I wish to be married to a person who has fornicated (not committed adultery) However, I am chaste. I do not live in an Islamic state where a fornicator would be punished/flogged. In a previous response on this site, it was ascertained that the STATE only should be responsible for ensuring that a fornicator married only another fornicator.
What would be my penalty for marrying such a person?
It is true that the prohibition of marriage with a fornicator is a part of the prescribed punishment under the Islamic law and, therefore, it can only be enforced by the Muslim state. However, this prescribed prohibition should also serve as a clear indication of the fact that when a person is known to have been guilty of fornication, even though he has not yet been apprehended or punished by the law, chaste men and/or women should not marry him/her. The only exception to this rule is where such a person is known to be repentant for his/her past sins and has made a firm commitment to live a chaste life in future.
The Qur’an has clearly mentioned that all the crimes including fornication and adultery can be forgiven if the offender truly repents and makes a firm commitment for correction. True repentance, it should be noted, cleanses a person of all kind of sins. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in entering the folds of marriage with such a person.
If a person is known to have not only been guilty of fornication but also to be continually involved in the sin without any shame and repentance, then a Muslim should refrain from marriage with such a person. Avoidance to do so may render a person sinful for ignoring a clear indication of restraint entailed in the related directive of the Qur’an.
I hope this helps.
March 5, 2003