What is the meaning of prohibition of marriage with someone who committed fornication?

I am so confused on the subject of marriage for those who have committed fornication but sincerely repented to Allah. I know many good verses but they seem to conflict in this situation as I do not have the knowledge or wisdom to understand. How may we understand this prohibition and how can we put it into practice in our lives?

Allah the Almighty commands:

“A man guilty of fornication shall not marry any but a woman guilty of the same or a mushrik woman, and none shall marry a woman guilty of fornication other than a man guilty of the same or a mushrik man. Such marriages are forbidden to believers.” (An-Noor / The Light 24:3)

As it can be seen from the verse above, a Muslim cannot marry someone that he/she knows as a person who committed fornication and did not repent. If we are to clarify the meaning of “repentance”, one should know that his/her friend had been regretful for this sin and had reformed himself/herself after that. If he/she doesn’t give the impression so, one should never think of a marriage with that person. Otherwise this command would be meaningless.

One can never ask the other about past sins even after a marriage. Because no one can be sure about what really happened in the past and bad suspicion is something dangerous for a believer.

Allah the Almighty commands:

“Believers, avoid being excessively suspicious, for some suspicion is a sin. Do not spy, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would surely detest it. Have fear of Allah! Surely Allah accepts all repentance, and is Merciful.” (Al-Hujurat / The Chambers 49:12)

If someone has really been regretful and reformed himself/herself after this sin, he/she can look for a virgin spouse after that. Because he/she is considered pure after this kind of repentance. Sins do not follow an individual till death like in some modern law systems. A true repentance erases everything.

Allah the Almighty commands:

“Except for those who repent, trust (in Allah) and do righteous work. Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. Because Allah always forgives, and grants.” (Al-Furqan / The Criterion 25:70)

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Date: Feb 17, 2013