Question:

Dear MM,

Salaam Alaikum,

 I have just discovered your page and I would appreciate your help if you can advise me in any way.

I am/was planning to marry someone, he is a Muslim as well. My fiance was born into the faith. I am a revert of just over one year, so I am still learning and still have much to learn.

 This man has a good heart, is extremely kind and comes from an excellent family, who also like me very much. The problem is that I am finding out many things about him which are really worrying me and making me question whether I should call it all off.

Making me question his actual character and integrity. 

I recently discovered that he is drinking every night with his friends, usually in their apartment, and sometimes this drinking goes on until 3 am. He is also smoking weed every day. To make matters worse, now I think he could have a gambling problem. I noticed him betting every day on football. I closed my eyes to it. But then he started asking me for money and I was giving him money sometimes when I thought he had nothing to eat. Sometimes this would be £60, sometimes more, sometimes £10 here and there, I had thought it was for essentials, I thought he had no money for food etc., but then I started to notice he was spending it on £5 and £10 bets on football games. I saw him with the betting slips although he tried to hide them.

One evening I saw him vomiting after drinking alcohol, it was very upsetting. Another time he was offered a job and he did not go to it because he was so drunk the night before. I asked him and he didn't even ring the employer to say he wasn't coming. He has not worked in almost ten years. 

He seems to prefer to sit with his friends drinking and smoking than to even talk with me. 

I gently brought up all my concerns with him but he denies there is a problem with any of this behavior.

I have said that his habits are haram and I am worried about him and that the devil is there when you succumb to these bad things. I also said gently that it cannot be right to take your fiancee's money, to tell lies to get that money and to then gamble it away. A couple of times he used the same lie to get me to “lend” him money. He also wasted a large amount of his Dad's money on drinking and gambling which his Dad had given him for living expenses. I was even more upset about that as his family has no idea that he even drinks. 

I find it really worrying that he seemed to prefer a night of drinking over going to work. He became angry and defensive and tried to blame me when I brought these issues up though, and blamed me for always working, blamed his neighbors, blamed the area of town where he lives.

I sent him some parts of the Qur'an by email relating to what is haram and he agreed that I was right, but he still refuses to change his habits. 

I also notice when we see each other he always stares intensely at other women going by. He also denies he is doing this but sometimes he will stop to turn and look at a woman going by. He seems to scrutinize other women intensely. 

I am at a loss. I don't know what to do and whether I should try to help him – but if he won't acknowledge a problem exists, then he will not do anything about it will he? I care for him very much and I thought we would get married but I am ready to call the engagement off. Help! I am so sad and feel very lost.

Thank you and Jazakallah Khairan!

The Troubled Fiancée

 

Answer:

Bismillah ir-Rahman-ir Raheem

You have brought up some serious issues and things you should question about a potential spouse in Islam.  Outside of the many vices you have found out about, a very troubling fact you mentioned was his lack of working for the last several years.  In the Muslim family unit, the husband is completely financially responsible for the marriage and his family.  It is obligatory upon him to provide for his spouse and future children.  It sounds like this may be a problem for your fiancé to maintain considering you are the only one working, and he is not and has not been for many years.

You also have found out about many bad habits and sins he is currently engaging in.  One myth that many people often enter marriage with is that “he/she will change once we're married.”  Research shows this is simply not the case.  People bring in their habits, patterns, and way of life into the marriage and hope their spouse will accept them.  Coming into a marriage hoping to be able to change many things about your spouse is risky.  There are a few things that can be modified or altered, but the majority of behaviors will remain the same.

You are a young Muslim, and I applaud you for trying to show him the error of his ways by proving it through Qur'an and sunnah.  However, because you have only been in the faith a short time, you also have a lot to learn and to grow and develop as a Muslim.  It will be difficult for you to work on improving yourself and learning the deen, and also trying to help someone else and make them better too.  Allah knows best.

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

 

-Sadia Jalali

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.

