Are Acts Such As Kissing and Touching  Someone Considered Zina?

Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum. Are fondling, kissing on the lips, and other similar acts with a  non-mahram an act of zina which is lesser than penetrative sex? If so, what is the proof? 


Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatulllah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Yes, zina is of two types: literal and metaphorical. This is how Imam Nawawi explained it regarding the following hadith:

“The son of Adam has his share of zina decreed for him – it certainly reaches him. The zina of the eyes is looking; the zina of the ears is listening; the tongue’s zina is speech; the hand’s zina is touch; the foot’s zina is walking [towards where it will be done.] The heart loves and yearns. The privates make it happen or not. [Muslim] [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]

Penetrative sex is considered to be the literal zina, and it is an enormity (kabira). The other forms are not the same, but repeatedly committing them becomes an enormity.

We ask Allah to protect us from all forms of this sin which is harmful to individuals, families, and societies. One narration from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) states, “It is better for the head of the one you to be stabbed with an iron pin than for him to touch a lady who is not permissible for him.” (Tabarani, al-Mu’jam al-Kabir)

Imam Munawi commented on this saying, “This is just for a touch that happens without desire, so how about what is worse, such as kissing or lying with each other unclothed?” (Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir)

May Allah protect us from what displeases Him. Amin.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.