Sinful Friends: Should I Take a Break?

19 May, 2021
Q Should you be friends with someone who constantly commits zina being in an unhappy marriage?

You guide her to the right and she lies she’s changed and tries to hide it from you but then it’s always the same.

She never quits the marriage for fear of financial security and is a mother but continues to sin.

What role do the friends play who know about this for years, believe it’s wrong, always try to guide to no avail but are close to that person and love her.

Is it obligatory to leave the friend?

Are they sinful for being friends with that person when they know she doesn’t change and she openly talks about the sins given any chance and even if she doesn’t they know she does it.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

We are influenced by our friends, sometimes more than we realize.

It is your choice whether you stay as her friend or not.

I encourage you to examine what you want, what will make you the happiest.

You can consider sitting down with her talking and explaining that it makes you uncomfortable when she talks about her affair because it involves you in it.

Keep reminding her, keep making duaa for her. You are not obligated to make her stop. You gave her reminders and showed support as a friend, you did what you can. Also you are not at fault or blamed for what she does.

Be honest with her that this friendship is not healthy for you right now and you need your space.


Assalamu alaikum,

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 Thank you for taking the time to write in and trust us with your concerns. It is my understanding your friend is in an unhappy marriage. She is engaging in an affair with another man and refuses to leave her husband due to financial security.

I understand you are unsure if it is obligatory to stop being her friend. And how to handle being around this type of behavior. 

A good friend

To begin, it is a blessing that you care enough about your friend to speak with her and write into us. She has a good friend in you. We are influenced by our friends, sometimes more than we realize. This is both potentially beneficial and potentially dangerous in your situation.

Sinful Friends: Should I Take a Break? - About Islam

In terms of benefit, you may be influencing her in a positive way and provide a source of support and positive reminders about faith. On the dangerous side of this, she may influence some people into accepting such behaviors as normal or ethical.

She presents a negative example to people of marriage and handling conflict within marriage.  You state she openly talks about this with people which means those who are weak in conviction may be influenced by her and think this is a viable solution to marital issues. 

I am not a jurist; I cannot give an Islamic ruling on whether this is obligatory, but I would advise to proceed with caution. Your friend is unhappy in her marriage, that is the root issue and what she needs to address, but you cannot make her address that.

I encourage you to try and approach this topic with her if able, encourage her to seek out marital counseling with her husband and try to rectify the situation.

Ultimately, if she cannot find happiness with her husband then encourage her to make a career for herself and do the right thing in seeking a divorce instead of having an affair. 


Check out this counseling video:


Remind

You are already reminding your friend about how unethical and harmful this behavior is. Also you have stood by her with support, for years, and show her love as a good friend. You cannot do anything more.

Keep reminding her, keep making duaa for her and inshallah she will make the decision in time. You are not obligated to make her stop. You gave her reminders and showed support as a friend, you did what you can. Also you are not at fault or blamed for what she does. You are not acquiring sin simply by being near her. 

“And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination.”

[Quran 35:18]

We see in the Quran that we are being told one soul does not bear the burdens/sins of another soul. It is admirable you are worried about this, it shows your faith, alhamdulillah. 

Stay Friends or Go

It is your choice whether you stay as her friend or not. I encourage you to examine what you want, what will make you the happiest. Do you feel like you want to remain her friend or want to stop seeing her?

You can consider sitting down with her talking and explaining that it makes you uncomfortable. When she talks about her affair because it involves you in it. You can ask her to stop discussing this around you. If she is going to continue to engage in this sin with him.

If she refuses to agree to this then she is not respecting your boundaries and comforts as a friend. But if she agrees then she is showing respect for your feelings. 

If you don’t want to try and have this discussion with her, or simply feel like you are done with this friendship. Then I encourage you to be honest with her. That this friendship is not healthy for you right now and you need your space.

You do not need to feel guilty about this, it is okay to tell someone you need space. 

Boundaries

If you choose to remain friends with her, it is important your boundaries are respected. And she understands how uncomfortable this makes you.

Be open and honest with her about your preferences. Such as if you do not want her to speak about this other man. Or speak about any experiences she had with him then tell her.

If you feel uncomfortable talking about her marriage with her then let her know. That you are not ready to talk about that right now because it makes you feel uncomfortable. 

You are not asking her to change her life. You are simply asking her not to force you to engage in certain aspects of it. This is a fair request and one I would make non-negotiable. 

Final Thoughts

I know it is an uncomfortable situation for you to be around this Sister, it is commendable you have tried to help your friend given her positive reminders.

Whether you decide to remain as her friend or need your space from her, keep making duaa for her. Please pray istikhara regarding your decision, you can visit this link to see information about how to pray and read istikhara. 

May Allah (swt) guide your choice, guide your friend, and help heal this situation, ameen.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/youth-q-a/am-i-too-harsh-if-i-cut-ties-with-bad-friends/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/avoid-non-practicing-muslims/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-scholar/man-woman-relationship/friend-engaged-partial-sex-repent/

About Monique Hassan
Monique Hassan graduated with honors in 2012 with her BSc in Psychology and a minor in Biology and is certified in Crisis Prevention and Intervention. She has years of professional as well as personal experience with trauma, relationship struggles, substance abuse, identifying coping skills, conflict resolution, community outreach, and overall mental health concerns. She is a professional writer specialized in Islamic Psychology and Behavioral Health. She is also a revert who took her shahada in 2015, Alhamdulillah. You can contact Sister Monique Hassan via her website "MoniqueHassan.com"