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Wife Confesses Pre-Marital Affair

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil is asked what to do if one finds out that one’s spouse was sinful before marriage.

I am a 26 year old male who did his nikah a few months back. I had approached this girl’s family as she was hijabi and seemed pious and simple. Before our nikah, she had confided in me that she was in contact with a boy who was a non-Muslim and had a soft spot for him. He had promised to convert to marry her but he did not, so she broke things off. At that time, the way she described it, it seemed like a verbal kind of innocuous relationship and I did not find it appropriate to probe further as we were not married.

I unknowingly came across some old messages of hers and she confessed to me that she had committed zina multiple times with that non-Muslim in different hotels throughout the period that she was in a relationship with him. He also possesses illicit images that she sent him during that time period.

For three months we have had the best of marriages AlhamduliLlah and we have been very compatible with each other, but this news has shattered me. I don’t want to end my marriage, but this has completely changed my perception of her and I am finding it hard to respect her even though she repented. She has also apologized for hiding things from me.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Coping with Betrayal

Dear questioner, I am so sorry for your deep heartbreak. I cannot imagine how shocked and betrayed you must feel. Make space for your feelings – weep, journal, turn to Allah in dua – and work on slowly letting them go.

Covering Sin

Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, as saying: “All the people of my Umma would get pardon for their sins except those who publicize them. And (it means) that a servant should do a deed during the night and tell the people in the morning that he has done so and so, whereas Allah has concealed it. And he does a deed during the day and when it is night he tells the people, whereas Allah has concealed it.” Zuhair has used the word hijar for publicizing. (Sahih Muslim)

Please use this terrible incident as a reminder about why Allah has forbidden us to speak of past sin. Your wife made a grave mistake by confessing the explicit details of her sinful pre-marital relationship to you. Now you are both heartbroken.

It would have been better for her to carry her secret to her grave, and to trust in Allah’s Mercy. Instead, she has uncovered something that she can never take back.

Repentance

Abu Sirmah narrated from Abu Ayyub, that when death reached him, he said: “I have concealed something from you that I heard from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saying: ‘If you did not sin, Allah would create a creation that would sin, so He can forgive them.’” (Tirmidhi)

I do not need to remind you that repentance wipes away all sin. I encourage you to do everything within your power to forgive your wife, and to allow her back into your heart again.

Know that Allah has protected you from the sin of zina, and make shukr for that. None of us know what trials lie ahead of us. We are all in need of mercy from our Creator and His creation. Choose mercy, love and forgiveness.

Compromising Photographs

Please make dua that Allah removes all evidence of those illicit photographs, then surrender the matter to Allah. Please do not torment yourself over her past.

Marriage Counseling

I encourage you and your wife to attend culturally-sensitive counseling, as a way of finding your way back to each other. You have said so yourself, that you and your wife have had a happy marriage up until her confession.

Your wife will need to work through her own feelings of guilt over her past sin. If she had resolved them on her own, then she would not have confessed them to you. Perhaps she feels unworthy of your love, because she has not forgiven herself. Please see Learning to Love Again After an Affair.

Divorce as a Last Resort

If you absolutely cannot forgive your wife, then I encourage you to let her go. She would be happier with a husband who can respect her, even when she commits terrible sins. Please perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to proceed. If Allah softens your heart towards your wife, then stay in your marriage. If you still cannot look upon her with love, then it may be better for you to let her go. If this is what you decide on, then I pray that she has the wisdom to not confess her sins to the next man she marries.

Please also see Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Friendship between a Boy and a Girl

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil answers questions about friendship before marriage.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

Months ago, I met a brother in a seminar. We kept in contact and built a friendship with a lot of respect. A few days ago, I asked him how he would react if his sister had contact to a strange guy he doesn’t know. He thought about the question and suggested to break off. (We have written over WhatsApp.) We both are Muslims and he understood it and showed respect to me and my family. But we promised to stay cool if we’re going to see us again.

