In his fifth point of the Tafsir of Surah Nur (24) verse 2, Al Qurtubi explicitly states that fornication in women is worse

الخامسة : قدمت الزانية في هذه الآية من حيث كان في ذلك الزمان زنا النساء فاش ، وكان لإماء العرب وبغايا الوقت رايات ، وكن مجاهرات بذلك . وقيل : لأن الزنا في النساء أعر وهو لأجل الحبل أضر . وقيل : لأن الشهوة في المرأة أكثر وعليها أغلب ، فصدرها تغليظا لتردع شهوتها ، وإن كان قد ركب فيها حياء لكنها إذا زنت ذهب الحياء كله . وأيضا فإن العار بالنساء ألحق إذ موضوعهن الحجب والصيانة ، فقدم ذكرهن تغليظا واهتماما

Is this a majority view of the 4 madhahib of Ahlus Sunnah ? Is it the majority view in the Shafi school? Or is this a minority view? I always believed that Zina was equally bad for both men and women.

  • Qurtubi doesn't explicitly state anywhere that Zina in women is worse. Additionally, I am not sure why you think this has anything to do with mazahib. Mazahib are about fiqh and Zina is treated the same in the law according to everyone. Both get the same punishment.
    – The Z
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 20:20
  • Al-Qurtubi here doesn't say any of what you claim, but lists different views and their explanation for the reason why Allah in the Qur'an quoted the woman commiting Zina first and the man second.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


In the quote you provided, first Qurtubi mentions his own opinion on why the female fornicator is mentioned ahead of the male in the verse:

Fifth point: The female fornicator is mentioned first in the verse because Zina was more rampant among women at the time and the Arab slave-women and prostitutes used to have signs and flags and were open about it.

Then, he quotes other opinions that exist:

And it was said: It is because Zina in women is more shameful (or involves more uncovering) and is more harmful due to pregnancy.

And it was said: It is because desire is more common and more powerful in women, so Allah mentioned them first to emphasize they should control their desires. Even though they are also made of modesty, if they commit Zina, all of that is gone.

He goes on to say:

Also, shamelessness by women is ahead (of men) because their place is being covered and protected. So, they are mentioned first to emphasize and indicate importance.

All of the points seem to make sense, and it is possible to say all of them are correct in their reasoning for why the females are mentioned first.

It makes sense to say that, since women are required to cover more, their committing Zina involves uncovering more than men. Similarly, since women are supposed to be more modest in their actions and stay inside the home, them going out to commit Zina involves more than men doing so.

However, this is just a discussion of why Allah would mention the female fornicators first in the verse about Zina's punishment. It has no legal consequence, so it makes no sense to ask what the mazahib feel on the subject.

And Allah knows best.

  • That was really helpful. Someone cited his Tafsir in order to affirm that Zina is worse in women. Barakallahu fik for your detailed answer. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 1:43

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