Tuesday, 8 May 2007

nothing but the truth?

question: is telling the truth always the wisest thing to do?

scenario: if your potential/ spouse asked you about previous relationships back in the "jahiliya days", or if you had been "in love" with anyone else, would you tell him (her) the truth? and if so, would that be the best thing to do? and would you ever ask that question? would you offer the information voluntarily? and if so when?

me being me (ie always sitting on the fence!) i can see the advantages and disadvantages of both.

adv: everything is out in the open, it can't come back to haunt you later on, you're not at the stage in your life anymore so have nothing to hide, you'd want to know so it's only fair you offer the information too, he may find out anyway (either through someone else or by accident, there is no point lying as then your relationship would be based on a lie, a clear conscience if you don't have to lie about it.

disadv: jealousy,shaytan may cause evil whisperings and you wouldn't be able to let go of the information and let it rest, he belongs to you now so the past doesn't matter, everyone makes mistakes it's between you and your Lord and no one else's business, you may lose respect/ trust for the person, there's nothing you can do about his past so you may as well live in ignorance of it, it can be thrown back in his/her face during arguments.

so what would you do/ have you done? it would be good to hear about actual experiences so that we (me!) could benefit. you can always write anonymously if you don't want to be identified.


iMuslim said...

I can tell you the Sharia perspective, which is: do not ask the question, and do not give the answer. If you have repented from a sin, any sin, then it is no-one's right to question you on that sin. Whenever a sinner sins, Allah surrounds him with His veil. If the sinner then reveals the sins to others, he tears that veil.

It is different if the person is still sinning; cos then they are a zaani, and you have a right to know this. But if they have repented, and changed their lives completely, then they are no longer a zaani, and should not be treated with contempt.

Here is a list of fatwas from Islam Q&A relating to the question you have asked. Not all of the fatwas are relevant - i just typed in "past relationship" into the search engine. However, i have done the search before, and have found the answers through it.

I know everyone has their own perspective on this, but i believe the Islamic one (on which there seems to be somewhat of a consensus, from what i have seen) makes the most sense.

Allahu 'alim

iMuslim said...

P.S., being in "love" in not a sin in itself. That is a matter of the heart, which cannot be controlled. Being in a relationship is completely different, of course.

I think it obvious that most people have been in "love" (or more likely, infatuation) at least once, if not several times, before marriage. As long as you didn't act on it, improperly, i don't see why anyone should be freaked about said information.

HOWEVER, if the object of your previous affections is still in your life, DO NOT MENTION IT. That will definitely get the shaytaan going... a'authobillah.

hema said...

ukhti so--o much for the link, it helped me with a couple of other things as well :)
i know being in "love" is not a sin, but i also know some people would be jelous and it may affect the relationship anyway, and the person may feel hurt that it was hidden from them if they found out through someone else.

also, if the sharia position is not to give an answer, then what do you do if the spouse/potential constantly nags you about it and won't let it go? if you say "i'm not going to answer you" rather then "no, ther's only ever been you " then it's obvious he/she has something to hide. would it be better in this circumstance to lie about it rather then refuse to give an answer?

iMuslim said...
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iMuslim said...
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Caged Bird said...

Shaykh Salim al amry has said that on this ocasion you are allowed to lie as it could lead to greater fitnah if the truth was known. So basically you can outright deny a matter. However, it can get a bit tricky if the person is easily able to do research on your past and then finds out you lied to him, then obviously that would create a fresh set of problems! But just deny and then say to them i expect you to trust me as you have no reason to go dwelling in the past and the person should leave it there and know that Allah forgives and accepts repentance as long as the past habits have well and truly gone. Im not referring to you personally, just a general commet. I mean you're a teacher right and they always lead boring lives...........Hehehe!!

iMuslim said...

You know what, sis, i have been there before. Only twice has anyone ever asked me the question... actually three times, but the first guy i ignored cos i wasn't interested in him - hah. The second time, i explained in clear terms that he wasn't allowed to ask me that (and it was wrong to presume, anyway), and he was such a God-fearing sweet-heart, mashallah, that he instantly apologized, and thanked me for the information. [If you're wondering why i let the "God-fearing, sweetheart" go, i didn't; things couldn't go ahead cos of personal issues on his side. Qadrullah].

The hardest thing is, i'm not sure whether lying is strictly allowed in this case. I thought it was, but then someone corrected me (or tried to) on another blog, and so i don't want to say that it is, just in case. So i think the only safe thing one can do, is "plead the fifth" (i believe), which is to say nothing, whilst also implying that there is nothing to say. Don't lie, but don't reveal the truth, either.

In the end, if the person completely ignores the Islamic standpoint, then that says a lot about them, in my mind. Though, I can understand why someone would ask, i.e., to make sure nothing would come out in future, and ruin the relationship.

However, my response to that is, if after marriage, they were to find out, it still shouldn't make a blind bit of difference. Because if one had done something to be ashamed off (allahu 'alim), it would have happened waaaay before even meeting them, so why should that affect the present relationship? Especially if one had been a good wife/mother/friend, and everything else, in between?

In the end, if one has done a complete 180 in their personality, actions, and goals, has returned to Allah, and Allah, Ar-Rahman, has hopefully forgiven that person for their past errors, and wiped their slate clean, why should they then be held accountable for the past by mere mortals?

On top of this, if Allah has forbidden that sins should be freely talked about, then again, what right does any human have to get involved?

None, none, none.

The only time a human can hold another human accountable, is where the rights of the former have been denied by the latter. No such right exists here, so there is no betrayal.

I know all this is easy to say, so i pray that whatever sticky situation you or anyone else, finds themselves in, is resolved easily, with the help of Allah.

Just trust in Him, my sweet. xxx

hema said...

"I mean you're a teacher right and they always lead boring lives.........."
he he you should talk to some of my students, who think i'm the most boring person ever (what did you do at the weekend? read a book.
what are you doing in the holidays? marking)

"you are allowed to lie as it could lead to greater fitnah if the truth was known"

i'm not convinced i'd want to lie, or be lied to in this matter. it just wouldn't feel right, you know? isn't your spouse supposed to be the one person you're closest to?
but then again, i know people who've insisted on knowing, and it's destoyed them.

imsulim, actually one of the reasons i was asking the question was because i was thiking of asking them of someone else, just so i know. but this had an effect on me:

"On top of this, if Allah has forbidden that sins should be freely talked about, then again, what right does any human have to get involved?

None, none, none"

good advice as always. thank you xx

Organic-Muslimah said...

Your past is yours. Sharing your past might be destructive. Period.

I usually mention that there were "past" potentials and leave it at that. Otherwise, it's none of their business.

'liya said...

I like all your teaching related posts, I'll be back here, thanks for stopping by my blog!

I'd have to disagree with most here though, I'm the type of person that NEEDS to know everything about the other person or I'd never be able to rest peacefully - that's just for me personally.

If you're married and your partner inquires to know anything about you, I think he/she has the right to know. I'd expect my husband to tell me everything and if I can't deal with something then I have to learn to because obviously he's moved on and has found me and all is right now ... right? I can't hold something from the past against him and I'd expect it would be the same the other way. If he/she can't deal, then why are the two people together in the first place - they haven't even learned understanding. Even if you've repented for a sin, if you don't share things with your partner when they inquire about it, then how is that a marriage built on trust and understanding?

Just my thoughts!

Saabirah said...

Who said openness, trust, good communication and honesty equates to talking about absolutely EVERYTHING and knowing about EVERYTHING in the other person's life? That is a fallacy and can be destructive. I think brothers won't even wanna know about other guys you've considered for marriage let alone actual relationships or being in love before. And even if they ask, they don't really wanna know! Denial is sometimes bliss!

When you dredge up things from the past, you're letting it affect your present thus it's not in the past anymore, especially sensitive stuff like this; they don't get easily forgotten.

It's different if you've been in love or been intimate with someone before without it being blameworthy ie if you've been married before but if not the best thing to do is keep schtum.

hema said...

liya- i can see your point of view, i really can, in an ideal world, everyone should be able to deal with the issues and then move on. and that might work for some people, it's a personal choice. but i think i am inclined to agree with organic and saabirah, there is always wisdom with the sharia way of doing things, and i think such information has the potential to be destructive. so, i don't think i'm going to ask. for one thing, i don't think i'd ahve the guts, and for another i'm not sure what i'd do with the information anyway.

and i'll out some more teaching stuff on here especially for you then:) i liked your thoughtprovoking post on
islamic schools