Repentance from Fornication

Answered by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan

Question: (1) Are kissing, hand holding, and touching major sins?

(2) If this happens between a married man and an unmarried virgin woman, what should the unmarried woman do to make up for it? I understand that three things need to be done: 1. stop doing the act, 2. feel remorse, 3. never to go back to it again.

Sometimes there is a fourth condition in repentance which is 4. to fulfill the rights of those transgressed

However, is the unmarried woman accountable to the married woman? Is the unmarried woman responsible for adultery? Should see seek the married woman’s forgiveness (it seems this would make the situation worse)?

However, it is better to fulfill the rights of people in this life? Is the married man responsible for seeking his wife’s forgiveness?


Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and states.

(1) Yes, kissing and touching are major sins and would require sincere repentance. Allah Most High states, “And do not even approach fornication: indeed, it is shameful indecency and a wretched way” (17:32).

(2) Both persons who engaged in the sin must make sincere repentance (tawba), which as you mention entails the following three requisites:

(a) Immediately ceasing the act,
(b) Feeling sincere remorse and regret,
(c) Making the firm resolution to never repeat the act. [Nawawi, Riyad al-Salihin]

The fourth condition — fulfilling the rights of the one who was wronged — would not apply here. Neither the husband nor the unmarried woman should inform the married woman, as that would most likely make the situation worse and cause more harm than benefit.

They could perhaps donate charity to express remorse, and make sincere dua for the married woman.

Salat al-Tawba is also from the prophetic teaching; it entails performing wudu, praying 2-rakats of nafl with the intention of repentance, and then beseeching Allah from one’s heart to forgive and overlook the sin. [Musnad Ahmed]

Make much istighfar, and be committed to never return to such a shameful act. If you rectify yourself and prove sincere, then have hope in Allah that the sin was forgiven.

And Allah knows best.

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

A Reader on Repentance