Question:

Assalmualaikum !! I have been married 23 years, have one son 21 years and a daughter 20 years. My husband embraced Islam in 1990 and married me. We run a business [together] since 1995. He has been cheating on m[e] for 20 years now.

In September 2012, he secretly married another Muslim woman. She broke her family to get my husband. I applied [for] a divorce and he refused and promised my Qazi that he applied [for] a divorce for the 2nd marriage and want to live with me. The 3rd hearing for the divorce of the 2nd marriage is [in] Feb 2014.

But still he is cheating with other women. Please help me to stop his bad habit. I pray so much and ask du'a. I am fed up with his lies. Apart from this he does not take liquor, he is a good person and helpful.

Thank you. I await your reply,

Cheated on for 20 years

Answer:

Bismillah ir-Rahman-ir Raheem

Infidelity is a major issue in marriages these days.  It sounds like this is something you have dealt with for many years in your marriage.  One thing that is very important in order for marriages to last after one spouse has cheated, is that the cheating spouse has to feel remorse and that they have truly done something wrong and immoral.  Based on your knowledge, he has engaged in this evil act for many years, and it does not appear that he has this belief or this remorse for his wrong actions.

Even with his 2nd marriage, it doesn't seem that he takes the sacred nature of marriage seriously since he seemed so quick to agree to divorce her.  The marital bond is based on trust, compassion, love, and faith.  When a spouse cheats, that trust is broken so deeply that it takes a lot of time, effort, patience and work to make the marriage successful again.  Rebuilding trust is a long and difficult process.  It can be done, but it is harder to do with each extramarital affair.  The Qur'an is very clear in Surah Al-Isra, ayah 32 that we are not to even go near zina, let alone engage in it.  In Allah's infinite wisdom, He tells us to stay away from this sin knowing there are such damaging consequences when this becomes an issue in marriage.

Statistics show that it is very difficult for a cheater to not cheat again.  Unless your husband is able to take accountability for his past sinful behavior and show you ways he will re-commit to your marriage, it will be very difficult for your marriage to be successful without any infidelity.  Allah knows best.

May Allah guide you to what's best for you and your children. Ameen.

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About The Author

Sadia Jalali is a Partner and Senior Therapist at the Family Enrichment Clinic in Houston, Texas. She has her license to practice psychotherapy in Texas: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). She is an active member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT), a national professional organization as well as the local chapter, the Houston Association for Marriage and Family Therapists. Sadia Jalali has been in private practice since 2006, providing family/couple, individual, and group therapy services. She works with clients of diverse ethnicities, ages, and genders. Her therapeutic approach is collaborative and solution-focused, family therapy-based, culturally sensitive, and client-centered. As a Muslim-American with Pakistani heritage, Sadia's cultural and religious background has helped her understand and become effective in working through cultural issues in families with 2nd generation immigrant children. She has been active in the Houston Muslim community for over 15 yrs. Sadia is a parent of four young children, and understands issues such as effective communication in families including the parent-child relationship and marital relationship. Sadia has also led several group therapy services including anger management, parenting classes, premarital workshops and other psychoeducational programs.

21 Responses

    • Lalalande

      Salam alikoum,

      Excuse me?? How is it not Zina if he went behind her back to meet and do other stuff that ends in a marriage?

      Also asking for guidance, I thought that polygamia was ok in our religion if and only if he gets the approva/pernissionl of the first wife (or 1st and second wife in case of adding a third). If i am mistaken could someone please direct me to the exact verse/quote?

      Thanks a lot!

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        To the best of my knowledge, there is no Islamic condition that requires permission of existing wives to take on a new one. However, this could be an added clause in the marriage contract. Pakistan by law has this condition, except for a few cases which allow this to be bypassed.

        *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

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      • Abu Milk Sheikh

        Can I ask why a totally mundane and basically redundant (other people have answered the questionl) comment of mine (the one in this article) gets approved, while a comment of mine that actually adds value to the discussion in the ‘red wine and hojabis’ article hasn’t passed moderation? Jazakallahu khairan

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Most comments are cleared automatically unless something causes it to be flagged or the commenter is on our moderation list based on past history. Or the article could be on full moderation (for example this one). The author has the final say on any comments being approved and can keep comments on hold until they get the chance to reply to them.

        Hope that clarifies our procedure.

        Warm Regards
        Aly

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    • Abu Milk Sheikh

      Going by what was stated in the question and the timeline, the second marriage was one specific instance (that was not cheating) but there were other instances of cheating. Allahu a’lam whether these were secret marriages or zina.

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    • rashad

      “He has been cheating on m[e] for 20 years now.

      In September 2012, he secretly married another Muslim woman.”

      We’re not in 2032………..

