- 1 What’s Considered Cheating In A Relationship?
- 2 4 Ways Your Muslim Husband Could Be Cheating
- 3 Who Is More Likely To Cheat?
- 4 Effects Of Cheating
- 5 How Does Islam Deal With Cheating?
- 6 Should I Accept My Husband Again Or Walk Away?
What’s Considered Cheating In A Relationship?
The most basic and commonly agreed upon definition of cheating is the physical affair in which two people engage in sexual activities with people who are not their spouse. However, there are various definitions of cheating. These range from emotional and digital, to physical. Cheating does not only refer to having a physical relationship with another person but can include simply possessing the intention to have a relationship with someone other than your spouse, depending on who you ask. In Islam, intentions mean a lot and one’s intention to cheat crosses a line both in Islam and within a relationship – which may lead to a break that’s irreparable.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Every traitor will have a banner on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said: This is the betrayer of so-and-so. (Saheeh Al-Bukhari).
4 Ways Your Muslim Husband Could Be Cheating
As we mentioned above, this is the most basic type of cheating. It involves committing sexual or physically intimate acts with someone other than the cheater’s wife. Is a kiss considered cheating? In Islam, kissing is definitely beyond the boundaries of permissible interactions and falls under the category of haram/sinful. It would be punishable in the Hereafter if Allah wills.
So yes, a kiss is haram, is considered cheating and is punishable. However, kissing does not have severe consequences, (of Hadd punishment) as actually having sex with someone does.
This is when someone imagines themselves having sex with someone who is not their wife. This may be an idle daydream used to entertain or something which the cheater deliberately calls to mind every time they’re intimate with their wife. Licensed sex therapist and couples’ counselor Megan Fleming, Ph.D.:
It’s about allowing oneself to use fantasy as a means to create novelty and possibility, which could be with one’s partner or with another person. Fantasy doesn’t equal reality. I like the idea of robbing a bank and never thinking twice about money, but I would never do that in real life. I think it’s important to distinguish fantasy and that which turns us on from what would really turn us on and we’d want in reality
According to this therapist, there’s nothing wrong with idle imaginings. Islam disagrees. The act of imagining having sex with someone other than one’s spouse is forbidden and can potentially lead to sinful acts.
First, by doing this you’re crossing a line into potentially dangerous fantasy territory if feelings begin to grow for someone else and make it difficult to focus on the current relationship. Secondly, to imagine having sex with another person whilst having a spouse or interacting with them simply is cheating. There’s no way around it.
In Islam, involuntary sexual fantasies are not haram, as they occur subconsciously. There are many reasons for these fantasies occurring, such as being affected by one’s environment and things they see (through media or even when going out).
These thoughts can come to most people, especially with today’s youth. But the intention behind these fantasies varies from one person to another., Islam is not rigid – it will take into account one’s natural feelings, thoughts and psychological fluctuations.
The tests we are given by Allah do not go beyond human limitations or impose impossible burdens on the person being tested. Being tested does not under any circumstances mean that the person should act on these thoughts or feelings, however.
In Surah Al-Baqarah it says ;
Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope [2:286]
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
Allah has forgiven my Ummah for whatever crosses their mind so long as they do not speak of it or act upon it. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2528) and Muslim (127).
So although it is possible for a fleeting thought regarding having sex with another person to occur – and having this thought will not be a sin – acting on it by having intercourse with said person is decidedly not allowed. This will be an act of zina which is a major sin.
Emotional cheating is overlooked. Some people don’t even regard it as actually being cheating. so, what is emotional cheating then? This is when the sharing of intimate details about a marriage occurs with someone the person is attracted to.
In most cases, the relationship with starts off as friends and as to the intimate side of a relationship begins to be shared, particularly details of how things are not working out in the original relationship, this confiding advances to a personal relationship.
In Islam, it is strictly forbidden to share intimate details even with a friend of the same sex. To be doing it with a member of the opposite sex would be completely haram.
In the Surah Al-Baqarah it says
They (your wives) are your garments and you their garments. You protect each other and guard each other’s chastity” (2:187). This is further confirmed by Prophet Muhammad (saw) “the worst of the people in the eyes of Allah on the day of resurrection is the man who discloses secrets to his wife and his wife discloses (secrets) to him and then he discloses her secrets to others (Sahih Muslim).
