I Am Married to a Non-Muslim Woman, Who Does Not Know I Am Muslim. Do I Stay in This Relationship?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I’m legally married to a non-Muslim. I tried to break up with her, but felt so guilty when she cried and yelled. She doesn’t know that I’m Muslim. It’s so hard to accept that I’ve been destined to marry someone who doesn’t practice the same religion as me.

What should I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for entrusting us with such a difficult matter.

Tribulation

I am so sorry to hear how much you have suffered. Ending a relationship, even a sinful one, is not easy.

Your guidance to Islam is a gift from Allah, and I pray that one day soon, you will be able to express your deen in its entirety.

Decision

Allah Most High says, “Do not marry unbelieving women until they believe […] And do not marry (your women) to unbelievers until they believe.” [Qur’an 2:221]

I urge you, for the sake of your faith and that of your unborn children, to consider ending this relationship.

From what you have shared, you are married to her as far as civil law is considered. However, as she is not Muslim, then your marriage contract is invalid. If she falls pregnant, then your child will not be considered legitimate. The legitimacy of your offspring is an extremely important factor.

Mercy

Jarir bin Abdullah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever does not show mercy to the people, Allah will not show mercy to him.” [Tirmidhi]

Feeling compassion for her is natural. The next step is for you to express this compassion within the guidelines of the Shari‘a. In other words, the most merciful thing you can do for her, and for yourself, is to end this relationship, because you are both in a state of sin. I pray that Allah grants you the courage and the means to do so.

Moving forward

In terms of moving forward and disclosing your past to your future Muslim wife, please keep this fact in mind — your civil marriage is not recognised by Allah. Therefore, you are under no obligation to inform your future spouse that you were cohabiting with your non-Muslim partner. This falls in line with not exposing your past sins. This is not considered lying. Please refer to this article to help you understand this better: Can One Lie About Past Sins?

Please don’t fear that you will never marry a good Muslim woman. Shaytan calls you to despair. Allah calls you to hope. Have hope in His Mercy, and His Generosity. Nothing is difficult for Him. I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need as much as you need to.

Priority

First things first. Make a sincere repentance, break the news to your partner, and commit to following through. Divorce is a major life stressor, so please reach out for support. Please do everything in your power to connect to like-minded Muslims; seek out friends who remind you of the Mercy to Allah.

When registration reopens, I encourage you to listen to Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. In the meantime, please download this free lesson set on Getting Married.

Hope

Please reflect on this beautiful aphorism:

“Among the signs of success at the end
is the turning to God at the beginning.” [Hikm of Ibn Ata’illah]

I pray that Allah will bless you with a loving and pious wife who brings you closer to Allah, and with whom you can raise a new generation of believers. Please consult us again should you require further counsel.

Please see:
Is It Permissible to Lie In Order to Conceal Past Sins?
Can a Muslim Man Marry a Sikh or a Hindu?
Is a Marriage to a Non-Muslim Woman Valid? (Shafi’i)

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.