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Infidelity and Misplaced Blame in the Muslim Community | Imam Omar Suleiman


Infidelity is a major topic that too often, like many other embarrassing elements of our community, gets brushed under the rug. Imams routinely have to deal with couples where one spouse is being unfaithful. I don’t believe that it’s a greater epidemic in the Muslim community than society at large, but it is probably almost just as bad.

It is estimated that roughly 30% to 60% of all married individuals (in the United States) will engage in infidelity at some point during their marriage (Buss & Shackelford 1997). Just like with any community, there are unique complications and considerations when dealing with an issue of this nature. In our community, we have the following :

A. As a defense mechanism, the cheating spouse will often talk his/her spouse down and belittle them in order to deflect from their own major sin while also gaining sympathy from the onlookers.

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Under the influence of cultures that place unfair expectations and blame on the wife, many women are likely to be blamed for not keeping their husbands happy, even at times by their own families. This approach, of course, is completely devoid of any Islamic precedent or Prophetic tradition. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) never chastised the spouse of an adulterer for not doing enough to stop them from cheating.

According to John and Julie Gottman’s 40 years of marital research, there is one common denominator that tends to begin the cascade toward betrayal in a marriage: When one spouse attempts to connect with the other and the other spouse turns away from this while negatively comparing, this is the first step toward betrayal. A negative comparison sounds something like this, “Who needs this frustration? I could do so much better with someone else.” This type of belittling and justification, while imagining oneself as innocent, deteriorates trust and starts people on the downward spiral toward infidelity.

B. Often, men who are unfaithful will try to “right the wrong” by marrying the person they were unfaithful with, at times without even fulfilling the requirements of a marriage. This is where the all too common “secret” second wife comes into the picture.

Or many men ditch the first wife and make it seem like the woman they were cheating with just came into the picture. Alas, even the most practicing Muslims will forsake all principles and beliefs regarding Islamic marriage— holding weird Skype Nikahs — without the most basic conditions of a marriage contract being met. They will continue to beat up on the first spouse for “making them do it.”

The very idea of a secret marriage defeats the purpose. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught us to publicize the marriage for so many different reasons. One of them is that the man with a secret second wife often may have seven or eight other “second wives.” In a very awkward scenario that I witnessed a few years ago, a brother in the community sought the help of an Imam to pursue a sister who was secretly married to that very same Imam.

In looking at the research, how many affairs become lasting relationships? Dr. Frank Pittman, an expert on treating affairs, found that the divorce rate of those who marry the person they were unfaithful with is 75%. What was the major reason for these divorces? A lack of trust. How can you trust someone who chose to be with you by cheating on someone they had previously committed to?

Can’t Cheat Allah

A piece of advice to the brothers and sisters who are cheating on their spouses: There is no justification for adultery, and victim shaming here won’t save you from being held accountable by Allah on the Day of Judgment. No human being will bear the burden of another on the Day of Judgment. Seeking validation from backward cultural elements or friends that are just as unfaithful as you won’t change the creed.

Allah says in the Quran in Surah Al-‘Isrā’ 17:32


And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.

In an authentic Hadith, the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “The one who cheats is not one of us.” (Sahih Muslim).

Nothing that started with the deception of Shaytan will suddenly gain the blessing of Allah. If you were unfaithful, you need to sincerely seek forgiveness from your Creator and the people you’ve hurt with your infidelity. You need to fully accept blame for your sin, and start taking the necessary steps to try to fix things.

Heard It Through the Grapevine- Churning the Rumor Mill

A piece of advice to people who immerse themselves in rumors, there is nothing more sacred than a chaste person’s dignity or honor. Yes, there are many that are guilty of the crimes above. But to wrongly accuse one person is enough of a sin in the hereafter to doom you. I’m all for transparency and calling out these social ills, but I reject falsely projecting them on people without proper evidence.

Too Close for Comfort

A piece of advice to those who are starting to get too close and comfy with another person at work or school. The adultery of the private parts is the most severe manifestation of it, but you may already be committing adultery with your tongues, eyes, and hands. Even if you’re not physically cheating yet, you may already be emotionally cheating on your spouse. Don’t walk the footsteps of shaytan to a place of no return. Cut it off before it goes any further.

According to Dr. Shirley Glass, the dynamics of emotional infidelity result in sexual relationships in 80% of cases. Substituting emotional intimacy, friendship and empathy with someone else other than your spouse is not a “platonic” relationship; it is seeking one of the most essential aspects of a marriage outside of it.

Graced By A Cold Shoulder

And most importantly, a piece of advice to those who have been cheated on by their spouses and unjustly blamed for not doing a good enough job to stop your spouse from cheating. It is not your fault that he/she couldn’t save themselves from their lowly desires. Allah will not punish you in the hereafter, even if society unjustly does in this world. Even if you have made mistakes, no mistake justifies your spouse making THAT mistake. Don’t internalize society’s backwardness or your spouse’s devilish taunts.

Rise above it all.

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Imam Dr. Omar Suleiman is the Founder and President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, and an Adjunct Professor of Islamic Studies in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at SMU (Southern Methodist University). He is also the Resident Scholar at Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square. He holds a Bachelor's in Accounting, a Bachelor's in Islamic Law, a Masters in Islamic Finance, a Masters in Political History, and a Phd. in Islamic Thought and Civilization from the International Islamic University of Malaysia.



  1. Mr H

    August 25, 2016 at 12:52 AM

    I’m sorry to say but it sounded only like men cheat on their spouses (though the article is written unbiasely, the examples are only of the men).

