May 22, 2012

The Evils of Adultery


She stared in disbelief at the positive test. A baby, after all these years of being told she would never be a mother, she thought. How wonderful, how tragic. She knew the test would be the most she would ever experience of her baby. It was hers, but it was not her husband's. For a few moments of lust with someone she didn't even love, she had ruined everything.

Adultery is defined as engaging in sexual relations outside the confines of marriage. Whilst used interchangeably with fornication, adultery refers to a married person seeking sexual relations outside of marriage, whilst fornication refers to a non-married person doing the same. The effects of both are similar; however adultery is far more serious and has far reaching effects. These effects can be described in a nutshell as destroying several things, including one’s iman, marriage, health, and very afterlife.
In all three major faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, adultery is forbidden and condemned, and it is almost universally accepted that "cheating" on your spouse is wrong. As Muslims, we know it is wrong, not because our instincts or society tell us so, but because Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has made it so.

And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way. (Sahih International 17:32) 
As Muslims, we firmly believe that every law given to us by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has a hikmah (wisdom) behind it, even if that hikmah is not immediately made apparent. We know that hijab encourages modesty, and that theft infringes on the property rights of others, but what of the evils of adultery? The Quran and the Sunnah encourage only what is beneficial on an individual, communal, and worldwide level, and also forbid that which is detrimental on these levels. Nevertheless, adultery is not “made legal”, but in most places, it is not punishable by law! Whilst a man who openly admits to having two legal wives can face prosecution for bigamy, a man with even 50 secret girlfriends faces no such trouble! Values have been distorted, or discarded altogether, in the name of freedom.

In our deen, the marriage contract is one of the most sacred contracts one enters into. Through marriage, rights and responsibilities are to be fulfilled, families are joined, babies are made, and half the deen is completed. A man and woman who were previously forbidden to even gaze at each other, are now given full permission to enjoy each other as husband and wife, through the word of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

Allah's Apostle said, "From among all the conditions which you have to fulfill, the conditions which make it legal for you to have sexual relations (i.e. the marriage contract) have the greatest right to be fulfilled." Hadith - Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 50, Number 882. Narrated Uqba bin Amir

Marriage is not just agreeing to be man and wife. It also means that any other person is excluded from their union. They cannot have a romantic relationship with anybody else (except polygyny, which in Islam is not an illicit relationship). When a married person seeks a sexual relationship outside the bounds of marriage, they have in effect dishonoured the marriage contract, defiantly disobeying Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His Messenger (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa salam).

Understandably, when one has been betrayed by their spouse, they may seek a divorce. They are at liberty to do so, as the marriage contract has been breached. If children are involved, divorce becomes particularly devastating, especially if the children become aware of their parents' indiscretions. Divorce is traumatising enough for a young heart, let alone the knowledge that one of their parents deliberately dishonoured the marriage contract. Is a broken home worth a cheap fling? Even if a spouse decides to forgive, they can never forget, and the love they once shared may never recover from the harsh blow of infidelity. In any case, the marriage suffers, the betrayed partner suffers, and the children suffer.

Inside a marriage, a new baby is a blessing and a new Muslim is a boost to the ranks of the Ummah. However, if it should occur that a woman involved on either side of an adulterous relationship (a cheating wife, or a mistress) became pregnant, it can result in either an abortion, which destroys the life of a child, or the birth of an illegitimate child, whose paternity is doubtful. These innocent children, if fortunate enough not to suffer death by abortion, are unfortunately left with the (undeserved) stigma of being an illegitimate child. Paternity may never be established, child support may never be paid, and siblings may never know of the existence of each other. There have been recent cases of children conceived from affairs, who became lovers as adults, only to discover their true, and very much shared paternity, sometime near the wedding! We seek refuge in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) from such disturbing happenings. They are rare, but they happen, and illicit relations are usually involved. Is it any wonder Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has forbidden such immorality for His slaves?

Along with abortion, adultery is simply bad for the health. A cheating spouse is putting their spouse directly at risk with their actions. They are putting their husband or wife at risk of contracting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), such as syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and incurable diseases such as genital herpes and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The impact of these diseases last far longer than the emotional destruction wrought by a disloyal spouse. To illustrate this, herpes is a recurring, incurable infection that results in pus-filled warts spreading over the genitalia, and it currently has no permanent cure. HIV is a life threatening illness that causes AIDS, which, like genital herpes, has no cure. According to 2011 estimates from UNAIDS, WHO, and UNICEF, around 30.6 million adults and 3.4 million children were living with AIDS at the end of 2010 (UNAIDS (2010) 'UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic' ). Islam is not about cures, it is about prevention. Had His slaves obeyed the rules, such diseases would not be as rampant as they are today.

