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Beware of the Marriage Bandits

I am sick of hearing about those brothers who prey upon the susceptibility of our sisters, using deception as a tool for marriage, and marriage as a guise for the fulfillment of their evil desires. I fear that if something is not done to tackle these abuses, we will only see the number of such incidents increase. Therefore, I feel compelled to share some of the cases I have encountered in order to highlight the nature of the issues at hand, and that we as a community must take drastic action to stop or minimize this evil.

One of the incidents which I came across just recently involved a sister who was divorced and the custodian of her children. She was living alone, away from her parents, when she was approached for marriage by a brother who seemed to be a practising Muslim. She had described that her parents were unhappy with her re-marrying due to her situation. The brother managed to convince her she had a legitimate Islamic right to search for a walī other than her own father due to the fact he was forbidding marriage for her on the basis of what he deemed to be a non-Islamic pretext. She was apprehensive in having a walī appointed from the same cultural background as she feared she may have been exposed within the community. However the brother managed to comfort her, exhorting her to appoint him, himself to find her a suitable walī. Due to her naivety and his callous experience in manipulating women, she accepted. So to summarise; she accepted to marry the brother without consent from her parents via phone and skype, with no witnesses or wedding, her walī was anonymous to her, and the brother she was to marry had the ability to appoint an anonymous walī for her. A few days after the questionable ‘nikāh’ had taken place, her ‘husband’ came to her with no other reason but to fulfil his sexual desire. It was only after this that she discovered he had various other sexual partners whom he had claimed to have married previously. A few days later he left her, however he would continue to return in order to blackmail her for sexual relations as he had convinced her their ‘nikāh’ was still valid. As a result, the sister unfortunately contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

In another incident, a sister who reverted to Islām ended up cohabiting with two men at the same time! Initially she married a brother who had come to the UK to study. The brother then left for his country, only to return within a few months. As a result of being alone, she was approached by another brother who offered to help annul her marriage contract. As she now believed her husband was no longer able to return to the UK, she proceeded. The brother introduced her to a supposed mufti who was located abroad. He went on to annul her contract and pronounce her as a divorcee who was able to marry again. Sometime later, the proclaimed mufti, who this brother had recommended, approached her for marriage himself! As he claimed he was of a certain school of thought, he managed to convince her she did not need a walī and hence they could marry over the phone. They went on to proceed with what I call a ‘tele-nikāh’, and she, without even seeing this so called mufti, was ‘married’ once again. Similar to the previous incident, there was no wedding ceremony and the witnesses were all communicating to the sister via telephone. She later met the mufti, who pronounced himself at her door with a gift and flowers. Overwhelmed, she ‘consummated the marriage’ with him. Shockingly (!), this proclaimed mufti also left after a few nights to his home city where he had a previous wife. A few weeks later, the first husband returned to find that she had ‘married’ someone else. He thereby explained that her marriage was invalid as she was still married to him, and began to sexually exploit the sister through blackmail while forbidding her to speak to the so called mufti. This brother would then leave, and the mufti would return, leaving the sister confused as to who she was legally married to. Eventually, the sister began to comprehend the seriousness of the situation at hand and decided to get in contact.

To mention yet another case in which a sister was taken advantage of: a brother had managed to deceive this sister into believing he was seeking asylum in the UK due to crimes he was accused of in his country. He needed a place to take refuge and so persuaded the sister to marry him. They lived together in secrecy, within which time the sister used to act as a slave for this brother. She used to cook, clean and spend money on the brother only to receive abuse in return. To make matters worse, she found the brother would sleep during the day and watch pornography during the night. He used emotional and religious blackmail to give her the impression that she was always in the wrong, and made her feel debased. He used to say “Allāh will never forgive you if you call the police” and used rhetoric such as “It is kufr to seek help from the disbelievers against a Muslim” to prevent her from reaching out for help from the authorities. She lived as a slave for some time until eventually she managed to escape from his web of deceit and torture, in what is a long, disheartening and traumatic story.

As you can see, these are distressing incidents. Prior to discussing any solutions, we must analyse these cases to determine the explanation behind their occurrence. The reasons are vast and complex, so I will mention but a few key factors.

We are able to ascertain that the sisters mentioned is these and most other cases are living alone or do not have a guardian present. They are either divorcees who have left the home of their parents, or new Muslims living by themselves. It is disheartening to know that many sisters insist they are able to live independently from their protectors and maintainers (who are their husbands, fathers and brothers) as Allāh has mentioned of them in the ayah. On the contrary, our sisters should accept that without the presence of any of these individuals who care for their safety, they will become easy and vulnerable targets, prone to susceptibility. It is within the fiṭrah (natural disposition) of a female to look for a male custodian around her, whether it be her father, brother or husband. This is why the sharīʿah gave the custody of the daughter to her father when she has reached maturity. A female who reaches the stage of adolescence is in need of a father figure in her life. If this figure is absent, the desire to replace this fulfillment could end up through a means which is ḥarām.

And Allāh mentions in the Qur’ān:

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” [1]

It is sad that some Muslim women show dissatisfaction when knowledge is brought to them that the custody of the daughter lies in the hands of her father once she reaches maturity. Are they unaware that the dissatisfaction they show may be directed to the teachings of Allāh and His messenger (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam). May Allāh protect us all from this hypocrisy. Many sisters, in particular those who come from broken families with the absence of any father figure, are more likely to be led astray by individuals who they misplace their trust in knowingly or unknowingly. These sisters need to take counter-measures to construct a barrier between themselves and evil individuals, through appointing a reliable and honourable safeguard. A hungry lion is more likely to target an isolated gazelle. Many sisters may have disagreements with their fathers due to age and cultural gaps which is understandable. However there is no man in the world who will protect and go through what a father will for his daughter. I recall several cases in which sisters would leave their fathers’ home to stay with friends and then fall into ḥarām relationships through them. To conclude, there is no greater shield than that which your parents (and particularly your father) may provide for you, so do your utmost to cherish them. And live mercifully with them without speaking an ill word to them, as they nurtured you when you were incapable of anything, and they have and will always be there for you.




