It is worth noting that the said person has not been accused by anyone of doing anything illegal, rather, at worst, of exercising poor judgement, and I am actually not going to address that at all, as I find that such would be useless and unproductive. Rather, I would like to go to an even bigger issue, one which, I must confess, I have struggled for a very long time to be able to contemplate, let alone put into words.
This bigger issue is not restricted to famous personalities and political figures. This issue is also an issue with anyone- well known or anonyomous- who has sincere belief in a certain cause and sacrifices for that cause, be it religious, social, national, global, etc.
People of dedication to meaningful causes or to living according to a serious code tend to have a number of struggles, in that they are attempting to do right and live right, according to their sincere understanding of that code, even going against their own impulses to those things which seems to bring them happiness, security, comfort and peace.Such folks, it seems, even unconsciously sabotage whatever efforts they do make at attaining that which can bring forth happiness, because of these struggles.
This is not restricted to issues of intimate relationships. This can also refer to living comfortably, nice homes, clothing and finances, or a combination of all the above. There are a great deal of complexities involved in thinking and speaking about subjects of this nature, as well as differences vis a vis public figures and regular citizens, as such, we will divide our thoughts broadly between the two categories of people, even though it is true that much overlapping can (and does) take place.
The Sincere have every right to happiness and comfort in this life
"Say: Who has eternally forbidden (Harrama) God's pleasant (things) [ft.1] which He has produced for his servants, as well as that which is wholesome from His (own) provsion? Say: They are for those who believe, in this life, as well as [being manifested ] specially on the Day of Resurrection. Thus, We (Allah) explain signs to a people of knowledge." ( Q 7:32)
This verse alone should be sufficient as an evidence that having a pleasant existence in this world does not negate any righteous cause, nor does it destroy one's chances with God in the next life. I think the idea that believers or people dedicated to certain goodly causes are to have mariginal existence here in this life stems from Christian rhetoric. After all, the Bible and Christian tradition depicts Jesus ( believed to be God incarnate as well as God's son) as unmarried, totally against material or financial comforts of any sort. That thinking has filtered down to the culture, creating attitudes such as swearing off the opposite sex as well as children and material comforts, even among Non Christians!
Two famous supplications from the Qur'an below illustrate that the Islamic religion teaches a balanced approach to all these sorts of issues.
Our Lord! Give on us that which is pleasant in this life, as well as that which is pleasant in the after-life, and protect us from the punishment of the fire[ft.2] ( Q 2:201)
Our Lord! Bestow on us from our spouses and offspring that which will be a source of comfort for our eyes, and make us leading for those who are holding God in awe." ( Q 25:74)
There are many ahadeeth or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace and blessings, which can be cited. Often his sayings discuss the issues of marriage because, as the reports are presented, there was a desire among many to swear off dealing with the opposite sex, even wanting to be castrated. Perhaps this was done out of the convert's zeal, wanting to totally abandon the distractions present in the days of ignorance that preceded the Prophetic preaching in Arabia. Yet, The Prophet says "I fast and I break my fast, and I marry women." He says, further, "Marriage is my Sunnah, and whosever abandons My Sunnah, is not of me." [Sunan Ibn Maajah, Kitaab an Nikaah, narrated by 'A'ishaa].
There are many other verses of the Qur'an that speak to the privacy of the Prophet Muhammad needing to be respected. People were repeatedly told not to monopolize his time, to have respect for his household, even to pay something in the public charitable fund before making private appointments with him ( 33: 53-53, 58:13, among other verses). His time is valuable, and should not be abused.
These are principles which can be applied to any public figure. Imams and teachers should be paid for their services, especially those in which more work and mental energies would be needed in order to address said situation. It is not that the teacher or the worker is greedy, but it does show respect as well as appreciation. The worker is human, has his own bills and needs for happiness just like anyone else.
It is an odd situation in today's world in which people pay a therapist, psychcologist or counselor for one hour sessions gladly, burdening that person with all of their problems with the hopes that the person will be able provide some solutions, yet will not consider the same situation for their religious consultant. This does not only happen with Imams in the Muslim community, it happens with many of my clergy friends from across the religious aisle! Calling them at all hours of the night, text messages and social media messages asking all sorts of queries, seeking resolutions.
That consultant does not only deserve a honorable financial compensation. He or she also deserves that they be allowed a private life, a life that has happiness therein. To demand that such persons live as hermits,overworked and underappreciated, while their flock is busy in pursuit of dunya, is unreasonable and unrealistic.
Respecting the privacy of others
The Qur'an instructs that a home cannot be entered if permission has not been obtained from its resident ( 24:27-28). While this may seem to be common sense, a figurative way of looking at this command shows us that it can also mean that we should stay out of people's inner lives. Indeed, the only authentic reason where this may not be a workable situation is if there is a risk of public damage or health!
In private, people can pursue Halaal as well as Haraam, but when others enter into private affairs, those distinctions get blurred, depending upon the prejudices and thinking pattern of those doing the meddling.
