Saturday 17 June 2023

Believers! Do not go near ADULTERY [Zināʾ (زِنَاء)] because it is blatant lewdness and a very evil path

One of the oldest recorded sins is adultery, an act when man and woman indulge into sex outside their marriage. The word adultery is from adulterāre (“to pollute, defile, commit adultery”), a word formed ultimately from the Latin elements ad- “to, near” and alter “other.” That is polluting an otherwise scared relation between man and woman by defying all noble norms of the society and Divine Commandments as contained in all Divine religions. In simple words, adultery is the "voluntary violation of the marriage bed." That is, it destroys the sanctity of the bedroom, meant exclusively for husband and wife.

In Islam, Adultery is known as Zināʾ (زِنَاء) referring to unlawful sexual intercourse. According to traditional jurisprudence, zina can include adultery, fornication, prostitution, rape, sodomy, incest, and even bestiality. All such forms are strictly forbidden in Islam and sever punishment are prescribed in the Islamic law for unlawful sex destroys and compromises the very moral fiber of the inter personal relations and society as a whole.

While the menace of adultery is widespread in the non-Muslim countries, where even boys and girls indulge in this heinous act of lewdness even in their early teens, this menace is also creeping in to Muslim societies as well in the name of liberalism. Parents feel helpless to harness their children against this menace and stop them from falling into a depth of lewdness and evil ways.

In order to create awareness against unlawful sex outside marriage, today we share the 32nd verse of Surah 17. Al Isra (The Night Journey), also known as Bani Israil (The Children of Israel) which warns the believers even not to go near adultery, what to talk of committing the actual act:

وَلَا تَقۡرَبُوا الزِّنٰٓى اِنَّهٗ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً  ؕ وَسَآءَ سَبِيۡلًا‏ 
(17:32) Do not go near adultery because it is blatant lewdness and a very evil path.
"Do not even go near fornication." This commandment is meant both for individuals and society as a whole. It warns each individual not only to guard against adultery or fornication itself but against all those things that lead to or stimulate it. As regards society as a whole the commandment enjoins it to make such arrangements as prevent adultery and eradicate the means and stimulants that lead to adultery. Therefore, society should employ all those legal and educative means that help develop such an environment as preventing and eradicating indecency.

Finally, this article formed the basis of laws and regulations of the Islamic system of life. In order to fulfill its implications adultery and false accusation of adultery were made criminal offenses: regulations about "Purdah" was promulgated: the publication of indecent things was banned and drinking of intoxicants was made unlawful: restrictions on music, dancing and pictures which are conducive to adultery were imposed. Then such laws were enacted as made marriage easy, and cut at the root of adultery.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir: The Command to avoid Zina (Unlawful Sex) and Everything that leads to it. Allah says, forbidding His servants to commit Zina or to approach it or to do anything that may lead to it:

(وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ الزِّنَى إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً and come not near to unlawful sex. Verily, it is a Fahishah (immoral sin)) meaning a major sin, (وَسَآءَ سَبِيلاً and an evil way.) meaning, a terrible way to behave. 

Imam Ahmad recorded Abu Umamah saying that a young man came to the Prophet and said, "O Messenger of Allah! Give me permission to commit Zina (unlawful sex).'' The people surrounded him and rebuked him, saying, "Stop! Stop!' But the Prophet said:
(Come close) The young man came to him, and he said, (Sit down) so he sat down. The Prophet said, (Would you like it (unlawful sex) for your mother) He said, "No, by Allah, may I be ransomed for you.'' The Prophet said, (Neither do the people like it for their mothers.) The Prophet said, (Would you like it for your daughter) He said, "No, by Allah, may I be ransomed for you.' The Prophet said, (Neither do the people like it for their daughters. ) The Prophet said, (Would you like it for your sister) He said, "No, by Allah, may I be ransomed for you.' The Prophet said, (Neither do the people like it for their sisters.) The Prophet said, (Would you like it for your paternal aunt) He said, "No, by Allah, O Allah's Messenger! may I be ransomed for you.' The Prophet said, (Neither do the people like it for their paternal aunts.) The Prophet said, (Would you like it for your maternal aunt) He said, "No, by Allah, O Allah's Messenger! may I be ransomed for you.' The Prophet said, (Neither do the people like it for their maternal aunts.) Then the Prophet put his hand on him and said, (O Allah, forgive his sin, purify his heart and guard his chastity.) After that the young man never paid attention to anything of that nature.
Muhammad Asad Explanation:
Lit., "do not come near adultery", thus intensifying the prohibition. It is to be noted that the term zina signifies all sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not husband and wife, irrespective of whether either of them is married to another partner or not; hence, it denotes both "adultery" and "fornication" in the English senses of these terms.