[1] al-Qur’ān 30:21




About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Council of Europe as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.


  1. Salaam it breaks my heart what is happening to sisters i myself have heard of other cases of corruption in the ummah, most of the victims are in the cultish selifi groups where they are passing sisters around like meat and abusing there wives mentally emotionally and sexually, with religious conviction,
    Also I’d like to ask you to consider reverts in your advice as we do not have Muslim family and our family home is not suitable for Muslims or our children, what is our solution then and how old should our son be in order to carry out the duty of a mahram

  2. MashAllah a good article. every Muslim must read it.

  3. I learned about “madkhali” (i do not want to label just for identification purposes) when someone who shared their ideologies divorced me after marrying me for a month online. Now it makes sense to me why he was behaving that way. I am a revert and is living alone and no muslim support around-a perfect prey. Alhamdulillah Allah got me out from it and bring me into realizing the evil of their practices. I am a muslima and believe that islam is to be practiced and understood according to the ways and understanding of the salaf. Subhanallah I just cannot believe that such people have the audacity in doing what they do and attribute it to sunnah. I appreciated his zealousness to the deen, him migrating to an islamic country and never wanting to go back to the west and him spending 5x a day in the masjid…I appreciate him commanding me to wear abaya… I loved how he introduced me to a lecture on tabarruj…and I agree with it and recognize how women should wear the proper hijab… But his way of saying it was harsh and no consideration and wisdom in it….Later he would prove to be manipulative…he would say such and such person is not a salafi, salafi lecturers include such and such. … Subhanallah researching how they do it, I now understand why he behaved that way. He was quick to abandon. The marry-divorce-marry is real. I thought I so screwed up in my deen for him to just divorce me like that but now I understand… It is a cycle that is real.. He would talk about how he spoke to different sisters and their mahram and nearly marrying them. He would prove to be a pervert and saying it is his right. He was married twice in the past and is married to a sister who he has numerous children with and he was contemplating to divorce and I always told him that she is her sister in islam and he should not divorce her that he should treat her well and talk to her nicely and the nerve has the audacity to say I am selfish because I stayed single for a long time, like what the heck? He was also almost suspicious and can just spoil an otherwise tranquil moment. He would ask me if I share the same opinion of him asking for donation from other muslims to start a business other than going back to the west. I think this is one reason why he decided to divorce ( I hope that this was the truth rather than him intending divorce after marriage for a short time to fulfill his evil desires ) because we dont agree on stuff such as that. He was living for years I guess on donations ( that is how I understood it the way he put it) because he evaded the topic when I was trying to ask. He would tell me he has the right to see my phone and all if he suspect something but me on the other hand has no right to do that to him-that I should not ask where he is and what he is doing. Seriously? I then realized he does not know arabic nor is able to do ruqya on himself but he is quick in labelling such and such person is not salafi…. May Allah guide him and us but I hope muslims will place this issue in the forefront everywhere around the world so every muslima is aware of what they are… These marriage bandits do not only do this in the west but expand their activities worldwide… I heard a sheik that they banned after giving a talk to greenlane masjid that this particular group does not like and reality struck me… It was said that they marry with the intention of divorce at a short time and pass the sister to another brother and move to the next meat… That they live in donations and subject their family to govt subsidies….Subhanallah this was a reality for me and reading further, to many muslimas out there. They seem indeed to share the same characteristics in general… Harsh, rude, hizbi (though they claim they are not), poor manners. My ex husband wanted his rights fulfilled and very little consideration to the rights of other people… I still cannot believe my mind but alas it is Allah’s qadr and there is always good in it. Alhamdulillah. I just want to spread awareness to my fellow muslim sisters.

  4. Subhanallah. It is astonishing to hear that these men will try to use Islam as a vehicle to fulful their own evil desires. I pray Allah Ta’ala protects the women of our ummah from these actions.
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  5. JazakAllahu khairan Shaikh for an article that was much needed in the Muslim community.

  6. You Post Article with good things please keep your work

  7. I believe it is correct that we should take action within our own communities to not only eradicate this problem but highlight cases to increase awareness to susceptible individuals.

  8. A great and an eye opener article. The writer has highlighted a very serious issue in a very engaging manner. Our sisters have to be extra careful when choosing their life partners.

  9. i like your website so much. i have listed your website into my favorite bookmarks 🙂

  10. Assalammu Alaikum.

    I have just gone through this very situation. I was a slave for 8 years, cooking, cleaning, caring for the kids, working, taking care of all of the affairs of the home. My husband would sleep all day and watch porn and look to chat with other women on Facebook. We have a daughter. How could I possibly let her live with him??? He was very abusive both physically and emotionally. Please advise.

    • JustAnotherHuman

      Sister I’m sorry no-one has replied to you yet. Are you still with this man? If not then you and your daughter should stay far away from him. He sounds like a waste of space. Do you have any supportive family around you? Try to get help from them. May Allah make matters easy for you my dear sister. Have faith, and patience!

  11. Honourable Sheikh,

    Why do you keep calling these criminals ‘brothers’?

    May Allah reward you abundantly for all your efforts and all the good you do.

    Jazak Allah khayr.

  12. I love this content. Thanks for sharing

  13. Jazakallah khair for sharing.

  14. I know people mens/womens both revert and born muslims are doing several things that has nothing to do with Islam.
    at the same time yes we need to point out problem’s and solve but v mostly become judgemental on everyone.
    Like those who are divorced or who came from asia. They r concidered bad
    if one is bad is dosent mean that all are bad who are in same proble .
    my friend married with divorce 2 childrens and they r happy and he is a student and expecting a baby soon.
    so he is a student and she is a divorced women of 2 childrens.
    Dont be judgemental towards a freshi or any divorce.

    If one women ask for her right as wife then she must read her responsibilities as wife too.

    Relation will never breakup. ISNAHALLAH

  15. AOA

    JazakumAllah Khair for writing this article. I agree with brother.

