Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I am a married man with three children. I am 36 years old, and I have been married for eight years. Last year, I fell in love with a girl who is 25 years old and single. Initially, we knew each other as acquaintances, but slowly, we grew closer and developed feelings for each other. She likes me, and I like her, and now we want to get married to avoid engaging in forbidden activities.
I was ready for a nikah, but she felt it wasn’t the right time. She needed time to think. Now, she believes she can’t live without me.
I haven’t told my family the full story because I fear their resistance to another marriage. I sought guidance through Istikhara to determine if she was the right choice for me.
I am sorry that you have been emotionally unfaithful to your wife and I pray that you make the right decision regarding your children, future, and lifestyle.
Your very situation is the reason for the gender interaction rules in Islam. When one allows one’s heart to open to another and then pursues that feeling, whether in gaze, speech, or touch, one has truly defied one’s Lord, been unfaithful, and caused oneself and others undue pain and hardship. It is time to pick up your dignity and integrity and to be honest with yourself. When you first found yourself attracted to this girl, you should have adhered to the following advice of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace):
It was narrated that ‘Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to me: “Do not follow one glance with another; you may be allowed the first but not the second.’” [Ahmad]
There are two options for you. Marry her or walk away. You must cease and desist immediately from contacting this young woman and make a decision with a clear head. Do you envision a future with two wives for the rest of your life? How will you give your children their rights when you are not there half the time?
How will you deal with your wife’s devastation and its impact on everyone? Is it superior to leave this girl and let her enjoy marriage with a single man so she can have his full attention and care? Will it be hard to leave her?
Yes. Will you have a broken heart? Yes. Should you go through this pain in order to prevent a calamity in your life and first marriage? Probably. Having two wives can be a great temporary pleasure, but could the long-term results be disastrous? Your country permits polygamous marriages, so I ask you to pray istikhara for at least seven days on this matter. If it is negative, you must walk away and forget about her.
Fall in Love with Your Wife Again
I encourage you to reconnect with your wife and rekindle the fire in your marriage. Put all of your efforts into being kind to her, spending time with her, and doing new things with her. Open up to her in a way that you have not before. Look deep into yourself and ask yourself why you were looking for another love. Start your journey there.
Please use these resources to strengthen your current marriage:
Prayer of Need (Salat al-Haja)
I Fell in Love with a Married Man.
What If I Fall in Love with a Married Man and Sleep with Him as a Convert?
My Friend Is in Love With a Married Man. Is This Permissible?
A Married Man Wants to Marry Me. What Do I Do?
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
What Makes A Marriage Work – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
Given the considerations in such cases, please consult reliable local scholars about the specifics of the situation. Jazakum Allah khayr.
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.