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,
In the Quran it is stated that every creature on the earth is created to serve human begins (2:29); this includes animals . Of many benefits of animals to humans are the meat that comes from fish and chickens, the milk from cows and sheep, utilizing horses, oxen, and camels for farming and transport, doing medical research on animals, using trained dogs to detect drugs and guide blinds. But, are we, as Muslims, allowed to treat animals in Islam and exploit them as we wish? Here is the answer.
Animals’ Rights in Islam
Allah, who has given every animal some specific abilities like the ability to fly, swim or gallop in respectively birds, fish, and horses, has considered their rights, too. Although humans are allowed to benefit from everything created by Allah , they have responsibilities towards every creature as the vicegerent of Allah on the earth . Being created with a higher intellect than animals, we must balance our use of animals with our primary role as a caretaker on the earth.
Animals have been domesticated and trained from a long time ago to perform some tasks and to provide some products for the human. Horses and elephants are still used on farms to provide the tractive force. Camels, donkeys, horses, and dogs are utilized for transport, either riding or pulling wagons. Lions, elephants, monkeys and many other animals are used in circuses to entertain audiences. Some others like dogs and monkeys assist disabled people, while others are kept as pets.
In all these cases, the very first thing that Islam requires Muslims to do is feeding the animal on sufficient and proper food, quenching its thirst, keeping it in a comfortable place, and maintaining its physical health . Of other rights of animals on his owner is that he/she should not hit the animal or harm it, but he might whip the animal to prevent escaping or stampede .
In a saying, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) forbids hitting the animals in the face, since the animals pray and praise God with that . Knowing these rights and considerations, imprisoning animals in cages, forcing them to perform something to amuse humans in circuses and causing extreme pain and suffering to them are all against the Islamic rules and forbidden (Haram) . Islam also prohibits insulting and cursing the animals; Imam Ali (AS) said: “Do not hit the animals on the face and do not curse them, otherwise Allah curses who has cursed them” .
Moreover, the animal should not be burdened with a load that it cannot bear and should not be overtasked either . Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) orders in a saying that: “Do not ride an animal beyond its power and ability” , . And, “When you stop riding the animal, do not keep on sitting on them and do not start (a lengthy) conversation with others (while seated on the animal); instead, descend and (let the animal rest, and) then talk” .
If the animal is weak, it is said that: “when riding a weak animal, let it rest when reaching pastures. If the land is arid and barren, pass it quickly; and, if it is fertile and green, let the animal rest there” (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) . Imam Ali (AS) said that “Do not ride three of you (at the same time) an animal; otherwise, one of you is cursed” .
Animals for Sport and Entertainment
Playing sports, especially swimming, archery and horseback riding, are encouraged by Hadith and perceived as important to have a healthy body and brain . Although archery is recommended in Islam and hunting -under certain conditions- is allowed, targeting animals and shooting at them for fun is not permitted .
About horseback riding also, the recommendations stated above should be considered. Again, keeping some animals as pets or for the farm work is strongly exhorted in some cases, but forcing them to fight like what happens in dogfightingand cockfighting which is nowadays common in some regions, is prohibited in Islam .
Animal Slaughter and Hunting
Humans usually slaughter, hunt and fish for sustenance, which is permitted in Islam under certain conditions. But killing animals for fun and using them for target practice is strongly disapproved. Some acts of animal's protection, as not "hunting the endangered animals to save them from going extinct" is also compatible with the Islamic teachings.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: "There is no man who kills a sparrow without its deserving it, but Allah will question him about it [on the Day of Judgment]" . Of other considerations stated in the narrations of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and Imams (AS) are: not killing the livestock that provide milk or the one that is pregnant; not killing animals for no reason; not killing the animals at night (since they rest like humans at that time), unless there is a necessity; and, not burning animals alive .
Avoiding unnecessary pain and not causing suffering to the innocent creatures are repeatedly reminded in Islamic teachings. Regarding the slaughtering, for example, the regulations laid down in Islam are the least painful, some of which are: the Halal-meated animal must be alive at the time of slaughter; the animal must be watered before the slaughter; a sharp knife must be used to minimize suffering; slaughtering an animal within the sight of another animal is abominable (Makruh); the animal must show some sign of movement after being slaughtered; and, skinning or cutting any part of the animal’s body is not allowed right after the slaughter (before the animal is entirely dead) , .
Knowing this, although the methods (stunning with a blow to the head or an electric shock) used in some slaughterhouses to reduce the animal movement before slaughter might be accepted in veterinary medicine since these methods reduce the animals’ pain, they are condemned in Islam as the examples of torture to animals .
Animal Fur and Leather
Hunting and killing animals for their fur, skin, and oil have been common practices since many years ago and happened more often these days. Wearing the fur obtained from certain animals is legally permitted in Islam when it is required for warmth (16:5). However, animals raised on fur farms are usually abused and killed in brutal ways  that is against the Islamic teachings of kindness to animals; some cruel methods used by trappers to catch animals from the wild are the same .
About leather productions, even though leather products produced by applying Islamic regulations are permissible to use if the leather is obtained from abused and mistreated animals and if the animals suffer in the leather production processes, it will conflict with every Islamic standard on the matter.
- H. A. Hosseini Shah Abdolazimi, “Tafsir asna-ashari”.
- M. H. Tabataba'I, “Tafsir al-mizan”, (45 :13).
- M. H. Tabataba'I, “ Tafsir al-mizan”, (2:30).
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 173.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 660.
- Ibn Babawayh, “Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih”, vol.4, p.9.
