بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Only by following teachings of Islam can a person stay away from a major sin like adultery

Sexual intercourse between a man and woman without Nikah (Islamic way of marriage) is called adultery (Zina), even if both the parties do it by mutual consent. As a matter of fact, adultery is penetration of man’s reproductive organ (penis) into woman’s reproductive organ (vagina) without being married in a way as prescribed by Islam. However, other than husband and wife, it is absolutely forbidden for any man or woman to lustfully look at the opposite sex, indulge in conversations that are all about sexual desires, meeting all alone, touching or kissing each other. As per the word of the leader of all the prophets (AS), Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), all of these acts are to be understood as a form of adultery, though the punishment for these acts is not as severe as it is for the act of adultery.

Just like murder, oppression, lying, fraud and theft, adultery too is a major sin which is strictly prohibited in all the major religions. Moreover, all the religions have specified exceedingly severe punishment for those who are found guilty of adultery. The punishment of stoning to death of the one found guilty of adultery is not only specified in Islam but also in Christianity and Judaism. This is such a major sin that in this world there is no other sin for which a more severe punishment is commanded. This is so because ever since the world came into being till the present day, all human societies have not only cursed this major sin but also instructed their respective populations to abstain from all kinds of deeds that could take a person closer to adultery.

Even if we look carefully at the essential nature of human being, there is a strong case for forbidding adultery else the human being –a creature made by Almighty Allah as the best of all the creatures– will stoop down to the level of animals. The entire world’s safety lies in forbidding adultery and punishing its doers in the most dreadful manner possible. If the human being –one who is meant to rule over all the birds, cattle, beasts and other creatures made by Almighty Allah– starts spending his worldly life only in terms of attending to his sexual desires (satisfying or pleasing himself by mingling with whoever he runs into), the very existence of human civilisation will become history. This is so because in the case of a man and a woman, after the Nikah, by the word of Almighty Allah, intercourse leads to the birth of a child. Considering the children as their very own and source of strength and support in future, the parents bear all the hardships and difficulties for their children, make proper arrangements for their education and upbringing and so on. What needs to be understood is that through all this, other get to know about the parents of the boy or girl, something that leads to building of relations followed by building of the larger neighbourhood. This leads to people becoming aware of their obligations towards each other, something that contributes to the coming into being of a full-fledged social set up. If humans too were left to themselves just the way animals are, human civilisation would have ceased to exist and this world would have come to end much earlier.

Islam has not only forbidden adultery. Instead, Almighty Allah has commanded believers “not even go close to adultery. It is indeed a shameful act, and an evil way to follow” (Surah Al-Asra’, verse no. 32). In this verse, Almighty Allah has called adultery Faahishah (a shameful act). In Surah Al-Inaam, verse no. 151, Almighty Allah has commanded believers to not go near shameful acts, whether they are open or secret. In Surah Al-Aaraf, verse no. 33, Almighty Allah declares shameful acts as forbidden and says, “Say, my Lord has prohibited only the shameful acts, whether open or secret”. In Surah Al-Furqan, verse no. 67, describing the attributes of believers, Almighty Allah says, “nor do they fornicate; and whoever does it, shall face the recompense of his sin. On the Day of Judgement, the punishment for his sin will be doubled for him, and he will remain there (in the Hell) disdained, forever. Fawaahish and Faahishaat are used as the plural of Faahishah.

Adultery is a major sin:

