These days, adultery or having sexual relationships without a marriage contract is becoming more and more normal to people of different faiths and beliefs. This is against all Abrahamic religions that had strictly forbidden adultery. However, those who commit adultery may bring many logical reasons to justify their act. Most people who commit adultery may simply think that this is the natural way of satisfying their biological needs, while not considering themselves as adulterers with a negative meaning.
Many unmarried men and women believe that experiencing a sexual intercourse with their girlfriend/boyfriend is very important for them to decide if they would like to marry that person and live the rest of their life with her/him.
Being aware of all different modern ideas about the importance of experiencing sexual relationship before marriage, in this text we try to have a quick study on the idea of Islam about adultery and the reasons and philosophies behind those ideas.
There are a few verses in the holy Quran that directly speak about adultery and some other verses that indirectly guide people on how to stay away from this vile action.
To clarify the state of fornication among other sins, Allah (SWT) brings it alongside the greatest sins one may commit: “Those who do not invoke another deity besides Allah, and do not kill a soul [whose life] Allah has made inviolable, except with due cause, and do not commit fornication…” (25: 68). As it is clear in the verse, adultery is counted alongside with infidelity and murder.
Another indication in the Quran about adultery says: “Do not approach fornication. It is indeed an indecency and an evil way.” (17:32)
In this verse, apart from calling fornication an indecency, it considers it as a “way”. Allamah Tabatabayi has studied the word “way” in this verse in comparison with the same word in the following verse addressing the homosexual people at the time of Prophet Lout (PBUH): “Do you come to men, and cut off the way, and commit outrages in your gatherings?” (29:29), concluding that the word way refers to healthy reproduction of human beings. He states that the verses refer to the fact that homosexuality and fornication will lead to the weakening of the families and therefore, to the weakening of the society. 
Another important point mentioned in the above verse is that it does not say ‘do not commit adultery’ but it emphasizes not to even go near it. Not only being alone with a marriageable kin (Non-Mahram), kissing, touching, etc. may lead to adultery and are forbidden (Haram). Simpler acts such as looking, talking on the phone, sending text messages or sending likes on social networks, if prepare the grounds for adultery are considered forbidden (Haram). 
But how should we keep away from adultery in a world in which media and advertisement encourage and invite people to fornication and adultery?
When Allah (SWT) emphasizes on not going near adultery, He provides us with practices and the right lifestyle to be able to stay away from it. Some of the tips are mentioned bellow:
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (AS) that “An evil glance is one of the poisonous arrows of Satan. Many of such glances becomes a cause of prolonged regret.” 
Controlling the look is one of the practices that helps one to be able to control his/her sexual desires. Allah (SWT) teaches us to cast down our looks and not to gaze lustfully at those of marriageable kin (Non-Mahram) or even at animals and things
“Tell the faithful men to cast down their looks and to guard their private parts. That is more decent for them.” (24: 30)
“And tell the faithful women to cast down their looks and to guard their private parts …” (24:31)
These days the rule applies to the movies, pictures and advertisements, etc. in which the naked or half nude images or films of men and women are visible. 
The other approach that the Quran offers to keep the society away from adultery is for women to wear Hijab and cover their body except what is legally observable, such as hands and face. They should also cover their beautification, make up, jewelry, and not even try to announce men of the ornaments they are wearing under their cover by making noises; for example, their bangles and bracelets:
“… and not to display their charms, beyond what is [acceptably] visible, and let them draw their scarfs over their bosoms … And let them not thump their feet to make known their hidden ornaments …” (24:31)
Some men and women may even wear the Islamic dress code and not even look in each other’s eyes, but they do not observe the chastity of speech. They should not speak to each other in a soft and enticing voice to encourage each other’s feelings and they shouldn’t make jokes and flirt with each other.
“…if you are wary [of Allah], do not be complaisant in your speech, lest he in whose heart is a sickness should aspire.” (33:32)
So if the opposite sexes are not allowed to enjoy being together, what is the whole point of them being created in two different sexes and having attraction for each other?
