The Broken and False Promises

(Keywords: The Fallen Monk, Barsisa the Monk,The ploy of Satan, Man and Satan, the Misleading of Satan, Deception and trickery of Satan)

      God -the Exalted- relates to us in Qur’an the true story of the fallen and misled monk. The purpose is for us to take heed and beware of Satan and his misleading ways, and his scheming and plotting.

God the Almighty says:

        قال الله سبحانه وتعالى: { كَمَثَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِذْ قَالَ لِلْإِنْسَانِ اكْفُرْ فَلَمَّا كَفَرَ قَالَ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِنْكَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَكَانَ عَاقِبَتَهُمَا أَنَّهُمَا فِي النَّارِ خَالِدَيْنِ فِيهَا وَذَلِكَ جَزَاءُ الظَّالِمِينَ} سورة الحشر 16-17. ـ

قال ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما في تفسير الآية: ـ 


 كان راهب من بني إسرائيل [برصيصا الراهب] يعبد الله فيحسن عبادته، وكان يؤتى من كل أرض فيسأل عن الفقه وكان عالما، وإن ثلاثة إخوة كانت لهم أخت حسنة من أحسن الناس، وإنهم أرادوا أن يسافروا فكبر عليهم أن يخلفوها ضائعة، فجعلوا يأتمرون ما يفعلون بها فقال أحدهم: أدلكم على من تتركونها عنده؟ قالوا: من هو؟ قال: راهب بني إسرائيل؛ إن ماتت قام عليها، وإن عاشت حفظها حتى ترجعوا إليه.   فعمدوا إليه فقالوا: إنا نريد السفر، ولا نجد أحدا أوثق في أنفسنا ولا أحفظ لما ولي منك لما جعل عندك، فإن رأيت أن نجعل أختنا عندك فإنها ضائعة شديدة الوجع، فإن ماتت فقم عليها وإن عاشت فأصلح إليها حتى نرجع، فقال: أكفيكم إن شاء الله.    فانطلقوا فقام عليها فداواها حتى برأت، وعاد إليها حسنها، فاطلع إليها فوجدها متصنعة، فلم يزل به الشيطان يزين له أن يقع عليها حتى وقع عليها، فحملت. ثم ندمه الشيطان فزين له قتلها؛ قال: إن لم تقتلها افتضحت وعرف شبهك في الولد فلم يكن لك معذرة. فلم يزل به حتى قتلها.    فلما قدم إخوتها سألوه: ما فعلت؟ قال: ماتت فدفنتها، قالوا: قد أحسنت.  ثم جعلوا يرون في المنام ويُخبرون أن الراهب هو قتلها، وأنها تحت شجرة كذا وكذا، فعمدوا إلى الشجرة فوجدوها تحتها قد قتلت.   فعمدوا إليه فأخذوه، فقال له الشيطان: أنا زينت لك الزنا وقتلها بعد الزنا، فهل لك أن أنجيك؟ قال: نعم، قال: أفتطيعني؟ قال: نعم، قال: فاسجد لي سجدة واحدة، فسجد له ثم قُتل، فذلك قوله {كمثل الشيطان إذ قال للإنسان اكفر فلما كفر قال إني بريء منك} الآية).  رواه الطبري في تفسيره. ـ


Ibn Abbas -may God be pleased with him- said concerning the interpretation of the above verse:

“There was a monk among the Children of Israel [The Monk Barsisa] who had devoted himself to worshiping God as best as he could.  He was a scholar so people would come from every land to ask him about religious rulings or jurisprudence.

At that time, there were three brothers who had the most beautiful sister [but who was sick], and they wanted to travel.  They found it hard to leave their sick sister behind without care, so they held a counsel about what they should do.  One of the brothers said: ‘Should I tell you about someone with whom you should leave her?’  They asked: ‘Who?’  He said: ‘The monk of the Children of Israel [the Monk Barsisa], for he would arrange her burial if she died, and would take care of her if she lived until you return.’

