Forbidding Adultery in Islam, a hand with stop sign

Adultery in Islam – Full Guide to Zina in Islam

Zina or adultery in Islam means having sexual intercourse outside marriage. This relationship is strictly forbidden by Allah (God)

Zina or adultery in Islam means having sexual intercourse outside marriage. This form of sexuality is strictly forbidden by Allah (God) in Islam. Why is it so? What is its punishment? And the ray of hope for those who had fallen into it, all of this is what we will find out today.

What does Islam say about sexual relationships?     

Everything in the world is composed of small units; like a house is built with bricks, society consists of a small unit called the “Family”. Islam encourages the preservation of the family because it is the most important institution in human society. 

A marriage relationship is a bond between a man and a woman to form a healthy family. The core value that gives marriage so much weight is that it prioritizes that over pure lust and sexual desires. Sexuality exists in marriage but it is not the goal of it, rather it is the prize. The prize of prioritizing the rights of the spouse, society and above all Allah, over the sexual impulses we have.  That is how a healthy relationship is built.

Adultery flips this equation and makes sexuality the top priority. Sometimes in such relationships, there is even care for the bond between the two people, but that is only viewed as a secondary thing (exactly opposite to marriage). And so, such a thing became heavily forbidden by Allah, with grading punishments depending on its type. 

Sex outside marriage reduces the family into an institution that imposes unnecessary burdens; why should a man take on responsibilities when he can have his pleasure in casual relations that are easily terminated?
Because sexual relationship outside marriage heavily undermines family value, it has been deemed -by Allah- a sin equal in weight to the detrimental damage it causes. 

Learn more:

Consequences of adultery in Islam

The result of relationships outside marriage is that 16% of world’s children grow up with only one parent. The figure is even higher in western countries. In the United States, the figure goes as high as 35%, which means that over one-third of the children grow up in an unhealthy family environment. About 80% of such children live in families where the mother is the only parent while their fathers leave to find other women. In Canada, the figure is 22% while it is 21.5% in Britain. (1)

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Types of adultery in Islam: Difference between fornication and adultery in Islam

Islam makes a clear distinction between different types of Zina. All Zina is wrong and is a grave sin, but some are heavier and graver than others. For Example, Married people who commit Zina are more transgressive than those who commit Zina while they are not yet married. 

Adultery means sexuality outside marriage in general, while fornication is a specific case in which the one who commits the act is already married, as opposed to an unmarried person committing adultery. 

The difference is that between the two the urge for falling into the sin of Zina is heavier for the unmarried, while he has no room to relieve his natural urge. And on the other hand, the married person is transgressing against his own family and betraying the oath that he took when he married. That’s why -although both are grave sins- fornication is a graver and heavier sin because its impact is directly on the family. Read also:

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Punishment of adultery in Islam 

Allah (God) has judged that adultery is a grave sin, and thus He legislated to it a punishment in His LAW (Sharia’).  And Just as the Islam recognizes the difference between the different types of adultery, it thus have different punishments, as severe as the sin itself.  Here are some adultery quotes and hadiths

The punishment of adultery is mentioned in the Quran in: 

Allah says in the Quran about adultery:

“[This is] a sūrah which We have sent down and made [that within it] obligatory and revealed therein verses of clear evidence that you might remember.(1) The adulteress and the adulterer lash each one of them with a hundred lashes and do not be taken by pity for them in the law of Allah if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their punishment. (2)”

سُورَةٌ أَنزَلْنَـٰهَا وَفَرَضْنَـٰهَا وَأَنزَلْنَا فِيهَآ ءَايَـٰتٍۭ بَيِّنَـٰتٍۢ لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
ٱلزَّانِيَةُ وَٱلزَّانِى فَٱجْلِدُوا۟ كُلَّ وَٰحِدٍۢ مِّنْهُمَا مِا۟ئَةَ جَلْدَةٍۢ ۖ وَلَا تَأْخُذْكُم بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌۭ فِى دِينِ ٱللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْـَٔاخِرِ ۖ وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَآئِفَةٌۭ مِّنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

Learn more about Quran and Prophet Muhammad:

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Was Muhammad A Prophet of God? Or He made it up?!