Also, Asma bint Yazid reported:
I was once in the company of a group of men and women seated in the presence of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. The Prophet said to them, “Perhaps a man will mention what he did with his wife, and perhaps a woman will mention what she did with her husband?” The people sat in embarrassed silence until I spoke up and said, “Indeed, O Messenger of Allah, they do so quite often.” The Prophet said, “Do not do it. Verily, that is like a male devil and female devil having intercourse while people are watching.” (Musnad Ahmad 27036)
E-cheating is one of the easiest ways to cheat in the 21st century. Cybercheating refers to carrying out sexual conversations and performing sex acts using social networks, dating sites, mobile apps, and webcams.
Performing these sex acts is also sometimes known as cyber-sex. It’s shocking to learn that there have been occasions where social networks have been blamed for ending a couple’s relationship. The root cause, we know, is actually the lack of control displayed by these individuals in failing to stop themselves from crossing the line on these networks or sites.
Unless boundaries are made and respected, this will become one way to quickly end relationships as it gives one quick access to committing sins. Since technology and social networks are not just here to stay but are in fact constantly growing, it’s wise to figure out how to create boundaries so that no one falls victim to committing sins using these platforms.
Who Is More Likely To Cheat?
According to the Associated Press and the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 22% of men say that they’ve cheated on their significant other at least once during their marriage, and 14% of wives admit to straying.
These statistics also suggest that people are most likely to have affairs with co-workers. As many as 36% of men and women say that they’ve had an affair with someone they work with. Somewhat surprisingly, 17% admit to having an affair with a sister-in-law or brother-in-law.
Moreover, someone who has cheated once is likely to cheat again, unless they have been held accountable, genuinely repent over the sin they’ve committed and are willing to make their actions up to their spouses.
On interviewing Counsellor Kiran Mehboob, she remarked that:
that both men and women are likely to cheat, and that rather than deal with the problems occurring in their marriage they use it as an excuse to have an affair. The most common excuses used by men and women are “s/he does not love me….” “s/he does not care about me” and others along this line.
Effects Of Cheating
Speaking to Counsellor Kiran Mehboob, she explained the effects of cheating on others:
Individuals who have been cheated on, react to infidelity in different ways. This process is a grief process which can vary from someone getting depressed and blaming themselves for why their partner has cheated, to getting angry at their partner for cheating.
Generally, we find that these are the feelings that a betrayed person may go through:
A Feeling Of Sickness
Being cheated on results not only in shock but also a feeling of physical sickness as the individual questions why this has happened to them. Occasionally, when the initial signs of cheating take place and the spouse is caught, they will accuse their partner of doing something wrong in the relationship.
A common accusation that’s thrown about is a lack of satisfaction, that the spouse has not been satisfying the cheater and has forced them to stray. Counsellor Kiran states that:
“you have to convince the woman that she is not to blame for what has happened. If there has been a breakdown in communication this does not mean that the blame falls on you.”
Accepting Reality Hurts
Crying, anger, wishing that this wasn’t happening are all normal reactions. Hate begins to grow in the heart for a person who was loved just a few hours ago. This betrayal and the rejection it implies has a huge impact on the person who was cheated on and can leave them feeling insecure and unhappy.
Saiqa Ali from Redbridge, a mother of two says:
knowing that your partner cheated on you hurts, it makes you feel as if you are lacking in something. Suddenly I started to feel as if I was not pretty enough, I was not good enough and these thoughts started to make me severely depressed. When thinking of his actions I felt like a failure and my confidence was shattered. You feel like an idiot asking yourself and wondering just how stupid you were not to realise that he had been sleeping with someone else.
Trying To Find Reasons
It’s common to ask why. The victim might even ask her partner why, but how can she believe the answer when everything else has been a lie?
“It is hard to remember,” says Saiqa
Whilst you are going through the pain of being cheated on, that the person who cheated is not respecting you enough and not deserve you no matter how perfect they might seem to you…. It took me ages to get over the feelings of betrayal and hurt and I eventually realised I just could not forgive him
There are countless reasons for people choosing to cheat. The biggest reason is that people are presented with the opportunity to act on their sexual urges and they do so without thinking of the consequences. In other cases, it might be the pressure they find in the environment they surround themselves with. Islam has tried to circumvent these calamitous situations by imposing restrictions on the free mixing of sexes.