They went to the monk and said: ‘We want to travel, and we find no one that we trust more, nor more preserving to the trust left with him than you.  So if you could take care of her, for she is sick and in a lot of pain.  If she dies arrange her burial, and if she lives then take care of her until we return.’  The monk said: ‘I will take care of it, God willing.’

They left, and the monk took care of her.  He treated her until she was cured and regained her beauty.  He saw her once adorned, and Satan continued to tempt him and entice him to sleep with her and commit adultery (zina) with her, until he did so. She got pregnant.  Then Satan made him feel remorse and tempted him to kill her.  Satan whispered to him: ‘If you don’t kill her, you will be exposed, and you will not have no excuse, for your likeness will be recognized in the child.’  Satan continued to tempt the monk until he killed her.

When her brothers came back, they asked the monk: ‘What happened to our sister?’ The monk replied: ‘She died, so I buried her.’  They said: ‘You did well.’

Afterwards, the brothers would see in their dreams like someone informing them that the monk had killed her and that she was buried under so and so tree. They went to the specific tree, dug her body from under it, and found out that she had been killed.

The brothers went to the monk and took him away.  Satan came to him and said: ‘I am the one who enticed you to commit adultery (zina), and to kill her afterwards. Do you want me to save you?’ He replied: ‘Yes.’ Satan asked: ‘Would you obey me?’ The monk replied: ‘Yes.’ Satan said to him: ‘Then prostrate to me just once.’ The monk prostrated to him, and then he was killed.

And that is the interpretation of God’s statement: {(Their allies deceived them) like Satan when he says to the man: “Disbelieve.” But when the man disbelieves, Satan says: “Indeed, I declare my innocence of you, for I fear God, the Lord of the Worlds!” So the end of both will be that they will be in the Fire, abiding eternally therein. Such is the recompense of the Unjust (the polytheist, wrong-doers, and disbelievers)} Surah 59, verses16-17. Related by Al-Tabari in his Exegeses.


            The Almighty God gives us an example of the ploys and plotting of Satan and how he misleads and tempts the son of Adam. Satan starts to tempt the son of Adam by promising him endless pleasures and limitless joys if he does one small sin. Once the son of Adam commits the first sin, Satan then draws him sweetly and entices him to a second greater sin, and keeps setting a trap after another until the son of Adam is ruined and only realizes his mistakes in prison and worse in death and Hell-fire.



There are three moral lessons that can be learned from the above true story:

First Moral Lesson:

            Satan is the sworn and most bitter enemy of the son of Adam, and tries everything in his power to mislead the human and make him a disbeliever.

      Satan’s enmity against man goes back to his being banished, expelled and disfigured when he disobeyed God by refusing to prostrate to Adam. God cursed Satan for his arrogance and pride and promised him Hell-Fire. Satan asked for a reprieve until the Day of Judgment and he was granted that reprieve. Then Satan made a promise to try to mislead the humans and take as many of them as possible with him to Hell-Fire.

Thus, the enmity of Satan is ancient and deep-rooted, and Satan spares no ploy or strategy but to mislead the son of Adam and make him disbelieve so that he would end up in Hell-fire. But God warned the humans to beware of the traps and ploys of Satan, and gave us many examples where Satan succeeded in misleading people until they died as disbelievers and thus ended in Hell-Fire.

The Muslim is instructed to take Satan an enemy and treat him as such. The Muslim is warned to be wary of Satan and avoid his tricks and traps. God the Almighty says in Qur’an:

{Verily, Satan is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy. He only invites his followers that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire} Surah 35, verse 6.


Second Moral Lesson:

The Muslim is instructed to be cautious and defensive against this fifth column or enemy from within. Satan is not only a bitter foe, but he also employs the human Self to reach his goal.

    Satan often uses humans’ natural instincts and desires to set traps for them and make them fall into sin and disbelief so that they would join him in Hell-Fire. Thus, the Muslim should avoid slippery and dangerous situations that may lead him astray.

    The Muslim is instructed to avoid exposing himself to dangers and shaky grounds that give Satan greater access to him. The Muslim should avoid putting himself in situations where the Self takes control, giving free reign to his desires and lusts and thus weakening his defenses and allowing Satan an easier access.