27 Responses

  1. The Salafi Feminist

    Or, to put it really bluntly:

    Call it off immediately.

    Those are all serious red flags, because they affect almost every aspect of his life, and will affect yours as well if you do the unwise thing and marry him. You need to focus on your own emaan first and foremost, strengthening yourself as a Muslim, and you can’t be put in a position where your own faith is put at risk because of a man who is so irresponsible with his faith, his soul, his wallet, and everything else.

    Basically, RUN AND DON’T LOOK BACK.

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    • BintB

      I absolutely second that: “RUN AND DON’T LOOK BACK”

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    • ummZAKAriyya

      Totally agree with the above.

      I know a revert sister who had found a ” non-practising” muslim brother, even before she fully understood Islam. He gave her such a hard time , that now she has distanced herself from islam!! A bad company can have bad influence.

      There are awesome single practicing muslim brothers out there. MashaAllah. Your fiancé seems worse than many non-muslim men in his bad habits. so like the sister said above – RUN AND DONT LOOK BACK. It will be good riddance! inshaAllah

      May Allah make it easy for you.Ameen!

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    • nadia

      Sister, the fact you found out about all these things is a Mercy from Allah and he is guiding you to save yourself from a disaster. There are so many better people out there for you inshaAllah, put your trust in Allah, may he grant you a suitable spouse!

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    • Ali

      Istikhara is the last step. First we use our own mind, then we can seek advice from others who have good advice to give. Then once we have already made a decision, we do istikhara and ask Allah to guide us as to whether our decision is a good one. We dont do istikhara to make Allah decide for us.

      Sister, the signs are there. This man is no good. You may love him even, but he will make you miserable and you cant change him.

      And Allah knows best

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  2. Bilkis

    Yes, you should seriously run away from this guy. At this stage of your conversion to islam, you need someone who will guide you to improve your Islamic knowledge, and a jobless/alcoholic/gambler is not that person. May Allah bring you a better muslim man.

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  3. ZAI

    Of course you shouldn’t marry him!
    He is a veritable walking list of things you DON’T want in a spouse…
    Only thing missing is physical abuse.

    You cannot change someone. Only God and they themselves with
    God’s help can do that. You know this and also know he isn’t good
    for you, but being a new Muslim and he being perhaps one of
    the first Muslims you’ve interacted with has resulted in an emotional
    attachment…so you want to see the best in him despite his
    egregious faults. That’s actually a commendable trait…but only so far
    as being a sister in faith who wants good for a fellow believer….not
    a spouse who will have to deal with his faults day to day.

    The fact that he isn’t moved to trying to change means that at
    this point it’s going to get a lot worse before it get’s better. You don’t
    need that in your life, new Muslim or not. Don’t just run…get in a car
    outfitted with rocket boosters and powered by warp speed technology and
    go in the opposite direction!

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    • A Fellow Sister Who is Deeply Concerned About You

      Oh yes.Ohhhhhh yes.

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  4. Melanie

    As a convert I understand the sense of urgency you have to get married quickly. But I advise waiting at least 6 months, if temptation is not a problem for you.
    I would recommend you attend some meetings for partners of gamblers just to get an idea of what you are dealing with. He could change with counseling, if he is willing to receive help.
    Busy yourself with studying Islam for now, InshAllah you will find the right spouse for you.

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  5. married

    I read somewhere that when looking to get married we must look for the parents of our future children. Your emotional attachment is understandable but do you want this man as your children’s father?

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  6. married

    Also if you have insecure thoughts about finding another person and think you may not be able to find someone else that know that most people have those thoughts, not just converts. However Allah is eternally resourceful, we cannot undermine his ability to accept our duas and opening up doors for us
    These doubts come from Shaitan who loves to play with us in our weakest of moments

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  7. Fritz

    Sister, take your time and trust in Allah (swt). Place Him as your priority.

