Am I Obliged to Marry My Girlfriend?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick


I had a girlfriend, and we loved each other and wanted to marry. However, later, I discovered that she was already married to another man through nikah. Upon learning this, I decided to break up with her, but she refused to end the relationship because she was unhappy with her husband and desired to leave him to marry me. Initially, I agreed, and she requested a divorce from her husband, which he granted. I have changed my mind about marrying her because my parents disapprove of the union.

I want to ask if I am sinful for my actions. If so, should I marry her as a form of kaffara, or can I marry another girl as my parents suggest?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate. May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him. Amin.

All romantic relationships outside of Islamic Nikah (marriage) are unlawful, and you should both urgently repent to our Merciful Lord. Unlawful relationships carry no legal obligations, and neither of you is obliged to take any actions except to repent to Allah and cease the unlawful relationship either by marrying or severing ties thoroughly, and Allah knows best.

Extra-Marital Romantic Relationships

Allah explicitly forbids zina (fornication or adultery): “And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” [Quran, 17:32]

This verse underscores the prohibition of the act itself and any actions or relationships that may lead to it.

Allah says: “And ˹permissible for you in marriage˺ are chaste believing women as well as chaste women of those given the Scripture before you—as long as you pay them their dowries in wedlock, neither fornicating nor taking them as mistresses.” [Quran, 5:5]

Repentance and Moving On

If individuals find themselves in a situation where they have engaged in an unlawful relationship, the path to repentance is open. Allah is Oft-Forgiving and Merciful:

“And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and [who] do not persist in their actions while they know.” [Quran, 3:135]

Both individuals should sincerely repent, seek forgiveness from Allah, and commit to avoid such situations in the future.

No Obligations

Given that there is no legal or religious obligation binding the individuals in this scenario, both should repent and move on with their lives. Islam encourages righteous and lawful unions, and individuals must seek spouses through proper channels, such as marriage.

I pray this is of benefit and that Allah guides us all.


How Can I End an Extra-Marital Affair?

May Allah bless and guide us all.

[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.