  16. All of that happens when anyone doesn’t know what Islam says about that matter.
    Jazakallah khair for sharing.

  17. Assalam,

    Thanks for sharing the tips

  18. Those who do as Surat al-Asr advises are not in loss. Where are they? In success, peacefulness, gratitude, and progress.

  19. So surprised with this article and just wondering why the sister made simple dicission for her marriage.

  20. You all parents! Wake up and teach Islam to your kids! If a woman knows her rights, she won’t be , By Allah, easy victim of those deviated jerks! Of course, women being mentioned in the article, should be very very easy and empty and men should be low-lives other than this just doesn’t match their absurdity levels! I absolutely ashamed of their level of low levels as a Muslim! Just regret and turn you all faces to Allah and beg for being forgiven by Allah. May Allah forgive us. Amin.

  21. Assalam alykum,

    Jazaka Allah khair for this article and highlighting a major problem affecting our communities.

    I agree with the comments that call to the need for sisters to learn Islam and work on their confidence and the creators of Allah who will never let them be without guidance. Life is not easy and its tests are way for us to draw closer to Allah and become stronger, by His will.

    Every story has many sides. I hope that the following articles will be directed at the other parties: the men who are abusing their positions and the sister’s vulnerabilities; the parents who compel their daughters to prefer to live on their own and not keep close relations that they feel they need to act alone in these matters and of course our Muslim communities where many sisters (revert or born Muslim) feel isolated and judged.

    May Allah guide us to his righteous path and make our reliance on Him only.


  22. Assalamu aleikum. I feel the core of the problem is that many Muslim women are not given the proper training to be a confident Muslim. Especially the reverts. There should be seminars to teach Muslim Women about self respect, self awareness and more over, there should be no pressure for a new muslimah to look for a husband. I have been there, when I converted, sisters would just offer me friends of their husbands without knowing if we would be suitable, just because, ‘I needed to be married’. Alhamdullilah, because I was stable as a non Muslim, I was also stable as a Muslimah even though many sisters tried to erode this confidence. So, I am thinking of new sisters who may have psychological problems, who may have been abused as a child, they need nurturing and help growing in their Islamic faith but they are not given the opportunity. There is pressure to marry. Stop this. A relatively knowledgeable sister in her rights and duties in Islam, who values herself, will automatically be a good wife and will avoid the marriage bandits. Every new revert sister and brother who has suffered as a non Muslim should be offered at least a bit of counseling from the Mosques. They should be prepared to the life as Muslims. And it should be free. As the system is now, there is recruitment for new muslims and muslimahs but nothing is done after their conversion. Some are totally on their own, feeling pressured into things that they do not know at all. Sorry but this is not acceptable. Unfortunately, a sister I know converted to catholicism and her new church were offering a year of classes to learn life as a new catholic. It made me sad that no many of our Mosques do the same for our own reverts.
    The problem is not the marriage bandits. The problem is lack of education for Muslim in their faith. Of course, we have seminars and talk. But where is the one to one? where is the compassion and the desire to help? Most of the Mosques are run as businesses. Some offer counselling, but it is not even free. Once we educate, counsel and nurture our Muslim brothers and sisters, and there are confident in their faith , then the marriage brigands will have no takers.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts sister Khedija.
      Yes, I know it’s too late to reply now after a year but I have been through relationships with some revert sisters and I decided to start thinking how to help them out especially in this topic!
      I’ll be glad if we can get in touch.

    • Yes , I agree with you sister khedija. But I would like to give u some suggestion on how to educate our new sister and brother to holdon to islam, do not give up. U can pick up among the muslim sister and brother who knows most about the solah and teach them often either at the mosque or at community club nearby. Say the prayer in a group loudly, so they can learnt how to perform solah. Be patient and teached them step by step included the teory and practical. I’m living far far away from your contry otherwise I can surport u in these lesson. I even can teached them how to learnt qur’an reading with the ( tajwid ). For your info my country is Singapore. Any question do not hesitate to email me. Thank you.

  23. some men are just worst than **** what else can you say you’d hope these men get ***** and *****

  24. Dr Imran khan

    This article is not a surprise. A few years ago many scholars where promoting the idea that a Wali is not needed and hence in many cases fitna occurred. I am sorry but I have no sympathy for the sisters whatsoever. Common sense should be used in all relationships. Secret Nikahs, telephonic nikahs, Skype Nikahs all sound suspicious and should be avoided. Indeed many brothers have made marriage a joke. I know of many brothers who have secret wives and if any hassle happens they simply dump them, furthermore we all know that the fitna of marital affairs is common within our communities so the real issue is of taqwa and discipline between brothers and sisters.

    I am sorry that this seems harsh but as a person who works in the medical profession we see and hear these things all the time. Many of the cultural habits migrant communities had were not necessarily bad in regards to marriage and family and since we have stopped them we are becoming more involved in fitna.

    It has become fashionable for brothers wanting to marry revert women and I am sorry to say that even some revert sisters with knowledge are mixing with men freely. I find it shocking and amazing that even revert sisters do not have he sense to know that fornication is haram and it is no surprise to the community that men are predators. In reality many men are. They were predators before they started practicing and they are predators now. I know of people in Birmingham who have had 5-6 wives and they are still young. The blame lies with men and women. We need to behave decently ourselves.

    • As salaam alaikum the love for islam and fellow Muslim required honesty and gentleNess in dealing with them the sister above were reverts probably new at the time trying to please Allah wa ala via nikah not zina and a lack of wali was promoted to them who have ilm shame on those who deceived them and know that Allah is merciful and loves us to be and to inform of the rights and correct deen not judgement and unkindness really a bad comment without duas for those to be corrected in their guidance of the rules of getting married based on quran and suñnah and not deceived and judged and even further cursed and given the blame and responsibilities of their choice is Allah knows best and the author of this work is highlighted the sins done to those most vulnerable goodNess beget goodness and the reward is from Allah alone when doing what you just done is it for the deen and done according to the methods done in deed which promotes sincere advice and stopping your fellow muslims who opressed or are opressed fellow the guidance and not your nafs it most unpleasant and unwelcoming. May Allah guide us and grant us true action and ilm him a with the sincere intention of pleasing Allah alone without fear or censorship of other based on no ilm him a and incorrect doing of actions.