    In order for this discussion to go anywhere, it has to be fair to both genders.

    • Mrs. B

      August 25, 2016 at 6:28 AM

      Seriously ? Thats what you got out of this artical ? Do you not get the point of the advices given. If you’re a male or a femake take this whole artical like if the person was talking personally to you. Naseehat is the best thing for a persons soul and mind. May Allah swt guide us and protect us from evil

    • sK

      August 25, 2016 at 9:47 AM

      there was a point about a woman who was second wife to an imam and another guy seeking to make her his second wife. Which makes her also “cheating.” Regardless of the examples used, the point of the article isn’t to “be fair ” to the adulterers, it is to guide all Muslims in such situations, and help us avoid them in the future inshallah.

    • Maliha

      August 25, 2016 at 9:47 AM

      And how exactly did you come up with that conclusion? Read again!

    • Nur

      August 25, 2016 at 1:25 PM

      Mr H.

      He’s talking about marriage. Ofcourse it’s male. Polygamy is commonly practiced in Islam. Duh..

    • Haroon

      August 31, 2016 at 10:47 AM

      Salaam Aleikum brothers and sisters. I would like to thank the brother for writing on this very sensitive topic.
      After reading all the comments to this post, Allow me to add some advice to that already suggested.
      In order to lead happier and successful lives as Muslims, we need to focus on what is the greatest thing in our lives! The goal of our existence. If you get this right, many things become clearer. Allah has allowed us to inflict misery on our own souls and those of our loved ones because we have prioritized the life of this world and its pleasures over the hereafter ”And Allah will never change a condition of a people until when they change what is within themselves.” Quran 13:11. We need to change our attitude and when we do Allah will in turn make our path clearer! You may be a little sad today, a bit poor tomorrow but if you remember Allah always , the indiscretions and justifications of others will never confuse you about the love Allah has for you as an individual and you will never lose hope of success in the hereafter. So if you have been treated unfairly today, just use this trial to come closer to Allah…..on the day of judgement, you may even be happy you got treated in this way….”Remember Me and I will remember you….” Quran 2:152. Allah promised you in the holy Quran! And the promise of Allah is true.I wish you all the love and Mercy and Guidance of Allah. For He is Often forgiving most merciful.

      • M

        December 6, 2016 at 12:22 PM

        I agree with you! We focus on this dunyia.

      • Mohamed Ali

        December 7, 2016 at 3:55 AM

        JazakAllahu kheyr brother Haroon
        You are 100% right, if we only be able to remember Allah often, Thank Him more for all his blessings, and not lose the purpose of our existence it will be easier to lead our life InchAllah.
        May Allah guide us, May Allah remember us in whatever way, to not despair of His mercy, to repent continuously to Him for our mistakes. May Allah forgive us all our sins, make us better people, light of guidance for others, protect us from the punishment of the grave, protect us from the fire and admit us in Jannah.
        May Allah soften our hearts and protect us from being Ignorant, from the fitna, form our desires.
        Peace and blessing upon the Last Messenger Muhammad, his family and his companions and upon all the Prophets and Messengers.

    • Mr I

      December 6, 2016 at 10:52 AM

      You sound guilty bro

    • Linda

      December 6, 2016 at 8:04 PM

      He does say spouse, but he also states that a man keeps a secret wife. It is much easier for a man to gain that second spouse, than it would be for a woman. Without nitpicking the issue, the point he is trying to make is, don’t do it. Commit yourself to your spouse and work on making that union one that is for the sake of Allah.

  2. Pingback: Infidelity and Misplaced Blame in the Muslim Community | Imam Omar Suleiman - MuslimMatters - What is Infidelity

  3. sumaira Rasheed

    August 25, 2016 at 3:48 AM

    Islam religion is the name of peace. All blames on Muslims are wrong.

  4. Mrs A

    August 25, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    Very comprehensive article with amazing advice.
    May Allah protect all of us from fitna

  5. Sadaf Afshan

    August 25, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    The fact that four wives are allowed in Islam is often misused as an excuse to cheat . Unfortunately, even practicing Muslim men justify adultery by portraying that they are simply looking (albeit secretly) for a second spouse to “follow the sunnah of the Prophet PBUH”, rather than admitting to the grave sin of zina. It has been rightly stated in the article that zina is not limited to physical relations but is also committed by the tongue, hands and eyes.
    Very often, men who indulge in adultery also act as martyrs who are trying to help a damsel in distress (rather than giving in to their desires) and it seems that the only way that they can do so is by putting their own wife in distress.
    It’s true that adultery is not limited to men but it’s most often seen that men are more likely to give in to their desires, especially since they can play the second wife card. May Allah SWT protect our families and keep us away from this grave sin.

    • M.

      August 25, 2016 at 9:49 AM


  6. Barbara Sarah Filaih

    August 25, 2016 at 10:16 AM

    Many Muslim men use the excuse of following the Sunnah by ‘taking a second wife’ usually someone they met in a haram way. Some men abandon their families dumping them on welfare and shacking up with the other woman. This behaviour is ignored by Imams after all these ‘brothers’ are ‘following the Sunnah.’ This could be labelled ‘Al la carte’ Sunnah – marrying a younger woman. I have yet to hear of a Muslim man including some English speaking scholars marrying either divorced or widowed sisters. I live in Ireland – there are now several divorced sisters. The Muslims like to brag that they came to Ireland in the 1950’s, to however there are no counselling or marriage guidance services. Many reverts are bullied into marrying ‘good men’ whom they hardly know. There are no real background checks done, nobody really knows whether they have a criminal record or even a wife & family in their ‘home countries.’

