Betrayed My Bosom Friend with His Wife

Question and answer details
S (35-male-Bangladesh)
Assalamualikum Wa Rahmatullah. Hope Inshaa Allah everything is ok. Here is my story… I committed sex with my bosom friend's wife before 3 years ago, for only just one time. Somehow this was disclosed to my friend by the help of my other friend. Since then I lost all my friends because my friend disclosed the matter to all friends and also my whole family. All are against me in all aspect since then. I can't move alone because in roads and other places they’re staring at me as culprit one. Yes I confessed my guilt to my friend but I did not acknowledge any sex engagement. He was not only my friend but also brother, but I still didn't understand how could I do this kind of mistake? Several times I went to my friend to ask for forgiveness but failed. Please help how could I get forgiveness from him as well as ALLAH (SWT)? I’ve Started OCD treatment after that incident as my psychologist advice but can't find any happiness. Please advise May ALLAH bless you
Dr. Maryam Bachmeier

Wa alaiykum as salaam dear Brother,

I can imagine how difficult it is to live a life of ex-communication after hurting the people that you love. The matter of adultery and fornication and your repentance to ALLAH is a very personal and deep matter. The matter of gaining the gift of forgiveness from your friend and family is another matter.

Lets begin with the matter of gaining forgiveness from your friend and family.  With as difficult as this might be for you to accept, you must accept the probability that your friend will not be able to forgive you from his heart.  Your friend’s ability to forgive will be in the hands of ALLAH and ALLAH knows best. Whatever the condition it is for your good, and you will have to believe this and trust this for now.  You have asked for forgiveness, and so you should not bother your friend any more except only for the purpose of making amends.  You might have to move and/or change social circles and start all over again in your life.

What is most important now is the condition of your heart for the sake of your soul. Although you seek forgiveness from your friend and family, are you sincerely sorry?  Do you appreciate the severity of the transgression?  Do you understand how deeply this action hurt the soul of the woman that you committed the transgression with?, how this destroys the bond of marriage and the trust between husband and wife?, how this caused so much loss for your friend?, and how this hurt had affected your family who depend on your integrity?

Unless you have actually felt the deep pains of despair that comes from realizing the depth of destruction that one’s actions has caused, the person who commits the destructive action will not truly be sorry for what he or she did. 

Forgiveness comes when the person has repented.  True repentance is not an action that is for show, so that the person can have back what he or she lost. In other words, if your behaviors are changed, because you want your friendship back for yourself, and you want your family to hold you in esteem for your own self, then you have not truly repented.

But, if you have cleaned out the thoughts in your mind that seduced you into this behavior, and you have cleaned your heart of lust, and you are actively safeguarding yourself from temptation, then you have repented (changed).  If you feel and understand the pain, heartache, and loss that you caused your friend and family, and it hurts you too, then you are authentically sorry.

Do not ask forgiveness for yourself , but rather, try to make amends. Unfortunately, it is difficult to truly make amends for something like this, because you stole something intangible and sacred.  However, you can ask if there is anything that you can do to make amends that will at least take the “sting” out of the damage that you caused. Then, ask forgiveness from ALLAH.

Here is the work that you need to do so that you can find peace in your heart:

First, examine what brought you to commit the transgression. Do some soul searching and try to understand yourself better so that you can understand what made you week to this temptation.  Most haram behavior is an expression of a heart condition that is a result of one of the five passions; lust, anger (including revenge), greed or covetousness, arrogance or self righteousness, or laziness. If your soul is afflicted with one of these conditions, and you correct this condition, you will be able to correct most haram behaviors.

Second, surrender to ALLAH. Realize in the deepest parts of your being that only ALLAH can restore you to a pious man. You cannot do this yourself, everything comes from ALLAH. Then make a conscious decision to turn your will and your life over to the care of ALLAH. Admit to ALLAH the exact nature of your wrong, not just the act, but the condition of your heart as well.

Try to find a trusted friend who you can also admit this to; perhaps your therapist as this would ensure confidentiality. Tell your therapist that you are trying to make a conscious effort to cleanse yourself and repent and that this is a spiritual process for you.

After you have taken an honest and fearless inventory of your heart condition and your flaws, ask ALLAH to remove them. Ask ALLAH for strength.  Ask ALLAH for help. It is in the reparation of your relationship with ALLAH that you will find His redeeming Grace and Mercy and Forgiveness and in no other place beside Him.  Only ALLAH can remove your shortcomings. As I mentioned, once you have done this work, you may attempt to make direct amends to the people that you have harmed. 

Only if you are willing to make amends, will you understand the fulfillment of forgiveness, as this willingness to make amends is a reflection of your heart condition. If after attempting to make amends, the people that you have hurt do not want you to contact them, then honor that and leave them alone. 

Focus more on your relationship with ALLAH and begin a new life with a new circle of people.  If on the other hand the friends and family that you love want to continue their relationship with you, then thank ALLAH for you have truly been blessed.

I want to briefly address your mention of OCD.  OCD is a mental illness.  It is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  It does not cause a person to have illegal sex. It is not the condition of worry about the effects of one’s behavior.

Obsessions are recurrent thoughts, impulses or images that are intrusive and persistence and cause severe anxiety or distress and are not simply excessive worry about a real life problem. The individual who suffers from obsession will attempt to ignore or suppress the thoughts, impulses or images by consciously thinking counter thoughts, or by engaging in actions that will stop them.  Being worried or thinking excessively about the real life issues that you expressed here is not obsession by definition.

A compulsion is a behavior that an individual engages in for the purpose of counteracting the obsession and can include excessive hand washing, ordering, checking etc… feeling compelled to do these actions as a way to find relief.  Praying, counting and repeatedly saying words over and over again to an extreme in response to the obsession, with a feeling that one is compelled to do this, this is what compulsive behavior is.

Normal prayer and recitation is not a compulsion.  Even a very religious person who has decided to live an extreme spiritual life is not compulsive behavior because this level of religious living is a choice.  Compulsions are fueled by fear, not choice. By definition, compulsive behavior is a direct result of attempting to quiet down the intrusive obsessive thoughts.

The person will feel driven to perform the acts according to very rigid rules. The compulsive behaviors or mental acts are enacted for the purpose of preventing or neutralizing the obsession, but the actual behaviors and/or mental acts are not related in any realistic way to the actual obsessive thoughts. And, again, neither is related to real life situations. 

If this describes your condition, then you do need to continue with your therapy to address OCD.  However, it is a very separate condition from the condition of immorality for which you need to repent, make amends and seek forgiveness from ALLAH.

I pray that I have been helpful to you.  ALLAH is Most Merciful and ALLAH knows your condition and your heart. ALLAH will guide you if your fully turn to Him.


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About the Counselor:
Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a published researcher, former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant to her Spiritual community in the areas of mental health, clinical disorders, cultural, family and relationship issues, and more.