  25. The following is a website that already names and shames prolific ‘marriage bandits’ especially those that have gained notoriety in US muslim circles. It was actually made with the support of the victims themselves

  26. Negative and positive relationship patterns impact on a person’s definition, understanding and demonstration of love including self worth and self esteem.

    These individuals often have to untangle the damage their parents have created unless they are fortunate enough to marry a great spouse and create a healthy new relationship pattern.

    Read Phillip Larkin’s famous poem about parents.

  27. We all develop a positive or negative relationship pattern with the opposite sex formed since childhood as a result of our parents relationship which also impacts on sibling relationships.

    This can influence a person’s romantic decision often requiring therapy or coaching plus a strong ongoing support network to break bad relationship patterns which are often deeply ingrained.

    These people are NOT lacking in intellect or thick in any way.

    Walk a thousand miles in their shoes before you judge them.

  28. There are also many shayks who perform Ruqyah only to prey on vulnerable women luring them into pre-marital fornication and not only a sham marriage.

    These same Raaqis who are sexual predators are fiercely protected by loyalists (practising Muslim men and women) who fervently side with the Raaqi, disbelieving that a Raaqi can ever be guilty of such heinous crimes. As per usual the community blames the woman and the Raaqi is allowed to continue with his crimes.

    Some women may not have a mahram to visit a Raaqi. Yet most sisters are too self centered to accompany a fellow sister for fear that the jinn will transfer and have detrimental affects in their own lives. You will find that a non Muslim has more courage in these circumstances and care and accompany their friend.

    These Raaqis should be held to account and struck off.

    More women should become Raaqis to perform Ruqyah on sisters to protect women

  29. Every Muslim man rushes to marry white skinned Muslim women including so called practising Muslim brothers.

    Let’s get real here and talk openly about why these same Muslim men avoid marrying black Muslim sisters.

    In today’s 21st century, Muslim men want a second wife to satisfy their sexual desires rather than to help a sister in need. What a selfish reason! Can these men even satisfy a second woman let alone his first wife!

  30. I’m also sick of Muslim women judging Muslim sisters who have made the wrong choices in matters of the heart.

    Judgemental sisters – these women are NOT weak. Some of them may have been raised in a dysfunctional home resulting in poor choices in love as a result of social conditioning at home. I suggest that you all take a short course in psychology and read a book called ‘women who love too much’ before embracing a superiority complex.

    If Almighty Allah can forgive anyone of their sins who are you as a mere mortal to judge!

    Also some sisters may have a father who committed adultery several times because of his obsession with white skinned women. This disgusting and shameful attitude seeing Muslim men pursuing white winner like dogs is typical of Asian, Arab and black men!

    • Sister, do you include your father, grandfathers, uncles and brothers in that sweeping and racist last statement?
      Or is your angst reserved for brothers like me, who you do not know and have never met, yet feel it is perfectly ok to tar us with the same brush?

      BTW, while I have studied with the sheikh and have a tremendous amount of respect for him, my feeling is that this article is inadequate.

      For example, the second sister, who ‘married’ two men… are we to feel sorry for her? Really? Safwan, shaikhi but that is not fair. She was not forced but chose to marry a man from abroad. First, establish the crime. Only then thus the ‘defence’ come into it.

      To assume that she is ‘weak’ etc. is a mere assumption. If the ‘mufti’ and her first husband are exploiters, what pushed her, living in a city where help and advice can readily be obtained, into playing with marriage this way? Please do not just blame the foriegners.

      And that is another point.

      Most of what the shaikh has commented on is about foreigners, or those new to Islam.

      I fear this ‘article’ is too one-sided; it oppresses men (good men) and panders to prejudice.

      I have an advice for the brothers who place themselves in position of being judges:
      Fear Allah.
      Be painstaking in your research of the law.
      Publish reasoned judgements, even if anonymised.
      Never take short-cuts due to feeling pressure from anyone.
      Think again about the ramifications of what you do.
      Do the right thing by Islam.
      Fear Allah.

      • What help can be obtained in this city? If you have no family and mahrams, what help? who’s going to help? The Muslim Community? I don’t think so

  31. It is not only revert women who are affected. Many Muslim women born into Islam also encounter domestic violence at the hands of their father and/or brothers resulting in no choice but for the sister to leave her parents home.

    In addition, the father may be physically present at home but enjoys spending most of his time galavanting with his friends only to return home bad tempered.

    The family may also be afflicted with jinn and black magic fuelling more fire to an already abominable situation.

    Daughters may answer back to her parents because she cannot tolerate double standards and injustice any longer. Parents are guilty of failing to see their own mistakes yet are quick to criticise their children.

  32. Salaam,

    A great article and a goodeye opener. I do feel for the sisters and hope that Allah swt makes it easy for them. I am in no way condoning the actions of these predatory men, however it does seem in the article that both sides are at fault. Any person with some intellect does not just sleep with men they just met let alone two!! whether or not you believe them to be your husband at the time. Its seems the women are susceptible to manipulation and that they should first be educated Islamicly to protect themselves and future generations, as their will always be bad men around Muslim or not.


  33. Jazakallah khair Shaikh for this crucial article. I have read the comments and I’d like to encourage you all to be patient because the best is yet to come. Inshallah this valuable article will be the beginning of important change in our ummah. Currently the marriage bandits feel safe because they feel that they can’t be touched, but the more we speak about this, the harder it will become for them. The worst thing is that they are protected by their friends and associates who know what they are like but still give false marriage testimonies. For more reading on this please take a quick look at Remember this is just the beginning from our Shaikh and inshallah the best is still yet to come. May Allah grant you success in this noble endeavour ameen.

