Coached by KH. Muhyiddin Abdusshomad

Assalaamualaikum Pak Kyai (a male pesantren leader), 

Thank you for presenting us this useful consultation rubric to discuss religious matters. Let me introduce myself, my name is Muhammad Toat. I live in Malang, East Java. I would like to tell about my problem and seek for the best solution you may offer.

Pak Kyai, I am the youngest child (6th) in family. My father has already passed away, my mother is still healthy Alhamdulillah (all praise is due to Allah alone). I have 2 big sisters (who are the 2nd and 3rd child in family).  

The 3rd child is a widow with one baby. I call her: “Mbak (Sister) Widow”. They live in the same house with our mother and I. The 2nd child, has already had a family and a small business in our main house, so she only comes home in the evening. I call her: “Mbak (Sister) Sa”. Mbak (Sister) Sa everyday takes care of my other sister’s child whom I called Widow. Mbak Widow works at a private bureau nearby. Mbak Sa, had been suspicious recently that her husband might go out with another girl, who happens to be Mbak Widow. Even later she admitted that she went out with him, but nobody in the family knew this.

As time went by, Mbak Sa often called Mbak Widow and her husband to check what was going on between them. One day, when she called each of them, she heard the raindrops were falling at the same time. Both were neither at home.

Yesterday, Mbak Sa was too upset so she finally assembled our mother, her husband and Mbak Widow. With the help of Mbak Sa’s brother-in-law, her husband confessed that he went out with my other sister, he even waited to pick her up after office hour. (I don’t know if they have slept together or not, Naudzubillah).

Therefore, I beg your help to give the best solution, Pak Kyai. Frankly speaking, Mbak Sa feels so devastated to have been betrayed like that. It is her who takes care of Mbak Widow’s baby, who even went out with her own husband. Her husband is indeed a playboy, while Mbak Widow doesn’t have a strong faith herself. She has been a widow since these last 4 years.  

Would you kindly help me solving this problem, Pak Kyai? Thank you. 

Wassalaamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarokatuh

Muh. Toat (27 thn)

The answer from KH. Muhyiddin Abdusshomad: 

 Our dear brother Muh Toat, it is indeed our obligation to pay attention and take care of ourselves and family, guide them to avoid wrongdoings that cause misery in this world and hereafter. In Al Qur’an, Allah has commanded us to take care, keep ourselves and our family away from inferno (QS. Al Tahrim: 6), because whatever their condition is, good or bad, they are the closest person having blood relation with us. Like what our Prophet did to his uncle, Abu Thalib, he respected his uncle deeply though he could not convert him to Islam. 

When they do anything wrong which is against social values and religious teachings, our duty is to remind them to get back on the right track. Surely we must think the best way to achieve our objective, to guide them to the right path by applying the best and correct method, so they won’t keep their steps away from religious values. In Al Qur’an, Allah has said: 

Call to Islam with good words, convincing argument, and good style kindly and with addressing the conditions, environment, and specialties of people. Argue with your opponents with a nice style, good manners, forbearance, and mercy which is mixed by advice except those who show stubbornness and aggression. Allah knows those who turn away from Islam and choose the way of stubbornness and error. He is most knowledgeable of those who open their hearts to the truth and choose the way of guidance and faith, you only have to report and explain the truth, and it is not your duty to guide them. (125) When you want to punish someone, punish them in the same manner you were punished, so do with them as they did to you without extra punishment. However, if you observe patience and pardon, it will be better for you, and patience has a great reward.” (QS. Al Nahl: 126)

Our dear brother Toat, 

Starting from this paradigm, we would like to give you advise on the problem you encounter. First, what is going on between your brother-in-law and your sister is something against religious teaching. Having a love affair is forbidden in religion, even if it is with the spouse of our own brother or sister. Al Qur’an has firmly stated that polygamy with two persons of the same blood is strictly forbidden, though it is just for fun, or for a relationship prohibited by religion. Surah Annisa 23 says:  

(take the part“wa an tajma’uu baina al-ukhtaini illa ma qad salaf”)

“Prohibited to you [for marriage] are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters, your mother’s sisters, your brother’s daughters, your sister’s daughters, your [milk] mothers who nursed you, your sisters through nursing, your wives’ mothers, and your step-daughters under your guardianship [born] of your wives unto whom you have gone in. But if you have not gone in unto them, there is no sin upon you. And [also prohibited are] the wives of your sons who are from your [own] loins, and that you take [in marriage] two sisters simultaneously, except for what has already occurred. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.” (QS. Al Nisa’ 23)

Our dear brother Toat that Allah has bestowed His blessings,  

Second, in response to that wrongdoing, some respect shall be given to your elder sister, Mbak Widow, try as possible you can to advise her and your brother-in-law. Of course, the advice shall be polite, not by humiliating them. You can wait the moment when you can tell them some analogies, what would be the reaction of a husband if his wife has an affair or give an example of daily life’s event around or from mass media about the impact of a love affair.  

Third, give some motivation to Mbak Sa to be strong in coping with this, and not to be emotionally drifted. Pray to Allah repeatedly by asking the best solution of the problem encountered, even if it is carried out in the midnight after tahajjud praying, it would be much more effective.
The next thing, an endless effort must be continuously performed. For example, try to always remind Mbak Sa to re-establish her relationship and communication with her husband, to treat and pamper herself to look more beautiful, and so on. 

Our dear brother Toat,

I think these are first steps you can do. I know it sounds very simple, but hopefully these simple steps can help you to solve the problem with a good ending. It could be by taking a shortcut, like filing a divorce (naudzubillah) or else but it doesn’t always settle the problem, instead another problem can arise which can be more complicated. [] 

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