A very interesting Quranic text reads "O Believers! Avoid much conjecture, because sometimes conjecture is sinful, spy not on one another, and do not backbite one another..." [Q 49:12]
This verse has in it the concept of Husnudh dhann, which basically means to assume the best before assuming the worst. An example is this real scenario. A person sees a Muslim, dressed in Muslim attire, entering a bar. To someone looking on, the Muslim is doing a Haraam act, about to consume alcohol. However, as it turns out, that Muslim is a salesman, selling colones and perfumes, which is perfectly Halaal. The same person could be delivering food!
The verse says not to engage in bad assumptions in opening observations, but it also prohibits spying on one another. There maybe skeletons in your brother's closet, or, at mimimum, private issues he would rather stay private. It is not an issue of what is Halaal or what is Haraam. It could be that the thing in question's Islamic status is unclear, or it could simply be no one else's business.
This, I would say, is for public figures and regular citizens alike. We live in a sensationalized, staged world, with Television programs such as Jerry Springer and The Maury Povich show show viewers the most intimate and embarrasing details of families unknown to us. We have become accustomed to knowing and gossiping about private affairs, issues which may not even be crimes or religiously unlawful, that we forget the Islamic guidelines!
Jealousy of another's successess is a spiritual disease and can cause damage to the object of envy
Much of the Quranic treatment of scandals and social niceties also has therein mention of "hypocrites" or "those with diseased hearts". Indeed, Muslim women in general [Q 24:31] as well as the Prophet's own wives [Q 33:59-60 among other places] are told to behave in such a way as to minimize gossip from detractors and those with incorrect thoughts on matters. This writer recalls that Michelle Obama, wife of then US president Barack Obama, causing controversy by wearing a sleveless dress. The critics themselves supported personalities who dress in much more revealing ways, however their attacks were not motivated by genuine concern on the morals of the inhabitants of The White House, rather, it was motivated by jealousy!
The Prophet Muhammad Sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said the following words:
"Do not be jealous of each other, do not inflate prices on each others, do not have hatred of each other, do not turn away from each other, do not undercut each other, and be, O servants of Allah, brothers.." [Saheeh Muslim]
I find it interesting that the hadeeth here connects these issues, viz jealousy, price fixing etc..
Those with diseased hearts are people who have so much envy buried within that they seek to actually destroy the object of their envy!
The ideal condition is that people should be happy at the success of others, especially if that success was earned lawfully and correctly, and that success is translating into good results, felt by many. However, not all people are thinking correctly.
In these regards, it is best to avoid, as much as within one's ability, showing off, especially if you become aware of jealousy surrounding you. The rich person should not brag about his riches or the food he wasted in front of a hungry, poor person. One's clothes should be modest, not just in regards to decency, but in displays that could possibly cause resentment. The Prophet's commands for men to not wear gold and silver are good places to start. In addition, one should treat all, rich and poor alike, equally and with justice.
If you find that there are those around you who have resentment towards due to your perceived success, and that your efforts to dissuade them of their fears have come to naught, it maybe time to limit contact, if not break ties all together. One must look for one's own health, especially one's spiritual health, with great care.
It can happen, and seems to have happened in this public fiasco, that jealosy of a person's success can cause the "family" or "friends" around them to seek to knock them down, "put them in their place"- as the saying goes.
This is why it is important, vital, to have the company of believers, of sincere and God-fearing folks, particularly in intimate situations.
I read a quotation in a book on marriage which has really been profound. In it, it says that a wise man once divorced his wife, who then remarried. Upon being asked why he divorced his wife, the wise man said "how can you ask me about another man's wife?"
In other words, despite whatever situation that emerged in his life, he had enough sense to simply keep that situation private.
Regarding the scandal which has taken Muslims by storm on social media outlets, whatever happened does not seem to warrant the attention it has received. A mixture of motivations for many parties is the real reason this has been blown out of purportion, but it did inspire me to think about the overall bigger questions about activists and ordinary folks alike attempting to navigate between their feelings and what they believe to be religious commands/truths.
Everyone has a right to privacy. That is recognized not only in Islamic teachings, but under US law. We should be careful and we should always seek to obey the commandments of our faith, we should exercise good judgement and discretion, to avoid the appearance of doing something wrong, however that does not negate the fact that everyone has a life that has private aspects, that such things should be respected. It's perfectly fine in Islam for a man to pursue a woman ( or a woman to pursue a man for that matter, as we know that Prophet Muhammad was the one proposed to by Khadijah), and unless some serious crime has occured, such as rape, incest, sexual harrasment, pedophilia or something along those, personal business should be left personal.
The Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is reported to have said "Among the pleasant [aspects of] Islam [is] to leave alone that which does not have meaning for you."
That hadeeth, and ahadeeth like it, are more relevant now than at the time those words were originally uttered.
I would like to conclude this post with another important verse from the Qur'an, regarding prohibitions
Say: The only items eternally forbidden by My Lord are shameful acts, public and private, sins, transgressing unjustly, associating to God which you have no authority, and speaking about God what you do not know." [Q 7:34]
 The phrase Zeenah [not to be confused with Zinaa, which means adultery] is used here. It has shades of meaning that all have to do with pretty or pleasantries, sometimes "glitter". Here, we have rendered it as "pleasant (things)".
 Imam W. Deen Mohammed (1933-2008) renders wa qina 'adhaaban Naar as "protect us from the fires of sin".