The punishment of Fornication is mentioned in the Sunnah in: 

It was narrated in the hadiths the following narrations about adultery in Islam according to the sunnah:

“The Jews brought to the Prophet (ﷺ) a man and a woman from among them who had committed illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet (ﷺ) said to them, “How do you usually punish the one amongst you who has committed illegal sexual intercourse?” They replied, “We blacken their faces with coal and beat them,” He said, “Don’t you find the order of Ar-Rajm (i.e. stoning to death) in the Torah?”

They replied, “We do not find anything in it.” `Abdullah bin Salam (after hearing this conversation) said to them. “You have told a lie! Bring here the Torah and recite it if you are truthful.” (So the Jews brought the Torah). And the religious teacher who was teaching it to them, put his hand over the Verse of Ar- Rajm and started reading what was written above and below the place hidden with his hand, but he did not read the Verse of Ar-Rajm. `Abdullah bin Salam removed his (i.e. the teacher’s) hand from the Verse of Ar-Rajm and said, “What is this?” So when the Jews saw that Verse, they said, “This is the Verse of Ar-Rajm.”

So the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered the two adulterers to be stoned to death, and they were stoned to death near the place where biers used to be placed near the Mosque. I saw her companion (i.e. the adulterer) bowing over her so as to protect her from the stones.”

أَنَّ الْيَهُودَ، جَاءُوا إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِرَجُلٍ مِنْهُمْ وَامْرَأَةٍ قَدْ زَنَيَا، فَقَالَ لَهُمْ ‏”‏ كَيْفَ تَفْعَلُونَ بِمَنْ زَنَى مِنْكُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا نُحَمِّمُهُمَا وَنَضْرِبُهُمَا‏.‏ فَقَالَ ‏”‏ لاَ تَجِدُونَ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ الرَّجْمَ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَقَالُوا لاَ نَجِدُ فِيهَا شَيْئًا‏.‏ فَقَالَ لَهُمْ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ سَلاَمٍ كَذَبْتُمْ ‏{‏فَأْتُوا بِالتَّوْرَاةِ فَاتْلُوهَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ‏}‏ فَوَضَعَ مِدْرَاسُهَا الَّذِي يُدَرِّسُهَا مِنْهُمْ كَفَّهُ عَلَى آيَةِ الرَّجْمِ، فَطَفِقَ يَقْرَأُ مَا دُونَ يَدِهِ وَمَا وَرَاءَهَا، وَلاَ يَقْرَأُ آيَةَ الرَّجْمِ، فَنَزَعَ يَدَهُ عَنْ آيَةِ الرَّجْمِ فَقَالَ مَا هَذِهِ فَلَمَّا رَأَوْا ذَلِكَ قَالُوا هِيَ آيَةُ الرَّجْمِ‏.‏ فَأَمَرَ بِهِمَا فَرُجِمَا قَرِيبًا مِنْ حَيْثُ مَوْضِعُ الْجَنَائِزِ عِنْدَ الْمَسْجِدِ، فَرَأَيْتُ صَاحِبَهَا يَجْنَأُ عَلَيْهَا يَقِيهَا الْحِجَارَةَ‏.‏

Sahih al-Bukhari 4556

It’s important to note that Islam gives the power to enforcement of the LAW should be done by the state not by individuals, to keep order and avoid chaos. But as individuals, we should feel how severe the sin is by how severe Allah has made its punishment, and as Muslims should seek to live in an Islamic state under Islamic Law -whenever possible-,  we should fear that the arms of the Law of Allah would reach us with punishment in this life before the next.

Zina punishment in grave according to Islam:

Just as Zina has a punishment in this life, Allah made huge punishment for it in the hereafter, starting with the grave. Here are quotes about the punishment of zina in the here after.

