Answered by Ustadh Farid Dingle
Question: How do I repent from having boyfriends in the past, and how can I ask Allah to make my current suitor my husband?
Answer: Dear questioner,
Thank you for your valued question. May Allah give you light, knowledge, and practice.
My advice would be to first repent wholeheartedly for your past and completely avoid the people and places that let you to the haram. This is really, really hard, but it is the only way you can really repent.
With regard to your current suitor, you should just come to a decision and get married. If you don’t socialize with your former suitor, or go to places where he or his friends are, he shouldn’t be able to meddle with you.
To repent from sin means that you genuinely regret doing it, actually stop doing it, resolve never to do it again, and repay anyone whose rights you have squandered in the process. (Riyadh al-Salihin, Nawawi)
Part and parcel of resolving to never do it again are to completely change your environment and friends. We simply do not have the moral muscle power to withstand the pressure of bad peers and bad places, so we have to vote with our feet, and go somewhere else.
One of the Early Muslims was so shocked by his sins that when he repented he actually walked out of his house (in which he was sinning) barefoot. Thenceforth he was called Bishr the Barefooted-One.
The point is not what is on your feet, but rather the depth and totality with which one turns around.
Emotional pain is also part of the process. Please see: Pain Is an Expiation
The New You and Men
Repentance also means that there is a new way that you interact with men—new shyness, distance, professionalism, what have you.
This will really help you with your current suitor. Just think about how Sayyidna Musa got married; he had just helped two young ladies to water their flocks, and the Qur’an explains the rest:
‘Then one of the two women came to him walking on shyness. She said, “Indeed, my father invites you that he may reward you for having watered for us.” So when he came to him and related to him the story, he said, “Fear not. You have escaped from the wrongdoing people.”
‘He said, “Indeed, I wish to wed you one of these, my two daughters, on [the condition] that you serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten, it will be [as a favor] from you. And I do not wish to put you in difficulty. You will find me, if Allah wills, from among the righteous.” ‘ (Qur’an, 28:25, 28:27)
Because she was shy and meek, Allah put baraka in their meeting, and they got married. This is how all Muslim marriages should begin.
This meekness also applies to your husband-to-be, and if you need to meet to discuss your marriage, it should be with a mahram or in a formal setting where you are not alone. It shouldn’t be a social thing, like having a coffee together or anything like that.
And as the scholars say, ‘He whose beginning is bright and shiny, his end will be bright and shiny.’ (al-Hikam al-Ataiyyah)
For more details, please see:
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘Allah is more joyful at the repentance of one of His slaves when he repents to Him than one of you would be over his riding mount were it to have escaped from him with all his food and drink [on its back] in the middle of the desert such that he had despaired of ever finding it and had gone to a tree to lie down in its shade, and then it suddenly appeared before him, at which he took it by its reins and then said out of joy, ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Lord!’ getting confused because of his sheer joy.’
InshaAllah, by the baraka of your genuine repentance, your new way of dealing with men in general, and your husband-to-be in particular, Allah will open everything up for you. You and your husband-to-be should just ignore the other man.
I pray this helps.
[Ustadh] Farid Dingle
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.