Why does Islam impose such harsh punishments for sex outside marriage?

Punishment in Islam has a social purpose, which is to dissuade others from committing the same crime. The nature of the punishment depends on the seriousness of the crime in question. Nowadays, some are opposed to the Islamic punishment for fornication and adultery because they see it as unbalanced or too harsh. The basic problem here is the different standards by which the severity of the crime is measured.

Islam views adultery as a very serious crime, because it undermines the very foundation of the family system upon which the whole superstructure of the society is built. Illegitimate relationships destabilize the family and bring about the breakdown of the system. Family breakdown endangers the physical and mental health of future generations, which in turn leads to a vicious circle of corruption, indulgence, and dissolution. Therefore, it is imperative that all measures must be taken to protect the family unit. That is why Islam emphasizes protection of the family by imposing severe punishment for activities that threaten the family foundation. These punishments are the same for men and women alike.. Read More
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