What is Zina (Adultery)?
In chapter Al-Israa, verse 32: “And come not near Zina (Adultery). Verily, it is a fahisha (a great sin) and an evil way”. Zina is any sexual intercourse between two people who are not married to each other. In Islam, Zina includes two different cases: Fornication and Adultery. Fornication is sexual intercourse between two non-married people (singles). Adultery is a sexual intercourse between a married person and someone who is not his/her lawful spouse.
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In my personal view, zina and related issues are the main cause for destruction of homes and families in our societies. Zina can lead to major complications such as sexually transmitted diseases, cheating and dishonesty, broken families, divorce, abortions, single mothers, orphans, etc.
Punishments for Zina (Adultery)
Allah strongly warned us about it because it can cause corruption and so He created laws and punishments to control it from spreading. For fornication, 100 whips for all persons involved and for adultery, stoning to death. Although this may sound harsh to someone who does not understand Islam, it is actually Allah’s mercy to humanity if you understand the wisdom behind it. These two punishments CAN’T be applied by an Islamic court unless there are four trustworthy witnesses. And if you really think about it, how often will you see a case where 4 trustworthy pious persons witness a sexual intercourse happening inside someone’s private home? Most likely NEVER. Also, if a witness throws an accusation to a good/pious/innocent/married woman (mohsanat) and he does not offer a reasonable proof and 3 other witnesses, then he will receive 80 whips and his testimony will never be accepted again. This is a slap in the face to the media/critics who constantly accuse Islam of abusing women. Allah commanded laws that guarantee protection of Muslim women and the more you learn about Islam, the more you will discover.
Wisdom behind Zina (Adultery) Punishments
Someone may ask, why would God set up laws like the above ones which most likely wouldn’t be applied (due to the witness policy)? Allah is the All-Knowing, All-wise so He knows best why these laws exist and no one has the intellectual ability to fully understand Allah’s ways of running the world. Explained by some scholars, I believe that Allah’s wisdom behind it is to prevent public indecency of becoming a norm in societies. To be more specific, look at what is happening in Western countries: you are witnessing pornography, prostitution, group (sex) parties, strip bars, nudity, non-married couples’ behaviours in public, etc. And if you don’t believe that these laws work, please pay a visit to one of the Muslim countries and you will see with your own eyes that none of the above behaviours exist in public.
Marriage in Islam
Marriage is a sacred practice in Islam and it is the only solution to resolve all issues mentioned above. Marriage is not only for fulfilling your sexual needs, but also to start a healthy home and a family. The prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said: “When a man marries he has fulfilled half of the deen, so let him fear Allah in the remaining half” (Sunan Al-Tirmithi). One major issue that I’ve been noticing in Muslim communities is that the parents prevent their sons/daughters from getting married at the right age (18-26). How do you expect the youth to stay away from fahisha and learn responsibility if you only concentrate on their college education and employment? Earning a degree/gaining knowledge is important but it is not an excuse to stop your young adults from fulfilling half of their deen. I understand that some young adults are irresponsible and cannot fulfill the duty of a husband/wife but that is not the case for the entire population of young Muslims. Each case should be reviewed separately and we should not group them all in one group and Allah knows best.