Allah (SWT) has put this attraction and desire toward the opposite sex for people to make families and reproduce and find peace and calmness beside their spouses:
“And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you...” (30:21)
Having a family and being loyal to it helps the society to be a safer place in which people can perform their duties and missions in life without being distracted by vain thoughts and concerns. Therefore, Allah (SWT) emphasizes on getting married and helping others to get married:
“Marry off those who are single among you, and the upright among your male and female slaves. If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His grace, and Allah is all-bounteous, all-knowing.” (24:32)
And for those who cannot find a spouse for themselves, Allah (SWT) recommends them to keep their chastity: “Those who cannot afford marriage should be continent until Allah enriches them out of His grace.” (24:33) they should trust in Allah’s word and wait for His promise to come true. Sooner or later Allah (SWT) will enrich them as promised: “… And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Indeed, Allah carries through His commands. Certainly, Allah has ordained a measure [and extent] for everything.” (65:3)
The other guideline for preventing adultery is that the opposite sex of marriageable kin (Non-Mahram) should not stay lonely in a private place together. It is narrated from Imam Ali (AS) that: “A man should not be alone in the company of a woman (marriageable kin (Non-Mahrams)) for in that case Satan will be the third person.” 
After providing all the above hints to people to keep themselves chaste and stay away from fornication and adultery, for those who do not follow the guidelines and insist on committing adultery and have no fear of publicizing it, Allah (SWT) has considered punishments in different levels. 
In Surah Furqan, after stressing on the nasty nature of adultery and its great punishment, Allah (SWT) assures His servants that if they regret their deed and repent to their Lord, deciding not to commit their sin again, Allah will forgive them: “except those who repent, attain faith, and act righteously. For such, Allah will replace their misdeeds with good deeds, and Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful.” (25:70)
Islam tries to bring peace and happiness to human life with its laws and legislations. It also provides life skills by which one can achieve both worldly and spiritual improvement,
Those who do not know Islam very well and those who follow the propaganda of the media, especially in this period of time when several terrorist attacks have been committed by pseudo-Muslim groups, which do not have anything to do with Islam, accuse Islam of encouraging violence and terror. That is absolutely wrong. Islam is the religion of peace and intrinsically promotes peace. The reasons for that will be reviewed next.
The greatest miracle of Islam is the Quran; a Book. Books are among the most efficient and prominent means of connecting thoughts and minds. This means that Islam has chosen a very civilized way of communication with human beings; by having dialogues with them. By the means of the Quran, Islam, in the first place, deals with the thinking power of humans and then their emotions. In other words, Islam tries to communicate with people through common sense, mutual understanding, logic and reasoning which consequently prevents harshness or sudden actions caused by the outpouring of emotions. That is while “Book” and “communicating through words” did not serve like that regarding the previous divine religions [i].
According to Islam, one should truly believe in the Islamic principles and axioms. It means that one should accept these Islamic facts by reasoning and rational search and demonstrate his\her belief in every act and deed; otherwise, if one has not really changed his\her mind to accept Islam or accepts Islam in words but do not practice it, he\she will be a “Muslim” but not a “believer” (Mu'min). This shows that Islam educates the people who are adherent to rational and commonsensical rules and regulations and consequently prevents apostasy and chaos.
Many suppose that Immanuel Kant was the first who formed and introduced the Golden Rule, a rule of ethical conduct, while this ethical code has been among the teachings of Islam since 1400 years ago. Imam Ali (AS) and other Imams (AS) have emphasized this ethical advice by words and acts and encouraged people not to consider themselves superior to others or do not prefer their benefits to others .
Imam Ali (AS) has addressed Imam Hassan (AS) as such: “What you prefer for yourself, prefer for others; what you find objectionable for yourself, treat as such for others. Don’t wrong to anyone, just as you don't like to be wronged; do good to others just as you would like others to do good to you; that which you consider immoral for others, consider immoral for yourself” . There is no sign of injustice or cruelty among these words. On the contrary, this is an invitation to get along with others, to respect their preferences and not to expect too much from them. This is simply an encouragement to peace.
