Shall I Marry a Man with Sinful Past?

05 January, 2022
Q As-Salamu Aleikom. I am a 21-year-old woman who was born and raised in a western country. Growing up in a westernized way, I was never religious, I committed sins and had a boyfriend (but I never committed adultery). I would pray sometimes, but it was never regular. Alhamdullilah, in my last year of high school, I decided I wanted to learn more about my religion. I began reading Quran, watching lectures, praying 5 times a day and alhamdullilah even started my own Islamic Facebook page to guide others, inshallah. I felt the comfort when I turned back to Allah (SWT) and tried my best to never sin and be a pious person. I have always prayed to have a pious, religious husband and that I would never be involved in any haram relationship again. I am in my last year of university now, and I met a Muslim boy 5 months ago. He was intrigued by me because he had heard that I was religious and prayed. A friend of mine set us up and according to her the boy said he had never gotten married because he hadn’t found the right person yet (the boy is 28 years old). We began speaking, and I prayed istikharah begging Allah not to put this person in my life unless he was the right person for me. Everyday I prayed istikhara, and the signs I saw were always good. I informed my mum about this guy as he told me that his intention was to marry me. The only problem I had was that he had a very sinful past. I did not judge him at all on this because I know people can repent and change. However, he does not pray regularly, was a marijuana user and drank occasionally, although he did fast. After setting a date for him to come ask for my hand in marriage, he backed out and said he was not ready just yet (he is also going through depression right now and stress difficulties with work). I told him I could not continue seeing him if he just wanted to have a haram relationship. He said he did not want to give up on me; he just needed time to get his life sorted. We continued seeing each other and we were involved in some haram sexual acts (NOT adultery). I felt so ashamed of myself and so guilty that I began to drift away from Allah and even stopped praying regularly for a few days. I was ashamed of myself, and I know Allah was disappointed with me. I prayed to Allah to hold me back from temptation. The guy also felt guilty and we told each other that we would not do anything like that again until marriage. One thing about this person I know is that although he is not very religious, he has a very big heart and big fear of Allah, and he is a big believer, but he just needs to be pushed in the right direction. Now we have completely stopped seeing each other as he is going through a difficult time of depression, and we are not continuing unless he knows what he wants. I’ve tried talking to him about religion, telling him to pray and read Quran to give him a push, and he said he knows and that he really is trying to become a better person. Alhamduliallah I feel now much closer to Allah, but I am heartbroken. I really care about this person and don’t understand why Allah put him in my life if he was going to make me sinful after all those istikhrah prayers. How do I know if he is still the person for me and if I should wait? I’m so confused by what Allah has ordained for me.


In this counseling answer:

The counselor feels that this man is not ready for marriage now; he might not be in a stable psychological state that is required in order to take a serious step toward marriage and starting a new family. Therefore, she advises the sister to keep making istikharah and du`aa’ and have great belief that Allah (swt) would surely choose the best for you, whatever it is.

As-Salamu `Alaikum dear sister,

Thank you for giving us this trust and sharing your worries with us. I am really proud of your journey toward Allah (swt) and your eagerness to stay on His path and helping other people take the path of Allah (swt) with you. I pray that Allah (swt) bestows you with the wisdom and piety and steadiness on His path.

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I can feel your pain and confusion through your words. I can feel the warmth of your feelings of care and sincerity toward this brother. May Allah (swt) support him and help him out of his difficult time and depression, and may Allah (swt) guide him to the right path, amen. I hope my words would be able to convey my support and care for you.

It seems that your main confusion is coming from trying to find answers for two main issues: why has Allah (swt) put this person in your life? Is it because he is the right person for you to marry? And if this person has been in some way a reason in making you commit some sins, why would Allah (swt) put him in your way, especially that you prayed istikharah and asked Allah (swt) to only put him in your life if it is going to be for the good?

The other question that you are trying to answer is whether he is still the person for you and if you should wait for him.

Let us first try to tackle the first point: trying to understand Allah’s wisdom in putting you in such an experience in your life. Of course, there is some wisdom after everything Allah (swt) ordains; this is a fact we have to believe in as Muslims. However, another fact we have to believe in is that whatever Allah (swt) ordains for us is for our own good, regardless of whether we realize the goodness in the current moment or in the future. 

What I am trying to clarify is that what Allah (swt) wants from us is to surrender completely to His will with faith, acceptance, and tawakkul, and to try as much as we can to act according to the Shari`ah. We don’t have to exhaust our mind and energy in trying to understand the reasons for Allah’s choices; these are issues that are outside our scope of responsibility and outside our capability to fathom. It is not wrong though to try and reflect on what could be the messages that Allah (swt) is sending to us through such trial, or what could be the lessons that Allah (swt) needs us to learn. Still, this reflection might not lead you to the ultimate reason behind this experience, but it could be of benefit to you in trying to learn and becoming better.

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You made istikharah when this guy first met you and made du`aa’ that Allah (swt) only puts him in your life if it is going to be for the good. Now, this is making you wonder if you have done all this and still that man made you commit some sins. How could this be Allah’s answer to your istikharah and du`aa’?

How could we as human beings judge what is good for us? Sometimes, we think something as good, but later it appears to us as totally bad, and vice versa. Allah (swt) says:

“…But perhaps [that] you dislike a thing and it (is) good for you; and perhaps [that] you love a thing and it (is) bad for you. And Allah knows while you (do) not know.” (2:216)

Another point worth clarifying is that no one “makes you sin” as, in fact, every person is responsible for his/her own deeds. Of course, we as human beings are weak, and we are prone to fall into sins, but we cannot put the blame on anyone but ourselves. I am not saying this to make you feel bad. You have repented sincerely and in sha’ Allah, Allah (swt) will turn all your mistakes into good deeds. What I mean is just to highlight some points for reflection. photo

Now, coming to your second concern, which is whether to still wait for this guy and think of him as a future spouse or not. From what you said about him, it seems this man is not ready for marriage now; he might not be in a stable psychological state that is required in order to take a serious step toward marriage and starting a new family.

One main issue is the fact that he does not pray regularly and that he takes drugs and alcohol. One of the most important characteristics to search for in a future spouse, who is supposed to be your support in your journey toward Allah (swt), is his religiosity. I know that he might be God-fearing and just needs some guidance and support to become better, but at this moment he might not be the right choice. It is also your responsibility to choose the right father for your kids. This is one of the rights of children on their parents in Islam.

Put your care for this man and your good feelings toward him in making du`aa’ for him that Allah (swt) guides him to the right path, in sha’ Allah. Keep making istikharah and du`aa’ and have great belief that Allah (swt) would surely choose the best for you, whatever it is.

May Allah (swt) give you peace and serenity, and may He (swt) reward you greatly for your big heart and your care for other people, and for making effort in staying on His path.

I pray to Allah (swt) my words would be of help to you. Please feel free to write back to us if you need further help.



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About Layla Al Qaraqsi
Layla Al Qaraqsi has worked with islamonline.net since 2008. She has been the editor of the counseling section till May, 2013; then a counselor and writer since March, 2015. She has also worked in early childhood psychosocial development;and managed a support group in Egypt. Layla has been studying psychology and counseling since 2011 in the Islamic Online University (IOU) of Dr. Bilal Philips, University of North Dakota, and in several specialized psychological institutions in Egypt including Tawasol Center, one of the offline projects of Islamonline.net. Her studies also included group psychotherapy, psychodrama techniques, mindfulness.  You can contact her via: [email protected]