Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: I am a convert to Islam. My husband has been always mentioning about his past affairs in a funny way. He was cheating on me. He does not pray regularly. I had no idea that it was a mistake to marry someone like that. Is my marriage contract valid? We had witnesses and a guardian who only knew my name.
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
Dear sister, please rest assured that your marriage contract is valid.
I encourage you and your husband to see a culturally-sensitive marriage counsellor with the intention of learning how to heal your marriage.
Your husband needs to understand that joking about his past affairs hurts your feelings. Additionally, exposing his past sin like that is impermissible. I am so sorry that he has broken your trust through having an affair.
Allah Almighty says: “And so many a moving (living) creature there is, that carries not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [Qur’an, 29:60]
It is natural to feel isolated when you are in an unhappy marriage. Is there anyone else you can reach out to for love and support? Do you have friends who remind you of Allah?
Please trust that Allah is always with you. He listens to your duas, and His promise of answering them is true. Please perform the Prayer of Need and ask Allah for support. He is the Creator of everything, and if He wills, He can send you support through ways you cannot even imagine.
May Allah reward you for drawing closer to Him through acts of worship. Continue to be a good example for your husband, and remember to renew your intention daily. Your good efforts, done for Allah’s sake, are never wasted. Even if your husband fails to appreciate you, your Loving Creator knows your effort.
I encourage both you and your husband to do the free course Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life.
I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance up til seven times about how to move forward. A positive sign for you to say could take the form of your husband apologising for his behaviour, agreeing to go to counselling with you, and so on. A negative sign could be your husband persisting in having affairs, joking about them to you, and refusing to work on your marriage.
Do everything in your power to save your marriage. Divorce is a last resort for you, but it can also be a tremendous mercy. Although it is probably impossible to imagine life without your husband, if it is better for your dunya and akhirah to leave him, then trust that when you put in the effort, Allah will make a way out for you. Many Muslim men and women have had difficult first marriages which ended in divorce, and Allah has blessed them with loving and tranquil second marriages.
I pray that Allah grants you and your husband what is best in both worlds, and grants you contentment with His Decree.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani