I am a happily married woman. I practice Islam. A couple of years while being married I came close to an unrelated friend at work. We did not have sex but our sexual parts somehow touched. I was alarmed and hurried to save my chastity. I have ever since been repentant. What I want to know is whether that act is zina? I repent everyday and I feel nasty and horrible for what I did. I can barely look at my lovely husband without feeling horrible. O Allah forgive me! What can I do?
Thank you for writing to us. Legally and technically the acts you committed are not considered zina. However, as is obvious from the gravity of the act as you yourself can feel, it is almost equal to the crime. There are acts which show put us directly into the crime. Such acts too are forbidden as a preventive measure. This is in Muslim culture women do not mix freely with men. It is the mercy of God and His decision that He saved you from consummating what was the natural result of your advances.
The feelings of remorse and repentance that you have in your heart and mind are very encouraging. This shows you have the light of imaan (faith) burning in your self.
A strong resolve to give up the sin followed by a positive advancement towards good and virtue means that one has truly repented and true repentance washes away sins. God has promised forgiveness to those who sin driven by the desires of the self and then repent soon for they come to know the gravity of their sin. Such people are forgiven. However, those who persist in sin and keep waiting for the time they would not be able to enjoy the sinful act to repent are not forgiven.
I suggest you continue thank God on that you did not consummate the act and that He turned your heart to virtue and fear of God.