Written by medical physician, counsellor and writer; Dr. Ahmed Adam's article Sex and Our Muslim Youth is a concise and brief look on Islam's perspective and views on sex before marriage. It gives outlines on the various types of "forbidden" sexual encounters - here's an excerpt on what qualifies as fornication:
"Fornication (zina) means to have sex with anyone while not yet married; there are two types of fornication:
1- An unmarried person who has sex with another unmarried person
2- An unmarried person who has sex with a married person; in this case, it is fornication for the unmarried person but adultery for the married person
[Those who invoke not, with Allah, any other god, nor slay such life as God has made sacred, except for just cause, nor commit fornication; and any that does this (not only) meets punishment (but) the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy.] (Al-Furqan 25:68-69)
In this verse, the sin of fornication is given its seriousness by being ranked as follows:
* The first major sin is associating partners with Allah Most High
* The second major sin is murder
* The third major sin is fornication
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "When a man commits fornication, faith departs from him and there is something like a canvas roof over his head; and when he quits that action, faith returns to him" (Abu Dawud #4673).
The Prophet said, "The one who commits illegal sexual intercourse is not a believer at the time of committing illegal sexual intercourse, and a thief is not a believer at the time of committing theft, and a drinker of alcoholic drink is not a believer at the time of drinking. Yet, (the gate of) repentance is open thereafter" (Al-Bukhari 8, 801).
Furthermore, the punishment is described in the following verse: [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] (An-Nur 24:2).
Furthermore, if the girl becomes pregnant as a consequence of this premarital or extramarital act, then the child is not considered a legal heir according to the following hadith:
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "If a man commits fornication with a free woman or a slave woman, the child is the product of fornication, and neither does he inherit nor may anyone inherit from him" (At-Tirmidhi #3054)."
The article understands that there are many temptations, or "tests" out there, and as human beings we often succumb to them. This is not to say that an excuse can be therefore made for what we do, as we are all responsible for our own actions. Dr. Adam asks of us to seek help in The Qur'an and spend some one-on-one time with God; and to ask for His forgiveness. If we are true in our repentance He will surely guide us and put us back on track to a path of light - after all;
"Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful."
To see the article in full, please visit Sex and Our Muslim Youth (For Parents) over at IslamOnline.net.