When hearing about Jihad, the first thing that strikes to mind is Al-Qaeda, ISIS and fire, and blood. Many people think that Jihad equals aggression, but that is wrong. Jihad has a clear definition. There exist two types of Jihad in Islam: Defensive and Offensive. Defensive Jihad, as can be guessed from the name, is for the aim of defending the Islamic territory against the assaults and intrusions of outsiders and invaders.
Offensive Jihad aims at liberating people from unjust oppressive regimes and allowing them to search, read and choose the right religion and lifestyle. Many Islamic jurists believe that the Offensive Jihad to invite to Islam is only allowed under certain circumstances; i.e. in the presence of the Imams (AS) and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Otherwise, only Defensive Jihad is permitted which is actually obligatory to all Muslims in whatever condition. No one in the whole wide world would admit that defending oneself is aggression; Neither do the Muslims. Then, it is clear that unlike a widespread thought nowadays, Islam is against war and violence.
There is a theory in Islam: any harm to others or oneself is banned. It explains that a Muslim does not cause any harm to other people or do not misuse rules to cause harm to them . Through this theory, Islam protects the benefits and rights of others. This includes any individual or any group of people. It also covers both Muslim and non-Muslim societies and people, hence, this theory, in fact, reinforces and advertises the peace all around the world.
It was explained above that Islam also bans any harm to oneself. In this regard, suicide is illegal (Haram) in Islam. Some might suppose that they own their physical body while it is a divine trust offered to us to do good deeds (16:97), worship God (51:56) and practice the religion. This is another means by which Islam promotes peace all around the world.
Considering the Islamic approach described above in interaction with the humans, the efforts to establish ethical standards and to form the interrelationship among humans demonstrate the contribution and role of Islam to create a peaceful world.
[i] While Old Testament and New Testament are written by humans, the Quran is the divine revelation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
[ii] Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated.
- Nahj al-Balaqa, Letter 31.
- peace in islam
“He turned away from them and said, ‘Alas for Joseph!’ His eyes had turned white with grief, and he choked with suppressed agony.” (12: 84)
Reading the above verse of the Quran, many people may not perceive why prophet Jacob (PBUH) wept so hard on the loss of his son, Josef (AS) until he became blind. And he continued grieving on the loss of Josef so much that his sons told him “By Allah! You will go on remembering Joseph until you wreck your health or perish”. (12: 85) Was his grief merely because of the loss of Josef or the oppression that his brothers had towards him? Or was it because of his disappointment with his other sons who committed such a cruel act toward Josef?
When we read the story of prophets in the Quran, each of them say to their people that I want no reward from you, as “my reward lies only with him who originated me” (11” 51), while among all the prophets of God, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) made an exception as God ordered him to tell people “Say, ‘I do not ask you any reward for it except the love of [my] relatives.” (42:23)
And therefore, it is for this straightforward order of God in the Quran that Muslims love the household of Prophet so dearly. It is narrated from the prophet who said: “Surely, there exists in the hearts of the believers, with respect to the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, a heat that never subsides.” 
Therefore, if you visit Muslims who are weeping and mourning on the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (AS), many of them may not be able to explain why they are doing so. They may only tell you that there are a pain and grief that I feel within my heart, and they may speak of their love for the prophet’s household. However, apart from those feelings and emotions, let’s see what the logical reasons behind mourning for Imam Hussain (AS), his family and companions are?
The mourning for Imam Hussain (AS) that is increasingly spreading all over the world after about 1400 years is one of the miraculous aspects of Imam Hussain’s (AS) uprising. However, aside from strong feelings that Muslims have for the household of the Prophet, there are so many narrations from the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that encourages people to weep on the sorrow of Imam Hussain (AS) and his family. For example the narration from Imam Reza that says: “If you weep over the afflictions of Hussain (AS) such that tears flow from your eyes and fall upon your cheeks, Allah will forgive all your sins whether big or small and less or large in number.” 