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  1. Jon Solis

    I find it interesting that the letter writer laments about her husbands infidelity but states that other than that he is “a good person.” A man violates the most sacred oath he makes in his lifetime and is a “good person?” I don’t think so. When Clinton lied under oath, his defenders said it was OK because he was lyng about sex. WRONG! When you lie about the fidelity within your marriage, you are untrustworthy about everything. I would not do business with someone who was cheating on his wife because someday that person is most likely to deal with me dishonestly. Only rarely does a leopard change its spots.

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    • Umm ZAKAriyya

      The question seems a little confusing . Has the husband ” cheated” , as in engage in extramarital affair ? Or cheated by concealing the truth from his wife and not telling her he had another wife?
      Though both actions are shocking , they are not the same .

      Agree with the person above .
      A person who can’t value a sacred trust like marriage , cannot be trusted with other things . Unless he/she repents for their sins of course .

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      • rzar

        Yes, it appears her husband has been cheating for 20 years.. then he secretly married a second wife, that he divorced – but is cheating again.

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  2. Mahmud

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    The dayouth will not enter Paradise. Ma’adhaAllah lest this happens to me.

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  3. Abu Muhammad

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Lalalande

      Salam alikoum,

      TLDR : Your comment comes across a guilt tripping and unfair and I wish you wouldn’t do it. It’s hard enough to be a woman in this crappy world, we don’t need our Muslim brothers to push our head down when we are already drowning :(.

      Longer version:
      My understanding of our faith on this point (please do guide me if i misunderstood) is that we women, have a say in whether or not a husband can bring on a second wife or not. Let alone a third or a fourth. The decision is up to us. And we shall not feel guilty about it.

      I agree that Allah (SWT) is Merciful and thank Allah for that, but we are merely human, we are flawed and we hurt. And while we must strive to emulate the best of Allah’s teaching and the behaviour of Our prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) ‘s behaviour, at the end of the day we are perfectible. And it seems that Allah (SWT) in His infinite “knowledge” understands that which he has created, some situation are just too much to be merciful, it’s just too much to for the heart to take. That’s why a woman has the righteous right to divorce, and to hold onto her feelings without being guilt tripped about it. It’s probably not your intention but it’s exactely how your comments reads.

      “From what the woman wrote, there is nothing wrong about her husband except that he has a 2nd wife. When Allah (SWT) is so forgiving, why are we not? How can we be so hopeful for Allah (SWT)’s mercy, but not show any mercy to others?” >>> quote in point. it;s guilt tripping and unfair to suggest that if she holds onto her position she may get a mirror image on Judgment day.

      Also you say nothing is wrong with her husband? How so ? First of all he’s been cheating for 20 years, and is STILL cheating. Second how do you reconcile the fact that having a second wife secretly is ok? How did he meet her? talked to her? get familiar and friendly enough to marry her without his wife’s knowledge? Isn’t this like a top 10 list of the biggest sins?

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    • Mahmud

      It might be a bit unclear, but perhaps he was doing zina and that is what she meant by cheating, or perhaps he married another woman behind her back, and that is what he meant by cheating.

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  4. UmOuthmaan

    I wonder what the brother’s side of the story is…let’s not be quick to judge or give advice from only hearing one side of things.

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  5. rzar

    It seems your marriage was compromised 20 years ago. I think you should leave..it has not been a good fulfilling marriage for the both of you. You need a faithful husband, he is not striving to make you happy and content by continuing to cheat. I pray Allah you find a better husband!

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  6. Sumiyah

    Assalamo Alaikum
    I went through a similar experience in marriage…not wanting to divorce for years. (aswell as my own fears, coming from a Pakistani Mirpuri background prevented me from taking any action).

    Eventually he divorced me while I was a full-time student and left me with 3 young children…

    I moved on with the, Grace of Allah…I completed my degree and PGCE. I am currently working as a teacher and ….remarried year and a half ago.

    Finally I can FOCUS on my Deen rather than constantly crying and begging!

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  7. Fritz

    “He has been cheating on m[e] for 20 years now”

    I ‘m not sure I quite understand this part of the comment. Does that mean he was having an affair for 20 years?

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  8. Yasmin

    Assalamu alaikum :)
    Dear sister, what you must be going through is hard to come to terms to. Your husband has definitely treaded the line too far, in regards to the right to marry up to four wives maximum. There is a fine juncture when it comes to marrying another wife. There needs to be concrete reasoning and rationality rather than to be frivolous with the right. He probably didn’t think twice about it. Hopefully inshaAllah, he will learn to understand the real sanctity of marriage as Allah subhana wa ta’ala intended. I cannot judge on what terms he decided to marry without your consent nor acknowledgement.
    The most important thing to ask yourself if whether you are still in love with him and have to capacity to forgive and reconciliate? You are satisfied with his character and such. From then on, he will be able to confide in you better about his conscience. Perhaps the beauty of trust and confidentiality needs to be built properly.

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