    • Fatima

      August 25, 2016 at 3:23 PM

      Y o u said that so right on the nail.
      And the same applies for women too. I had a so-called friend that was two-timing. Cut her off like a bad growth, I did.
      Many of the reverts- as you said- are bullied into marriages with people whim they know nothing about, except that this one says “he/she is a good brother/sister you should marry them.”
      Then get into it and find out everything isn’t what they were lead on to be. It’s worse for widowed and divorced reverts, of any gender. Culturally, it’s a disgusting occurrence that of someone is actually a good Muslim by heart and deed, but no longer married, they’re only less than 10% as good as an unmarried person, even if that person has questionable lifestyle or habits. Allah guide us..

    • Jamiela

      August 28, 2016 at 4:36 PM

      This is an unfortunate situation. I think a thorough ‘ background check’ is neccessary before marriage, including a bloodtest, you cannot be too careful thesedays. Background checks can be tricky because people dont want to defame another Muslim and information is always biased. Sometimes you have to do your best and ask the Almighty for guidance. If all the important requirements are there in a partner and just say Biesmillah, in the name of Allah. You would have done your best and whatever comes your way is God’s will.

  7. Abdullah

    August 25, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    Mr.H is indeed correct. Though the author didn’t directly say men are the only culprits, his one-sided usage of examples and pronouns might reflect that. Truly, for this issue to be discussed properly and objectively, one needs to address both sides without feeling the need to be unnecessarily sensitive to one demographic over the other. Any article that discusses the general concept of infidelity must not create assumptions of one gender’s guilt over the other.

    This article should have been more objective and not the characteristic “people-pleasing” article generated by a number of ulema to appease to highly sensitive masses.

    Also, that Buss citation seems a bit old.

    Good read though.

    Though comments are hidden by the dust this article kicked up, I can see them becoming men-bashing in nature since when everything clears.

    • Marium

      August 25, 2016 at 11:44 AM

      The article was intended for both husbands and wives, maybe you should re-read the article. He used examples for both genders and the reason the concept of the “second wife” was only applied to a male example is because in Islam only men are allowed multiple wives, not the other way around. So maybe before you start bashing this article and finding flaws in it, look at it from a neutral view and accept the fact that this is an issue in our community.

      • Zuma

        August 25, 2016 at 1:17 PM

        At least these guys now know how women sometimes feel when the Quran always addresses the ummah’s males lol but in actuality anytime something is said by Allah in a manner that seems to exclusively address men, Allah is addressing women too. Same way we should take the advice from this article to apply to both genders.

    • Jamiela

      August 28, 2016 at 4:45 PM

      Perhaps it is a bit one-sided, but is the reason not because this is so much more common amongst males? Women arent completely innocent, I know of a few cases where the woman is to blame, but many more where the man is guilty of cheating. I am no marriage councillor, so my opinion is not extremely well-informed, but this appears to be more of a male-issue than a female one. Allah SWT has created men and women differently, equal, but different. We may be swept into the western notion of feminism, but we can’t expect to apply every issue equally to males as females, it ignores our difference in nature.

      Take the lesson for its benefit, there is no need to be defensive.

  8. jkm

    August 25, 2016 at 12:47 PM

    When people cheat and it is because needs aren’t being met and there is a serious failure to communicate. There is a serious lack of accountability in all that are involved. There are no innocent victims here and we need to not stop pretending that there are. The reality is that there are halal solutions to this problem but when they are introduced they are often shot down under the illusion that a monogamous one woman marriage is the best route to go. This is what dooms a marriage from the start: unrealistic expectations, noisy people and severe lack of accountability.

    • Fatima

      August 25, 2016 at 3:25 PM

      You’re right
      That doesn’t excuse a cheater though. No excuses for that.
      Inatead, one needs to communicate that with the spouse instead of sneak around somewhere else.

      • KS

        August 25, 2016 at 9:31 PM

        I agree with Fatima. Cheaters always want an easy way out. They don’t want to work on the marriage or shed filthy habits they may have. Instead want to cheat and force polygamy; If that not possible then simply cheat.

      • monching

        August 26, 2016 at 7:36 AM

        Communication fail when wife has mindset of monogamy as the best, too much nealousy dims her faith, wanting only realities in this world

    • KS

      August 25, 2016 at 9:32 PM

      I agree with Fatima. Cheaters always want an easy way out. They don’t want to work on the marriage or shed filthy habits they may have. Instead want to cheat and force polygamy; If that not possible then simply cheat.

    • KS

      August 25, 2016 at 9:40 PM

      Cheaters only think about their needs and no one else’s needs.

    • Jamiela

      August 28, 2016 at 5:00 PM

      There are halaal solutions to this problem and ONLY HALAL solutions should be sought. Cheating IS NOT a halal solution. You want a second wife, do it properly, not without your first wife knowing, ive seen this happen before. Its halal, but sunnat says it shouldnt be secret for good reason. How are you going to spend time with wife#2? By lying to wife#1? Not spending equal time with both, which is also sunnat.

      I know a woman who is a second wife and very happy, they were inlove and he had an arranged marriage with the first wife. The first wife has children, the second wife never wanted any and is happy with the arrangement. It works out well in many cases, perfectly halal. This is the right way. Cheating is haram.

