4:16 And for the two of you who commit it, then punish them both; then if they turn and amend, then turn aside from them. Surely, Allāh is ever oft-Returning, most Rewarding.
4:16 The use of masculine gender does not necessarily mean two males are being addressed, although lewdness between two males is certainly covered in its admonition. In Arabic usage even if one male is present in a bevy of females, masculine gender is used to describe the group. Therefore, the two who are involved in the grossly immodest act could be a male and a female. According to Qatādah, the punishment for such act of indecencies (not gross sexual transgression) is light punishment, redeemable through repentance and correction of conduct. Ibn ‘Abbās and Sa‘īd bin Jubayr quoted by Tabari indicated punishment includes shaming them and cursing them. Had it been gross sexual transgression, the appropriate punishment is flogging, prescribed in 24:2; and such crime cannot be averted by expression of repentance. Other than this, the temper of the Qur’ān has always been to offer mercy and forgiveness to the sinner.