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This article is about adultery in Islam. For extramarital affairs in general, see Adultery.
For other uses, see Zina (disambiguation)
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Part of a series on
Blasphemy Maisir (gambling) Zina (extramarital sex) Hirabah (unlawful warfare) Fasad (mischief) Rajm (stoning)
Tazir (discretionary) Qisas (retribution) Diyya (compensation)
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Zena (Arabic: вцЧ / ALA-LC: zen±) is generally defined by Islamic Law as unlawful sexual intercourse, i.e. intercourse between individuals who are not married to one another. This encompasses extramarital sex and premarital sex.
Zena falls under the Islamic sexual jurisprudence of Fiqh, which is an expansion of the Sharia code of conduct given in the Qur&#39;an.
Across all four schools of Sunni practice, and the two schools of Shi&#39;a practice, the term zina signifies voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and a woman not married to one another, regardless of whether one or both of them are married to other persons or not. It does not - in contrast with the usage prevalent in most Western languages - differentiate between the concepts of "adultery" (i.e., sexual intercourse of a married man with a woman other than his wife, or of a married woman with a man other than her husband) and "fornication" (i.e., sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons).
Islamic law prescribes punishments for both Muslim and non-Muslim men and women for the act of Zina as interpreted from the Qur&#39;an and the Hadith. In principle it is an extremely difficult offence to prove, requiring four respectable witnesses to the actual act of penetration.
2 Inclusions of the zina definition
3 Accusation process and punishment
3.1 Sunni practice
3.2 Shi&#39;a practice
4 Worldwide controversy
5 See also
7 External links
Islam considers zina a major sin. In this, Islam shares the same views as other Abrahamic religions, such as Judaism and Christianity. From the perspective of the Qur&#39;an, the prophetic tradition, and Islamic law, sex uncoupled with a legally binding marital tie is considered zina, and is equally punishable for both women and men.
The Qur&#39;an deals with zina in several places. First is the Qur&#39;anic general rule that commands Muslims not to commit zina:
Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).
Qur&#39;an, Sura 17 (Al-Isra), ayat 32
Most of the rules related to zina, adultery, and false accusations from a husband to his wife or from members of the community to chaste women, can be found in Surat an-Nur (the Light). The sura starts by giving very specific rules about punishment for zina:
"The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment."
Qur&#39;an, Sura 24 (An-Nur), ayat 2
And those who accuse free women then do not bring four witnesses, flog them, (giving) eighty stripes, and do not admit any evidence from them ever; and these it is that are the transgressors. Except those who repent after this and act aright, for surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Qur&#39;an, Sura 24 (An-Nur), ayat 4-5
Nearly all hadith collections include three hadiths that are central in the legal arguments about the punishment for zina:
One to the effect that the Prophet has enforced this punishment in a case of unlawful intercourse among Jews on the basis of the Torah;
a second one, transmitted by Abu Hurairah states that the Prophet, in a case of intercourse between a young man and a married woman, sentenced the woman to stoning and the young man to flogging and banishment for a year;
and a third one in which Umar al-Khattab asserts that there was a revelation to the effect that those who are muhsan (i.e. an adult, free, Muslim who has previously enjoyed legitimate sexual relations in matrimony regardless of whether the marriage still exists) and have unlawful intercourse are to be punished with stoning.
The hadith related by Abu Hurairah has been the basis of the fiqh doctrine.
The most accepted collection of Hadith Sahih al Bukhari has 4 entries (under 3829, 8804, 8805 and 8824) which refer to death by stoning. One case involved Jews who were stoned to death in accordance with the Law of the Torah (not the Qur&#39;an). Another says: "A married man from the tribe of Bani Aslam who had committed illegal sexual intercourse and bore witnesses four times against himself was ordered by Mohammed to be stoned to death". These two hadiths clearly conflict as to who or what actually ordered the stoning. And in both entries, the narrator acknowledges his ignorance of whether the stoning to death was carried out before or after the revelation of Quranic Verse 24-2. However according to Jamila Hussain, "the majority of the jurists agree that, on the authority of the hadith [case involved Jews who were stoned to death in accordance with the Torah], ... the proper punishment for married adulterers is stoning to death, and the unmarried should be awarded 100 lashes." 
Inclusions of the zina definition
Zina encompasses extramarital sex and premarital sex between a man and a woman who are not married to one another or in a state of lawful concubinage based on ownership.
This includes the Sunni definition of zina and also includes: homosexual intercourse, a great variety of sexual behavior: buggery, both with men and women, lesbian intercourse and heavy petting. Furthermore, Shi&#39;a legal doctrine defines muhsan as an adult, free Muslim who is in a position lawfully to have sexual intercourse and whose partner is actually available (e.g. not imprisoned or absent on a journey).
Accusation process and punishment
Given the severity of punishment for the offense of zina, the Qur&#39;an requires solid proof beyond the shadow of doubt before convicting an individual, be it a man or a woman, of zina. Muslim jurists have derived from the Sunnah of Muhammad very strict requirements for proving zina. In fact, jurists unanimously agree on only two means of doing so:
A clear, free, and willful confession by the person guilty of the act of zina. However, if that person retracts his/her confession, he/she is not punishable (barring the presence of witnesses, as indicated below), because there would no longer be any proof of the occurrence of the prohibited act, and alternatively,
The testimony of four reliable Muslim male eye-witnesses, all of whom must have witnessed the actual intercourse at the same time.
It is pertinent to point out that the evidentiary requirement for zina was initially intended to protect men son get away with his/her sin and face Gods justice later, than to enforce the hadd