    Some of these slippery situations include associating with the unjust and rich for little by little Satan would employ the person’s natural desire and love of wealth to make him one of the unjust; associating with the aberrant, radical and deviant for gradually Satan would use the natural inclination to power and control to make the person one of them; associating with an unlawful woman or man for step by step Satan would entice the person and promise her/him endless pleasures and enjoyment until the person commits adultery and falls into sin; and similar situations.

وعن ميمون بن مهران، قال: ( ثلاثةٌ لا تَبْلُوَنَّ نفسَك بهن: لا تَدْخُلَنَّ على سُلطَانٍ وإن قلتَ آمُرُهُ بطاعَةٍ، ولا تَدْخُلَنَّ على امْرَأَةٍ وإن قلتَ أُعَلِّمُهَا كِتَابَ اللَّه، ولا تُصْغِيَنَّ سَمْعَك لذي هَوًى فإنك لا تَدْري ما تَعَلَّقَ قلبُك منه). ـ

    It is related that the Scholar Meimoon Ibn Mahran said: “Avoid afflicting yourself with three things: Do not go to see a king, even if you had the intention of advising him to obey God. Do not go to see a woman, if you had the intention of teaching her the Book of God. And do not listen to an innovator in religion, for you do not know what of his speech will attach to your heart.

   The true story of the monk describes how Satan misled the monk through association with an unlawful woman. Although the girl was very sick at first, Satan used her to entice the monk until he committed adultery, then used the monk’s sense of guilt against him and made him kill her, and finally used the monk’s survival instinct and desire to live to make him prostrate to Satan.

The monk obeyed Satan in all three instances, and thus became a disbeliever. God then warned us that the end of both Satan and this monk is eternal damnation and Hell. The Muslim then should be wary of this enemy from within, and should supplicate God and ask His assistance and support in dealing with invisible foe.


Third Moral Lesson:

The Muslim is commanded to be modest and humble, for modesty and humbleness are the characteristics of the believers.

The Muslim is warned to avoid conceit and self-admiration, for they lead to pride and arrogance when the person starts considering himself better than others. Having contempt for others and feeling superior to them are signs of pride and arrogance. Pride and arrogance are characteristics of Satan and the people of Hell-Fire. Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- described the people of Paradise as the modest and humble believing people of the world, while he described the people of Hell-fire as the proud and arrogant people of the world.

عن أبي سعيدٍ الخُدريِّ رضيَ اللَّهُ عنه عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « احْتَجَّتِ الجَنَّةُ والنَّارُ، فَقَالَتِ النَّارُ: فِيَّ الجَبَّارُونَ والمُتَكَبِّرُونَ، وقَالَتِ الجنَّة: فِيَّ ضُعَفَاءُ النَّاسِ ومَسَاكِينُهُمْ. فَقَضَى اللَّه بيْنَهُمَا: إِنَّكِ الجَنَّةُ رَحْمَتي أَرْحَمُ بِكِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ، وإِنَّكِ النَّارُ عذَابي أُعَذِّبُ بِكِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ، ولِكِلَيْكُما عَلَيَّ مِلْؤُها» .  رواهُ مسلم ورواه البخاري عن أبي هريرة . ـ

     Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri -may God be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said:

Paradise and Hell-fire argued. Hell-fire said: ‘I was favored with the proud and the arrogant.’ Paradise said: ‘What is the matter with me that only the weak, the lowly, and the humble of people enter me?’ So God said to Paradise: ‘Verily, you are only My Mercy, I bestow mercy with you upon whomever I wish among My slaves.’ And He said to Hell-fire: ‘Verily, you are only My punishment, I punish with you whomever I wish. And every one of you shall have its full.’ ” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

   Thus, the Muslim is instructed to be modest even if he had a greater share of wealth, health, intellect or knowledge, for that is a blessing of God that he must thank Him for.

The Muslim should never show any conceit or self-admiration for that may lead to pride or arrogance, which in turn makes him have a sense of superiority for a blessing that only God has granted him.

