Do I Need to Tell My Future Prospects about My Secret Marriage?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

My brother is very pious and from a good family. Two years ago, he fell in love with a girl. He kept it halal, and both families were optimistic about it. So they decided to get married in court without informing their families. Later on, he learned that the marriage was invalid. They had already consummated. He felt so ashamed. He tried to settle the wedding by taking consent from both families as soon as possible. Suddenly, the girl’s family changed their mind and said no.

The girl decided not to tell her parents the truth and asked my brother to leave her without informing anyone. She said she would commit suicide if he tried to convince her family. He felt so guilty; he told his family everything. Still, my brother believed that this was Allah’s decision, and he divorced her without informing her family.

Now he is getting marriage proposals. He fears Allah may punish him if he marries someone without informing him about his past. As far as I know, my brother committed zina by doing a court marriage. Zina is a major sin, but Allah can forgive it. Our beloved Prophet also said that if one commits zina, he should not publicize it but make tawba. Can he marry a chaste woman without disclosing his previous mistakes?

Answer

This is a very heartbreaking story indeed. Your pious and well-intentioned brother fell for the most common trick of the Shaytan’s: lust. May Allah help him move past this. Your brother’s guilt and shame are well placed. Rushing into this marriage to relieve sexual urges without full consent and engagement to the girl was wrong and immature. She and her family deserve more respect, which backfired on them both.

The status of court marriage is questionable. (See details in the link below) It is best to consult a reliable local scholar about its validity. If it counts as fornication (zina), it is not permissible to disclose one’s past sin to a future prospective bride, nor may she inquire about it.

Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “All the sins of my followers will be forgiven except those of the Mujahireen (those who commit a sin openly or disclose their sins to the people). An example of such disclosure is that a person sins at night and though Allah screens it from the public, then he comes in the morning and says, ‘O so-and-so, I did such-and-such (evil) deed yesterday,’ though he spent his night screened by his Lord and in the morning he removes Allah’s screen from himself.” [Bukhari]

I pray he can find a suitable spouse and have a happy and loving marriage with her, leaving all this behind him. It is perfectly fine for him to marry a chaste woman. And I believe this experience indeed made him more substantial and more mature. May Allah guide him to the best.

Allah, Most High, says, “Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Certainly, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Quran, 39:53]

Check these links as well:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani adds, “We strongly discourage all forms of secret marriages and consider them impermissible given their wide harms. It is from clear Prophetic encouragement and teachings to make the marriage public and involve the families.”

[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.