Disclosing sinful past to prospective spouse
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
Someone asked a similar question in class today. Although Ustaz said its better to be honest, I recently learned from Ustaz Abu Zaki that it is harus to cover one’s aib, which means you are not required to admit to sinful things that you used to do. Wallahu’alam. Here’s a response from IslamOnline.net.
Question: Is it a must to disclose one’s sinful past to prospective spouse?
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.
Dear questioner, we commend your pursuit of knowledge and your keenness to seek what is lawful and avoid what is not. We earnestly implore Allah to bless your efforts in this honorable way.
As regards the question whether one should disclose his/her past sins to the spouse, the answer is definitely no. Since Allah has covered a person’s sins, it is not anyone’s business to seek to lift Allah’s cover of confidentiality. Thus it is unbecoming of anyone to probe into someone’s sinful past.
Elaborating on this issue, we’d like to cite the words of Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who states:
“Islam teaches that doors of Allah’s mercy are wide open for all sinners, provided they are willing to return to Allah in sincere repentance and respond to Allah’s call. Allah says: “O My Servants who have wronged their souls! Do not despair of Allah’s mercy. For Allah certainly forgives all sins.” (Az-Zumar: 53) In light of the above, we can certainly hope that the Merciful Lord forgives our sins. But one must never take the issue of repentance lightly. It is not simply saying, O Allah, forgive me. Rather, one must first feel deep remorse for the sin, refrain from all associations that led to the same, resolving never to do it again, and finally occupying oneself busy with good deeds.
As for the question whether one should disclose his/her sinful past to a prospective spouse, my firm answer is no. Islam teaches that we must confess our sins to Allah and Allah alone. By disclosing our sins to humans we are lifting the cover that Allah has placed over them.”
Excerpted, with modifications, from: http://www.muslims.ca
The eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti, member of the North American Fiqh Council, adds:
“It is not sinful for the girl not to reveal her early actions before making tawbah (repentance) because Allah is the only one who accepts tawbah and who accounts and judges people.
Her concealing of the sins that she committed complies with the guidance of Shari`ah that a Muslim is not in need of revealing what they do of sinful actions. Allah likes evildoings to be unknown and not to be revealed.”
Having said this, however, one must make a definite exception to the above rule. If someone is suffering from contagious diseases (such as being HIV-positive or afflicted with AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases, etc.), it is incumbent upon him/her to disclose it to the prospective spouse [without adding details of one’s past sex life]. Failure to do so is a most heinous offense, as it may most likely expose the prospective spouse to unnecessary harm, which is not tolerated in Islam.
You can also read:
Like what Ustaz said tonight, you are marrying someone for their present and their future, not their past. (Unless they are still engaged in activities that they were doing in the past, then thats a different situation altogether. We are talking about those that has made tawbah.)
Khayr insyaAllah. :) Hope that helps.