    • Haroon

      August 31, 2016 at 10:59 AM

      Well said JKM! Especially lack of accountability for our own actions before Allah. Which is what matters most.
      However some times the way we men talk about the ”solution” of polygamy makes it sound as if Monogamy is haraam!
      And like you pointed out the way many of our sisters talk about Polygamy is like it is haraam.
      But neither Polygamy nor monogamy will solve the problem of a heart that has mixed priorities for life on Earth….one that prefers the pleasures of this world over pleasing Allah.This heart will find its life miserable regardless of what aspects of shariah you choose to adopt…..Allah says in the Holy Quran ”Whoever turns away from my remembrance, for him will be a life of misery” 20:124.
      This is our real problem and the solution is clear..may Allah guide us!

    • Josh

      November 3, 2016 at 8:44 PM

      No, when people commit ‘adultery’, its because they don’t fear Allah, not nearly enough, there are simply NO excuses for such behaviour, if your needs are not being met in a marriage then as Muslims and as decent human beings, there are ways to address such problems without indulging in such a grave and heinous sin, when someone chooses to commit such an act they are ENTIRELY responsible, hence why the punishment for the sin is on the perpetrator, not the other spouse,

      Allah has given us steps to take, regarding marital difficulties etc, his has also made divorce permissible when required, many brothers and sisters go through life with no spouse, by your thinking, that should excuse them in any acts of zina? wether you have one wife or 4, 1 husband or none, Zina/adultery is a CHOICE you make, blaming actions on circumstances isn’t going to hold much weight before Allah…

  9. Mr AR

    August 25, 2016 at 4:12 PM

    One of the major factors leading to an increase in infidelity among Muslims is forced marriages. A situation where a brother or a sister is married against their will to to his or her cousin from ‘back home’. The imported brother or sister is completely incompatible in terms of profession, interests, and culture. This creates a huge gulf between the two; instead of basing the marriage on shared interests, the differences just propel the artificial couple away from each other. One is constantly home sick and the other longs to be with whom he/she can connect culturally, professionally, or based on shared interests. While wading through such an emotional maelstrom, the aggrieved person comes across someone that catches their fancy and then one thing leads to another. It could be something professional: a lawyer impressed by another lawyer or something cultural: liking the same type of books. You get my drift…

    • Haroon

      August 31, 2016 at 11:11 AM

      I agree with you too Mr AR to some point. But that may be looking at things with a rather materialistic eye!A potential spouse does not become ”bad” simply because we did not choose them. Our knowledge of the world,what is best for us, what will lead us closer to Allah or what may doom our life is limited by our being only human! It may be that those things we want to pursue….which our ”forced partner” does not enjoy are actually not good for us(even if we desire them). And it may be that his or her interests which we do not share are indeed good for us….especially spiritually!
      If both spouses prioritise the remembrance of Allah, then no union will be greater than that,regardless of how you came to be married! Allah says”It may be that you hate a thing and it is good for you and that you love a thing that it is bad for you.And Allah Knows and you know not” Quran 2:216
      Let us all remember that insha Allah.

      • M

        September 2, 2016 at 9:25 AM

        You know there is also a possibility that forced-marriage partner may not really care about Islam, and follows cultural Islam instead, or a very different brand of Islam. There is also a possibility that neither ours nor there interest are ‘haram’, they just happen to be different. Either ways, may Allah make everything easy for us, and not put us in a position where we get inclined towards sinning.

      • Haroon

        September 9, 2016 at 2:18 PM

        You are right M, there are things in each specific relationship that may be too complicated for us to comprehend. But this is the the whole point of this world! Its a temporary trial! All the complications and differences our spouses may come with are part of this test regardless of how we got married! Infidelity on the other side is the worst grade a married Muslim can score in this temporary test! Divorce if a moderate fail!
        So we must try as much as we can to seek out Allah and get closer to Him the more difficulties we encounter in our marriage. Remember that Allah the Most Gracious, All Knowing, All powerful knows well when He allows any marriage to take place…regardless of the other more apparent human forces. And if we turn to Him, spiritually we can only become stronger and closer to our goal of life on Earth. Even if in the process we may hurt a little bit….or much. A life leaved with some sorrow here, sadness their all of which bring you closer to Allah is far better than one in which all our ” halal desires and interests” are fulfilled but we gradually grow so complaisant that we forget our true purpose on this world……and lose out permanently in the hereafter! Don’t you think? But Allah is Most Gracious Most Merciful!
        Allah reminds muslims thus “You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your lives; and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you…But if you patiently persevere and be pious, then surely this will be of great resolution.” (Quran Surat Al Imran 3:186)
        If our trials bring us closer to Allah, on the Day of judgement when we can see clearly on how short this life really is compared to eternity, we shall wish we got 1000 times more trial of this nature,……..if we forget our Lord and true purpose of our shot probational life……any comfort or satisfaction of even lawful desires will be useless to us….we shall wish we had got some difficulty at least in our marriage to turn us closer to Allah, to self restraint, to unconditional love of even those who seem to us too difficult to please today….May Allah make what is difficult today easier tomorrow…Ameen

  10. xyz

    August 25, 2016 at 4:59 PM

    I’m so glad this article has been published. I hope it’s widely circulated bc many Muslim men don\’t consider secretly pursuing or interacting with other women (without involving her wali) while being married as cheating. To them, it’s just a matter of exercising the privilege that God has given them. Enter imams who have sanctioned secret second wives ‘until the first comes to terms with it’ and women (ignorant or otherwise) who have no qualms about entering such relationships without pausing to consider the repercussions on the first wife, the children and family, and we have a formula for chaos within the community.
    Let’s all pause for thought and think how much each of these parties is contributing to the mess that Muslim families are increasingkly finding themselves in these days. It’s a global problem exacerbated by the social media and lack of islamic boundaries everywhere

  11. Fatima

    August 25, 2016 at 6:15 PM

    Thank you very much …This article is a reminder for me of the subtle ways Allah comforts .. may Allah protect you and your authenticity and bless you and your famity with the highest jannah

  12. xyz

    August 25, 2016 at 11:34 PM

    In Steve Harvey’s book ‘Act like a lady, think like a man’ there’s a chapter called Why men cheat in which he explores various reasons for infidelity. “The biggest reason of all: there’s a woman out there willing to cheat with him. That’s the truth no woman wants to face. Imagine if every woman said: “You’re married, I can’t do that with you.”

    enough said.

