What is zina ?

The Arabic term ‘zina’ is used in Islamic Jurisprudence and Fiqh to denote the act of sexual intercourse between two people of the opposite sex who are not legally married to each other. Such is this act and abomination of unlawful sexual intercourse or ‘zina’ hated and despised by Allah Subhanah, that Shariah Law prescribes extremely severe punishment for those guilty of ‘zina’ in the life of this world; and if those guilty of the abomination of ‘zina’ do not turn back to their Lord and seek sincere repentance for their crime, their punishment in the Presence of their Lord Most Majestic in the Hereafter will be much more severe and lasting.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Allah has decreed for every son of Adam his share of zina, which he will inevitably commit. The zina of the eyes is looking, the zina of the tongue is speaking, one may wish and desire, and the private parts confirm that or deny it.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5889; Muslim, 2657. 

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily, it is a Faahishah (i.e. anything that transgresses its limits: a great sin, and an evil way that leads one to hell unless Allaah Forgives him)”

[al-Isra’ 17:32]

Looking at that which is forbidden is one of the arrows of the Shaytaan, which leads a person to doom, even if he did not do it intentionally at first. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allaah 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)”

[al-Noor 24:30-31]