  34. My wife and I been trying to help sisters locally since the mid 1990s seeing that often revert sisters and sisters without proper family support often fall prey to hungry wolves. In my experience some sisters after being charmed by the man would bypass their wali or waqil and not listen and later have regrets.

    This has nothing to do with any particular culture, religion or sect as exploitation of women exists in all cultures in varying degrees.

    Often I have chased up sheikhs and imams to take the responsibility of wali but often they turn down this responsibility. Understandably when there is a family and Muslim father its a very sensitive matter.

    This is a complex matter and often marriage may not be an immediate solution to the sisters problems.

    May Allah protect and guide us all to that which is best.

  35. Haha
    MAY Allah swt fulfill your wishes .

  36. Assalaamu Alaykum

    JazakumAllah Khair for writing this article. I agree with brother Muhammad, the common thing in all of these cases is lack of knowledge. We as women need to educate ourselves on what is and is not permissable in deen in order to save ourselves from being duped by predators like these. It is lack of knowledge that leaves us open to being manipulated by opportunists looking to take advantage of our vulnerability.

    It is sad to see that our Muslim brothers, the very ones whom Allah has ordered to protect us are the ones whom we need protection from.

    Allah has placed the duty on the men of this ummah to protect the women of this ummah, but sisters if they are not fulfilling this duty then we need to remember that Allah is more powerful than all of the men on this earth put together. And He is our ultimate Protector. And He has placed the duty of seeking knowledge upon BOTH males and females.

    The only way to make ourselves less vulnerable is to arm ourselves with knowledge of Him.

    Narrated by Ibn Abbas (RA), Muhammad (SAW) said: “Guard Allah and He will guard you. Safeguard His rights, He will be ever with you. If you beg, beg of Him alone, and if you need assistance suplicate to Allah alone for help. And remember if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except by that which Allah has ordained for you. And if all of them gather to harm you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which Allah has ordained upon you.”

    When we know the rights of Allah upon us, we will know how to guard them.

    May Allah increase us in knowledge, grant us that which will be beneficial for us and save us from that which will cause us regret.

    May Allah protect the women of this Ummah and may He guide the men to that which pleases Him.

    BarakAllahu feekum

  37. I was disappointed by the fact that rather discussing the issue of wali-ship in a neutral, understanding light (as Olivia Kompier pointed out, there are many reason for which a woman may not have a wali, or her wali is incompetent EVEN if he is her father!), Sh. Haitham implies that the majority of sisters are rejecting the concept of a wali or deliberately breaking ties with their families/ fathers… in fact, he goes so far as to imply hypocrisy.

    That’s not to say that some women don’t reject the idea of a wali – they do – but the vast amount of sisters are actually not educated as to WHY they need a wali, and more importantly, what the important characteristics of a good wali are.

    Even amongst Muslim families, there are fathers who mean well but don’t do their jobs as walis… they rely on second-hand information or are merely content by a brother’s “character and religion” – they get their daughters married to these men who look like ideal brothers on the outside, but because they haven’t done any deep research, because they didn’t bother to sit down and speak to these brothers directly and seriously about what it means to marry their daughters… the marriage is conducted, and the daughter ends up married, only to find herself in a situation where the man she married is very different from whom he portrayed himself as – even if he isn’t necessarily a marriage bandit.

    The truth is that for converts especially, those who are given the amaanah of being a wali do not take it seriously at all, and betray the trust of the women under their care. This is easy to do especially if they don’t even bother speaking to a suitor or doing any kind of background checks whatsoever! Many of these walis do NOT look out for convert sisters the way they would for their own sisters and daughters… and this is a LARGE part of the issue that cannot be ignored.

  38. Very interesting article. However, this really has nothing to do with being a divorcee, or living outside of your parents home etc. It has to do with common sense, and the sense that your parents brought you up with, the manners and intelligence.

  39. borris johnson

    It would be a mistake to think that this is only happening to sisters who are weak of mind, or that it’s just about knowledge. I know an incident where a pakistani sister was a uni graduate. A guy took an interest in her and showed a veneer of islam and her father was an alcoholic and was not involved in her life. The guy found someone to be a wali and behind her families back it ended up in her getting an abortion and the guy telling her its halal to have an abortion within the first 12 weeks. If I would have met him I would have rearranged his face. She’s not a stupid women – yet till this day she still doesn’t fully comprehend that she was a victim of abuse. The shaikh is right that No father figure means the women is easy prey. We need a solutuion for sisters who have no real father figure

  40. salaamu aleykum

    I feel sick by reading this, since when our sisters lost respect and dignity,there is no excuse in being single,Allah plan for us to be what we are single or married, I am single mum of two wonderful kids,MashaAllah and there is no way I will sale my self so short or cheap,Allah has giving me dignity through my deed,my family and my kids.

    yes we all need to be happy,but happiness on the expense of low and cheap,scum man who does not care about you, I ask my self why are these women talking to these sick men in the first place, why Skype, when did nikah become free to sleep around with cheap men,who not only want to destroy those sisters but as result now infected them.
    I blame those sisters, they are not young girls, they should really be careful,when one marriage does not work out , we should all learn a lesson, I trust Allah alone no one else, I know he will bring the one who is khair for my dunya n akhira. all Muslim sisters must accept what Allah had plan for her, we are all role models of our kids and families.