    • Aisha

      November 22, 2016 at 7:55 PM

      That shouldnt even be taken into consideration, excuse me for commenting. It doesnt matter if theres some woman out there willing to cheat with you. The blame is on the man still for cheating, because the spouse made a promis with the man, not with the woman thats outside the relationship. Just another excuse men use to explain cheating. Assalamualaikum

  13. SAS

    August 25, 2016 at 11:59 PM

    Thank you, Sheikh Omar, for bringing up this very important topic, and not skidding around it. We need more data on why infidelity occurs among Muslims (and non-Muslims for that matter), if we’re ever going to improve this situation. I have to say, this is a serious concern for women in particular when seeking to marry, partly because society is more inclined to turn a blind eye to men having affairs before (and after marriage), but also because of the abuse of polygyny. I’m amazed at how many people are willing to go for illegal “marriages”, just as long as they can call them “marriage”, instead of admitting to themselves that they’re fornicating/adulterating. This goes for women as well as men, although women are more often the victim because they weren’t aware of the first marriage, or of the second (and counting) “marriage”. Thank you for bringing up the point that imams engage in this frequently as well, as well as justify secret “marriages” by saying the couple just needs a couple of male witnesses. But then, the purpose of a witness is to bear witness. So how is it that witnesses are expected to keep silent on the issue? Again, we need to survey people and ask why and how they’re justifying it, and to better educate the Muslim community at large about marriage rulings, as well as to their legal rights. Women should also know that they have the right to stipulate in their marriage contracts that they also hold the ability to divorce their husbands (without having to go to court, especially where courts are known to automatically side with the men), or to set conditions for divorce in advance.

    • Haroon

      September 9, 2016 at 2:44 PM

      Salaam SAS, I agree with you that we may need to explore some of the social complexities that have made married life generally and among muslims difficult today. However like i pointed out earlier, the results of this studies and the man made solutions we design to alleviate our condition may not help us spiritually come closer to Allah. This is the whole point of this temporary World. The best research will yield only limited superficial knowledge with little or no spiritual bearing on our souls. This is because we are humans with but limited knowledge and capacities. Allah reminds us in the Holy Quran of our limits ”They know but the outer (things) in the life of this world: but of the End of things they are heedless”. Quran AL Rum 30:7
      A better solution may therefore come from turning closer to Allah in every condition in our marriage confident of His Mercy, unlimited Knowledge and power.
      Another point must be highlighted here. Just because a certain man or woman has abused the law and guidance of Allah to oppress his/her spouse on this temporary world does not mean that he/she has ”won” as we call it. Noooo .That is looking at things like a disbeliever whose only hope is life on this world and its temporary pleasures……and schemes
      Indeed the spouse you have oppressed using all the tools men(and women) have corrupted (including ”islamic laws” to fulfill their desires may be the real winner…..due to her patient perseverance, her sincere night prayers to Allah, her sincere yearning for His Pure love and Mercy.
      My advice then. Make sure that when you turn to the Quran, you seek the restriction of your own desires, and rights for the sake of Allah for a happy hereafter….many things will get clearer for you…..
      Many apparent injustices will feel you only with gradually more gratitude towards Allah and more faith, patience, remembrance… will not feel that sad that someone turned you to your Lord and cherisher….you will win in the end regardless….in a big permanent way. May Allah make it easy for us.

  14. Zaka

    August 26, 2016 at 1:39 AM

    Great Article, JazakumAllah Khyra for awareness and taking your precious time to write one. May Allah guide us and keep us sincere.

  15. YIR

    August 26, 2016 at 2:20 AM

    Thanks for this article. May ASW bless you for that. I have never heard something like “secret marriage” until today,subhana Lah. but my question is, how should a married man go about getting a second wife without emotionally cheating his wife. because, one needs to approach a lady and propose to her before getting married to her. thanks.

    • Jamiela

      August 28, 2016 at 5:14 PM

      The decent thing to do would first be to speak to his wife and obtain her blessing, if possible, otherwise she may hear it fron someone else before her husband tells her and this would erode trust in the marriage. If a man believes that he is capable of having more than one wife, he should be brave enough to do it the proper way, despite the probable emotional meltdown of the firstwife on hearing about this(our notions of love have become westernized and we do not expect that our husbands will ever want to look at another woman, and I include myself), but this is not historically the way love is viewed in Islam. It is a modern woman’s expectation, but something that should be understood by her husband. He will have to deal with however she feels about this situation and it will not be pleasant, but if he is determined, perhaps it will work out, it does sometimes, even in our modernworld. Sorry this is only my own feelings on the matter. Perhaps the Sheikh can elaborate further.

      Also, the man is expected to spend equal time and money on both wives, it is not an easy thing to do properly and I think very few men can, but some do.

      • Shabana

        December 4, 2016 at 7:48 AM

        Agree with you sister. Today`s modern world has made women so possesive that they can`t accept a second wife.

