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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Zina / Adultery

Salaam alaikum,

If we pay close attention to the context of 24/2(the verse ordaining punishment for the az-zina), we realize that for az-zina to occur, az-zaani can be any man, "married" or not, but az-zaaniya must be a "married" woman:

Verse 24/4 talks about those who accuse al-muhsanaat of committing az-zina:

24/4: And those who accuse al-muhsanaat, then do not bring four witnesses, therefore you shall lash them eighty lashes,....
Al-muhsanaat is a category of women, coming from the root Ha-Saad-Nun, meaning secured, reserved, immune, fortified/impenetrable, inaccessible etc. According to verse 4/25, a woman is made muhsana through nikah/"marriage". That is, a Muhsana is a "married" woman.

Then again, in 24/6 it talks about husbands accusing their wives(i.e. women "married" to them):
24/6: And those who accuse their azwaaj, and have no witnesses for them except themselves,....
Both verses are about the accusation of women, and more importantly married women, and not about men. Why not about men? Because the man's role was secondary; the act could not have been az-zina, had the woman not been "married". Az-zina, therefore, is a polyandrous act.

I think this is why verse 24/2 mentions the zaainya first and the zaani second, as it could not have been az-zina without the polyandrous woman. Everywhere else that I can remember, the man is always mentioned first, and the woman second.(Except in the case of al-fahisha in 4/15-16 where the women are also mentioned first)

Even in the story of Yusuf, the woman who tried to force herself on him was married. Zina therefore, being a polyandrous act, betrays the trust of the husband, (which of course she was unsuccessful at):
12/52, "...I have not akhnu-hu/betrayed him in the absence",
(...she said referring to her husband.)

Therefore the punishment of az-zina is for the act of committing and assisting polyandry, i.e. for the woman betraying her husband, and for the man "accessing" the woman reserved for her husband.

Fahad Ali Khan