    All the story this artical talk about is like the shia marriages which degrade women who practises,May Allah protect those weak sisters,ameen

  41. Its good that shk haitham is raising awareness about how predatory some men can be but the whole tone of the article made me uncomfortable as it seems to imply that women are somehow to blame for being manipulated. These men are clever and cunning, and it makes no difference whether the woman is at home with parents or alone, the fault lies at the hands of these men for having such evil intentions. Clearly, most if not all of these cases were women who had good intentions and tried to do the right thing islamically. It is very easy for an onlooker to comment that the woman ‘should have’ known better or that women ‘have to’ do or know x,y and z but i think that fails to take into account many of the important factors. Firstly, these women were ignorant of their rights/obligations in islam BUT that was not due to a lack of trying. As the story said, the people involved in this were ‘sheikhs’ ‘imams’ or ‘knowledgeable’ people. Sometimes two or three people worked together to literally fool the sister into thinking this is islam. Secondly, the idea that all of these problems can be eradicated by a little bit of knowledge seriously underestimates the manipulative capability that men like this possess. They deliberately confuse and isolate the women in question, cutting off other routes of knowledge by claiming that people are deviant or not of the correct sect, and they scare the women with talk of kufr, sinfulness and disobedience. It is emotional and psychological manipulation and in many cases even a woman with knowledge will end up confused, because these men are professional and know what they are doing. Thirdly, many women who fall victim to men like this are reverts or newly practising muslims, who may not have suitable support or even male family members. It therefore becomes the responsibility of, and if not carried out, the failure of, the muslim community. Lastly i would suggest that above and beyond all of this, the responsibility lies on us as a community and specifically our scholars and sheikhs, to hold men accountable and be firmer and more rigorous in background checks on brothers; to take a more active role in the community and to encourage and strive to build a greater sense of togetherness and support amongst muslims, so that if something like this were to go on, people would become aware of it much quicker; to take away the stigma and demonisation which surrounds divorced women and to generally educate those in their congregation that muslims and women are valuable and priceless, regardless of life circumstance, family support or background.

  42. I agree with you, I am a revert and was used for a visa by my ex-husband who was a abusive and used Islam as a weapon against me. My father has not had much to do with me since my parents divorced when I was 6, so I had no wali to turn to for advice. The insistence that fathers/husbands will protect is only true if they are good people, if they are evil or lazy, then this is not true.

  43. Abu Eesa Mizan

    May Allah protect our sisters from this evil and humiliate those who use the deen to fulfil their evil desires through manipulation

  44. Fatima ABDULLE

    Very interesting article. However, this really has nothing to do with being a divorcee, or living outside of your parents home etc. It has to do with common sense, and the sense that your parents brought you up with, the manners and intelligence. I can see that these types of women are in a more vulnerable state, however, i really do believe, if they had researched more about the situation, instead of being hasty, it wouldnt of happened. Allahs knows best

  45. Assalam o alikum,

    JazakAllah for writing in this issue. I have read abive comments as well.

    I would like to say that in all the cases mentioned above ,ONE thing was common and that was ” Lack of knowledge of deen”.

    Maumin is “Wise”, men or women. One need to ask a basic question, Do we follow an “islamic lifestyle” based on and guided by sunnah?

    We, living in the west especially, have enough understanding and knowledeg of worldy matters and the world around us. We can use our judgement and seek advice as is advised in “Hadees and the sunnah”.

    Being muslim does not mean, become and behave like a stupid. Seek advice …. from friends, muslims and non-muslims(who you can talk and trust they are waise or atleast capable of giving some advice)

    What about those borthers who decieve, they must have sisters, mothers and female family members. Were is thier tarbiyah, their role. It is a Cycle. Women who do not do tarbiyah of thier sons, brothers, husband etc leave those mens to abuse other women in turn and this goes on.

    Slef accountability is important. Through every days Ebadha, one is trained to self decipline ones own self. This is missing. No relationship to Allah, then you are vulnerable to shaitan who works through his friends.

    Read the life of Nabi Kareem, Sihabah, Sihabiyat, Umhat ul Mumineen, get guidence.

    For Reverts, There is a genuin problem. They are more vulnerable in the hands of so called practicing.

    We muslims and our scholors, probably think, when someone reverts, thats it. Job Done. Its not our duty any more to work on it…. leave them in the middle of the ocean and they will find theor way through internet by seekign guidence from” sheikh GOOGLE” and “Sheikh Youtube”

    May Allah Kareem guide us all, protect us from Shaitan, give us hidayah….Ameen

    Thank you for reading.

  46. Asalaamu alaikum,

    With all due respect the issue here is not that women need to live with their fathers/walis until marriage. The issue here is that many women cannot do that, and our community (including shaikhs and imams) handles these women’s cases so poorly that either these women are ruined by marrying creeps that some imam let them marry or they have such a bad/hard time dealing with the community for marriage purposes that they end up disheartened and trying to find a man on their own.

    You know all the terrible politics, drama, gossip and racism that revolves around marriage? Know how stressful it is when you were getting married or your child was? Imagine doing all that alone and flying-blind, which is the case or most of these women who are converts. They dont live with their dads until marriage nor would it help them anyways.

    I’ve been a convert for over 13 years and i have seen so many bad things which are the failing of the community/imams and its bc of a cultural phenomena most men feel abt being a woman’s wali or being involved in helping her vet out prospects: they feel like they are stepping on another mans territory even tho they know logically this woman does not ha a male relative who is Muslim. As a result you get men who are involved minimally, give vague answers and hope someone else picks up the ball. And of course thy dont want to talk bad abt their Muslim brother. In the backs of their minds only a father would have clearance to go get the dirt on a guy. And what abt th guys family? Does he call them and talk to them. Thy dont even want to try, they just want it over as quickly as possible. Many converts can’t even sit down and have a frank discussion with their wali let alone a suitor. Too many hindering cultural politics and dynamics.

    Being real with these women and stepping up and protecting them like someone would a daughter is what needs to happen but doesn’t and thats the community and leaderships fault and who you should be scolding in this article. Not these women.

    • Do agree that we need a serious wali system but sister from my experience with independant sisters… if they find someone who has charmed them into marraige then no amount of logic or convincing will make them change their mind… not always, but in many cases…
      Its not a reverts fault that she is independant or can not find protection from those who love her… but I do think there are many factors that need dealing with…

      1) When a woman reverts…with all good intentions, the community pushes marraige onto her so that she has somewhere to ‘belong’…perhaps too prematurely so the poor new Muslimah does not know her rights or what to look for in a husband…

      2) We marry her to rejects… no Pakistani dad will accept him without a degree and or without Brtisih Nationality…so hey…lets pass him on…no offense to uneducated brothers from abroad intended…

      Theres a lot more but these 2 points are a major flaw in our reception of reverts who deserve responsible and caring husbands that will help nurture her decision to revert.