    • Haroon

      September 9, 2016 at 3:31 PM

      Salaam YIR. You raise an important question which may be difficult to answer in a short post. It may also be even more difficult to answer in the context of the current atmosphere in which our own desires and interests have become part of Islam. May Allah enable me to attempt a sincere reply. I hope it helps you if you are searching for a second wife.Not that am recommending this as a ”good solution” to a problem i know nothing about.
      1.I shall be blunt on this one. There is nothing like ”emotional cheating” if both your intentions and actions are sincere to marry a second wife. You have got the permission of the Quran to marry her with or without the consent of the first wife.

      However it is not Haram to consult your current wife in any matter that may affect both your lives. It may indeed be highly recommended in some cases if you ask me.This may be before or after your marriage to the second wife.It is not to seek her permission but to show sensitivity, love and mercy to your wife. Allah said in the Holy Quran ”And among His signs is this, that He has created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them; and He has put love and mercy between you. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” Noble Quran 30:21
      But like i mentioned before, the purpose of Life on earth is not the fulfillment of all our desires and rights that Allah has granted us. No. Seek first your spiritual development and closeness to Allah in whatever circumstances Allah has put you in at the moment, before seeking to satisfy all the lawful desires that Allah has knowingly permitted you to enjoy!
      You will not be perfect but if you put the love of Allah and His pleasure (rather than our own) beyond everything, many things will be easier on this world.
      I did not quote other Quran verses related to this subject intentionally because they would raise more questions than we can answer in this context at the moment.
      Finally as you consider your choices, remember that even one wife if Halal! Being patient with some of the aspects of her that you find displeasing or unsatisfactory at the moment, and doing this purely for Allah’s pleasure may land you directly into Jannah Firdausi Halidina Fiiha(For ever)…and you know what you will find there when you get there………..
      No pleasure on this earth can be compared to the pleasure of Allah with us on the final Day of Judgement….
      May Allah make it easy for Us to stay on His straight path.

  16. Mohammad Khan

    August 26, 2016 at 11:25 AM

    I like the way the article was written. The article is fast and clear and unapologetic, which is what needed most nowadays for the issues like this. We need voices which are clear and strong. Straightaway, the idea of further oppression of the victim by the guilty party is stated. The idea that we bond good emotions with bad acts (Too Close for Comfort)(cheating your spouses just by tongue, eyes, ears, etc.) is also mentioned very clearly. The topic is a huge one, but the writer wrote a relatively short article, and yet still managed to accumulate so much knowledge and advices and made the article full of much, much wisdom. We really, really need much more articles and discussion like this. May Allah (S.W.T) benefit all behind these giant efforts of bravery.

  17. SOA

    August 27, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    Jiminy cricket,

    I’m a woman and I didn’t do anything wrong…. Explain that?!

    • Akh

      September 6, 2016 at 10:37 AM

      Does that mean that women will never do anything wrong? You missed the point of what he was saying

  18. pleasure destroyer

    August 27, 2016 at 3:44 PM

    it seems that the burqini ban,,,is a move to cause more infidetly and the likes….do you have on tv sex shows in the user states, like the rest of the civilized world?…emotions taking over me so sorry….oh they are clever….work done on emotions and the like….suppose the chemists and the likes are busy in making more abnormal behaviours more rampant…Allah al mustaan al ma yasifoon.

    beware of thoughts….reminder to myself too. As adultery and fornication is also in the look. so first for me and you and the second against…..

  19. Arshad

    August 28, 2016 at 12:29 AM

    Quite frankly, the only one who can avoid an affair is the one that is about to have one.

    Affairs are almost always with friends and co-workers. That’s because the people you work with and those you spend leisure time with are usually in the best position to meet your most important emotional needs. But in the world of the internet, total strangers can also meet your emotional needs through chat rooms and e-mail.

    Check this article below, under the heading “Escaping the Jaws of Infidelity: How to Avoid an Affair”

  20. Jamiela

    August 28, 2016 at 5:24 PM

    Jiminy Cricket, men are by-nature, the way they have been created, more prone to cheating. Why is the four-wife rule there and there is no need for a 4-husband rule? Your average female has no such desire. This physiology, not being progressive, feminist, men are different to women, some women do cheat, but are outnumbered by the number of men who cheat in my personal experience of being a human being and noticing these things. This article is not about blaming men, but about looking for solutions to this problem. Women are weaker in other areas, but that is a different discussion.

    • Josh

      November 3, 2016 at 9:32 PM

      Physiology does not dictate that women have no desire to cheat….. at all… that is why they do cheat?!!
      people who don’t fear Allah cheat, and commit all kinds of perversions, there is nothing that makes either sex more inclined to commit adultery/fornicate except lack of fear of Allah…. Mankind has not been created more inclined to disobey Allah then womankind….

      There are a number of reasons why women are only permitted to be married to one man at a time, these reasons upon thinking are fairly obvious, levels of desire vary greatly in Men and Women, carnal desires alone are NOT the reason why women are limited to one spouse at a time, if this were the case, limiting them to only one husband, while their desires may well surpass their husbands, and shocker the desire for only one man, would be an oppression, furthermore if carnal desires were the ONLY reason Allah permitted ( some) men polygamy, this would in turn be oppressive towards the women folk…..
      The Islamic doctrine regarding polygamy is far more sophisticated then your theory…..

      The average non Muslim female, cannot be compared to the average Muslim female, and this is the same for men, wether we are married or not married, there are no excuses for infidelity/fornication period.

