Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
If a Muslim couple committed fornication (zina) and repented, must they marry? He promised and swore by Allah that once he touches her, he will take full responsibility and marry her. Must he still fulfill his promise, even though they repented?
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for your repentance and show you a clear path to practicing an Islamic lifestyle with halal marriage.
When one commits fornication with another Muslim, it is not obligatory for them to marry each other; instead, it is obligatory for them to cease the activity and repent. Allah is the All-Merciful as he says: “Say: My servants who have wronged yourselves, never despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” [Quran, 39:53]
An oath is binding and must be fulfilled, but there is an expiation for not fulfilling it. I can see that the oath you made was foolish and based on lust, and marrying this person may be a bad choice for you and your family. You must pray istikhara about what to do, consult your heart, mind the advice of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and be prepared to either marry her or regretfully break the oath and expiate.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, lineage, beauty or piety. Select the pious, or your hands will be covered in dust!” [Bukhari & Muslim]
Please see the expiation details here:
What Is the Right Expiation for Breaking the Oath?
Expiation for a Broken Oath
What Is the Expiation (Kaffara) of Breaking an Oath?
What Do I Have to Do After Breaking an Oath?
Does One Have to Do Expiation for Oaths Made When One Was Unaware of Their Ruling?
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin and completed her Master’s 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.