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Errant Sexual Past: Can I Marry a Practicing Muslim Woman?

26 November, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaykum. About 10 years ago, at the age of 25, I decided to get intimate with a friend who was of the same age. However, during the course of our "intercourse", I did not ejaculate; however she saw my naked body and I, hers. Now I have fallen in love with a practicing Muslim woman and want to marry her. Is this allowed under the Shari`ah? Were my actions, though they happened only once, considered fornication? Will Allah forgive me? Jazakum Allah khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

After repenting sincerely to Allah the Almighty, there is nothing wrong with marrying this practicing Muslim woman.

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In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states,

Sincere Repentance

We earnestly believe that Allah is All-Compassionate and All-Forgiving. We also believe that He is ever willing to forgive those of His servants who turn sincerely to Him in repentance and ask forgiveness of Him.

Allah says, {Verily, I am Forgiving to him who repents and believes (in Me) and does good works, then follows the right path.} (Taha 60:82)

Conditions of Repentance

Sincere repentance, however, is not mere words. Rather it involves tangible steps that one must take that reflects true remorse.

These steps include:

  1. feeling true sorrow and remorse for one’s sin;
  2. refraining from the sin as well as all the circumstances that lead to it;
  3. resolving never to repeat the same again;
  4. and finally, following it up with whatever good deeds one can afford to do.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “If you happen to commit a bad deed, follow it up with good deeds in order to wipe it out.”  (At-Tirmidhi)

Once you have taken the above measures, you can certainly hope to receive the mercy and forgiveness of Allah as He Himself has promised.

Prophet Muhammad said, “A person who has sincerely repented of a sin is like one who has never sinned!” (Ibn Majah)

Marrying a Practicing Muslim Woman

Having changed yourself for a better person, there is nothing wrong with you marrying this practicing Muslim woman.

However, it is still a good idea for you to tell her that you were not a good Muslim in the past so that she makes up her own mind.

Never Divulge the Specific Sins

While doing so, you must never divulge the specific sins you have committed that Allah has covered for you. For by doing so, you are removing the cover that the Merciful Lord has placed over them.

An exception to this, however, must be made: If because of your fling in the past you have contracted any contagious [sexually transmitted] disease or possibility of contracting it, then you must divulge the same in order to protect your future partner.

Let me conclude: Never let past sins weigh you down. Look to the future and the infinite Mercy of Allah, who is All-Compassionate and All-Merciful.

Since Islam is above all a religion of mercy, Islamic history is full of sinners turned into saints.

So, look forward to the Mercy of Allah which He has promised to those who flee to Him in repentance and good works.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

About Sheikh Ahmad Kutty
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada