the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî
The account in question is narrated from `Amr b. Maymûn – a Companion – in Sahîh al-Bukhârî (3849):
I had seen in the days of ignorance before Islam, some monkeys who surrounded a she-monkey who had committed unlawful sexual intercourse and they stoned it, so I stoned it along with them.
In Fath al-Bârî, Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalânî gives a more detailed narration of this event from `Amr b. Maymûn:
I was in Yemen tending the sheep of my people up upon an elevation. A male monkey came with a female and laid his head on her hand. Then a smaller monkey came and beckoned towards her, so she gently slipped her hand out from under the cheek of the first monkey and followed him. He mated with her while I looked on. Then she returned and gently tried to slip her hand back under the cheek of the first monkey, but he woke up suddenly, smelled her, and cried out. Then the monkeys gathered round and he began screaming while pointing towards her with his hand. The monkeys went all about and came back with that monkey that I recognized. They dug a pit for the two of them and stoned them both. So I had witnessed stoning being carried out by other than Adam’s descendants.
This is not a hadîth of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is not even something that `Amr claims he told to the Prophet (peace be upon him). It is just `Amr’s personal account of some things `Amr b. Maymûn saw some animals doing. It is merely his interpretation that those monkeys were stoning the other one as a punishment for adultery. There is no way that he could have known their true motives. There is no Islamic teaching to be gleaned from this account. Ibn Hajar writes inFath al-Bârî :
It is not necessary that an event that looks like adultery and stoning was really a case of adultery and capital punishment. He merely described it that way because it looked like these things. It does not mean that legal accountability was being applied to animals.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today