In this counseling answer:
• You may want to approach him with some questions. Based upon your dad’s response, you may be able to tell whether or not it has touched his heart in regards to his own sins of adultery.
• If this is an ongoing act, what it comes down to is that it is between your parents.
• Try to keep busy with your goals and visions for your future as well as providing supports around the home when needed.
I am sorry to hear about your father committing adultery. Finding this out must have been a big shock as well as a painful reality to his behavior. It is never easy when we find out or see one of our parents committing a big haram.
However, we must realize at one point – parents are not perfect. It is your dad’s job as head of the family to be a good example concerning Islam as well as being a good and just father. It always hurts when someone we love has done something as grave a sin like this. We often feel helpless in knowing what to do.
I do not know if this is a onetime act of adultery your dad did or if it is a repeat. If it is a one-time thing and you just happened to find out about it, perhaps your dad made a mistake, fell into sin and already repented to Allah and sought forgiveness. In this case, there is nothing to do. It is between your dad and Allah.
In a hadith, it says that
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘The one who repents from sin is like one who did not sin.”
You surely do not want to bring up a sin that you just found out about and one that your father has repented for.
If this is something that has been going on regularly and you have proofs, then it is a different matter. If your dad is in the habit of committing adultery, clearly he does not fear Allah nor value Islam nor his marriage. In this case, you may want to approach him with some questions. The questions I am suggesting are different, however, then what you may expect.
You may want to approach him for advice. Give him a scenario of a “friend” (no names) who dad is cheating on his mom. Tell him your friend is very hurt and upset. Explain that your friend loves Allah very much and fears for his/her dad and also feels sad for the mom. Explain to him your “friend” loves the dad very much, but the sins he is committing is destroying your “friend’s” heart. Ask your dad, what should you advise your friend to do.
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By asking for his opinion on an issue that mirrors his own behaviors, insha’Allah he will begin to think about his own accountability to Allah and your mom. He may also begin to think about what effects it is having upon his children (you).
Insha’Allah, he gives you good advice. Based upon your dad’s response, you may be able to tell whether or not it has touched his heart in regards to his own sins of adultery. If the conversation has gone well, thank him and tell him you will let him know how your friend is doing and ask him to please pray for your friend and his dad.
Approaches such as these are not confrontational. I do suggest this approach at first as it is one that is least likely to cause him to be defensive and close down, yet it may insha’Allah make him begin to think about his own behaviors. Without being directly accused, he can insha’Allah begin to make changes in his own heart and behaviors, repent to Allah and begin to make amends in whatever way he can. By using this approach, he is able to hold “face” and is given the chance to make changes.
He may even figure out that the “friend” you are speaking of is, indeed, you and the dad is himself. This may also be a wakeup call. No parent wants their children to know of weaknesses/sins such as this as they know they will be diminished in the child’s eye as well as the consequences they must face to Allah.
If the above does not work, you may also wish to confront your dad directly. This is not exposing his sins to others, but it is rather to remind him of Islamic principles as well as his obligations to Allah, his deen and his family in regards to haram behaviors. It is done in the spirit of concern, love and want him to be right with his Lord and his wife.
Confrontational approaches are more direct in that you state your proofs of his adultery and point out the Islamic, moral and familial prohibitions. It should be done with love and understanding, no matter how angry, hurt or upset you are. You do not know the full details and only Allah knows his heart. This approach can also make him angry and embarrassed, thus, risking closing doors to further communication. However, we are to help one another as Muslims in private to correct sinful behaviors that we have proofs of.
As far as your mom goes, she probably already knows or at least has an idea. As women, we often have an intuition of these things. If it was a onetime act possibly she has forgiven him. She may be hurt but perhaps she has decided to trust in Allah and forgive.
If this is an ongoing act, what it comes down to is that it is between your parents. Your father must come to a point wherein he returns to Allah and seek repentance and forgiveness as well as makes amends with your mom.
Focus on Your Life
The above options are only suggestions should you feel you must address it. I would kindly suggest that whatever the outcome, you go on with your life, try not to focus too much on his behaviors and trust in Allah to touch his heart. Make dua to Allah for this situation. Stay focused on your school, career and Islamic life. Try to keep busy with your goals and visions for your future as well as providing supports around the home when needed.
While this may not sound optimal, it is the reality that the situation has either passed and your dad repented or your dad is continuing with haram adultery and most likely your mom is aware, but quiet about it for now. Whatever the case is, please do know that only your dad can fix this (if he hasn’t already) and he and your mom must work out these issues. Focus on yourself right now and draw close to Allah. Allah knows best and is most merciful.
Hope in Allah
Remember, there is always hope in Allah when we sin, when we fall short and when we lose our way. In the Qur’an, it says
“And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.” (3:135)
We wish you the best,
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