  47. Hamza Smith-Marshall

    As-Salaam alacum,
    Articles like this make me very angry. I do feel sorry for the sisters who have gone through these difficulties and if these circumstances are true then the brothers who did these things are very evil.
    I am sick and tired of hearing and reading about how we need to look after the sisters better when the fact is that (in the UK at least) the sisters are the more destructive, damaging, selfish and evil than the brothers doing these things.
    They brake up families on a whim, throw out the husbands/fathers, alienate children and use the courts and/or police to abuse the husbands and children.
    I almost never hear or see articles condemning this behaviour from the sisters, or hear sisters themselves demanding this stop, all I hear is how hard life is for them.
    Try having your home destroyed, your children stolen and a whole community shrug its shoulders and tell you to have subber just because your wife felt stressed and just had to do it and you need to just ‘understand’ that a woman is a bent rib.
    And I am not alone in this, there are many brothers still married and divorced who are up and down, disrespected and abused by the sisters their married to.
    Most sisters (and I know not all of them) are in this position because they don’t want to behave like decent women, they want to be strong, independent and ‘free’, they will use anyone and anything (including the religion) to get it and no one will address this issue.
    I do feel sad for these sisters but the brothers and their children need mercy and help too and they won’t find it from the sisters as a whole.

    • Brother you hjave raised a useful point… and yes sisters who behave the way you mentioned should be addressed…but from the cases stated, we are dealing with another issue at hand and a very serious one for that. I dont think the Shaykh suggested at all that all divorced husbands are criminals or abusers… pld otn confuse your frustration with a very sinister issue that has finally been spoken about…

  48. Salam Alaykom again,
    I wanted to clarify that I met my husband over the Internet, not married him over the Internet. That part was unclear. We had a nikkah in the mosque and a small walima, as recommended in the sunnah. Alhamdullilah.

  49. Assalamu Alaykom,
    it is really sad to hear what happened to these sisters. However, I see a pattern here emerging, which is sisters being really ignorant about their rights and obligations when it comes to marriage.
    By no means I am blaming the victim, do not take me wrong, but in this day and age – and fitting many of the characteristics of the women portrayed here: revert, divorced, and remarried over the internet – I find it very unconscious from these sisters to marry someone “over the phone”, “without having seen them” and all those other horrendous examples you give. My first thought is “sister, what where you thinking!?”…
    Sometimes it is not possible to have a wali, or a parent, etc, as explained by other sisters in the comments. But nothing prevents you from seeking knowledge, and advice from your community. And, if you do not have an islamic community at your side, then research!!!! And du’a!!! Then you will know what your rights and obligations are, before and after marriage, or at least have tools to make an informed decision.
    I personally had no wali when searching for a husband. I tried but could not find one. Then I found out that as a divorcee, you do not need a wali WHEN CHOOSING a husband, but you do need one when performing the nikkah. And there is no nikkah without wali or without having seen the husband/wife or without witnesses… All this information (and other), I found – by Allah’s mercy – on my own. Then, although the subject was embarrassing to me, I searched for advise in my immediate islamic community.
    This is my advise for sisters who might be reverts or have no walis.
    And Allahu alem.
    May Allah SWT bless us all with pious husbands and wives, amin!
    Salam alaykom

  50. JazaakAllahu khayran Shaykh Haitham for discussing this issue.

    I originally wrote an article titled “Exposing the Marriage Bandits” in September 2012 (last year), published in SISTERS Magazine.

    In it, I discuss the red flags associated with marriage bandits, their targets and tactics, and ways that women can be aware and protect themselves from falling prey to these individuals.

  51. Challenging and brave article in a country where
    There can be abuse of excessive freedom.
    The sheikh has addressed the right agenda as family & relationships are the foundation of an established community.

    Recently a black saudi born brother who is studying for a medicine degree in Saudi Arabia
    Married already with children gained entry to uk to study and marry a divorced women.

    He stated he was a relative of hazrat bilal lineage and the marriage would be blessed one.

    He stayed for few years and went back to Saudi arabia – sent an email reply back saying England was too cold and he therefore could not return.

    Our organisation in Peterborough will help track these blackmailed and fraudulent claims back to thier govts .

    Its in its eRly days but will be strong in the future.

    Ps Sometimes its the females thenselves who are responsible for their fate and then due to thier stupidity they demand pitiness and sympathy and support .Where was this in the first place? Why did they not approach a private detectives earlier ? They too are to blame at times thats why alot of females will be in jahannaum I guess

    • Nawaz Ahmed that was an excellent comment, particularly the last paragraph.

      I hope these sisters don’t lose hope, I guess they get blinded by love, in which case I wouldn’t be able to relate to as I’ve never been in love.

      sisters need to try and find a member of their own family to help them if possible. if not then seek advice from a reputable source or friend. if not, then get out and be more sociable. Islam isn’t about being reclusive and locking yourself in your house.

      have hope sisters. there are many guys that would be interested in reverts. I for one would consider a revert with no hesitation. its just I can’t bloody find any, god knows where they are hiding.

  52. Subhanallah. It is astonishing to hear that these men will try to use Islam as a vehicle to fulful their own evil desires. I pray Allah Ta’ala protects the women of our ummah from these actions.

    I believe it is correct that we should take action within our own communities to not only eradicate this problem but highlight cases to increase awareness to susceptible individuals.

    Whilst the point about women and their custodians is valid, I expected more condemnation about the action of the men and why they have no islamic basis. Again this may help protect susceptible individuals or women who read this article and may be in the same situation. Perhaps it is the intention that this will be addressed in part 2.