Whatever man or woman shows pride or arrogance then s/he has shown ingratitude and exposed him/herself to punishment in this world and the Hereafter. But for those who show modesty, humbleness and thanks then their blessings would not only last but also increase.


    Then in summary, we can learn three important moral lessons from the above true story.

First, Satan is man’s worst enemy and the human must treat him as such by opposing him and being wary of him.

Second, the human should not put himself in slippery and dangerous situations that may give Satan power over him through Self desires and lusts. Rather, the human should be defensive and should use caution to avoid the traps of Satan whose goal is to take as many people to Hell-Fire with him as he could mislead.

And third, the Muslim should show modesty and humbleness even when is favored with greater blessings, for these are the characteristics of the people of Paradise. The Muslim should avoid conceit and self-admiration which may lead to pride and arrogance which are the characteristics of Satan and the people of Hell-Fire. The Muslim should attribute the blessing to God, be grateful to Him and thank Him for it, for that’s how he ensures the continuation of the blessing and its increase. And God knows best.


The Pious Man and the Tree

(Keywords: The ploy of Satan, Adam and Satan, Misleading of Satan, Deception and trickery of Satan)

عن الحسن، قال : ( كانت شجرة تعبد من دون الله، فجاء إليها رجل فقال: لقطعن هذه الشجرة، فجاء ليقطعها غضبا لله، فلقيه إبليس في صورة إنسان، فقال: ما تريد؟ قال: أريد أن أقطع هذه الشجرة التي تعبد من دون الله، قال: إذا أنت لم تعبدها فما يضرك من عبدها، قال: لأقطعنها، فقال له الشيطان: هل لك فيما هو خير لك؛ لا تقطعها ولك ديناران كل يوم إذا أصبحت عند وسادتك، قال: فمن أين لي ذلك؟ قال: أنا لك فرجع فأصبح فوجد دينارين عند وسادته، ثم أصبح بعد ذلك فلم يجد شيئا فقام غضبا ليقطعها، فتمثل له الشيطان في صورته، وقال: ما تريد؟ قال: أريد قطع هذه الشجرة التي تعبد من دون الله تعالى، قال: كذبت مالك إلى ذلك من سبيل، فذهب ليقطعها فضرب به الأرض وخنقه حتى كاد يقتله، قال: أتدري من أنا، أنا الشيطان جئت أول مرة غضبا لله، فلم يكن لي عليك سبيل فخدعتك بالدينارين فتركتها، فلما جئت غضبا للدينارين سلطت عليك). ـ


Narrated Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: “There was once a group of people who took up a tree as an idol to worship. A pious man heard about that and decided to cut the tree for the sake of God and to please Him.

When he was about to cut the tree, Satan came to him in the form of a man and asked him: ‘What are you planning to do?’ The man replied: ‘I want to cut this tree because people are worshiping it instead of God.’

Satan said: ‘What harm does that cause you if you are not the one who is worshiping it?’ The pious man said: ‘Indeed, I shall cut it.’ Satan said to him: ‘Could I suggest something better; do not cut it and you shall have two Dinars every day at your bedside every morning.’ The pious man asked: ‘Who shall give it to me?’ Satan said: ‘I shall give it to you.’

When the next morning came, the man found two Dinars at his bedside. But later, when he woke up he did not find anything. The man became angry and went to cut the tree.

Once again Satan came to him in the form of a man and asked him: ‘What are you planning to do?’ The man said: ‘I want to cut this tree because people are worshiping it instead of God- the Exalted.’ Satan said: ‘You lie, for you shall have no access to it.’ When the man went forward to cut it, Satan wrestled him to the ground and strangled him almost killing him.

Satan then asked the man: ‘Do you know who I am? I am Satan. When you first came to cut the tree, it was purely for the sake of God, and I had no power over you. So I tricked you with the two Dinars, and you abandoned cutting it. But when you came the second time, it was for the sake of the money and I was able to overpower you.’ ”


Chastity vs. Adultery

(Concept of Shyness in Islam, Chastity in Islam, Staying away from adultery or Zina, Types of adultery or Zina, adultery of the eyes, adultery of the hand, consequences of adultery or Zina, early marriage in Islam, chatting in Islam, Wisdom of Fasting, Repentance or Tobah from adultery)

      قال الله تعالى: { قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ* وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ} النور30-1.

