Question # 502: Salam. I am a Muslim girl and going through a very hard time of my life. With the blessings of Allah I have been happily married for almost 3 years and I’m going to have a beautiful daughter and I am living a life many girls dream of Alhumdulilah. My husband is one of the best husbands in this world. The problem is that like many unfortunate people I have had a very sinful past about which I never realized up to now. Before getting married to this chaste and pious guy I fell in trap of shaitan and met a very close friend of mine alone at his house who used to tell me that he wanted to marry me. We ended up being physical with each other. But after that meetup that guy disappeared telling me how he has his problems and can’t marry me. Within very short span of time, I got married. Everyone in my in-laws and family is really impressed and happy with me the way I have handled my house. Everyone thinks of me as a very chaste pious and good woman. I never realized my mistakes and never repented. But a few months ago I had this sudden urge of realizing my mistakes and asking Allah SWT forgiveness for what I have done in my past. I have sincerely repented and I have completely changed myself as person. I have tried to leave even the tiniest bad deeds I ever used to do. I stay cautious all the time because of the fear of doing bad. The actual problem is that specific meetup happened years ago. I never thought about it again and as I have a very short memory I have almost forgotten most of what happened. Recently I read somewhere that a marriage of a chaste person and a zaaniya is invalid before repentance and the marriage contract needs to be renewed and I don’t know why it has completely destroyed me. I know this is for the one committing actual zina and not for the one doing lesser acts than it. But No matter how hard I am trying to remember what happened then my views are blur. As far I remember we didn’t actually do actual zina ( no complete penetration took place ) but thoughts keep coming in my mind that what if during that time his genitals touched or entered a little ( not completely ) in mine during that act and it became zina and I start to believe it that this happened and want to die then comes a moment when I think nothing like that happened it never entered my private part. I am in very deep stress I am afraid what if it was zina and I never repented so my marriage with my husband is invalid as he is a chaste man. I am scared to death because everyone thinks of me as the most purest and pious women and I can’t tell anyone about all this because of the negative effects it will have. I have also read that such a marriage is invalid and having intercourse in such marriage is equal to Zina. How will that count as Zina or my husband as Zaniya when he doesn’t know about all this and our Nikah took place in a very Islamic manner. I love my husband a lot and I can’t imagine of living without him but it’s becoming hard for me to normally live with him thinking that my marriage may be invalid. I get scared when we have intimate moments. What should I do now I truly can’t remember anything and I never want to destroy the love and respect everyone has for me by telling all this. What should I do now? Is my marriage invalid ? What should I do if I can’t tell anyone regarding my past? Please help me out in the most best manner as every second of my life is becoming a burden on me. My marriage contract cannot be renewed without disclosing the real matter and no single person on this earth knows about my past neither my family nor my husband. What will happen in my case when I don’t remember the actual act. I read on your website a similar question and the ans was the majority view that this marriage is valid. But who is this majority? Which fiqh agree to the validation of such marriage?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: It is not permissible for a chaste man/woman to marry a fornicator unless the latter repents to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) while concealing one’s past (misconduct) from others. Furthermore, if the marriage contract was entered into before repentance from zina, then the opinion is that the marriage is not valid and the marriage contract must be renewed. Nevertheless, if it is not possible to do so except by revealing the fact (of zina), which might lead to negative consequences, such that it would create mistrust and doubt on the part of the husband, or it will disclose her fault among the people or cause her shame, then there is no blame on her, in sha Allah, if she stays in this marriage contract and continues leaving her normal life. This is the view of the majority of scholars (particularly Hanbalis), especially with regard to the ones who entered into the marriage contract believing it to be valid.

As for all your fears or doubts about whether the act of zina actually occurred or not, you should remember that Shaytaan seeks to make human beings fall into disbelief by arousing false suspicions in their heart. Paying attention to doubts may lead to one being affected by insinuating whispers of the Shaytaan (waswaas). Denouncing it and feeling guilty about it is a clear sign of faith. Lastly, whoever repents to Allah, He forgives him/her, notwithstanding the magnitude of the sin.

Long Answer: The ayah that states: “The adulterer marries not but an adulteress…” (Soorah an-Noor 24:3) does not mean that the fornicator or adulterer cannot marry anybody but a fornicatress or an adulteress, or that the fornicatress or adulteress cannot marry anybody but a fornicator or adulterer. Rather what the verse means is that it is haraam for a man or woman who has committed zina to marry one who is chaste, unless they repent.

Therefore, [in general] it is not permissible for a chaste man to marry a fornicator, and by the same token, it is not permissible for a chaste woman to marry a fornicator unless the one who has committed zina repents. Similarly, it is not permissible for the man or woman who has committed zina to get married unless they repent.

Based on the above, if the woman regrets what she fell into of fornication and repents from it before she marries, then the marriage contract is valid. [Nevertheless,] she has to conceal her (past misconduct) and not tell anyone about what she did previously. Please refer to Question # 103: Repentance from Zina (Adultery/Fornication)

But if the marriage contract was done before she repented from zina, then the opinion …is that the marriage is not valid and the marriage contract must be re-done. Therefore, if it is possible to repeat the marriage contract – if the marriage contract was done before repentance – even if that is with any acceptable excuse, then this is what should be done and is more on the safe side, so as to avoid a matter concerning which the scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) differed, and it is more on the safe side for the marriage contract.

But it is not possible to do that except by stating clearly that zina occurred, and if doing so will lead to negative consequences, such as if the husband will divorce the wife if he finds out about her past, or at least it would create mistrust and doubt on the part of the husband if he agrees to keep his wife with him, or it will disclose her fault among the people or cause her shame, and other negative consequences, then there is no blame on her, in sha Allah, if she continues with this marriage contract. Undoubtedly this opinion carries weight and has a valid foundation; in fact, it is the view of the majority of scholars, especially with regard to one who entered into that marriage contract believing that it was valid. In fact, some of the Hanbalis themselves even stated clearly that marriage in the case mentioned is valid. Al-Mirdaawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Some of our companions said: it is not haraam for her to get married before repentance if someone other than the fornicator marries her. This was stated by Abu Ya‘la as-Sagheer.

[Consequently,] the woman who happened to commit such a sin, does not have to inform her husband; she should instead conceal herself. It is not necessary to tell the husband. Repentance from this sin or any other sin requires the following:

  • The person gives up the sin completely.
  • The person feels deep sorrow for the sin he/she committed.
  • The person has a firm resolution not to go back to this sin again.
  • Return or restore any rights he/she took or abused to the one from whom he took those rights or abused them.

As for [all your fears]…, this is but Shaytaan’s insinuations. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins of people who truly and sincerely repent from their sins even if such sins are shirk (polytheism), let alone minor sins… Moreover, committing sin does not cause rejection of one’s good deeds (prayers, fasting, etc.). On the contrary, if you have repented sincerely, the sins will turn into good deeds. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “Except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Soorah al-Furqan, 25:70) Whoever repents to Allah, Allah forgives him, no matter how great his sin is. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls. Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Soorah az-Zumar, 39:53)

Also, Anas (رضي الله عنه) reported that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of  Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of ‘Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of ‘Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earthload of forgiveness.”‘ (At- Tirmidhi, who classified it as Hadith Hasan, Riyad as-Salihin)

(The above reply is based on various answers on similar topics provided by:

  • Islamqa.info; and
  • Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam