The two major sexual sins are zina and liwat. Zina is extramarital or premarital sex whereas liwat, a category of its own, refers to homosexual acts. Both are forbidden as they ruin people’s souls.
Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters.
Welcome back to the Muslim Converts channel! In many conservative cultures, sex is seldom talked about publically. Within the Muslim community, this is often the case as well. Human sex, however, is of central importance in understanding salvation in almost any religious tradition.
In Christianity, and in the New Testament in particular, we are taught how sexual deviance alters our intellects and warps our conceptions of morality. In an identical manner, Islam also teaches us the same message.
In Islam, halal intimate relations can lead to closeness to God. Plenty of hadiths talk about how married couples are blessed by God’s angels when they are intimate with one another. Haram relations have the opposite effect.
They darken and corrupt the human soul. They remove Allah’s saving grace from one’s life. Sexual sins open up spiritual wounds through which demons can enter our being and make us even more prone to their evil suggestions.
In this lesson, we will look Islam’s view on specific types of sexual sins. As we have limited space, we will focus on two in particular, zina and liwat.
Zina refers to illicit sex. The two English words that are often used for zina are fornication and adultery, both of which are applicable. In our current modern context, zina can refer to illicit sex outside of marriage, such as premarital sex or adultery outside the bounds of marriage.
Zina specifically refers to the act of intercourse. Lustful premarital or extramarital kissing and touching are not technically zina in Islamic law, but they are nevertheless prohibited and sinful. In fact, they are considered preliminaries to zina itself.
In this way, we can speak of forms of “informal” zinas which are available in the traditions of the Prophet (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as). In one hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (s) lists them as follows:
“The eye commits ‘zina’, and the palm of the hand, the foot, the body, the tongue and private part of the body confirm it or deny it.”
Zina first begins with the eye, and then the hands, feet, body, tongue and private parts follow in its lead. By looking, temptation is created and thus sin begins.
The Prophet (s) then proceeds to explain what some of these kinds of zina mean:
"Allah has written for the children of Adam their share of ‘zina’ which he commits inevitably. The ‘zina’ of the eyes is the sight (to gaze at a forbidden thing), the ‘zina’ of the tongue is the talk, and the inner self wishes and desires and the private parts testify all this or deny it."
The Messenger of Allah (s) here is speaking about the steps of zina. First it begins with the eyes, and then when temptation is established, the person will proceed to talking and flirting which in the end may result in illicit sexual intercourse.
Zina is a terrible sin. The Prophet (s) goes as far saying:
“If one of you were to be stabbed in the head with a piece of iron it would be better for him than if he were to touch a woman whom it is not permissible for him to touch”.
Zina is not only terrible on the spiritual level, but it is also terrible on the social level. For any community to survive and be healthy, it needs to have stable and healthy marriages. Zina undermines the health of marriages in three ways.
First, when zina is prominent, people are less willing to marry. Second, zina while being married destroys marriages. Third, whether zina is premarital or extra marital, it often results in children being born outside the safe and healthy confines of an Islamically ideal and healthy marriage which is necessary for the spiritual health of children.
Liwat refers to sodomy between men. It is the classical term for homosexual acts. Homosexuality is a hot topic today and the tensions between pro-gay activists and traditional religious views are quite intense.
Most arguments against the prohibition of homosexuality center around the theory that homosexuals are simply “born that way.” Now here we’re not going to go into whether this statement is true or not as it is beyond our point.
In Islam, whatever orientation a person has isn’t a sin. Just because you have a tendency or liking for a sinful act doesn’t mean that you have sinned. After all, we all have vices in us that we either are predisposed to genetically, or have been nurtured into through social influence.
In Islam, homosexual orientation is not a sin, homosexual acts are sinful. So here it doesn’t really matter whether one was born a homosexual or not, the sin is the ACT, not the ORIENTATION.
But why are homosexual acts sinful but not heterosexual ones?
Every action we do in this life has an effect on our hearts. There are certain actions that we commit that darken the human soul and by darkening it, humans distance themselves from the light of God. These kinds of actions are called sins in Islam. Some of the top actions that darken the soul are zina and liwat.
A person shouldn’t despair if he or she falls into sin as God is always forgiving of those who sincerely turn to Him and repent. The Prophet Muhammad (s) once said:
“There is no major sin if one asks for forgiveness, and there is no minor sin if one persists in repeating it”.
In other words, we are forgiven for major sins if we sincerely and truly repent, and a minor sin may turn into a major sin if on persists in repeating it.
Allah also says:
Do not despair, for Allah the Most Exalted and Glorified said in the Quran "Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful."
(Chapter 39, verse 53 of the Holy Qur’an)
Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh
What is zina?
What is liwat?
In Islam, what is worse, zina or liwat?
Can zina or liwat be forgiven in Islam?
Is homosexual orientation a sin in Islam?
No, only homosexual acts are sins
Messenger of Allah
homosexuality in islam
Greater Sins by Dastaghaib Shirazi