I am referring to few sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from Sahih Bukhari, the most authentic of all the compilations of Hadith, so that, in the times we live in, it becomes possible for us to both refraining ourselves and saving others from committing this major sin that is spreading at an alarming rate. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Few of the conditions that hint at the arrival of the Day of Resurrection are that knowledge will be lifted, ignorance will be common, drinking of alcohol will become normal and adultery will become widespread” (Bukhari). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “When a person commits adultery he does not do so as a believer” (Bukhari). This means that at the time of committing adultery, the person is deprived of something as priceless as faith or, one of the prerequisites of faith is that the person should not commit adultery or, the person who commits adultery is not a true believer. That said, in the light of the verses of Holy Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the entire Muslim community agrees that in case a person seeks forgiveness during his or her worldly life, Almighty Allah even forgives polytheism (Shirk). Jareer (RZA) says that a person from the Aslam tribe came to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and confessed to having committed adultery. However, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) turned his face away from him. When the person testified for himself four times, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked him, “Have you gone mad?” That person said, “No”. Then Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked him, “Are you married”? He said, “Yes”. As a result, as per Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) commandment, the person was taken to Eidgah to be stoned to death. When stones were thrown at him, he ran away. However, he was caught and stones were thrown at him till he died. After that, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) referred to him in a good way and offered his burial prayer.

Reasons behind adultery and shameful acts:

Looking at ghairmahram (one with whom marriage is not prohibited) for no reason: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “The adultery of the eye is the lustful look, and the adultery of the ears is listening to bad talk, and the adultery of the tongue is immoral speech and the adultery of the hand is to hold something it is not allowed to hold, and the adultery of the feet is to walk (to the place) where the person intends to commit adultery, and the heart yearns and desires following which the reproductive organ either approves of it or rejects its.

Talking to Ghairmahram: In the Holy Quran, Almighty Allah has ordered women that in case they fall in need of talking to Ghairmahram men, they should not be too soft in their speech, nor they should talk too nicely by uttering each word in an unusually pleasing manner. Almighty Allah says, “Nor be too suggestive in your conversation so that one who has disease in his heart starts indulging in fancies (about you). And do speak with appropriate words” (Surah Al-Ahzaab, verse no. 32). Although the voice of a woman is not Satr (part or parts of the body that are to be covered in front of Ghairmahram) –a woman can talk to a Ghairmahram if needed– it is quite difficult to deny the fact that there is an attraction in the voice of a woman. This is the reason why jurists have not allowed women to give call to prayer (Adhan). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has strictly commanded that other than his wife, a husband should not talk to women in a soft manner because that will develop the woman’s interest in him (Al-Nihaayah). These days, in the age of social media, chatting with Ghairmahram, sharing of all kinds of photographs, and online conversations have become quite common. However, we need to understand that it is a deadly disease. We need to try our best to keep our children away from all these because these are the channels through which we come across incidents that not only disgrace the immediate and extended family but also lead to severe punishment in the Hereafter.

Late Marriage: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “O young men! Whosoever among you has the physical and financial capacity to do so must marry at the earliest because marriage protects our eyes and reproductive organs (from committing wrong acts)” (Bukhari). These days, generally speaking, girls and boys get married at an older age because finishing their education in college and university takes a long time. However, to the extent possible, we must make sure that the marriage of our boys and girls does not get delayed.

The intermingling of men and women who are strangers to each other: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “When a woman steps out of her house, the devil is on a lookout for her” (Tirmidhi). Similarly, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “When a man and a woman (who are stranger to each other) are in the company of each other with no one around them, then the third person with them is the devil, one who urges them to indulge in a sinful act” (Musnad Ahmad). These days, in schools, colleges and universities, as a result of co-education, the intermingling of men and women (who are not known to each other) has become quite common. Moreover, with the passage of time, women are found more and more inclined to do work. Verily, women can acquire worldly knowledge alongside being educated in the Holy Quran and Hadith, and, in the same manner, can also do work or business provided they follow the guidelines outlined by Islamic Shariah with respect to these domains. However, our experience tells us that numerous women associated with the existing education system (followed across the globe) and workplace are victims of sexual harassment. I do not mean to say that we should not send our girls for higher education, or that it is forbidden for women to work. However, what I want to emphasise is that we simply cannot neglect the ground reality. This is why, to the extent possible, we must look for safe and secure institutions for our boys and girls because no matter what, one day we have to bid farewell to this world and account for our worldly life in front of Almighty Allah.

