Committing Adultery in an Unhappy Marriage
Answered by Dr. Bano Murtuja
Question: I am all depressed and confused, I have been in an arranged marriage for many years now and I have a 7 year old child. For past few years I have been involved and in love with another man. I don’t have the courage to break from either of the relationships. I’ve miserable and confused. Please advise me.
Answer: As salam alykum,
I pray this funds you in the best of health and states.
It is often difficult to find the courage to do what one needs to in such situations. The courage to do what is right comes from knowing Allah (Exalted be He).
Scholars tell us there is a balance between fear and hope. Our fear of Allah and His punishment is what motivates us to do good deeds and take advantage of our time. But it should be balanced with the hope that we hold granted our knowledge of His endless mercy and forgiveness.
The more knowledge you have of Allah (Exalted be He), the easier it will become to do what is right. In your particular situation, it is important you end the adulterous relationship immediately, and make sincere repentance to Allah (Exalted be He).
Allah (Exalted be He) says “And do not even go close to Zina! Truly, it is a gross obscenity and an evil path (to go down).” [al-Quran, 17:32]
This verse is not just about prohibiting the act of zina (whether fornication for those unmarried or adultery for those who have been married), rather, we are told not even to go near it through anything that may lead or invite to it. However, if anyone has fallen into committing this act (and may Allah save us), know that Allah is All Merciful and He accepts the repentance of those who are truly remorseful and commit themselves not to repeat the act again. He, Most High, says:
And those who, after they had committed a gross obscenity [ie. zina], or wronged themselves [by what approaches it, such as kissing], remembered Allah, and then sought forgiveness for their sins – and who forgives sins except Allah? – and they did not continue in committing it, knowing fully-well [it was a sin]:
For those people, their recompense is a great forgiveness from their Lord! And gardens underneath which rivers flow! They will be in there forever! What a wonderful reward for those who act for Allah!
[al-Quran, 3:135-136, interpretation from Jalalayn and Tabari]]
The act of adultery impacts everybody within the family unit. In this case not just your self and your husband, but also your child. Although in the short term stepping away from the relationship may be difficult it is a necessary step to rectifying your relationship with Allah (Exalted be He).
Once you end this relationship, it is important that you both place a distance between yourself, especially considering that self-control becomes difficult the more emotional involvement there is.
There are 4 conditions of repentance, and one of these is to stay away from the act one is repenting from. Shyakh Faraz Rabbani has provided a detailed response on what is repentance here: What is Sincere Repentance?
One’s spiritual development is significantly impacted by continuously, knowingly and willfully committing acts one knows are reprehensible to Allah (Exalted be He). With this in mind, the first step for both yourself and the sister is to step away from your relationship and make genuine repentance.
 Marriage and being ‘in love’
Having taken the means to rectifying your actions, you should rely on Allah (Exalted be He). The prayer of istikara and the salat ul-hajat can be of great assistance in guiding you to the correct course of action and granting ease and facilitation in your affairs.
Your question does not provide any details of your marriage itself. However, if you feel there are aspects lacking in your marriage then it is important you take the necessary steps with your husband to rectify these or take the steps to end the marriage if you do not want to remain within it.
The belief that one is ‘in love’ can often result in crossing the bounds of acceptable behaviour as determined by God. If you and the brother you are in a relationship with are meant to be together than breaking of the relationship until you are both in a position to marry is simply temporary.
Purity of intention is demonstrated through the actions that follow. If you truly intend to marry one another then the requisite period of separation is simply short term.
May you be granted ease and facilitation, and may we all be guided to the actions most pleasing to Allah (Exalted be He).