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “If ever immorality spreads in a community and there is no sense of shame on its occurrence or mentioning it (and people talk about it as if nothing bad has taken place), diseases which were not present in the time of their predecessors will spread among them.” [Ibn Majah, Al-Bazzar, Al-Bayhaqi]

To understand the severity of the crime of adultery in Islam, it can be paired with its prescribed punishment. The punishment for a "convicted" adulterer under the law in an Islamic state, is stoning to death, an extremely harsh punishment, if there ever was one. However, stoning is not the most terrible thing that can happen to an adulterer. Imagine the following scene in your mind, a scene which RasulAllah (sal Allahu 'alayhi wa salaam) saw. This is not a scene from a horror movie, this is a reality which will comes to pass!

The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “…We proceeded until we came across a hole in the ground that resembled a baking pit, narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. Babbling and voices were issuing from it. We looked in and saw naked men and women. Underneath the pit was a raging fire; whenever it flared up, the men and women screamed and rose with it until they almost fell out of the pit. As it subsided, they returned (to the bottom). I said: ‘Who are these?’ They said: ‘…As for the naked men and women who were in the pit, they are men and women who indulge in zina…” (Saheeh Bukhari)

In a similar narration Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w) said: “We moved on until I saw people who were awfully swollen, and had the most foul stench, their stench was like that of the sewers. I asked: ‘Who are these?’ They replied: ‘Those are the male and female adulterers.’” (Ibn Khuzaymah & Ibn Hibbaan – authentic according to Albaani)

There is no doubt that adultery has serious physical effects on the body, and devastating social impacts. Does adultery have effects that can't be seen, or translated to statistics? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Adultery kills the iman. The most precious gift Allah, al-Kareem (the Generous), has given us, is banished from the body during these illicit moments of haram passion.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu 'alayhi wa salam said, “The adulterer is not a believer while he is committing adultery; and the thief is not a believer while he is stealing. However, there is a chance for repentance.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Book 38, Number 2625, Grade: Sahih]

Allah, al-Wadud (the Loving), wants the best for us. He wants us to be safe, healthy, and happy. Adultery doesn't lead to anything positive, and, in fact, is one of the most destructive sins, causing evil on every level of society. It leads to broken homes, the spread of STIs, abortion, emotional trauma, severe punishment in this world and the next, and, worst of all, it leads to the displeasure of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and His wrath. There is no place for adultery in the life of a believer, no matter how high the emotions are. Is a few square inches of ­­­­­­­­­­­flesh worth throwing away Jannah?

If one has been, or currently is, involved i­­­­­­­n an adulterous affair, they are encouraged to seek forgiveness, and repent sincerely, to abandon their evil. The adulterer/adulteress should turn back to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), before they are returned back to Him, for there is no evil deed that can overpower the vastness of the mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).

Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful." (Sahih International, 39:53)

Take marriage seriously - it is half our deen; it is a sacred contract; it is the Sunnah of RasulUllah (Sal Allahu alayhi wa Salam). Be faithful, just as you hope others will be faithful to you. Cherish your iman, and don't let it escape your heart for even a moment. Protect your chastity and hope for Jannah, where all desires will be fulfilled, inshaAllah.

Narrated Sahl bin Sad : Allah's Apostle said, "Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him." (Hadith - Sahih Bukhari 8.481)

I'd love to hear your views on this topic.  Please post in the comments section below! :)


Alot of muslim don`t talk about some topics like this, if we are amuslim we dont have as much as any other community but we do have some of muslims do stuff they shuldnt do, so we need to talk about it. thanks

True talk. Adultery has become a norm, and it is so sad that the muslims have also fallen into the trap. Famous muslim names in muslim countries don't hide their illicit relationships from the media. This gives the non-famous muslims a justification to indulge it too, afterall, they want to be like them!
May Allaah save us and purify our thoughts and intention, amin.
Thanks for the article. I hope HH will find a way to let articles like this go 'viral'. We need a wake-up call.

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