Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I am married to a man who seeks the akhirah and prays five times a day. But I have cheated on him continuously, not knowing it was Zina. I even became very serious about another man once. My husband found out and supported me in stopping this and showed me how to ask for forgiveness. He doesn’t know that I committed Zina, though.
Now I have stopped seeing the other man, and I ask forgiveness from Allah. Will I be forgiven if I repent and never do it again? How should I ask for forgiveness? I want to be good to my loyal husband and children. I feel guilty and lost from Islam.
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for being strong, admitting to your mistakes, and renewing your intention in your marriage.
Allah is the Best to forgive those who want to be forgiven, and He is the Best to accept repentance for those who want to repent.
Anas bin Malik narrated that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah, Blessed is He and Most High, said, ‘O son of Adam! Verily as long as you called upon Me and hoped in Me, I forgave you, despite whatever may have occurred from you, and I did not mind. O son of Adam! Were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky, then you sought forgiveness from Me, I would forgive you, and I would not mind. O son of Adam! If you came to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you met Me not associating anything with Me, I would come to you with forgiveness nearly as great as it.’” [Tirmidhi]
Alhamdulillah, you have seen the harms of being a habitual cheater and the shame that this brings to yourself and your family. Choosing to sleep with another man is like going out of your home to eat unslaughtered meat while you have halal meat to eat right in your own house. It makes no sense and only harms. Be grateful for your loyal husband because he sounds like one in a million.
Plan to see a marriage counselor to find the root cause of your behavior. If you are frustrated with your husband, sexually, financially or emotionally, you must discuss it with him and find some solutions. Fear Allah as much as you can and pray that He keeps you strong enough to be chaste.
In order to strengthen your faith and deen, I recommend that you pray five times a day without fail, start learning Arabic, take a class on SeekersGuidance: Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriage, and pray the Prayer of Need, asking Allah to guide you.
Asking forgiveness and making tawba is very easy. You just have to utter some form of Istighfar (Astaghfirullah) and mean it. It is even better if you can pray two rakats of Salat al-tawba. You must also regret the zina and intend to never repeat it.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, 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.