      قال ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما: ( يغضوا أبصارهم عما يكره الله).

 وقال سعيد بن جبير: {ويحفظن فروجهن} عن الفواحش.

      God the Almighty says: { Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their private parts; that is purer for them. Verily, God is All-Aware of what they do.  And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and protect their private parts} (Chapter 24, verses 30-31).

Ibn Abbas said: “They should lower their gaze from things that God has prohibited.”

Sa’eed Ibn Jubair said: “ ‘Protect their private parts’ from immoral indecent sins.”



God the Almighty commands the Muslim men and women to lower their gaze from forbidden things and to guard their private parts from immoral indecent acts.  Shyness or bashfulness is one of the great morals that Islam has emphasized.  Indeed, Islam considers shyness and shamefulness as part of Faith (Iman). Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace upon him- describes the believer as one who has a sense of shyness and shamefulness that keeps him/her away from immorality and indecent sins.

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أنَّ رسولَ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « الإيمَانُ بِضْعٌ وسَبْعُونَ- أوْ بِضْعٌ وَسِتُّونَ- شُعْبةً، فَأَفْضَلُها قوْلُ لا إلهَ إلاّ اللَّهُ، وَأَدْنَاها إمَاطَةُ الأَذَى عَنِ الطَّرِيقِ، والحَيَاءُ شُعْبَةٌ مِنَ الإيمَانِ» .  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may Allah be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “Iman (Faith) has seventy odd branches (or sixty odd branches). The uppermost branch is the Testimony there is no true god except Allah, and the lowest branch is to remove harmful objects from the road. And Shyness is a branch of faith.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

In order to protect the honor and chastity of both men and women, boys and girls, Islam has obligated hijab and has prohibited association with non-relative men or women for no purpose or need.  Islam encourages both men and women to feel shy of God and to dislike indecent immoral acts like zina (adultery or fornication or a relationship between a man and a woman without marriage) and anything that leads to it.

Adultery or fornication (zina) is an abhorrent act both in society and religion. God the Almighty admonished people to stay away from adultery and fornication (Zina) and promised severe punishment for it both in this world and the Hereafter.  But God -the Most Wise- explained why adultery or fornication should be avoided; first because it is a great injustice to others and so a great sin, and second because it is aberrant behavior and an ugly deed that has serious consequences.

             قال تعالى: { وَالَّذِينَ لا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهاً آخَرَ وَلا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلا يَزْنُونَ وَمَنْ يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ يَلْقَ أَثَاماً. يُضَاعَفْ لَهُ الْعَذَابُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَيَخْلُدْ فِيهِ مُهَاناً. إِلَّا مَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلاً صَالِحاً فَأُولَئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُوراً رَحِيماً. وَمَن تَابَ وَعَمِلَ صَـلِحاً فَإِنَّهُ يَتُوبُ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَتاباً } سورة الفرقان 68-70.

      God the Almighty says in another verse: { And those who do not invoke any other deity along with God, nor kill the soul which God has forbidden (to be killed) except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse – and whoever does this shall receive punishment.

  1. Multiplied for him is the torment on the Day of Judgment, and he will abide therein in disgrace.
  2. Except those who repent, believe, and do righteous deeds; for them God will replace their misdeeds into good deeds, and God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
  3. And whosoever repents and does righteous good deeds; then indeed he has repented to God with true repentance} (Chapter 25, verses 68-70).

Adultery or fornication (zina) is an abhorrent act that can have many negative consequences.  In religion, adultery is one of the mortal sins and a major misdeed that is promised Hell-fire.  Not only that, but if the adulterer doesn’t repent, then he is promised multiplied torment (may God save us).

