Fornication and Adultery: Major Sins in Islam

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Chastity is defined as "controlling oneself from forbidden desires due to the love of Allah The Almighty in response to His command, as well as for seeking His reward in return."

 

Islam has always been keen to establish chastity in the Muslim community and has thus legislated many laws that reduce the strong impact of these desires and control them; it has also encouraged remaining on the straight path and warned against transgressing the defined boundaries by following these base desires.

 

Islam has preserved people’s honor and protected lineages from being mixed. Therefore, fornication and adultery are forbidden and classified as major and destructive sins. Islam has even forbidden everything that could lead to these sins, such as immoral exchange of looks between the two sexes, depraved words, seductive moves, a man and a woman being in seclusion in a room, and anything else which could lead to this awful sin. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {"And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily, it is a great sin, and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him)."} [Quran, 17: 32]

 

Islam does not have laws which contradict one another as is the case with man-made legislation which has set penal laws for adultery and fornication but has facilitated every means that lead to it. Moreover, there are some societies that see no harm in allowing fornication and adultery and have set no penal laws for those who commit them. Other societies differentiate between committing this act in the marital home and outside of it; they only consider committing it the marital home as a crime and not if it is committed away from it! Islam, on the other hand, comprehensively forbids fornication and adultery and everything that leads to it.

Allah The Almighty commanded His Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) to take a pledge from women who entered Islam to refrain from fornication and adultery. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {"O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the Bai`ah (pledge), that they will not associate anything in worship with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit illegal sexual intercourse, that they will not kill their children… then accept their pledge."} [Quran, 60: 12]

 

Allah The Almighty made the punishment for these sins vary from lashing to stoning to death, along with the humiliation which results from informing the community of the perpetrators of this sin. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {"The fornicatress and the fornicator, 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 is for unmarried persons, but if married, the punishment is to stone them to death]."} [Quran, 24: 2]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) set the penalty for adultery and fornication as follows: "If the parties (committing fornication) are unmarried, they should receive a hundred lashes and be put into exile for a year. If they commit adultery after they are married, they should receive a hundred lashes and then be stoned to death." [Muslim]

Since Islam has comprehensively forbidden fornication and adultery, it has also blocked all ways that lead to it. It does not have laws which contradict one another as is the case with man-made legislation which has set penal laws for adultery and fornication but has facilitated every means that lead to it. Moreover, there are some societies that see no harm in allowing fornication and adultery and have set no penal laws for those who commit them. Other societies differentiate between committing this act in the marital home and outside of it; they only consider committing it the marital home as a crime and not if it is committed away from it! Islam, on the other hand, comprehensively forbids fornication and adultery and everything that leads to it.

 

The evil consequences of fornication and adultery

 

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said,
"Fornication and adultery combine all evils; weakness in commitment to the religion, lack of piety, corruption of manhood and the decrease of praiseworthy jealousy. You will never find an adulterer or fornicator who is pious, fulfils his promises, is truthful in his speech, maintains friendship or has jealousy over his wife; he will be characterised by lies, deception, betrayal, accepting prohibitions and not being mindful of Allah." All these characteristics are consequences of fornication and adultery.

 

There are also other consequences such as:
• Incurring the wrath of Allah The Almighty.
• Corruption of one's wife and children.
• Poverty and gloominess of the face, which will be apparent to people.
• Darkness of the heart.
• Becoming insignificant in the eyes of people and in the sight of Allah The Almighty.
• Loss of the characteristics of chastity and righteousness and becoming known as a sinful, betraying adulterer or fornicator.
• Not being classified as a believer in general.
• Being decried as an evil person.

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