    He guided you to Islam, so dont doubt for a minute that He cant provide you with an honest decent spouse

    Look for someone who is strong in their faith in Allah and fulfills the basic parts of the Deen. A man who you feel you can feel safe with and trust to nurture the faith of your children. This is what will hold a marriage together at its most trying times and be the greatest source of happiness at its best.

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  8. broAhmed

    Echoing some of what others have said, but I do want to drive the point home. My mother warned me never to marry someone expecting them to change, marry them for who they are now. You have clearly indicated that you are unsatisfied with the way they are now, and your concerns are completely warranted. It would be a different story if you were saying things like “I don’t like his hair” or “his sense of fashion could use improvement” but what you have described are extremely serious concerns.

    My advice: divorce yourself from your emotions because they will get in the way of making an intelligent decision in this case. I think you are obviously emotionally attached to this person and that is why you are struggling with coming to a conclusion. For those of us removed from the situation and without any emotional strings attached, it’s very clear what you should do.

    Will it be difficult? Probably. But think of it this way: you’ll go through a little heartbreak now but you’re going to save yourself a lot more heartbreak in the future. Think of how difficult it would be to separate from someone you’ve been married to for a few years and/or even have children with. Don’t do that to yourself.

    May Allah bless you with a righteous and pious spouse and make you amongst the righteous and pious as well! Masalaama.

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  9. Kevin M.

    ASA,

    My sister. I’ll make this very brief and to the point.

    I’m a covert to Islam. My wife is a convert as well. My wife was practicing for about 2-3 years before marrying me. I was officially practicing for just under 2 years. It is my opinion that muslims should marry other muslims of their level of religious practice and zeal, regardless of origin etc., but I highly recommend 2 things.
    1) wait to find either a convert or a “returned” born muslim for a husband who have been practicing with a seriousness for at least a couple years. Why should they be a convert or “returned” born muslim? Because they could really relate to you on a social level, to your reality insha’Allah. Think about the fact that this marriage is HALF YOUR DEEN. Think of your deen. Think of the kids. Totally not worth it, please get over him and move on. Make dua for him, but don’t mess your chance up in this life and the next, he’s gambling with his. Proof is in the actions, insha’Allah he rectifies his behavior but that’s ON HIM (“Allah will not change the condition of a people until they…”?)

    Also, a lot of times muslim families who have a child who has gone wayward will try to match them up
    with a practicing muslim, convert or born muslim, in an effort to save their child. Not sure
    if his family is doing this….buuuut….you should think about it. Don’t be another family’s quick fix.

    w/ respect,

    KM

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    • Kevin M.

      Man, I honestly didn’t even finish reading your post before I replied. But geez. Looking at other women?
      Sister….

      Consider your own family background and upbringing. It reflects your inclinations towards a spouse, will have to adjust your perspectives after honestly analyzing your upbringing and male role models. I’m not looking for an answer but consider the relationship you have with you father? Uncles? Brothers? Past relationships before becoming muslims? What kind of men are they? Anything going on there? Worth thinking about. If the answer to those questions conjures up troubling thoughts, then please realize that people often look to marry, date, shack up with, whatever, men/women who embody traits they are used to seeing from their childhood.

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  10. Balooh

    Just to echo everyone’s comments. DO NOT MARRY THIS MAN.
    He is clearly on a different path to you. Sounds irresponsible and a little too self involved.
    I don’t believe we should ever give up on our families/partners. But as of yet you are not married to him, so therefore you have no rights upon him and him upon you. The wise thing would be to counsel him through a mahram.

    Alternatively I am thinking there must have been something good in him that inclined you in the first place, we all deserve second chances and if you make it crystal clear that in this state you will not accept him as a husband but if he works on himself you may consider him, it can be a chance for him to step up. Set a clear timeframe and if you see no difference in the man, say goodbye and good riddance. If the man cannot change his ways for you, he does not value you enough. (He also does not value himself enough judging by the self neglect he is putting himself through).