Abu Usayd al-Ansari narrated that he heard Allah’s Messenger (saw) say to the women on his way out of the mosque when he saw men and women mixing together on their way home:
Give way (i.e., walk to the sides) as it is not appropriate for you to walk in the middle the road.’ Thereafter, women would walk so close to the wall that their dresses would get caught on it. (Abu Dawood).
In today’s times, the intermingling of men and women is regrettably unavoidable. Work and study commitments require it and places such as markets, hospitals and colleges cannot be entirely avoided.
However, precautions should be taken. .One should avoid the free mixing of men and women as much as possible and try and keep their faith intact. Most important is to have self-control. All of the above help to circumvent ever falling into this trap.
Feelings Of Anger And Hurt
The person who’s been wronged will need time to recover as their world has suddenly toppled upside down. Counsellor Kiran Mehmoob says:
The individual who feels betrayed can come across angry through their actions and words i.e. in the way they speak to you, they may be aggressive or harsh, have arguments and keep bringing up the cheating. These scenarios are part of the anger in relation to the grief process. These feelings can be very intense and representative of grief and the loss of the trust in their relationship. The grief this individual feels needs to be explored and worked on, so they can let these feelings go. They may also choose to look at their relationship, in terms of whether this needs to change or whether it’s the right decision for them to walk away
In Saiqa’s case above, the right decision was to walk away. But, this is not the option all betrayed spouses will and should take. Some genuinely want to make the time and effort to make the marriage work and want to find out exactly why their marriage broke down in the first place.
Everyone can get fed-up and disillusioned in a marriage, the key is to keep on trying. So many things can affect a marriage negatively. As long as you’re constantly trying to make it work and to understand where you are going wrong, there is scope to fix your relationship. It is when you stop trying that you will finally know your relationship has ended.”
How Does Islam Deal With Cheating?
Allah, the Almighty, commands in clear words:
And come not near unto adultery. Lo! It is an abomination and an evil way (Al-Isra 17:32).
This clearly shows that Islam not only prohibits zina, but also extends this prohibition to closing all the avenues and means leading to it. This is achieved by prohibiting actions which lead to stimulating desires e.g. pornography and preventing ways to indulge in illicit sexual relations, such as free mixing.
Adultery is seen as one of the most heinous and deadliest of sins in Islam. Its enormity can be gauged from the fact that it has often been conjoined in the Qur’an with the gravest of all sins, shirk or associating partners with Allah.
The Qur’an also says
And the servants of the beneficent are those who do not invoke another god with Allah, and who do not…commit fornication/adultery, for whoever does that shall receive the penalty; for him shall the torment be doubled on the day of resurrection, and therein, he shall abide forever, disgraced, save him who repents and believes and does good works; those, Allah shall change their misdeeds into good works. And Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate (Al-Furqan; 68-70)
As shown by the above verses, the seriousness of cheating on one’s spouse is of the utmost severity. It is to be noted that the punishment specified for an unmarried person guilty of fornication in the Shari’ah is 100 lashes. In the very beginning of Surat An-Nur, It is stated that:
the woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication – flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the believers witness their punishment (24:2)
The punishment for the adulterer or adulteress who is married is the stoning to death of them.
Renowned Scholar Mufti Menk explains explicitly that although the strongest punishment for adultery is the stoning to death of the person, in the majority of cases this is very difficult to prove unless the persons themselves come forward.
This is because it is not permissible for a Muslim to accuse any Muslim man or woman of zina without proof. As specified in the Shariah, it requires four witnesses of good character.
Whoever does accuse someone wrongly would themselves have committed a major sin (of slander), the hadd punishment for which would be 80 lashes, that he should never be accepted in the future and he is not to be described as being of good character.
He further went on to explain that in a country where Islamic law is not implemented, it is not for the general public of Muslims to apply the penal code of Islam. Only where Sharia law is implemented can these laws be applied.
The best thing we can do as Muslims is to engage in tauba and tell others to engage in asking for forgiveness. He also points out that these punishments are deterrents – the 100 lashes are there is so that people are afraid to commit adultery and to prevent Muslims from committing zina. In a lot of cases, it does work.
