Q. If a married man kisses or caresses another woman but does not engage in full sex, is that adultery? Also what halal options are available to one who’s wife no longer wants sex, and he can get it with another woman in the short term?
A. Kissing and caressing a woman other that the wife is totally haram in Islam, and is a major sin. Although it does not fall within the sin of adultery which brings about the punishment, it nevertheless, is a punishable offence that falls within ‘discretionary punishment’ which will normally be implemented by the Qazi in an Islamic state. In the context of the hadith, it falls within the sin of adultery since the Prophet (SAS) said, ‘the hands also commit adultery, and its adultery is the act of touching’. Your hands have certainly sinned and touched a woman who was not lawful to you, hence, the Prophet (SAS) has referred to this sin as adultery. So, this act is totally haram and as a Muslim, you must refrain from it.
With respect to what options there are for your situation, the shariah has given the allowance to marry another woman with whom you can fulfil your desires in a halal manner. There will be no sin upon you if you do this. This however, should not be only for the purpose of fulfilling your passions. Instead, you must be committed to her as a husband and she will enjoy the same rights, facilities and position as your first wife. You will therefore be required to treat her in a just and equal manner as you treat your first wife.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan