Responsibility for Past Sins

Q. A marriage was hurriedly arranged when it was realized that the woman involved got pregnant. Could I ask if the marriage is valid. The husband sends money home to support his wife and children, but he always feels ashamed because of what happened before his marriage. He also feels that his worship might not be acceptable for the same reason.

A. It is obvious that the couple repented of their sin. Otherwise they would not have got married and stayed together for these years. Therefore, the marriage is valid and their children are legitimate children in the full sense of the word. That the husband should feel ashamed of his past sins is a good sign because it confirms that he looks with abhorrence at the very thought of illegitimate relationship. But he should realize that as far as the past relationship is concerned, his own guilt is in no way less than that of his wife. It is often the case that the woman is the only one to be blamed in such cases, but this is a social blame, rather than legal or religious. She is blamed for the fact that her guilt becomes known as she gets pregnant. The man often escapes all blame and censure. But Islam looks at the matter in the right way and holds both parties equally responsible.
The important thing now is that both man and wife should realize where the guilt lies, i.e. on both of them, and repent with sincerity and firm resolution not to commit such sinful action again. When they do, God will forgive them if He so wills. He has committed Himself to accepting sincere repentance and forgiving those who repent.
The man in this case is being hard on himself and his wife as he questions the validity of his marriage and feels uncomfortable every time he thinks of his wife and marriage. He must not entertain such thoughts at all. His marriage is valid and he should treat his wife and children like all good Muslim parents and husbands.

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