Marriage and Troubled Past

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: Assalamu alaykum I am from India, I got married just a week ago. The girl I married is educated, polite and has Islamic culture. Before marriage, I came to know that she had a relationship in her nearby village. I thought it could be forgiven so I decided to marry. Now she admitted that she had physical relationship with her boyfriend. Hearing this, I am very upset, I can’t imagine that this has happened to me. My wife told me that she repented to Allah for five years and wanted to start a new life with me, that’s why she kept it secret. Now I am very disappointed and upset. How could this have happened, when Allah says, a man who does zina marries a woman who does zina? But I have never done such a sin in my life…What can I do?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum brother, and thank you for your honest question. I know that it must be very difficult for you to absorb what your wife has told you.

Disclosing a past sin is impermissible

The truth is that it was sinful for her tell you this, even if she was well-intentioned. Allah has encouraged for past sins to be kept hidden, especially if the sinner has repented. Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “All my Community will be excused except those who are blatant. And it is from blatancy for one to perform an act at night and to wake up and tell something that they did such-and-such, while Allah had concealed it for them. They slept under the cover of Allah, and they rended Allah’s covering from themselves in the morning.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Allah’s forgiveness

However, now that the truth has been uncovered, I advise that you be patient, kind and understanding. Accept her repentance because it is good enough for Allah. Is it good enough for you? Anas, may Allah be well pleased with him, heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say, “Allah the Almighty said, ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.‘“ [Tirmidhi]

Look ahead

Don’t look to the past, but rather, focus on her good character, manners and Islam. Develop a strong bond in these early days and develop marital good habits. Pray with her, wake her for the night prayer (tahajjud) and the morning prayer (fajr). Fast together, read books together, take trips together, exercise together. Most importantly, take a course on personally obligatory knowledge in Islam together. By the grace of Allah, having children will also strengthen your bond with her and increase your confidence, trust and admiration in her.

Establish good marital habits

I recommend that you take the following courses with your wife on SeekersGuidance to guide you through this marriage. -Keys to Successful Muslim Marriages: Practical lessons that explain the Prophetic Spirit of Marriage -Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriage In short, don’t lose your wife because of one mistake in the past. Your Lord helped you to remain chaste, but it does not make your superior to her. Her rank with Allah may still be higher than another virgin girl who has bad character, is arrogant and does not repent for anything she says or does. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Nothing is heavier upon the scale of the believer on the Day of Resurrection than good character. Verily, Allah hates the vulgar, obscene person.” [Tirmidhi] I leave you with this hadith to contemplate: Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, ‘By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.‘“ [Muslim].

Please see the following links for excellent articles on the subject. May Allah give you both the best in this world and the next.

Can One Lie About Past Sins?

Is It Wrong to Want a Virgin and a Pious Wife?

Because I Committed Zina in the Past, Will I Ever Get Married to a Good Muslim Man?

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered


[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterwards, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.