      Lastly – Men are the SAME as women, although the sexes have some differences, we are not differing species, with respect this constant rhetoric, ‘Men and women are different’ just serves to cause animosity and alienation between the sexes, so does the thinking that women are sexually weaker then men, whilst this might be true for you, or for a great number of women, there are also a great deal of women who are being ostracized by this line of thinking, made to feel ashamed/dirty…. it needs to stop!
      Mens desires are often in my opinion, highly exaggerated, I often wonder, what on earth women must think of us Men, if they were to take us as we often are discussed, as if we are some rampant dogs, with the inability to control ourselves.
      There have been many studies which offer statistics that demonstrate men and women are almost as guilty as one another in regards to infidelity, however, it is not a competition, adultery is a sin, that both men and women engage in regardless of percentages, therefore it should be addressed in a manner that acknowledges this.

    • Arjmand

      December 6, 2016 at 5:19 PM

      Thank you Josh, thank you.

  21. M

    August 30, 2016 at 1:27 PM

    I sort of agree with jkm and Mr. AR on some level. There is definitely a reason behind the infidelity, mainly the lack of communication between the spouses and yes, forced marriages. There need to be resources for people so they can deal with these issues. With forced marriages, there isn’t much that can be done. Both parties are basically stuck in the situation as divorce is a taboo topic and so is the consent of the two individuals actually getting married.

    I don’t understand why the second marriage is being classified as a form of infidelity. I mean, would you rather want your husband to have an unlawful relationship with another woman instead? He’s taking responsibility for her which is actually honorable. The only problem with these relationships is the secrecy. Which I believe the husband is keeping because of, again, the taboo. Instead of divorcing the first wife and leaving her to fend for herself and her children he’s actually choosing to take responsibility for both, isn’t that a good thing? If the husband can provide equal treatment to both wives I believe such relationships can work out.

  22. Fritz

    September 5, 2016 at 2:01 PM

    Of course its always more worthwhile dealing with the root cause rather than the actual symptoms.

    Punishing your spouse by withholding intimacy is one sure way to drive them to cheat. And of course this doesn’t just mean physical intimacy, but emotional intimacy as well. As men can be just as aloof to the latter as women are to the former. In our secular societies, using sexuality to manipulate the other is seen as ok – as this was the tool used to “hook” the other partner in the first place.

    Sadly some of these values/ideas have crept into our communities. Of course you don’t share the blame of adultery, but whats the value of winning a blame game and losing a marriage.

    There are many other reasons of course, but lets not overlook the elephant in the room.

    • Akh

      September 6, 2016 at 10:32 AM

      Akhi/ukhti… I recommend reading what is prescribed in the Quran for you to do when your spouse is persistently insisting on doing something that you must get them to stop doing.

  23. Akh

    September 6, 2016 at 10:28 AM

    There is no excuse for infidelity. The is a difference between your reasons for doing something and your excuse for doing something. There is no doubt that you had reasons for fornicating with someone else. You almost never doing anything without a reason. But that doesn’t mean that your reason is a legitimate excuse. Your spouse isn’t fulfilling your desires anymore? Guess what… You’re not an chimpanzee. You are a human and a muslim one at that. You acknowledge that Allah swt created you to worship Him (by obeying Him). And that He created the realities of these world to test you and that he won’t leave you to say that you believe without testing you. You weren’t created to get your filthy fix of whatever it is that makes you itch. So in conclusion… Just because you were tested in that specific manner whether it’s desiring someone else or getting bored with what you have… As someone who claims to be a muslim… There is nothing to excuse your filth. Both sisters and brothers. Don’t want to be with that person anymore, pursue a divorce. Simple.

    • Josh

      November 3, 2016 at 8:51 PM

      Exactly, I am truly shocked at ‘Muslims’ giving reasons as to why cheating is so prevalent for Muslims,

      Forced marriage
      Lack of opportunity for Polygamy
      Getting Bored of your spouse
      People with big mouths
      Marital problems

      Er…. have you all forgot, that we are supposed to be Muslims??? there are ZERO excuses for disobeying Allah

  24. Linda

    October 9, 2016 at 2:41 AM

    Very enlightening topic as it relates to what Im facing currently with my marriage . My situation is indeed very depressing that after 24 years of marriage . Im 53 and he’s 56 years .
    with 3 kids ( grown up all attending medical school ) my husband suddendly surprised his whole family as well myself by declaring marriage to a woman with whom he was online chatting for almost 3 years now . The woman also is an adulterer as she was married that time when she was chatting with my husband, however have recently divorced maybe by June/July this year –then my husband proposed marriage to her in August. Nobody from his own family members were informed hence now situation became chaos , as his whole family is not accepting the marriage as well as the woman . Just bit worried because my husband seems to have misunderstood the meaning of having 2nd wife — or just pretending to be dumb because of his selfishness . Allah said polygamy is acceptable provided that you are financially stable and should be fair to both parties , which unfortunately its not in the case of my husband which he is ” ZERO ” when it comes to financial matter. We do not have yet our own house and I am the one supporting for the educational needs and other expenses of our kids whom currently studying abroad . Though we never fight on money because I know how much is his salary and alhamdulallah I am better paid off than him . How could he do this to me ??have spent most of my life for the family and has been loyal to him for this 24 years of marriage . I never been engaged into chatting or texting . The blame is on me because I’m always fighting and arguing it seems with him … why ?? because of his addiction on online chatting with this woman .
    Appreciate if I could have some comments /advise please from you brothers /sisters .
    Do I have to fight for this marriage or let go or means I will leave my husband . though they have no fix plan yet of their marriage . His relatives are saying that there will be no Marriage but I dont what to expect anything on this situation .By the way our kids is not aware yet about whats happening as we do not want to disturb their studies.. This is really heart breaking and i dont know what to do ??

