When Adultery is Proved according to Shari’a
By: Shaheed Ayatullah Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi
It must be clarified that the penalty for adultery could be imposed when the sin is proved from the viewpoint of Shari’a. As it has been stated earlier, adultery is only proved if the conditions necessary for it are fulfilled. One of the conditions is that all the four just witnesses should testify unanimously as to the time and place of the crime. They must also know the woman by sight. Otherwise, there arises the possibility that the person who performed the sexual act with the woman may have been her husband.
Two Important Points
1) If a person commits adultery with an unmarried woman or the woman who is not in the Iddah ar-raj’aia (the waiting period after divorce in which the husband can resume relation with her without another nikah), he can later marry her. But if she is married or in Iddah ar-raj’aia, and he has had a sexual intercourse with her, he can never ever marry her legally. She is Harām for this man forever. Even if the husband dies or divorces, she cannot legally marry the person who has committed adultery with her when she was married with another man.
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2) If a man commits fornication with a woman, then her mother and daughter become Harām for this man. That is, he can never ever marry them but they are not counted among his mahram women. Similarly, the father of the man with whom a woman has committed adultery becomes Harām for her. There are minor differences of opinion among the Mujtahids in these problems. Any one who wishes to study further should refer to the knowledgeable jurists.
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The opponents of Islam take objection to the law of Islam and support the sexual ethics of the West. They praise the sexual freedom of these countries and say that the Europeans and Americans are not hypocrites and express whatever feelings they have, freely and openly. They say that sexual desire is the legitimate desire of all human beings. If this desire is suppressed, it shall have a damaging effect upon man. These desires should therefore be satisfied so that man can rid himself of various limitations and inhibitions. He can then perform his day to day activities efficiently to achieve progress and development.
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These words express the misguided thoughts of the enemies of Islam. They have forgotten the Second World War when France had surrendered to Germany in the very first attack. The German forces freely indulged in the satisfaction of their carnal passions. Even the French people began to pray for peace.
Freedom must also have a limit and must be disciplined. If the sexual drive is uncontrolled, man behaves worse than an animal. The defeat of France was also to an extent due to the promiscuous way of life prevalent in France. It is written in the book “Khun France Shikast Khund” (When France was defeated):
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“When the German planes started to bomb the French cities, the Prime Minister ‘Patrino’ tried to contact the Central Headquarter of the air force so that additional bombers could be summoned for defence. He continously tried to phone the Central Headquarters, and each time he dialed the number of the Major on duty, each time the phone was attended by the beloved of the Major, Madam Dolly. Madam Dolly answered the phone and spoke foolishly to the Prime Minister in a demure way whereas there was bloodshed all around, and France was being converted into a sort of Hell”.
As far as America is concerned, 38 % of the middle school female students become pregnant. As these girls reach high school, colleges and universities, the incidence of unwanted pregnancies reduce. These girls use their past experiences to avoid getting pregnant. American society is plagued with this evil, but its laws are unable to cope with the situation.
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There is no doubt that the sexual urge is a natural instinct, but it must be controlled and disciplined.
Islam does not expect the sexual urge to be suppressed, nor does it order anyone to forsake productive activities. On the contrary, Islam is against celibacy. However, Islam, as any other decent society, cannot allow for absolute freedom as seen in the animal kingdom. What Islam does is to lay down the golden rules for the satisfaction and fulfillment of natural desires and instincts such that neither the personal freedom of man is endangered nor is the peace of society disrupted.
There is no doubt that the West is far ahead in the field of science and technology and has progressed and prospered as a result of it. But their success is hollow. The excessive affluence has eroded human values and deluded them to search for happiness in immorality and perversity. Their culture deprives them of true happiness and comfort that comes with peace and stability of mind.
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The women of these countries have also taken great strides. They work shoulder to shoulder with men in practically all walks of life. But many of them fail in what is their primary duty, as loyal wives and caring mothers. It is quite common to come across women having extra marital relations and neglecting their home and children. These children deprived of parental love and care in turn search for happiness by following the degraded examples set by their misguided parents and the vicious circle continues. The result is that couples just live together without being married and go their own way when they choose to. If there are marriages, they often end in divorce.
The divorce rate in America today is 40 % and is on the increase. Women have come to occupy high positions in governmental and commercial organizations, but this does not solve the human problems facing these societies. It is a pity that these societies have no guidelines that will help them to realize that their well being lies in maintaining well-knit families where husband and wife care for each other, are loyal to each other and the children are secure and happy.
This is what Islam aims to achieve for its followers. By upholding the laws of Islam our lives are automatically canalized into maintaining a healthy family life which provides for physical satisfaction, mental peace and spiritual upliftment, where the family members are a source of strength, solace and comfort to each other.
(Adapted from Burhan al-Qur’an)