Understanding Islam

Tuesday, Dec 01st

Last update03:39:08 PM GMT

You are here: Q & A Islamic Beliefs The Punishment of Shirk, Murder & Fornication - Al-Furqaan 25: 68 - 69

The Punishment of Shirk, Murder & Fornication - Al-Furqaan 25: 68 - 69


In one of your answers you write:

...murder, fornication and Shirk (associating partners with God), according to the Qur'an, are sins, which shall doom a person to everlasting hell.

According to my understanding, it is clear from the Qur'an that the sin of Shirk alone can doom a person to everlasting hell. And the Shirk is the only sin that will not be forgiven in Aakhirah.

It is also clear that the sin of Murder alone can doom a person to everlasting hell. For example as mentioned in 4: 93.

But, is there any clear evidence that the sin of Fornication alone can doom a person to everlasting hell?

In one of your answers you have translated Al-Furqaan 25: 68 - 69 as:

And [the Godly are] those who do not call upon any deity besides God and neither kill any soul that God has prohibited except for a just cause nor commit fornication. Whoever is guilty of this shall meet an evil [punishment]. On the Day of Judgment, his punishment shall keep on increasing and he shall abide in this [punishment] forever - disgraced.

According to my present understanding, it seems that the sentence "Whoever is guilty of this" [in Arabic: Wa Man Yaf'al Dhalika] refers to the three sins together. This means that the punishment mentioned in this verse is not for the one who is guilty of Fornication alone. It is for the one who combined all the three sins together. I mean can we deduce from these verses that Fornication alone will qualify a person for everlasting punishment?

Is there any other verses from which we can conclude that Fornication alone can qualify a person of eternal punishment?

Khalid Salem

Question from Qatar

There is no verse in the Qur'an, which has independently mentioned eternal punishment for fornication. The relevant verse, in this respect, is only Al-Furqaan 25: 68 - 69.

However, according to my understanding, the punishment mentioned in Al-Furqaan 25: 69 is that of all the three crimes taken independently. Some explanation follows:

When the Arabic word "دلك" (Dhalika) is used to point towards a set of things which have already been mentioned, it can be used to point towards the whole group of things taken in combination as well as to each one of these things taken separately. Consider Al-Israa 17: 35:

And give a complete measure, when you measure [for people] and weigh with a straight balance [when you weigh for them]. This is the right thing to do and shall be followed by the best results.

The word "دلك" is used in a similar meaning in Al-Nisaa 4: 29 - 30 as well. The Qur'an says:

Believers, do not devour each other's wealth unjustly, except that it be through [legal] trade [and business], which entails your mutual consent and do not kill your own people. Indeed God is extremely merciful with you. And whoever does this transgressing his limits and unjustly, We shall soon cast him in a [huge] fire...

Clearly, in the cited verses, 'this' is pointing towards each of the two stated situations/qualities taken separately and is not referring to the two stated situations/qualities collectively.

This should clarify that from a linguistic point of view, it would not be incorrect to interpret the word "دلك" (Dhalika) in Surah Al-Furqaan 25: 69 as pointing towards each of the three previously stated crimes separately, rather than collectively.

As for the reason of my preference to interpret the word "دلك" as pointing towards each of the three mentioned crimes separately, it is the same as you have yourself mentioned in your question. We know that the Qur'an has informed us separately that both Shirk (ascribing partners to God) as well as murder are such crimes, which can sentence a person to eternal damnation. Keeping this existing information of the Qur'an in perspective, one can easily say that the third crime mentioned in Al-Furqaan 25: 68 should also be taken to independently entail the potential of eternal damnation. To understand this point further, assume that the verse in Al-Furqaan 25: 68 had only referred to Shirk and murder. In this case, it would have been obvious that the punishment of eternal damnation mentioned in Al-Furqaan 25: 69 was for each of the two referred crimes taken independently and was not meant for the combination of the two crimes taken collectively.

Now, because of the same reason that the Qur'an has informed us elsewhere that each of the two crimes of Shirk and murder deserves eternal punishment, if a third, fourth or even a fifth crime was mentioned in verse 68, it seems more plausible that the eternal punishment mentioned in Al-Furqaan 25: 69 should be taken as one for each of the mentioned crimes taken independently, rather than collectively.

I hope this helps.


Moiz Amjad
July 22, 2002

Answer published by Moiz Amjad