    • Anon

      October 17, 2016 at 11:46 PM

      Stay strong Linda. I would advise to take this to a local community leader whom you trust, and also has a strong foundation in Islamic sciences. If the situation is truly as you describe, then Allah swt will iA reward you on the day of Judgement for your patience, chastity, steadfastness. From what I read, you have given the best of your life to be with him, and you are being betrayed in return. He seems to have committed adultery on an emotional level, which can sometimes feel worse than the real act – and committed it with another one of the same!

      Use this hurt and opportunity to get close to Allah, who will never betray you, and give you ease in this world & next iA

  25. Alisha

    October 18, 2016 at 5:55 PM

    We are holding the next Muslim Marriage Events Manchester on Sunday 13th November 2016 at Royal Nawaabs, Manchester.

    The event is acting as an intermediary for people who are seeking marriage partners. The setting is very much open to all individuals to speak with each other. However, we will have advisors that will support individuals who feel shy or need an intermediary between their discussions.

    Inshallah we will also be supporting women who feel they need to be in a segregated environment.
    Please bear in mind these events are going to be conducted in a professional manner.

    An attempt to ensure that there is an equal ratio of the sexes, hence spaces are limited to first come basis. Should you feel you need to speak to someone and arrange for bookings please contact one of our advisors, details are as below. Please forward to all Muslim brothers & sisters who are looking for marriage.

    Please note we do not offer services for 2nd wives to the brothers.

    These events are open to all single muslims, divorced muslims and widowed muslims
    3 course Buffet Meal and soft drinks Included.
    For more info please call Alisha on 07737309349 or visit

    • Linda

      October 23, 2016 at 12:43 AM

      Thanks Anon for your advise , yes indeed I was emotionally betrayed and its like somebody has stabbed you at the back then reaches your heart .Might time take to heal but inshallah with Allah’s ( SWT ) support and guidance I will be able to move on . I told my husband that it wont be
      easily for me to forgive what both of them has done to the family and I will be carrying this till my graveyard ..
      Great lesson as well for me to have this problem as my relationship with Allah became more closer and stronger (SWT ).
      Inshallah … shall keep you posted whatever will happen I already involved Allah in solving our problems .

      Good day All and be strong enough to fight any temptations that will come your way . Praise be to Allah .
      Allah Kareem.

      • Waheeda

        December 7, 2016 at 12:36 AM

        Dear Linda, So sorry for your situation. May Allah bless you with patience and the wisdom to make the right decision for yourself and your children. Ameen. Please seek counseling and help with your local masjid or community center regarding this matter. If you choose to stay in the marriage you are in no way obligated to provide for your husband or his wife. Take care of yourself and be strong when dealing with him about your finances and your rights as his spouse and mother of his children.

  26. ifat saeed

    December 6, 2016 at 10:24 AM

    Very nice article very well put..

  27. Essam Rashid

    December 7, 2016 at 3:23 AM

    Sheikh Omar Suleiman just blew the lid of infidelity in various forms. Just to add, physical infidelity also includes self pleasure which Dispossesses the Spouse (Wife/Husband) of their physical right in Islam on the cheater either be married or single. Further, there is nothing is Islam (HARAM) such as opposite Gender friendships or companionship (excluding the Mahrams) which again dispossesses the Spouse (Wife/Husband) of their emotional right in Islam on the cheater either be married or single.

  28. Salma

    December 14, 2016 at 12:01 PM

    I wonder how the situation would be if women were allowed to have more than one husband as well…..

    • polygimous by nature yaqoob

      December 31, 2016 at 2:39 AM

      dear sister salma, medically that would be the cause of many diseases and problems…but apologies may be you did not intend that responded answer……

  29. Sister in islam

    November 12, 2018 at 2:06 PM

    Good article. But it is not always only the husband who is unfaithful. More often I see married women falling into this. I would hope you could speak more of that too, in future articles. And also about women / men who try to allure married husband / wife into a relationship. Many people doesn’t back off trying to seduce another, even if they know they are married. Woman rapist are increasing. Many aren’t even interested in marriage. It’s just about the «private part» for them.

  30. Anonymous

    November 13, 2020 at 7:51 AM

    Okay, currently dealing with a wife/mother of four kids who after 15years of marriage has done adultery(for 2 years) to her husband. The Imaam has asked him to forgive her and brush it under the rug for sake of kids. How can a husband continue like this? Women are also much sneaky and they should fear Allah. Music instills the desire for Zina, so that is one problem, second watching drams of this sort will also plant the seed in our thoughts which eventually melt into our actions. Even though this woman was an islamic scholar and daughter of both parents scholars imaams, did such a grave sin. Music, watching dramas, and un appreciative of her husband is all I know the acts she did. Her husband blessed her with more wealth than any of her friends and cousins so it is not the man who did not provide for her. Womens evilness is worse than the whispers of Satan.
    End of the day it’s both parties men and women, too much of faults of women are hidden in our communities, whereas men’s are not as women cannot keep quiet as men can moreso. End of day, we should nit trust in snyone, but Allah. Poor husband did have doubts, but never could believe in a thousand women, such a woman could do this! Allah knows best! Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: I heard the Prophet saying. “Evil omen is in three things: The horse, the woman and the house.”
    Sahih Bukhari 4:52:110, no matter how straight a woman may say she is, end of the day she is made from a crooked rip, and needs to find it and keep it straight if she has fear of Allah. May Allah help us all aameen. Right now husband is having suicidal thoughts and only I can help him, any advice from the public here?

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