Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja
Question: A family member of mine recently married a women of good character; unfortunately, I feel his character makes him an unsuitable spouse (even though he is a practicing Muslim in an outward sense). Although it’s after the fact, I still wonder if I should have spoken up instead of turning a blind eye like others in my family. If your advice is that one should in fact reveal these types of concerns when it comes to marriage, how do we juxtapose this with the idea of keeping a person’s past or their weaknesses a secret.
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I hope you are doing well inshaAllah. Thank you for your important question.
When one’s advice is sought about the character or religiosity of a prospective spouse, one should be honest. If one is acting as a go-between or messenger in a prospective match, they should inform the inquiring party about the person’s religious concern, character, personality, manners, taqwa, and company. One should know how diligent the person is in their prayers and whether they have any addictions, such as improper internet usage.
These things are necessary to reveal because they are current or ongoing considerations that one must know about in order to make the correct decision in marriage. This differs from past sins or past bad habits, which are necessary to hide. For more on this, see: Pursuing Marriage With Someone Whose Family is Against it Due to an Illicit Relationship In My Past
Sheikh Nuh Keller writes in regards to inquiring about a prospective spouse that, “In Islam, to mention a sin is itself a sin… [This] refers to sins now finished, as opposed to ongoing habitual problems or addictions, which the person asked about must truthfully disclose to a prospective marriage partner, since, like defects in a spouse that permit annulment of marriage, addictions ruin marriages, and partners must know about them in advance to reach an informed decision.” [Sea Without Shore]