Yusuf Ali Explanation:  
Adultery is not only shameful in itself and inconsistent with any self-respect or respect for others, but it opens the road to many evils. It destroys the basis of the family: it works against the interests of children born or to be born; it may cause murders and feuds and loss of reputation and property, and also loosen permanently the bonds of society. Not only should it be avoided as a sin, but any approach or temptation to it should be avoided.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
Until here (that is verses prior to the 3nd verse) the category of directives (justice, goodness and spending on kindred) which the Qur’ān wants its followers to observe are mentioned. From here onwards, the category of directives (lewdness, evil and arrogance) from which it forbids its followers is being mentioned. The first directive mentioned in this regard is that no one should even go near fornication. The reason stated for this is that it is open lewdness and a very dreadful practice. The implication is that no argument is required to prove its awfulness and lewdness. Human nature has always regarded it to be a grave sin and a terrible crime and will continue to do so as long as it does not get perverted. It is an indubitable reality that the institution of family is as essential a need for a person as air and water are. This institution can only sustain on natural feelings and emotions if the relationship between the spouses is permanent. If this aspect is missing, then a society can only consist of a herd of cattle which is devoid of natural and spiritual feelings and emotions; it cannot be founded on a right footing.

Because of this very terrible nature of fornication the Almighty has not merely forbidden it, He has asked us to not even go near it. This means that one should keep away from things that may lead to it or may ultimately entice a person to it.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
“Do not come near adultery. It is indeed an abomination and an evil way.” (Verse 32)

There is a definite link between the killing of children and adultery. We find that the prohibition of adultery here intervenes between the prohibition of killing one’s children and that of killing oneself. This takes into account the link to which we are here referring.

Adultery represents killing in various ways. It is a killing because it wastes life matter as it puts it in the wrong place. It is often followed by a desire to get rid of its natural consequences through abortion or infanticide. If the child is spared and allowed to live, it is abandoned to a life of misery and deprivation, which is a killing in a different form. Moreover, it is a killing of the community because family relations are thus lost, and blood ties are confused. People will have little trust that the children they bring up are their own. Thus, community relations become weakened and the spirit of the community more or less dies.

Adultery may also be described as a killing of the community for a different reason. The ease which it provides for the fulfilment of sexual desires makes marriage a redundant institution, and the family an unnecessary responsibility. We must not forget that the family provides the proper home where the young should be reared, and where sound human nature is consolidated. It is the home where sound upbringing can be ensured for boys and girls alike.

Throughout history, every community that allowed immorality to spread saw its own decline brought about. Some people may feel that this is not true, looking at the fact that Europe and the United States continue to enjoy power despite the fact that immorality is widespread there. Yet the results of such loose morality are now apparent in older nations, such as France. As for new nations like the US, it may take some time yet before such effects are visible. The case is like that of a young man who gives rein to his desire. The effects may not manifest themselves when he is young, but as he grows older, his decline is rapid.

The Qur’ān even warns against ‘coming near’ to adultery, in order to give stronger emphasis that it is something to guard against. Since adultery is committed to satisfying a strong desire, steering away from it is safer. When adultery is made easy, resisting it becomes much harder. Hence Islam takes appropriate preventive measures. It dislikes the mixing of the two sexes where it is unnecessary, forbids that a man stay with a woman in a closed place, and prohibits the indecent appearance of women when they go out or attend social functions. It encourages marriage and recommends fasting for those who cannot marry. It disapproves of all types of barriers that prevent people from getting married such as exorbitant dowries. It makes it clear that no one should ever fear poverty as a result of having children, and encourages its followers to provide help to those who wish to marry in order to preserve their chastity. It also prescribes very severe punishments for the crimes of adultery and false accusations of adultery against others, without providing proper evidence to support the same. Such measures are taken in order to prevent the Muslim community from throwing itself on the slippery road to decline.

You may now like to listen to the explanation of the above quoted verse by Nouman Ali Khan, an eminent Muslim scholar of present times, an exegete of Qur'an and an authority of matters related to Islam:
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |

An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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