Chastity, on the other hand is mandatory in Islam. It is also so in Christianity and Judaism. ..but it is regrettable to say that the word has almost been deleted from the code of personal behaviour in the great majority of western societies. Sex outside legitimacy is prohibited, for both men and women whether married or unmarried.

The most famous personal example of chastity in the Quran is Virgin Mary (Miriam) mother of Jesus:

"And remember her, who guarded her chastity, We breathed into her of Our spirit and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples." (21 :91)

"She screened herself away from them (her people) then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: I seek refuge from you to God, Most Gracious (come not near) if you do fear God. He said I am only a messenger from your Lord (to announce) to you the gift of a holy son-She said: How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me and I am not unchaste?" (19:17-20)

Extramarital sex is forbidden and the Quran says:

"Nor come near to adultery. ..for it is a shameful deed and an evil road (to other evils)." (17:32)

"Those who invoke not with God any other god, nor slay such life as God has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication: and any that does this (not only) meets punishment, but the penalty on the Day of Judgement will be doubled to.him, and he will dwell therein in ignominy. Unless he repents, believes and works righteous deeds, for God will change the evil of such persons into good, and God is Oft-Forgiving Most-Merciful." (25:68-70)

The injunctions and forbiddings in Islam apply equally to men and women. The legal punishment for adultery is equal for men and women.  Social hypocricy in many societies over history had lead to a double standard when considering sin committed by men versus sin committed by women. Society tended to be more lenient and permissive towards men forgiving men for sins not forgiveable when women do them. At the root of the contemporary wave of free sex for both sexes was appa-rently to establish equality and remove discrimination between man and woman. Instead of calling for equal cleanliness the call was for equal dirt. Not so in Islam. and in a list of commendable deeds the Quran says:

"For muslim men and women,
for believing men and women.
for men and women who are patient and constant.
for men and women who give in charity , for men and women who observe fasting,
and for men and women who engage much in God's praise.
for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward". (33:35)

Because the sex desire is usually attained before a man is financially capable of marriage, the love to God and mindfulness of Him should be sufficient motive for chastity:

"Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace." (24:33) The prophet's prescription to the youth was:

Those of you who own the means should marry for this should keep their eyes uncraving and their chastity secure. Those who don't, may practise fasting for it curbs desire. " (Ibn Massoud)

Chastity is an attitude and a way of life. In Islam it is both a personal and a social value. A muslim society should not condone relations entailing or conducive to sexual license. Social patterns and practices bent on flaring up the sexual desire are frowned upon by Islam be the means permissive ideologies, pruritic art or neglect of moral upbringing.  Personal freedoms should never be taught as the freedom to challenge God's injunctions or trespass over the limits He drew.


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