Adultery and fornication bring about great corruption and evil which spread easily. Major evil effects result from these, which cause serious damage to those who commit it as well as to the Muslim nation as a whole. Due to the fact that these sins are widespread, and because there are many avenues that lead to them, the evil consequences and great damage that result from these sins must be known.
The Consequences of Adultery and fornication in Islam:
- The combination of all evil qualities; it weakens faith, uproots piety and protectiveness, corrupts morality and wipes out virtue.
- Killing bashfulness and rendering the committers of them as shameless.
- Making the face dark and gloomy to anyone who looks at it.
- Darkening the hearts and making it lose its light.
- Making the committer suffer from continuous poverty, as Allah says in the Hadeeth Qudsi: “I will destroy tyrants and afflict adulterers and fornicators with poverty.”
- Making the committer insignificant in the sight of Allah, and making him lose respect and value from mankind.
- Depriving the committer from the description of being virtuous and chaste, and replacing it with the description of being a fornication (or adulterer), a sinner and a deceiver.
- Causing their committer miserable which Allah sets in their hearts and this reflects on their faces, while chaste people have cheerful faces and happy hearts, and anyone who sits with them rejoices – which is quite the opposite to fornicators and adulterers.
- Causing people to deal with the committer with doubt and mistrust.
- Things usually going against what fornicators and adulterers hoped for, and consequently causing them to become depressed. One who seeks enjoyment by getting opposite of what he wished for. Good can only be achieved through obedience to Allah, for Allah did not make disobedience to Him a way leading to good. If only fornicators and adulterers knew the enjoyment that comes form remaining chaste, they would realize that what they missed out on is far more that the enjoyment they had in committing this sin.
- Fornicators and adulterers lose the chance of enjoying the ladies of Paradise.
- Stimulating the committer to sever ties with parents and family earn ill-gotten money, oppress people and lose his family. This sin usually happens after committing other sins which lead to it, and it also causes more sins to take place.
- Destroying a female’s dignity and bringing shame upon her and her family.
- Disgrace, which results from this act and is worse and longer lasting than that of those who committed this act as disbelievers, because once a disbeliever sincerely repents from his disbelief and embraces Islam, his disgrace disappears and he is cleared Islamically as well as in the sight of other people. This is the opposite to Muslim fornicators and adulterers who do become Islamically clear after their repentance, but are still considered to have a lower rank than those Muslims who have always been pure and chaste. If one takes an honest look around their society, they will surely observe that those women who have committed adultery or fornication, subsequently find it very difficult to find a willing spouse.
- If a woman commits adultery or fornication and later has an abortion, she has committed two major sins. If she is married and lies by claiming that this child is her husband’s, she is bringing in a foreign person to her home who will, as an adult, see members of the family whom he is not Islamically permitted to without cover; he would sit alone with some of them and inherit from them while he is not permitted Islamically to do so, as well as committing many other evil sins unknowingly.
- Bringing into the Muslim community a child who would be deprived from having parents and kinship who would instruct and guide him while growing up. Moreover, this child would live through his life feeling degraded and less than others in rank within the community.
- Men who commit adultery or fornication ruin the chastity of women who were previously chaste and this may result in their spinsterhood.
- Instigating enmity and fueling the fire of revenge in the family of the woman, because of the disgrace the family of the woman would feel as a result of this sin. Moreover, jealousy is a natural feeling of any human. Sa’d Ibn ‘Ubaadah (ra) said: “If I see a man with my wife, I would strike him with my sword,” and when the Prophet (pbuh) heart this statement, he remarked: “Are you surprised at the protectiveness of Sa’d? I swear by Allah I am more protective than him, and Allah is more protective than me; and the protectiveness of Allah is over evil sins committed openly and in secret.” – (Sahih Bukhari & Muslim)
- It becomes easier for the females in the fornicator or adulterer’s family to fall into the same sin once his action is discovered, if their upbringing was not Islamically founded. On the other hand, one who refrains from adultery and fornication gains other’s respect which helps him maintain his household’s chastity.
- Many physical ailments which can be uncontrollable and might even cause death, such as AIDS, Herpes and many other sexually transmitted diseases.
- The destruction of the Muslim nation which results from the anger of Allah upon people, as a whole. Ibn Mas’ud (ra) said: “Whenever fornication and adultery become widespread in a village, Allah commands its destruction.” This shows that Allah has set special penalty for those who commit adultery and fornication.
Imam Ibn Al-Qayim (ra) said: “Allah has made the penal laws related to adultery and fornication distinct in three ways: the first is that the penalty of death for it (whenever applicable) is done in the harshest manner possible; the second is that Allah forbade His slaves to be merciful with those who commit adultery or fornication while punishing them; and the third is that Allah commanded their punishment to be carried out in public in front of the believers and not concealed. There is a great wisdom behind this, for it acts as a deterrent to others from committing adultery or fornication.”
It is worth mentioning that people differ with regard to this sin; the one who commits it with numerous people is not like one who commits it with a sole partner; the one who commits it and hides is not the same as the one who does it in the open; committing it with a married person is greater that with a single person, as this involves transgressing other’s rights and ruining their marital life.
Furthermore, committing adultery or fornication with a neighbor’s wife is greater than with other women, because those who do this harm their neighbor and violates the command of Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) about not harming them. Likewise, committing it with the wife of a person who has left for Jihaad is worse than with other women.
Just as the gravity of the sin varies according to the woman being slept with, it also differs according to the time and place it is committed in.
The one who commits adultery or fornication during the month of Ramadan is worse than the one who commits it outside of Ramadan, and the one who commits it in a sacred place is worse than the one who commits it away from it.
Adultery or fornication committed by an old man is worse than if it is committed by a youth; committed by a scholar is worse than committed by a common person and committed by a wealthy man who can afford to get married is worse than committed by a person who does not have the means to get married.
How to Repent for Adultery or Fornication?
After we have discovered the gravity of adultery and fornication and its destructive evil consequences upon individuals and communities, we must state that sincere repentance from adultery or fornication is mandatory upon whoever has committed it or assisted others in doing it; such a person must also regret what they have done and never return to it again.
One who commits adultery or fornication must not need to turn himself to any authorities to confess his evil act; it is enough for him to sincerely repent to Allah and keep his sin concealed. If he possesses photographs, videos, or audio tapes of the one with whom he had this illicit sexual relation, he must destroy them all.
People must repent from adultery or fornication and break ties with anything which might remind them of this sin; they must humble themselves before Allah so that perhaps He might accept their repentance and forgive them and replace their sins with rewards.
Allah says in the Qur’an,
“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. Multiplied for him is the punishment on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein humiliated – Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”