Importance of abstaining from adultery: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “(On the Day of Resurrection, the temperature will be exceptionally high and each individual will barely find enough space for his feet so as to stand. Notwithstanding the severity of all this) There will be seven kinds of people who will be under the shade provided by Almighty Allah, and on that Day there would not be any shade except one provided by Almighty Allah. Out of those seven kinds, one is he who is called by a woman of beauty of possession for illegal intercourse but he says, “I fear Almighty Allah” (Bukhari). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Whoever assures me in relation to (the chastity of) what is between the legs and what is between the jaws, meaning protecting these two (private parts and tongue) from sinful acts, I assure him of his (or her) entry into Paradise” (Bukhari). Before the deal for marriage is finalised between the families of the boy and girl, in front of other family members, they are allowed to see each other and have necessary conversation. However, once the talks are finalised between the families (it is decided that on a specific date the boy and the girl will be married), until Nikaah, it is not permissible for the boy and the girl to meet each other in private or travel together. That said, in case Nikaah ceremony has happened but the girl still stays at her native place (Rukhsati has not happened), in that case, as per the Shariah, it is absolutely permissible for both of them to meet each other and talk to each other etc.

Punishment for the person who commits adultery: In Surah Al-Noor, verse nos. 1-9, referring to the punishment for those who commit adultery and outlining several commandments in that context, Almighty Allah says, “This is a Surah We have sent down and We have made it obligatory for you to follow the commandments therein, and sent down in it clear signs, so that you may receive the advice. The fornicating woman and the fornicating man, flog each one of them with one hundred stripes”. The verse that is to be subsequently mentioned means that a man who is an adulterer and does not seek repentance, but for some reason, it is not possible to check his sins (punish him as per the dictates of Shariah) then that person should not be married to a pious woman. To punish the adulterer as per the dictates of Shariah, it is required that the person confesses that he or she has committed that major sin or four people give testimony that they saw both the man and woman in a state wherein the reproductive organ of one was inside the reproductive organ of the other. Since a man or a woman is subjected to exceedingly severe punishment for committing adultery, it is not sufficient to have two witnesses. Instead, it has been made mandatory to have four witnesses and all of those who testify must know that if those four testimonies are not proved, each of those found guilty of false accusation will receive eighty lashes. By revealing the Holy Quran on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Almighty Allah has given him (PBUH) the responsibility of explaining each and every commandment of the Holy Quran in a simpler and accessible way. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), through his words and deeds said that the punishment mentioned in Surah Al-Noor with reference to committing adultery is for that man or woman who is not married and has himself or herself confessed of having committed the sin, or it has been proved by the testimony given by four witnesses (taking into account the essential conditions that are to be met). That is, the person will receive one hundred lashes. The word Fajladoo is used to refer to lashing. It is derived from Jild (skin) because the lash is generally made from leather. Few commentators of the Holy Quran have said that the usage of this word hints at the fact that this punishment of lashing the person should go to the extent that its effect is only till the skin of the person, and not his or her flesh. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself has practically insisted that the lash used for punishing the sinner should neither be so hard that it rips out the person’s flesh nor should it be so soft that it does not hurt at all. However, in case the person who has committed adultery is married, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has informed us through his word and deed that the punishment for that person is Rajm (stoning to death). This means that after evidence that is admissible by Shariah, the married adulterer is partially buried (till his or her waist) inside a pit. After that stones are thrown at the person from all the sides till the sinner is dead. In the case of a married person who had committed adultery, the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) too took part in stoning him to death. In the light of the saying and action of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the action of his noble companions (RZA), the entire Muslim community agrees that after the testimony given by four witnesses, an adulterer who is married will be stoned to death. In case a person commits adultery, it is quite obvious that since there is no Islamic rule in the world, the specified punishment cannot be given to the sinner. However, the sinner must seek forgiveness for the sinful act committed by him or her at the earliest and should weep over that major sin for the rest of his or her life in front of Almighty Allah so that He blesses the person with His forgiveness. Moreover, in future, the person should not even go close to adultery because, in case the sinner does not sincerely seek repentance for having committed that major sin, Almighty Allah will not even talk to the person who commits adultery and will throw him or her in the Hellfire.

Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (http://www.najeebqasmi.com/)