومَانِ مَقَامَهُمَا مِنَ الَّذِينَ اسْتَحَقَّ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَوْلَيَانِ فَيُقْسِمَانِ بِاللَّهِ لَشَهَادَتُنَا أَحَقُّ مِنْ شَهَادَتِهِمَا وَمَا اعْتَدَيْنَا إِنَّا إِذًا لَمِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

While the verse 05:108 continues, “That should make it closer (to the fact) that their testimony would be in its true nature and shape (and thus accepted), or else they would fear that (other) oaths would be admitted after their oaths. And fear Allah and listen (with obedience to Him). and Allah guides not the people who are Al-Fasiqin (the rebellious and disobedient).” (05:108)

ذَلِكَ أَدْنَى أَنْ يَأْتُوا بِالشَّهَادَةِ عَلَى وَجْهِهَا أَوْ يَخَافُوا أَنْ تُرَدَّ أَيْمَانٌ بَعْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَاسْمَعُوا وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

More references on evidence and witness can be found in the chapter on Labour Inspection.

[9] The Quran says, “And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Fahishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).” (17:32)

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنٰٓى إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا

This implies that to develop a work environment which is free of sexual harassment, policies and code of conduct should be communicated to everyone in the workplace.

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