What Is the Ruling on Child Sexual Abuse in Islam?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


What is the ruling on child sexual abuse in Islam?


In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate

I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.

It would be of the gravest of major sins, as it combines the major sins of:

(a) zina

(b) harming a child; and

(c) breaking the trust any adult has to take care of children and be merciful to them.

Allah Most High tells us, “Nor draw even near fornication: Verily it was ever a shameful outrage; And appalling as a way.” [Quran, 17.32; Keller, Quran Beheld]

The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever isn’t merciful to our young, respect our elders, command the good, and forbid the wrong isn’t of us.” [Tirmidhi]

If someone fell into a matter such as this, they must both:

(1) Hasten to sincerely repent, and

(2) Seek qualified counselling.

Allah Most High warns and encourages:

  1. And We shall certainly let them taste of the lesser chastisement now before the supreme chastisement, that haply they may desist.
  2. And who is greater in wrongdoing than he who is reminded of the verses of his Lord, yet turns away from them? Verily on committers of crimes shall We be avenged. [Quran, 32.21-22; Keller, Quran Beheld]

This “desisting” and “reminder” relates to repentance (tawba), and genuine rectification.

They must also carefully avoid all association with the wronged child.

If there are criminal implications, they must consult with scholars regarding culpability, as part of their expiation.  Given the considerations in such cases, please consult reliable local scholars about the specifics of the situation.  

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani 

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus and Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), and his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004.) Since 2011, Shaykh Faraz has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.