Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle
Question: Should I seek a divorce if my husband has been cheating on me?
Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
Dear questioner, may Allah relieve you of your emotional pain, and reward for the disloyalty that has been shown to you.
If he is clearly trying to change, and your can emotionally bear living with him, you should try your best to stay married to him for the sake of you both, and for the sake of the children.
When to forgive and forget
The default modus operandi for a Muslim is to forgive and forget, even when cheated on by one’s spouse. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Whosoever covers up the faults of others, Allah will cover up his faults on the Day of Rising.’ [Bukhari and Muslim] This even applies to a spouse being unfaithful, because it does not involve anyone else’s rights.
That said, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said, ‘The believer is not stung from the same hole twice.’ [Bukhari and Muslim] Therefore, if your husband is not showing any real signs of change and you suspect he is continuing in his bad ways, you should seek a divorce.
This would also obtain if you just feel that you can’t live with him anymore given the gross level of his betrayal.
The right to divorce
According to many scholars, a woman has the right to ask for a divorce if she is being emotionally abused by her husband. They distinguish between a one-off major form of abuse and a one-off lesser form of abuse. [al Sharh al Kabir, Dardir and others]
In order to unilaterally enact a divorce, you would have to agree with your husband to go to a Muslim arbitrator. The arbitrator–ideally a mufti–would decide whether or not there are grounds to enact a divorce without your husband’s concept on the mere basis of what he has done.
Otherwise, you could just simply convince him to divorce you by telling him that you cannot live with him anymore.
Allah created us only knowing Him. Then we entered this world and turned our hopes and attention to other than Him. If He loves a slave of His, He turns him back to Him by sending him blessings or by calamities, or by sending both. What you are going through right now is that very thing: Allah is turning you to Him through a very difficult trial.
The only way to pass the trial and escape the pain of what others do to one is to turn completely to Allah and make Him your one goal. This isn’t easy, but it will change your life forever. Allah Most High says:
So flee to Allah. Indeed, I am to you from Him a clear warner. [51:50]
Please also read: Prayer For Mental Well-Being
Ask yourself if you have the strength and willingness to live the rest of your life with him, and try to see if he has genuinely changed and has turned his back on his bad past. If it is just impossible, then just seek a divorce.
Allah Most High says:
And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of a settlement between them. And settlement is best. And present in [human] souls is stinginess. But if you do good and fear Allah, then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted. [4: 128]
But if they separate, Allah will enrich each [of them] from His abundance. And ever is Allah Encompassing and Wise. [4: 130]
Please also have a read of this: Unfaithful Husband Working Overseas
[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.