Can Zina Punishment Be Dropped after Repentance?
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Can Zina Punishment Be Dropped after Repentance?

Questioner

Hagar

Reply Date

Sep 20, 2017

Question

Dear scholars. As-Salamu `Alaykum. Thank you very much for the wonderful service you provide. I have an urgent question related to the applicability of the legal punishment for adultery in case the adulterer and the adulteress are serious about marriage after their repentance. My question is: Can repentance and true intention for marriage sufficient to drop off the applicability of Hadd in case of Zina? Is there a difference if the issue reaches public authorities or remained a secret?

Mufti

Answer


Can Zina Punishment Be Dropped after Repentance?

Wa`alaykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

If a man and a woman commits zina, then truly repent and embark on getting married, then the punishment is dropped as long as the issue does not reach authorities or the ruler of the Muslim State, as he is supposed to put punishments in force.


Tackling the issue in point, Dr. Sabri `Abdul Ra’ouf, professor of Islamic Comparative Jurisprudence, at Al-Azhar University, states: 

Islam prohibits all ways leading to fornication, adultery, and all forms of sexual perversion. In a practical and matchless approach to prevent the crime of zina before its occurrence, Islam blocks all ways leading to that which is haram and unlawful.

Stressing this, Allah Almighty says, “And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way.” (Al-Israa’ 17:32)

If a man and a woman commits zina, then truly repent and embark on getting married, then the punishment is dropped as long as the issue does not reach authorities or the ruler of the Muslim State, as he is supposed to put punishments in force.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “Anyone who commits a punishable sin should cover himself up as long as he’s being shielded by Allah (i.e. he should not expose himself) because if he divulges his punishable sin, the prescribed punishment becomes due.” (i.e. it should be carried out as he has confessed.)

This makes it clear that if there is a true repentance along with sin concealment, Allah will forgive as He Almighty is the All-Forgiving.

Referring to this, He Almighty says: “Lo! Allah forgives not that a partner should be ascribed unto Him. He forgives (all) save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribes partners to Allah, he hath indeed invented a tremendous sin.” (An-Nisa’ 4:48)

Elaborating more on the issue in point, Dr. Wahbah Az-Zuhayli, the late head of the Dep. of Islamic Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Shari`ah, Damascus, adds:

 No doubt that zina is one of the grave sins in Islam. Those who commit zina are supposed to bear the responsibility for the sin they committed.

However, the dire consequences of zina maybe mitigated if they seriously determined to marry. Marriage in such cases is a procedure which is usually done by some Shari`ah courts. However, marriage is no more than a concealment that uncovers the sinners.

As far as dropping the legal punishment is concerned, I can say that marriage is not a pretext to drop the applicability of the hadd if the issue reached the legal authorities. The punishment for zina is still applicable as Allah Almighty says: “The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain withhold you from obedience to Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of believers witness their punishment.” (An-Nur 24:2)

Thus, the applicability of the hadd cannot be waived if the issue reached the legal authorities.

On the other hand, if the issue does not reach the authorities and both the man and the woman want to marry, then they can do so. This is according to Imam Ibn Taymiyah, Ibn Al-Qayyim and the followers of the Hanabali school of thought, who maintain that ‘There is no legal punishment for the sinner who repents (i.e. before the issue reaches public authorities).

Almighty Allah knows best.




About Dr. Sabri `Abdur-Ra’ouf

Professor of Islamic Comparative Jurisprudence, at Al-Azhar University

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