- animals and Islam
- Ibn Babawayh, “Man la yahduruhu al-Faqih”, vol.2, p.287.
- H. T. Nuri Ṭabarsi, “Mustadrak al-Wasail”, vol. 8, p. 258, T. 9393.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 201.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 214.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 22, p. 459.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 216.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 652.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 665.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 64, p. 306.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 663.
- M. H. Banihashemi, “Towzih al masael of Maraje”.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 662.
- treating animals
“Imam Hussain is the leader of humanity” Rabindranath Tagore
People have looked into the movement of Imam Hussain (AS) from different aspects throughout the history of Islam. Some see it as a historical trajectory, where the teachings of Islam were distorted and violated by the tyrant caliph of the time, Yazid, thus Imam Hussain’s movement as a revolutionary act and sacrifice to revive true Islam.
To some others, yet, the most important lesson we can learn from the event of Karbala is its moral or ethical dimension. As Imam Hussain (AS) himself puts: “I seek to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil and follow the traditions of my grandfather (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) and my father (Imam Ali (AS))” .
One of the moral principles that Imam Hussain (AS)’s movement represents and emphasizes is the Golden rule. Based on this rule you should treat others the way you would like to be treated by them: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” .
Although it is often said that the term ‘Golden Rule’ first started to be used in the 17th or 18th century , we can also find it much earlier in the words and acts of Imam Ali (AS) and the other infallible Imams (AS). Imam Ali (AS) tells his son Imam Hassan (AS) in his last will that: “like for others whatever you like for yourself, and whatever you dislike happening to you, spare others from such happenings” .
Imam Hussain (AS) also advises people (as a general rule and a decent way of life): “If you do not believe in any religion, at least be free-spirited and honest in your actions” .
A newer version of the Golden rule also says: “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law” .
So, for an action to be considered morally good, you should ask yourself whether you could always reason or defend it as a universal law. In other words, to be a good person, you must be good for goodness’ sake, no matter what.
Now let’s see how this ethical value was manifested in Imam Hussain (AS)’s conduct.
A question anyone might ask after reading about the event of Karbala is ‘why didn’t Imam Hussain (AS) take an oath of allegiance to Yazid to save his life? Why did he choose to be martyred?’ [i]
One clear answer to this question is that he was the perfect leader (Imam) and role model for the Muslim community. A role model is someone who serves as an example and whose behavior is emulated by other people. To be a good role model you have to observe all your acts so that you set proper examples for others to follow.
Now, if Imam Hussain (AS) had pledged allegiance to Yazid’s tyranny, would he be a good exemplar of resistance against injustice for people? Wouldn’t his compromise then make the tyrant ruler more powerful and dominant?
The answer is obvious. Imam Hussain (AS) chose not to follow the indecent tyrant of his time since he intended to act on that maxim he wished it would become a universal law.
On the other hand, some people criticize Imam Hussain (AS)’s decision, saying he could have pledged allegiance to Yazid while at the same time trying to fight him and his injustice over time.
This would also contradict Imam Hussain (AS)’s maxim and is paradoxical, too. In fact, Yazid’s deviations from true Islam and the moral norms were so many that Imam Hussain (AS) could not turn a blind eye to them.
Imam Hussain (AS) did not want to compromise with those so-called Muslims whose behavior and actions had nothing to do with Islam. Instead, he chose to do the right thing, which any free-spirited, wise and virtuous man would do. And with his movement, he invited us all to do the same and follow in his footsteps.
The other ethical lesson we learn from Imam Hussain (AS) is that he never disregarded human values on his way to achieve his purpose. And he always advised his followers to choose the right way in life. For him, the end did not justify the means. What mattered to him more than anything else was the values not the victory in its apparent sense.
As Imam Ali (AS) says: “The victory achieved through sins is not, in fact, a victory, the one who dominates with the help of evil is defeated” .
It is due to this ethical principle that Muslim ibn Aqil did not kill his enemy, Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, before the event of Karbala (before the enemy declared war against them), when he had every chance of doing so in his friend’s house.
He did not kill him because the Holy Prophet (PBUH) forbade any guile: “Verily, Islam became an obstruction of deceit and an obstacle of trickery” . Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions were seeking to revive the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (AS). So, killing even the most wicked person on earth through deceit, and before he has shown an act of hostility against you, is not compatible with Islamic teachings.
In another account from the event of Karbala, Zuhayr, one of Imam Hussain (AS)’s companions, recommended fighting the enemy when they were fewer in number and so easier to defeat. But Imam Hussain (AS) replied he did not intend to start a war; [he would rather defend if a war was imposed on him].
The examples mentioned above manifestly show the behavior of a great role model. Imam Hussain (AS) only wanted to restore what was right, the true teachings of Islam which had been distorted by the tyrant ruler of the time. He tried to preserve human dignity and values.
He could have saved his life as well as that of his family’s and companions’ by accepting Yazid’s allegiance. But this would have been at the cost of ruining their dignity and living a life humiliation. Never would he put up with such disgrace.
So Imam Hussain (AS) made the most of every opportunity to invite people to the righteousness and prevent bloodshed. However, when he was left with two options, humiliation or death, and war was being forced upon him, he chose martyrdom and bravely fought against injustice.
[i] In one of his sermons to people of Kufa, Imam Hussain (AS) said: “Beware! Now this illegitimate son of the illegitimate father (Ubaydullah bin Ziyad) has stationed me between unsheathing the swords or then bear the humiliation, and far be it that we accept humiliation” .