  53. I think this article defeats the point towards the end and doesn’t really provide a solution for a specific category of sisters, most of the time the vulnerable sisters who these predators attack do not have a mehram or a wali, I hoped this article would encourage imams, and scholars to actively offer to be walis for these sisters. So what is a girl to do when she has no family, no brother, no father, no uncles, and no siblings. Also instead of just fiqh talks etc that MRDF do, more practical topics are needed to teach brothers about the sanctity of women and how the Prophet (SW) dealt with women, ethics, etc These brothers dress the ‘sunnah’ way but in reality to do not fulfull the real sunnah. Allah grant us understanding.

    • Sara, I agree we need solutions but simply highlighting these grey areas that are normally swept under the carpet is a huge step. Brothers who abuse vulnerable sisters like this have serious issues and if they lack the taqwa to treat another Muslim like this then Im not sure they would come to courses… Allahu Alim…but yes, agree we need to brave the step to admit these cases and hope people learm from the misfortunate mistakes that have passed.

    • I am Muslim since June 2013 and as Sarah says, I have no family. My family was a family of atheists. My father passed away. Most of my life I was Christian. So how I can have a wali or Mahram, if no relatives? Also I have 44. How should you handle a woman my age?

      • Do u have a good muslim friend? Then perhaps her father/brother/husband can act as your wali…that way if u need anything u can speak to ur friend,who will speak to her mahram. Always pray istikhara for any decision u need to make and Allah will guide u in matter…if u seek His guidance sincerely.

        May Allah make it easy for u sis,x

  54. JazakAllahu khairan Shaikh for an article that was much needed in the Muslim community. Looking forward to part 2.

  55. Al handililah for this article, for me the bottom line is that sisters need to educate them selves, read the Al Quran and understand it , it is the best advice for any one. Information is accessible very easy these days. Sisters must not be afraid and ask questions especially when there are secrecy and rush involved.
    The brothers who do these need to stop damaging our religion , sisters and also educate them selves . May Allah guide all of us in the straight path .

    • Assalam o alikum, good advice mashAllah.

    • As a woman I can wholeheartedly say that the most honour and dignity comes from the laws of Allah and not the Modern feminist values that have harmed Western women. I recall telling some non muslim colleagues about our values and they admitted that they were never given the chance to protect their honour or make choices in a society where men fulfill their desires on so called ‘liberated women’ who are not worth sticking by or staying loyal too. They yearn for what we take for granted. OUr deen deals with all this. May Allah help those sisters and bless them with god fearing husbands.

  56. An excellent article as always exposing the dangers that are being faced by our ummah in relation to marriage. It rely astounds me how anyone can be so deceitful as to ruin someone’s life like this. Subhan’Allah, Allah is Ever Watchful over our affairs, and know that He Azzawajal will hold these brothers to account for all their wrongdoings.

    As the largest matrimonial service in the world for Practising Muslims, we often get distressing emails from sisters in particular (and shockingly a few men) who have contacted us in desperation for help and guidance because they have been manipulated by men and don’t know who else to speak to. Recently, a sister got in touch about her mother who found a potential spouse on a mainstream matrimonial site. This brother was about to fleece the family out of their life savings – alhamdulilah thanks to our help and guidance, the sister was able to find the confidence to report the man to the authorities and prevent what would have been financial suicide. The reality is that unless your wali is involved, men in particular will seek to isolate and harm women because they are naturally emotionally more vulnerable.

  57. Alhamdulillah that this is being raised.

    However for it to have a real impact, what is needed is

    1) lectures and events about this topic

    2) naming and shaming of serial offenders.

    Otherwise most people who have been aware of this FOR MANY YEARS will view articles like this as merely scratching the surface.

    Everyone knows that there are WELL KNOWN ISLAMIC PERSONALITIES in the UK and USA who have poor track records in this regard. There must be some way in which these individuals if not exposed can be warned against. And Allah knows best.

    • indeed brother , there are various tactics such marriage bandits use and they must be highlighted for people to be cautious. Recently Pure
      matrimony organized a webinar to spread awareness and educate people about such Predators, Gold Diggers and Players – Warning Signs Your Propective Spouse Is A Fake! , the recording is available here v=BXY24PSbDMs

  58. I am looking for the other parts to this serie. Why? First of all, no solution is proposed yet for those who have no guardians in Islam. How many shuyukh are ready to do the proper job of a guardian for new Muslims? Where is the woman supposed to go if she is divorced?

    Secondly, I wish that fathers were as keen as the Shaykh said to protect their daughters. What if such a husband as described above were to father a daughter during that time? What if a father is more concerned about his own needs (some of them haraam) than the needs of his family? What if a father is keen to marry his daughter as soon as possible because she is troublesome? That happens in many families.

  59. Salaam it breaks my heart what is happening to sisters i myself have heard of other cases of corruption in the ummah, most of the victims are in the cultish selifi groups where they are passing sisters around like meat and abusing there wives mentally emotionally and sexually, with religious conviction,
    Also I’d like to ask you to consider reverts in your advice as we do not have Muslim family and our family home is not suitable for Muslims or our children, what is our solution then and how old should our son be in order to carry out the duty of a mahram.

    • And we’re supposed to sit here and believe this accusation against an entire group of Muslims based on some unknown individual on the net?
      What does Allaah say in the Qur’an: “When a faasiq (sinner) comes to you with knowledge, then verify/ prove it.”
      This is regarding a person who is known, albeit as a sinner; what would then be the case of some unknown person on the net. Their claims should be rejected without a second’s thought.

      Fear Allaah whoever you are asia.

    • Naming and shaming of serial offenders! Hypocrite, !!!!

  60. Assalamu Aleikum,

    Unfortunately living in a father’s home is not always possible especially in the case of reverts. Living with one’s parents can mean not being able to practice one’s religion as in most of the cases patents are against it.

    • Muslim_Always

      This is what most people don’t understand about reverts. Jazakallah for pointing this out.

      • Thats a very valid point…but there are many sisters who do have fathers and choose to stepline their advice … Its worth mentioning so that these sisters take heed insha’Allah.
        May Allah make it easy for you and all sisters without a wali. x

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