What is The Explanation of the Fornication of the Eyes, Ears, Hands, etc, as Mentioned in a Hadith?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


What is the interpretation and meaning of this hadith:

Abu Hurayra reported Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) as saying, “Allah fixed the very portion of adultery which a man will indulge in. There would be no escape from it. The adultery of the eyes is looking. The adultery of the ears is listening. The adultery of the tongue is speaking. The adultery of the hand is touching. The adultery of the feet is walking. The heart fantasizes and desires. The private part then affirms or rejects all this.”

I’m not sure what this hadith means. I understand that things can be lost in translation.

From this translation, it appears to mean that a person has a portion of adultery they will indulge in, and they do not have a choice.

As I know, adultery is a sin. We are humans, and we are made to sin. But not every person commits every type of sin.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for your question.

This hadith refers to and expresses the knowledge of Allah and what is written on the protected tablet. Allah has pre-eternal knowledge of those who will commit actual fornication (zina), in reality, or the means that can lead to it, which is expressed in the hadith metaphorically as fornication (zina).

Pre Eternal Knowledge of Allah

We believe that the knowledge of Allah is perfect, and everything will take place according to His perfect knowledge. However, that does not affect and impede an individual’s free choice and will. If anyone commits a sin, it will be attributed to his own choice and will.

The act of fornication is real and metaphorical, both sinful—the real, which is to engage in it by physically having intercourse, and more sinful. In comparison, the other forms are all metaphorical examples, sinful too, but less so than the former. They are looking at or listening to forbidden content, touching, kissing, walking, or engaging in a lustful conversation with a stranger, as well as harboring lustful desires in one’s heart. However, one has to protect and work on preventing oneself from all, real or not, physical or not.


Allah in preeternity knew and, based on His knowledge, willed that some will commit fornication (zina) in reality, others will commit the means, and so on. Allah’s decree of human actions is per His pre-eternal knowledge of our actions. So some people, in their own lifetime, will choose and act this way, either committing fornication or the means that can lead to it.

The two realities are not mutually exclusive. We affirm human free will, and we also affirm divine knowledge, will, and power. Allah’s pre-eternal will coincides with His pre-eternal knowledge, and this by no means negates the free will of man and jinn.

[Ibn Adam al-Atyubi, Al-Bahr al-Muhit al-Thajjaj Fi Sharh Sahih al-Muslim]

Allah Most High protects us all from all forms of fornication and gives us success, ease, and guidance to do so, Amin.

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[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


وقال النوويّ : معنى الحديث: أن ابن آدم قُدِّر عليه نصيب من الزنى، فمنهم من يكون زناه حقيقيًّا بإدخال الفرج في الفرج الحرام، ومنهم من يكون زناه مجازًا بالنظر الحرام، أو الاستماع إلى الزنى، وما يتعلق بتحصيله،أو بالمس باليد، بأن يمس أجنبية بيده، أو يقبّلها، أو بالمشي بالرجل إلى الزنى، أو النظر، أو اللمس، أو الحديث الحرام مع أجنبية، ونحو ذلك، أو بالفكر بالقلب، فكل هذه أنواع من الزنى المجازيّ.
والفرج يصدّق ذلك كله، أو يكذّبه، معناه: أنه قد يحقق الزنى بالفرج، وقد لا يحققه، بأن لا يولج الفرج في الفرج، وإن قارب ذلك، والله أعلم.

(قَالَ: «إِنَّ اللهَ كَتَبَ)؛ أي: أثبت في اللوح المحفوظ، (عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ حَظَّهُ)؛ أي: نصيبه (مِنَ الزِّنَى) بالقصر على الأفصح، قال القاري: والمراد من الحظّ: مقدِّمات الزنى، من التمني، والتخطي، والتكلم لأجله، والنظر، واللمس، والتخلي، وقيل: أثبت فيه سببه، وهو الشهوة، والميل إلى النساء، وخَلَق فيه العينين، والقلب، والفَرْج، وهو الذي يجد لذة الزنى، أو المعنى: قَدَّر في الأزل أن يجري عليه الزنى في الجملة. انتهى

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.