Now my problem is, since this happened, I feel broken. I feel pain inside me. But it isn’t just because of him. I’m really under stress and feel that it wasn’t the right time to ask him this question even though it’s Islamically right. I’ve lost a good friend. I want to write him again but I don’t understand why it’s Islamically incorrect. I want to have a clear explanation. I’m aware of the relationship between men and women. But I need him right now as my friend. And thinking a lot of Islam makes me just more sad.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Friendship between Opposite Genders

Dear sister, I am sorry for your heartbreak. Please know that you have done what is pleasing to Allah, even if it hurts.

For a clear explanation, I encourage you to read this answer by Shaykha Zaynab Ansari: Can a Young Man and Woman be Platonic Friends?

Emotional Regulation

Because you are in pain, I encourage you to treat yourself with love and compassion. Soothe yourself through the different aspects of your being – the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. You know yourself best, so write down the different things you can do for yourself, every hour, every day, until you feel more balanced.

I have some suggestions for you, to help you get started.

Spiritual Self-care

  1. Do everything in your power to have a good opinion of your Merciful Lord.
  2. Guard your obligatory prayers, and strive to perform them mindfully.
  3. Wake up in the last third of the night, even if it is 5-10 minutes before the entry of Fajr and pour out your sorrow to Allah.
  4. Perform the Prayer of Need as often as you need to.
  5. Read these duas as often as you need to: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Mental Self-care

  1. Write down your troubling thoughts so you can see them in front of you.
  2. Investigate your beliefs, which have often been installed from childhood. Do you believe that the world is a safe place? Do you believe that you are more than enough, as you are? Do you believe that Allah is there for you?

Emotional Well-Being

  1. Journal about how you feel, allow yourself to feel those strong emotions, and let them go. Remind yourself that feelings are signals, but not fact.
  2. Reach out to close family and female friends.
  3. Listen to guided meditations on apps such as Calm and Headspace.
  4. Store your worry on apps such as Worry Box.

Physical Well-being

  1. Walk every day.
  2. Ground yourself in nature.
  3. Strengthen and relax your body through pilates and/or yoga.

Possibility of marriage

Please know that we are all hard-wired for connection. Allah has set loving limits on gender interaction because He knows our easily we can fall. If you feel so strongly about this young man, and feel ready, could marriage be something to explore? Do speak to your parents first, if you think that could be the case. It is far better to have them on board, from the beginning.

Also, please remember that marriage is another big shift. It is not a silver bullet that will heal all of your pain.

In any case, I encourage you to prepare for marriage through empowering yourself with knowledge through this course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages and reading this book Before You Tie The Knot.

I pray this has been helpful. May Allah ease your heartache, and gift you with a husband who is your dearest friend and your companion on the path to Jannat al-Firdaws.

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

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Seeking Forgiveness for Premarital Relationship and Informing One’s Spouse

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: I was in a relationship with a guy but we didn’t end up getting married.  I feel really guilty for being in a relationship and my parents don’t know about it.  I knew it was wrong but I justified it by saying we will get married one day.   I feel really guilty and I can’t forgive myself.  How can I seek forgiveness?  Also, do I owe an explanation to the person I’ll be getting married to? Will it be wrong to hide it? It seems that telling the truth would create more problems.  Thank you.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum,

Dear Sister,

Thank you for your question.

When God has concealed a sin, it’s not correct to reveal it. Be thankful you were able to move on from this relationship without suffering serious consequences.

You have to consider the culture in which you live, a culture that often does not look favorably upon women with a past, no matter if those women have repented.

If asked about prior relationships, you don’t have to disclose anything unless there might be some physical consequence (for example, a sexually-transmitted infection, etc). If you feel uncomfortable hiding the details, then discreetly say that you’ve made some mistakes in the past, but that you have learned from them, made your repentance, and have got right with Allah Ta’ala. All of this depends on the level of tolerance shown by your prospective husband.

As far as feeling guilty is concerned, strike a balance. Feel remorse for the past, but don’t allow it to overwhelm you to the point where you can’t function. Thank Allah for concealing your sins but don’t be cavalier about them.

May Allah make things easy,

Zaynab Ansari