In society, adultery leads to the loss of women’s rights and social status.  The woman engaged in adultery is merely used for physical gratification and enjoys no rights or obligation.  Furthermore, she loses her status as a mother or sister, and may no longer enjoy the protection of a family.

For men, adultery leads to loss of mental acuity and focus resulting in loss of job performance, family break-ups, severing of ties, and many other consequences.

For children, adultery leads to loss of proper child support and protection, loss of family lineages, and most important loss of a solid family structure and a stable home that offers emotional and financial support which inevitably leads to increased child misbehaviors and crime.  Therefore, God the Almighty warned the believers to stay away from adultery and anything that may lead to it.

Not only that, but Islam also instructs us to avoid anything that leads to adultery.

    قال الله عز وجل: { وَلاَ تَقْرَبُواْ ٱلزّنَىٰ إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاء سَبِيلاً} سورة الإسراء 32.

  قال ابن كثير: ( “وَلا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا”: وهو مخالطة أسبابه ودواعيه. “إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً”: أي ذنبًا عظيمًا، “وَسَاءَ سَبِيلا”: أي وبئس طريقًا ومسلكًا).

     God the Almighty says in another verse: { And come not near or approach fornication or adultery (zina). Verily, it is an immoral sin and an evil way} (Chapter 17, verse 32).

Ibn Katheer said: “ ‘And come not near fornication or adultery’: meaning avoid anything that may lead to adultery.

‘It is an immoral sin’: meaning it is a major sin.

‘And an evil way’: meaning it is a terrible way and behavior.”

Therefore, Islam prohibits unnecessary contact between unrelated men and women.  The more contact unrelated men and women have with each other, the more likely they will fall in sin.  The greatest form of adultery is that of the private parts, but there are smaller forms of adultery as well like looking, talking, chatting, touching, kissing, etc.  The other smaller forms of adultery may eventually lead to the greatest form and are forbidden as well.

Prophet Muhammad described all forms of adultery in the following hadith:

      عن أبي هُريْرةَ رضي اللَّه عنْهُ عنِ النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قَال: « كُتِبَ على ابْنِ آدَمَ نَصِيبُهُ مِنَ الزِّنَا مُدْرِكٌ ذَلِكَ لا مَحَالَةَ: العَيْنَانِ زِنَاهُمَا النَّظَرُ، والأُذُنَانِ زِنَاهُما الاسْتِماعُ، واللِّسَانُ زِنَاهُ الكَلامُ، وَاليَدُ زِنَاهَا البَطْشُ، والرِّجْلُ زِنَاهَا الخُطَا، والقَلْب يَهْوَى وَيَتَمنَّى، ويُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ الفَرْجُ أوْ يُكَذِّبُهُ» .  متفقٌ عليه.

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may God be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “God has written for the son of Adam his share of adultery which he commits inevitably. The adultery of the eye is looking (at something which is sinful to look at), the adultery of the ear is listening (to something which is forbidden), the adultery of the tongue is speaking (to an unrelated woman unnecessarily), the adultery of the hand is the lustful grip, and the adultery of the feet is walking (to a place where he intends to commit adultery). The heart or inner-self wishes and desires, while the private parts fulfill that wish or refrain from it.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim.

Therefore, not only is adultery forbidden, but anything that leads to it; namely the smaller forms of adultery, is forbidden as well. Just like losing weight requires abstaining from things that lead to it like fatty and sweet foods, similarly guarding chastity and avoiding adultery require abstaining from things that lead to it.

In the above narration, the two main types of adultery or fornication (zina) are mentioned:

I) The major adultery (of private parts), and

II) the smaller (of other limbs), including: adultery of the eye, adultery of the nose, adultery of the mouth, adultery of the ears, adultery of the hand, and adultery of the feet.  The major type is the worst and has the most severe punishment.

The smaller types of adultery have negative consequences and may lead to the major type and therefore are forbidden as well.  The smaller types of adultery include:

  1. Adultery of the Eye: Occurs by looking at non-relative women or men lustfully, and worse watching unclothed women or men. Looking at others’ private parts is an indecent ugly sin that has bad consequences upon the mind, health and faith.