    May Allah guide him to the siratul mistaqeem and bring out his positive qualities. May Allah also guide you and help you in your decisions and make this easy for you. I make dua Allah bless you with a good husband who will be a good father and lover of our deen.

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  11. Balooh

    (I meant do not marry this man if he does not improve his character)

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  12. salam

    The provided answer is not very direct. No – do not get married to him! Imagine what other vices you might discover if you live with him!

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  13. A Fellow Sister Who is Deeply Concerned About You

    Oh sister. Sister!! Save yourself!! Maybe it’s not very helpful of me to say this, but: Avoid this guy like you would avoid the PLAGUE!! Mashallah, you sound like a beautiful person. May Allah bless you with Noor in your face and softness of heart. But seriously…..?

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  14. FS

    Sister,

    Your writing depicts that your brain knows you have to leave, but your heart doubt it, do I get it right? Many has said their opinion, be it blunt or subtle. I think at this stage, you can perform solah istikharah. Pray to Him that you have the strength and wisdom to make the right decision. I pray for your well-being and happiness, I truly concern and care, you are not alone..

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  15. Dia

    Its better to stay single than marrying yourself into a hell-hole. If you hear Shaytan whispering to you that “he will change”, let that change be for the sake of Allah and not for you sister.

    RUN! This is Mercy of Allah that you are seeing all this. A momin doesn’t let someone fool them twice, he already got you once by convincing you to become his fiance, now don’t be fooled into becoming his wife!

    Advice him to seek help, BUT don’t stay there to HELP HIM…..RUN, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN towards the mercy of Allah which He has shown you!

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  16. Hena Zuberi

    Would you have married someone like this if you had not come to Islam?
    May Allah ease your sadness and replace him someone who is willing to walk the path to Jannah with you.

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  17. AJ

    IDK why this is even a question. The answer is obvious. This guys problems seem so bad, it almost seems fake lol.

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  18. BinFar

    What you have written is evidence enough that your finance has no will to change him self.

    But before you take the final plunge, as someone already mentioned, do istikhara: you never know Allah might have made marrying you the the turning point in his life.

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  19. M.S.

    Salaamu aleykum:

    MashaAllah, that was good advice to the sister.

    Two things to add:

    ONE: The problems mentioned of the fiancé are numerous and difficult to deal with without proper knowledge, proper intervention techniques and guidance. If this man is a “potential” fiancé, he is not related to you now and it is not your responsibility to try to fix his ways of error. As a believer we should advice ourselves and other people sincerely and help them to the best of our ability, if we can. At the moment, if you are not qualified as a professional counselor, don’t jeopardize your faith and your peace of mind. He need professional help. May Allah help him reform his ways. Also, as a muslim sister and a young woman, I would sincerely advise you and hope that you don’t make the mistake of being alone with a known alcoholic. Don’t be caught in the same room or in private area with this man. No matter how well you think you know him, be cautious and take caution. Weed and alcohol are gateways to many other haram things, including hard drugs. Add gambling to that mix, and you could have a future spouse with “financial-ruin”, “stressful-life”, and “a love-less marriage” written on his forehead in BOLD letters.

    TWO: If you are in a “friendly” relationship with him already or you have already fallen head over heels in love with this man, ask Allah for forgiveness, guidance and mercy. Any relationship with the “I will marry you one day” statement dangling in front of it, does not seem proper, is not proper and you don’t deserve to be manipulated like that. Don’t allow anyone to guilt you into doing something that is not halal, for the sake of love. An honest & sincere & God-fearing muslim gentleman will not violate your trust, abuse you mentally and/or lie to you, with the promise to marry you one day. Again, ask Allah for protection and help in getting out of this mess, make lots of duaa and hit the brakes on this haram relationship. And inshaAllah, Allah will open a door(s) for you. Don’t ever give up or lose hope in Allah’s mercy, Allah can bring a wonderful person into your life, who is trust-worthy, genuine, and who would not pressure you into accepting his haram adventures, or trouble you for gambling money.

    My two cents.

    Wa salaamu aleykum

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