But why would great Muslim leaders emphasize so hard on spending time and energy on weeping and mourning, while people could spend the same amount of time and energy for doing scientific research or inventing something that helps humanity?
This question is raised by many people, and here I wish to mention a few reasons why reviving the tragedy of Karbala is so important.
“We will recount to you the best of narratives in what We have revealed to you of this Quran, and indeed prior to it you were among those who are unaware [of it].” (12:3)
When you read the Holy Quran, you see it full of stories of the past generations through which God portrays the most important human values in life.
The event of Karbala is full of lessons that are worth being reviewed every day and night, to help the growth of human society; lessons of heroism, standing against cruelty, defending human dignity, and complete obedience of God.
Holding mourning gatherings is a great reason where people of the society, from all different social classes and different ages, sit together and revise the most important humanitarian issues and values which awaken the spirit of chivalry in them and give them the courage to stand against the oppressors of their time.
After the event of Karbala occurred, there were no specific media to convey the message of Karbala and the aim of Imam Hussain (AS) from going to the land of Karbala. From then on, it was only the mourning gatherings that were a place to recite the tragedy of Karbala to others and through it, illuminate the right from wrong. This great event at the time of Imam Hussain (AS) where the rulers of society were trying to hide the way of righteousness was a magnificent move to help the religion of God: “O you who have faith! Be Allah’s helpers, just as Jesus son of Mary said to his disciples, ‘Who will be my helpers for Allah’s sake?’” (61: 14)
In today’s psychology, many believe that if you have a goal to reach, having an image of that goal in mind will help you reach it. In mourning ceremonies for Imam Hussain (AS) we keep repeating the great morals and values of Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions and household. We keep revising their kindness, wisdom, courage, their humbleness toward God and good people and chivalry toward the oppressors, etc.
Naming the above characteristics in such ceremonies and trying to be like those great courageous men and women, is more beneficial than any life-coaching sessions that try to help us revive ourselves and our lives, and it is at everyone’s access for free.
If we hate oppression and wish to stand against it, we need a guide to know how to behave in different situations; when to negotiate, when to disagree, when to yell our beliefs, when to make our movement revolutionary and call others to assist us, when to make peace, and finally when is the time to fight against the oppressor?
It is hard to find a true answer to all the above questions when we face the oppressors. But revising the history of Karbala and studying Imam Hussain’s (AS) behavior in a different situation can help us find the choice when we face similar conditions, as he has gone through the same path. Mourning ceremonies are the situation where this history is revised every time, and we can perceive through reading the history that Imam Hussain (AS) did not tend to start a fight from the beginning. At some point he even migrated from his hometown to avoid the war, When he was forced to give allegiance to the corrupt caliph, Yazid, instead of making riots, he left the city, while he had received so many invitation letters from people of Kufah to become their leader. But since the Kufies broke their oath, he had to faith towards Karbala.
However, even in Karbala, he did not tend to fight. But he sent letters and made negotiations. He gave speeches to illustrate the truth for people. He wrote letters to different classes of the society and advised people and invited them to follow the true path. Although his enemies never accepted to change their minds and follow the true path, he still did not start the fight, until he was attacked by the enemy. And he defended himself and his household only when he had no other choice. Therefore, Hussain (AS) and his behavior in different conditions can be a great role model for us, in life.
Hussain (AS) does not belong to Muslims only. His behavior and lifestyle represent a way of life for all humans who wish to live a prosperous life. It is in the nature of all human beings who hate oppression and cruelty and would like to stand against it. Hussain (AS) teaches us to have courage and chivalry in life. That is why he faced the army of the enemy on the tenth day of Muharram and said: “If you do not believe in any religion and do not fear the resurrection day, at least be free men in this world.” This saying clearly shows that Hussain’s teachings are not limited to Muslims only, but his way of life can be a role model for all of those who wish to live a humane life.
- Mustadrak al-wasail, vol. 10, p. 31
- Shaykh Abbas Qummi: Nafasul Mahmum, tradition. 9
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 45, p. 51