ZINA: What is Zina in Islam?



Adultery, known as ‘Zina’ in Arabic is one of the most hated sins in Islam. According to the authentic sources of Hadith, ‘Zina’ is considered as the ‘Gunah e Azim’. All the Prophets came to the planet with the Universal message of worshipping one GOD (Tawheed) and warned their Ummah against committing all types of major and minor sins.

Zina, being one of the major sins (Gunah-e-Azim) has always been hated by ALLAH (S.W.T.) and thus every Prophet warned their Ummah to stay away from adultery. The Qur’an has warned believers to stay away from ‘Zina’ in almost every chapter marking it an evil and the most hated act.

وَلَا تَقۡرَبُواْ ٱلزِّنَىٰٓۖ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ فَٰحِشَةٗ وَسَآءَ سَبِيلٗا

And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.

  • Al Qur’an (Ch17, v32)


وَٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَدۡعُونَ مَعَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا ءَاخَرَ وَلَا يَقۡتُلُونَ ٱلنَّفۡسَ ٱلَّتِي حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ

 إِلَّا بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَلَا يَزۡنُونَۚ وَمَن يَفۡعَلۡ ذَٰلِكَ يَلۡقَ أَثَامٗا

And those who do not invoke with Allah another deity or kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed], except by right, and do not commit unlawful sexual intercourse. And whoever should do that will meet a penalty.

  • Al Qur’an (Ch25, v68)



As stated, ‘Zina’ is one of the most hated sins by ALLAH (S.W.T.) and the person who commits unlawful sexual activity becomes a criminal in the sight of ALLAH (S.W.T.) and all his angels. Even in the Ummah of Hazrat Isa (Prophet Jesus) and Hazrat Musa (Prophet Moses), Zina was considered one of the major sins. The proof of this could be found in the Old Testament (Torah) as well as the New Testament (Injil).

The first ten commandments of Moses declared adultery as a sin not to be committed.

“You must not commit adultery.

  • Exodus (Ch20, v14) (NLT)
  • Deuteronomy (Ch5, v18) (NLT)

But I say anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

  • Matthew (Ch5, v28) (NLT)



The Punishment for Zina in Islam is stoning to death (if the married has committed Zina and the proof is established) and 100 lashes to the unmarried one, as described in Surah Nur (Ch24, v2)

ٱلزَّانِيَةُ وَٱلزَّانِي فَٱجۡلِدُواْ كُلَّ وَٰحِدٖ مِّنۡهُمَا مِاْئَةَ جَلۡدَةٖۖ وَلَا تَأۡخُذۡكُم بِهِمَا رَأۡفَةٞ فِي

 دِينِ ٱللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِۖ وَلۡيَشۡهَدۡ عَذَابَهُمَا طَآئِفَةٞ مِّنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their punishment.

  • Al Qur’an (Ch 24, v2)

Just as the punishment for committing Zina in Islam is stoning to death (if the married has committed Zina and the proof is established) and 100 lashes to the unmarried one, the Jews also used to put the adulterers to death.

This could be found in a few verses of the Old Testament (Torah) as well.

“If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who has committed adultery must be put to death.

  • Leviticus (Ch20, v10) (NLT)

A very famous incident is also mentioned in a Sahih Hadith where the Jews caught two adulterers and brought both of them to the Prophet of Islam. The Prophet of Islam ordered them to be stoned to death according to the Law mentioned in the Qur’an as well as the Torah.

حَدَّثَنَا مُسَدَّدٌ، حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ، عَنْ أَيُّوبَ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ أُتِيَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِرَجُلٍ وَامْرَأَةٍ مِنَ الْيَهُودِ قَدْ زَنَيَا فَقَالَ لِلْيَهُودِ ‏”‏ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ بِهِمَا ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا نُسَخِّمُ وُجُوهَهُمَا وَنُخْزِيهِمَا‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ ‏{‏فَأْتُوا بِالتَّوْرَاةِ فَاتْلُوهَا إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ‏}‏ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَجَاءُوا فَقَالُوا لِرَجُلٍ مِمَّنْ يَرْضَوْنَ يَا أَعْوَرُ اقْرَأْ‏.‏ فَقَرَأَ حَتَّى انْتَهَى عَلَى مَوْضِعٍ مِنْهَا فَوَضَعَ يَدَهُ عَلَيْهِ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ ارْفَعْ يَدَكَ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَرَفَعَ يَدَهُ فَإِذَا فِيهِ آيَةُ الرَّجْمِ تَلُوحُ فَقَالَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ إِنَّ عَلَيْهِمَا الرَّجْمَ‏.‏ وَلَكِنَّا نُكَاتِمُهُ بَيْنَنَا‏.‏ فَأَمَرَ بِهِمَا فَرُجِمَا، فَرَأَيْتُهُ يُجَانِئُ عَلَيْهَا الْحِجَارَةَ‏.‏

Narrated Ibn `Umar:

A Jew and Jewess were brought to the Prophet (ﷺ) on a charge of committing illegal sexual intercourse. The Prophet (ﷺ) asked the Jews, “What do you (usually) do with them?” They said, “We blacken their faces and disgrace them.” He said, “Bring here the Torah and recite it if you are truthful.” They (fetched it and) came and asked a one-eyed man to recite. He went on reciting till he reached a portion on which he put his hand.The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Lift up your hand!” He lifted his hand up and behold, there appeared the verse of Ar-Rajm (stoning of the adulterers to death). Then he said, “O Muhammad! They should be stoned to death but we conceal this Divine Law among ourselves.” Then the Prophet (ﷺ) ordered that the two sinners be stoned to death, and they were stoned to death, and I saw the man protecting the woman from the stones.

  • Sahih al-Bukhari (7543)



Some countries are not run by Shariah and Zina is a common sin in them. Thus, the adulterers remain unpunished due to which the youth incline more towards committing adultery. Although the people in countries that are not run by strict Shariah may skip from the punishment of Zina, which is stoning to death, or 100 lashes, this doesn’t actually mean that the adulterer will remain safe from the punishment. ALLAH (S.W.T.) will punish the adulterer in his own way.

In the hereafter, the sinners will be punished for the sins that they committed in their lifetime on Earth. Similarly, the adulterers who skipped the death penalty will be punished in the hereafter.

The curse of Zina is so intense that when a person commits Zina, the whole Earth shakes and trembles. According to the authentic sources of Hadith, Zina is a kind of Debt and the debt is gradually taken from the other family members of the adulterer. Eg. If a person has committed a small Zina by looking lustfully at the woman, the same will happen to the adulterer’s own family member. The other family member of the adulterer will be looked upon with the same lust by another adulterer. Thus, Zina is a kind of Debt that one pays either in this world or in the hereafter heavily.

May ALLAH (S.W.T.) protect us from the evil claws of Shaytan (the devil) and all his agents.

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