Should I Accept My Husband Again Or Walk Away?
Amna Siddiqui from Greenwich has been married for 10 years. She recently found out that her husband had been having an affair for nearly 6 months. To make matters worse, not only was she pregnant but so was the other woman in her husband’s life.
Originally, she walked out of the relationship thinking she could never live with him again. But after having spoken to her local mufti and after taking counseling sessions with her husband, the couple has finally started to work through things.
Her husband regretted his mistake and swore that he would reform. He sincerely repented and for an entire year, their marriage went through a difficult phrase.
She has now finally started to forgive him as she acknowledges that although there is no excuse for an affair, the relationship between them had become strained for many reasons. After speaking to the counselor, she realised that there were areas where she had been making mistakes as well. They are now gradually on the road to a happy marriage In Shah Allah.
Marriage is based on trust, compassion, love, and faith. When a husband cheats, that trust is broken so deeply that it takes a lot of time, effort, patience and work to make the marriage successful again.
Rebuilding trust is a long and difficult process. It can be done, but it is harder to do with each extramarital affair. The Quran is very clear in Surah Al-Isra, ayah 32 that we are not to even go near zina, let alone engage in it. Allah (SWT) tells us to stay away from this sin knowing there are such damaging consequences when the cheating is exposed.
Counsellor Kiran Mehboob, in her discussion with Hidden Pearl,s told us:
Individuals who have been cheated on, react to infidelity in different ways. This process is a grief process which can vary from someone getting depressed and blaming themselves for why their partner has cheated, to get angry at their partner for cheating. Furthermore, even if they begin to mend their relationship the past would be brought up over and over again and this is something that could continue until the cheated on spouse starts to feel secure again…..as a counsellor I work together with both spouses to explore their own patterns of behaviour, whether this is the way they communicate with their partner, the way they treat their partner and the consequence of their behaviour in relation to their partner
In this way, you can help both parties come to terms with where they have gone wrong and prevent this from happening again.”
She made it very clear in the interview that while the partner is not secure and has not forgiven her spouse for cheating, the husband needs to make amends to fix the situation and to rebuild the trust and faith in their relationship.
This can take a very long time. However, once the wronged spouse finally manages to forgive the cheater, they should see the slate as wiped clean and start again from positions of equality.
However, this can lead to asking the question, is it really worth staying together? If things were really bad between the couple and the spouse is unable to forgive, forcing them to stay together can have a detrimental effect on the party that was cheated on. She may find it hard to forgive and the psychological effects of the situation might never heal.
This is the point where a divorce comes into play. Yes, they will face the pain of separation but it will shield them and their children (if there are children) from the likelihood of fitnah (tribulation) on account of the husband’s bad conduct and his haraam relationship.
Contrary to popular belief, Muslim women do have the right to divorce in Islam. Whilst it is common knowledge that men in Islam hold the greater responsibility in applying for divorce (as they provide a woman with dowry), a woman is allowed to ask for a separation herself.
In conclusion, there is no one way to deal with a cheating husband. Everything boils down to a multitude of factors. One’s emotional feelings, whether they can get over the pain and, not least if the cheater can make amends to fix the marriage.
It is a long and difficult road, whether the course of action is to continue the relationship or to move on with life. Our advice would be to remember that everyone came into this world with tests and tribulations. Face them with dignity and do what you can to the best of your ability.
If the love is still there, then try to fix the relationship, especially if he is sincerely repentant and is willing to put the effort in to fix the marriage. However, if it’s evident that he cannot change and will do it over and over again, then a decision needs to be made – is it really worth the pain and hurt that comes with the betrayal each time?
Often, children are overlooked in all of this. They suffer through their parents’ arguments and do not know how to deal with the situation. Parents will often put them in the middle of these arguments where they have no way out. It is important to consider whether the relationship will improve or if it will continue to not only impact the spouses but also the children in a negative way.
And never give up hope of Allah’s mercy. Certainly, no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve (Quran Yusuf 12 v 87).
And never give up hope of Allah’s mercy certainly no one despairs of Allah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve (Quran Yusuf 12 v 87).