Religious scholars said that the first gate to adultery is the eye.  It is through the eyes and sight that the thought of adultery is conceived.  Thus, we are commanded in the verse above to protect our gaze, and guard this first shield against adultery.  And it is related that the look is an arrow from the arrows of Satan with which he captivates the son of Adam and leads him/her astray.  Indeed, with one look Satan can affect the heart and mislead it so the person follows that look with other greater sins.

Women who wear tight and revealing clothes and then go out, commit this type of adultery.  Satan finds it a good opportunity to mislead people, and she gets equal share of the sin until she returns home.

عن عبدالله – ابن مسعود – رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال: « المرأةُ عَوْرةٌ، فإذا خَرَجَت استَشْرَفَها الشَيطانُ».  رواه الترمذي وابن حبان بإسناد صحيح

Narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Mas’ood -may God be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The woman is ‘awrah (private and should be veiled), so when she goes out Satan welcomes her seeking to tempt her and use her for temptation.”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban.

Thus, women should cover up when they leave the house for any need. The chaste woman does not reveal her body to other men to look at and devour, rather her shyness makes her cover herself and guard her chastity.

2. Adultery of the Nose: occurs when the woman puts on perfume to attract men. The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- described the woman who puts on perfume before she leaves her house to attract men, and then a man smells it as an adulteress.

3. Adultery of the Mouth and Tongue: occurs by talking to non-relative men or women unnecessarily, or touching them with the mouth. Talking over the cell phone or internet with non-relative men and women for enjoyment and without real need or purpose has been accepted as the norm, while it is a form of adultery and a sin that has grave consequences.  For how many an innocent conversation over the phone or random chat has resulted in affairs that wrecked marriages and destroyed families.

4. Adultery of the Hand: occurs by touching a non-relative man or woman, or chatting with a non-relative man or woman, or having a relationship over the internet or phone. This is a common sin these days, and many men have women friends and women have men friends with whom they chat freely and exchange emails or messages.  This is considered adultery of the mouth and hand, and has bad consequences, both in this world and the Hereafter.  In this world, this action leads to the disruption of legal relationships, the destruction of family structure and unity, the preoccupation of the mind, the deterioration of health and faith, and in the Hereafter with Hell-Fire unless the person repents and returns to God.

5. Adultery of the Feet: occurs by going to bad places like bars, or the market to see other men or women.

God the Exalted says in Qur’an: {On the Day of Judgment, their tongues, their hands, and their legs will bear witness against them as to what they used to do} (surah Al-Noor, verse 24).

Thus on the Day of Judgment, the mouth will be sealed and shut, while other limbs will be given the ability to speak as mentioned in the verse above.  Then on that Day all limbs will admit and reveal everything they used to do.  The eyes, the nose, the tongue, the ears, the hands, and the feet will speak and reveal all of their secrets, and say nothing but the truth. Then man can imagine his condition on that Day, and the terrible situation for those who indulge in sin and immorality.

Indeed, all of these unlawful pleasures and lusts would be a great source of sadness and misery on the Day of Judgment.  And how true is the following statement:

    قال أحد الحكماء: ( الشهوات لذات في الظاهر مكاره في الباطن، والطاعات مكاره في الظاهر لذات في الباطن).

A wise man said: “Temptations and lusts are pleasures on the outside, but hardships on the inside.  While acts of obedience and worship (to God) are hardships on the outside, but pleasures on the inside.”


Regret and Repentance:

Different people have different levels of piety and sin.  Some people fall prey to all kinds of adultery, while others only to one small type.  But the believer should never despair of the mercy of God. 

As soon as the Muslim realizes he has committed any sin, he should repent to God, showing regret and remorse and promising not to do it again.  Indeed, in the verse above, after mentioning the severe punishment of adultery, God -the Most Merciful and Most Forgiving- made an exception for those who repent and turn back to Him.  Those who repent truly are not only promised forgiveness, but also the great reward of turning their misdeeds into good.  God -the Most Merciful and Most Forgiving- says:

{ Except those who repent, believe, and do righteous deeds; for them God will replace their misdeeds into good deeds, and God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful} (Chapter 25, verses 68-70).

