In his tafseer of soorah 11, verse 114, the aayah of which reads:
“And perform the Salat at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night [i.e. the five compulsory prayers]. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e. small sins).”
Ibn Katheer mentions a very interesting story:
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn ‘Abbas said that a man came to ‘Umar and said that a woman came to do business with him.
During the course of their business, he took her into his place and did everything with her except the actual act of sexual intercourse.
‘Umar said, “Woe unto you! She probably was a woman whose husband is away (fighting) in the path of Allah.’‘
The man said, “Of course she was.“
‘Umar then said, “Go to Abu Bakr and ask him about this.“
The man went to Abu Bakr and asked him about the matter. Abu Bakr said, “She probably was a woman whose husband is away (fighting) in the path of Allah,” just as ‘Umar had said.
Then he went to the Prophet and told him the same story. The Prophet said;
“She probably was a woman whose husband is away (fighting) in the path of Allah.“
Then a verse of Qur’an was revealed,
“And perform the Salah, at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds.” [11:114]
The man then said, “O Messenger of Allah! Is this verse only for me, or does it apply to all of the people in general?“
‘Umar then struck the man on his chest with his hand and said, “No, rather it is for all of the people in general.“
Then the Messenger of Allah said,
“‘Umar has spoken the truth.“
This incident is recorded in Tafseer Ibn Katheer, under the explanation of the verse 11:114 and is found in Ahmad, and another similar version in Bukhaaree.
An interesting point to be noted is that the man and woman who done everything together “except the actual act of sexual intercourse”, were both Companions of the Prophet (saw)!
If such was the case for the most noble and fearful of all generations, what about those possessing less taqwa’? It is sad to say that women are increasing and increasing in the field of business, looking outside of the house, ignoring the dangers, and ignoring the fitna awaiting.
True was the one (i.e, the Prophet (saw)) who said:
“The women is object of concealment, when she leaves the house, Shaytaan (the Devil) beautifies her.” [Tirmidhi, and it is Saheeh]