In a long hadith that the prophet said about a vision that Allah showed him, guided by two angels he said:

“we proceeded on and passed by a hole like an oven; with a narrow top and wide bottom, and the fire was kindling underneath that hole. Whenever the fire flame went up, the people were lifted up to such an extent that they were about to get out of it, and whenever the fire got quieter, the people went down into it, and there were naked men and women in it.)

 (Sahih al-Bukhari 1386)

at the end of the hadith, the angels told the prophet that these were the people who commit Zina, they are in this punishment until the day of judgment.

And in the Quran, Allah says:

“And those who do not invoke1 with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.(68) Their punishment will be multiplied on the Day of Judgment, and they will remain in it forever, in disgrace.(69) Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them, Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (70)”

Read also:

Was Hadith And Sunnah Compiled And Preserved From Corruption?

What does Sunnah mean in Islam?

Forgiveness for zina and adultery in Islam 

Just like all sins, Allah has opened the door for repentance from Zina (adultery) and promises those who repent to Him his forgiveness as indeed he is the most merciful and the most forgiving. Here are some adultery forgiveness quotes and hadiths

“Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them, Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (70)”

Surah Al-Furqan – 70 –

“Say, “O My servants who have gone to extremes against themselves: despair not of Allah’s mercy, for indeed Allah forgives all misdeeds; indeed, He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Bestower of mercy.”

Surah Az-Zumar – 53

“Those who carry the Throne and those around it exalt their Lord with praise and believe in Him and ask for forgiveness for those who have attained faith: “Our Lord, You have encompassed everything in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way, and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire.”

Surah Ghafir – 7

Learn more:

Does Allah Forgive All Sins? – I Have Sinned!

The Original Sin In Islam – Who Sinned First?

Did Jesus Die For Our Sins? – The True Meaning Of Original Sin

Is it haram to think sexually?

It is not a sin of you think of sexuality as long as you did no action. The prophet (saw) said:

“The Prophet (ﷺ) narrated about his Lord I’m and said, “Allah ordered (the appointed angels over you) that the good and the bad deeds be written, and He then showed (the way) how (to write). If somebody intends to do a good deed and he does not do it, then Allah will write for him a full good deed (in his account with Him); and if he intends to do a good deed and actually did it, then Allah will write for him (in his account) with Him (its reward equal) from ten to seven hundred times to many more times: and if somebody intended to do a bad deed and he does not do it, then Allah will write a full good deed (in his account) with Him, and if he intended to do it (a bad deed) and actually did it, then Allah will write one bad deed (in his account) .””

 إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَتَبَ الْحَسَنَاتِ وَالسَّيِّئَاتِ، ثُمَّ بَيَّنَ ذَلِكَ فَمَنْ هَمَّ بِحَسَنَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كَتَبَهَا اللَّهُ لَهُ عِنْدَهُ حَسَنَةً كَامِلَةً، فَإِنْ هُوَ هَمَّ بِهَا فَعَمِلَهَا كَتَبَهَا اللَّهُ لَهُ عِنْدَهُ عَشْرَ حَسَنَاتٍ إِلَى سَبْعِمِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ إِلَى أَضْعَافٍ كَثِيرَةٍ، وَمَنْ هَمَّ بِسَيِّئَةٍ فَلَمْ يَعْمَلْهَا كَتَبَهَا اللَّهُ لَهُ عِنْدَهُ حَسَنَةً كَامِلَةً، فَإِنْ هُوَ هَمَّ بِهَا فَعَمِلَهَا كَتَبَهَا اللَّهُ لَهُ سَيِّئَةً وَاحِدَةً ‏”‏‏.‏

 Sahih al-Bukhari 6491

Still, our thoughts are the gateway for our actions. Take care of your heart as it’s easier than bearing the responsibility of something much bigger!

For more about Islam and its beauty illustrated in relationships, read these articles:

Beautiful Quran Verses About Love And Marriage In Arabic and English – Relationships in the Quran Rules For Widows In Islam – A Widow’s Rights & Status In Islam

Does Islam Allow Striking Women?

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