The Prevention of Zina

There is no doubt that when Az-Zina —adultery and fornication— becomes a common occurrence in a society, the result will be the spread of infectious diseases, the destruction of family ties and relations, and the increase in illegitimate children. All these evil results of Zina are apparent in the societies that have allowed vice and immoral behavior to strive unchecked. On the other hand, Islam legislates the sexual activity and behavior of its following, recognizing that Allah has created the sexual desire in mankind and that it is intended to preserve mankind, all the while regulating the way people are allowed to satisfy this desire and trait. Hence, Islam neither restricts this human trait nor allows people their freedom in satisfying this desire as they will. Consequently, Islam regulates the sexual behavior and sets its legal limits and boundaries.

Allah has legislated the institution of marriage and disallowed celibacy. Further, Islam sets severe punishments for those who transgress their set limits regarding sexual behavior. Allah said, while prohibiting Az-Zina or even the acts that might lead to it, what translated means, {And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Fa’hishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).} [17:32]. Also, Allah has commanded the believers to preserve their eyes and sexual organs from hearing or committing any type of illegal sexual acts. He said, what translated means, {Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.).} [24:30-31]. In addition, the Prophet has prohibited all the ways and means that might end in committing illegal sexual intercourse, as follows:

1 – The Prophet disallowed private audiences between men and the women. He said, what translated means, “Do not have private audiences with women.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]. This Hadith prohibits having private audiences with women, whether there was fear that illegal sexual behavior might occur or not. Furthermore, every type of intermingling that might lead to illegal sexual behavior, even if it occurs in public places, is firmly prohibited for Muslims. Allah said, what translated means, {And when you ask (the Prophet’s wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.} [33:53]. Imam Al-Qurtubi commented, “This Ayah indicates that this behavior is more appropriate and proper, and less suspicious. This Ayah also indicates that no one should trust himself too much and thus have a private audience with a woman whom is not allowed for him. This conduct is better for him and purer, as it preserves his honor.”

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There are many misguided people in the present time who claim to be proponents of women’s rights, advocating her freedom to travel, work anywhere she desires, etc.

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2 – The Prophet has disallowed Muslim women from traveling without a Ma’hram —brother, father, son, husband, uncle, etc.—, “No woman is allowed to travel except with a Ma’hram with her.” [Muslim]. In another narration, the Prophet said, “The woman is not allowed to travel even for one night except with a Ma’hram.” Imam An-Nawawi commented on these Hadiths, “The woman is not allowed to indulge in any type of traveling (whether short or extended) without a Ma’hram with her.”

There are many misguided people in the present time who claim to be proponents of women’s rights, advocating her freedom to travel, work anywhere she desires, etc. Such calls are designed to cause Fitnah (trial or calamity) and to take the woman out of her home in defiance of Allah’s Law, {And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance.} [33:33]. This is because free intermingling between men and women leads to Fitnah, as both men and women will risk being lured into all types of illegal sexual behavior.

3 – Among the laws that Allah has legislated is that even young boys and girls are required to ask their parents for their permission before entering their private quarters or rooms. Allah said, what translated means, {O you who believe! Let your legal slaves and slave-girls, and those among you who have not come to the age of puberty ask your permission (before they come to your presence) on three occasions; before Fajr (morning) prayer, and while you put off your clothes for the noonday (rest), and after the ‘Isha’ (late-night) prayer. (These) three times are of privacy for you, other than these times there is no sin on you or on them to move about, attending (helping) you each other. Thus Allah makes clear the Ayat (the Verses of this Quran, showing proofs for the legal aspects of permission for visits, etc.) to you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.} [24:58]. Furthermore, when the children reach the age of puberty, they are required to seek their parents’ permission at all times before they can enter their rooms. Allah said, what translated means, {And when the children among you come to puberty, then let them (also) ask for permission, as those senior to them (in age). Thus Allah makes clear His Ayat (Commandments and legal obligations) for you. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.} [24:59].

Allah has also required the Muslims to seek people’s permission before entering their homes, {O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them, that is better for you, in order that you may remember. And if you find no one therein, still, enter not until permission has been given. And if you are asked to go back, go back, for it is purer for you, and Allah is All-Knower of what you do.} [24:27:28]. Imam An-Nawawi said that the Muslim, “Should say Salam three times, announce himself and seek people’s permission to enter their homes. Otherwise, he must return rather than knocking loudly on the door. Also, when seeking permission to enter, one should shy away from facing the front door (so as not to peek into the house without permission).” [Shar’h Muslim]. Also, ibn Kathir said, “These are the legal manners that Allah has legislated for His believing slaves regarding asking for permission (regarding what involves other people’s rights, homes, and so forth): They are required to refrain from entering other people’s residences until they are given permission; they are also required to say Salam then.”

Those who think deeply about the benefits of the righteous Islamic legislation that disallows private audiences with women, disallows women from traveling without a Ma’hram and demands asking for people’s permission before entering their homes, and so forth, will discover that such legislation has shut the doors closed in the face of sin and vice that might present a seemingly attractive lure for Muslims. We ask Allah that He grants us immunity from falling into such prohibited types of actions.

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