Indeed, there is no bound or limit to God’s mercy and forgiveness, but the Muslim is asked to turn to God in repentance and seek His Great Mercy and forgiveness.


First Solution:

Islam has encouraged early marriage as an important antidote for the urges of youth.  Marriage is a legal contract that forms the basis of a stable, peaceful and united community.  Indeed, one of the purposes of marriage is to connect families and bring them together.  Not only does marriage protect one’s chastity, but it also guards the rights of every individual in society.  The man’s rights are protected, the woman’s rights are honored, and the children’s welfare is preserved.  Adultery or fornication, on the other hand, destroys this basic unit of a united community, wrecking relationships, disrupting normal family ties, giving up the responsibility of children, and leading to enmity and crime.  It is ironic that these days, early marriage is frowned upon while smaller forms of adultery are accepted as the norm.

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- gave a valuable advice to young people:

   وعن عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمْ البَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ» .  متفقٌ عليه.

Narrated Abdul-God Ibn Mas’ood -may God be pleased with him- that the Messenger of God -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “O young people, whoever among you is able to marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing adultery), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Second Solution:

Thus, the first solution is early marriage. But if marriage cannot be afforded, then the second solution offered by Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- is fasting.  Whoever cannot afford to get married, then he should fast from sunrise to sunset, for fasting protects against adultery.  It was the custom (Sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- to fast every Monday and Thursday.  When the Muslim fasts and stops eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset, his desires weaken and he would stay away from adultery.

Moreover, Fasting is a discipline or religious training for the Muslim to hold himself and refrain from eating and drinking first, and in the process learn to hold himself and refrain from temptations and from any form of adultery.

But when young people turn away from marriage, and when families refuse to marry their sons and daughters to reasonable candidates, then adultery may become widespread, just as Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- warned:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: “‏ إِذَا خَطَبَ إِلَيْكُمْ مَنْ تَرْضَوْنَ دِينَهُ وَخُلُقَهُ فَزَوِّجُوهُ إِلاَّ تَفْعَلُوا تَكُنْ فِتْنَةٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَفَسَادٌ عَرِيضٌ.” رواه الترمذي وابن ماجه. ‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with proposes to (someone under the care of) one of you, then marry (your female relative) to him.  If you do not do so, then there will be turmoil (Fitnah) in the land and widespread corruption.”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah.

While in the past, marriage was the norm and a priority for young people, now many young people are turning away from marriage and are looking for other means of distraction and unlawful entertainment which include the smaller forms of adultery and may lead to the major form.  This in turn leads to turmoil; affliction; physical, emotional, financial, and psychological problems; and corruption in the land as described in the hadith.


     Then, we can see that there are many types of zina (adultery).  It is true that zina (adultery) of the private parts is the worst and has the most severe punishment, but the other types have bad effects and severe consequences too.  All types of zina lead to the spread of evil and enmity in the society.  Through immorality and adultery, bad characteristics and injustice spread in the land.  Then the town would be afflicted with crime, diseases, and loss of peace. Thus we have been forewarned to stay away from all types of zina (adultery).

Islam has encouraged marriage, but prohibited any other form of relationship between a man and woman outside marriage.  Islam promotes shyness and a strong sense of shame that prevents the Muslim from dealing with a non-blood relative.  So we have a society of shy and shameful men and women who preserve their chastity and stay away from any form of zina (adultery).  They guard their gaze by avoiding looking at others or unlawful things, they guard their mouth by avoiding talking to others unnecessarily, they guard their hand by avoiding chatting and having relationship over the internet or phone, and they guard their feet by avoiding going to bad places to see other men and women. They guard their chastity and protect themselves from adultery by marriage and fasting. Thus, we have a faithful society that keeps the rights of everyone, which results in a peaceful and united society.

And in case they fall prey to any form of adultery, they show regret and remorse and turn to God in repentance, asking His Forgiveness and promising not to do it again.