Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
My father has had a string of extra-marital affairs, and does not know that I know. What do I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
Dear sister, you are in a very difficult situation. It sounds like you are in a lot of pain. Please reach out to a culturally-sensitive counsellor, therapist or psychologist. You need a safe and confidential place to process your strong feelings.
Ask your counsellor what the best approach is with your family, who seem to know the truth about his affairs. If it is beneficial for all of you to speak frankly about it so you can heal together as a family, then consider doing that. If you feel that coming clean about your father’s sins is going to cause more harm, then please refrain. If you are unsure about what to do, then please perform the Prayer of Guidance and watch how events unfold.
I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, and beg Allah for relief. Commit to regular Qur’an recitation, connect yourself to authentic scholarship, give in regular charity, and have good company. Listen to podcasts like The Rawha, Why Islam Is True, This is Your Faith to inspire you.
When it’s time for you to get married, then I encourage you and your prospective husband to seek pre-marital counselling. Also, please enrol in and complete this course: Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.
“And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination.” [Qur’an, 35:18]
You are not responsible for fixing this situation. Your father is an adult, and he will be called to account by Allah for what he did.
Your responsibility is to uphold good character, continue to treat your father with respect, and to be kind to the rest of your family. As heartbreaking as this situation is, please don’t let your father’s sins drive you to despair. You cannot control what he does, but you can make better choices for your own life.
If you feel that it is beneficial, then consider speaking frankly to your father. Tell him that you know, and that you are deeply worried for him.
If you fear that speaking to him about this will cause more harm than benefit, then refrain. If you are unsure about what to do, then please perform the Prayer of Guidance and watch how events unfold.
I pray that Allah eases your family’s pain, guides your father, and places serenity in your heart.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.