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Topic Summary
Posted on: September 04, 2022, 12:48:26 am
Posted by: Heba E. Husseyn

Salam Alaikum and peace.  Your question is very valid.  We have already discussed this Hadith law in our forum here.  However, I will reiterate the essential points again for clarification.

First, in the Noble Quran there is no difference between fornication and adultery. Whether single or married, sexual act with any person not your spouse is a major transgression for all.

This difference between the words fornication and adultery is a typical invention of the altered Bibles that considers a married person sleeping with someone not their spouse to be a greater sin than a single person sleeping with their girlfriend or boyfriend.  In older times when the Western society was more conservative, they considered a married person cheating on their spouse a more serious violation (overruling the oath of marriage) than a single person leading a promiscuous life. For this reason stoning to death was also a typical altered biblical law specifically for adulterers and adulteresses. But the Noble Quran does not elucidate the difference in this manner because an immoral act is equally immoral for everyone regardless of their marital status.

The term stated in the Noble Quran is "zina" (زِنًى ) referring to sexual act in which the man and the woman are not legally married to each other.  Their personal marital status is not the issue.  The fact that those two people engaging in sexual act are not legally married to each other makes that act zina.  Thus it is the word zinaʾ which is the legal Islamic term referring to unlawful sexual intercourse.

"And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way."  17:32  Al Isra.

For further clarification, specifying the precise definition of Zina: 
- Zina includes sexual act by a married person (man or woman) with any other person who is not their spouse,
-  it includes sexual act by an unmarried (or single) person,
-  zina also includes prostitution, rape, same gender sexual relations, incest, necrophilia and bestiality referring to cross-species sexual activity between humans and  animals. 

All of the above are under the definition of Zina and are completely HARAM.

This notion of distinguishing between fornication and adultery among Muslims comes from hadith, and hadith has borrowed it from the old versions of the altered Bibles.  The newer versions of the Bibles may not contain this clause because presently sexual relations out of wedlock is permissible everywhere in the West, whether single or married.   And their countless number of  bibles keep getting revised by human hands every few years.

This aspect among Muslims has circulated also because of wrong translations of the Noble Quran by several translators who, for the sake of compatibility with Hadith, have mistranslated the original word “zina” into adultery. Please remember, the original Quranic term is “zina” which includes both adultery and fornication.  It translates as illegal sexual intercourse.

The reason some Muslims wish to have this difference via the forged or unauthentic ahadith as a law is because it suits their personal whims.  Those who are single, or as soon as a married person gets their legal divorce, they presume they are free to jump into bed with their girlfriends / boyfriends because fornication is a lesser offence than adultery. This notion is totally wrong and the Noble Quran has made it abundantly clear. Whether fornication or adultery, both are categorized as zina and both are Haram. There can be no further arguments on this.

Related posts:

-  Whether single or married zina is a big sin for all
-  Stoning to death not in Islam
-  Rajam is not the penalty for adultery in the Quran
-  Concerning romantic pledges
-  Pious sinner
-  Punishment of lashing not meant to inflict physical injury 
-  Trial and punishment of zina
Posted on: September 03, 2022, 11:12:04 pm
Posted by: Eroosa
Can someone here please clear up the difference between adultery and fornication in terms of their levels of violation.  I keep hearing our traditional Muslims speak that adultery is bigger sin than fornication. They say adultery leads to stoning to death but fornication can be forgiven.  What a big difference in punishments for the same act.  I don't remember anything in the Quran mentioning this difference between the two.  I have read a few hadiths on stoning for adultery, I assume people have taken this law from hadith.  But can you please define the logical reason because of which this traditional law exists?  Why is fornication having lower punishment than adultery according to the people when both acts are just as gross?
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