Monday, 25 January 2010

Lies & Deception

Many times, in order to present themselves as more attractive, people tend to lie about themselves to get married. This is probably the worst thing one can do in order to find a spouse.

Firstly, it's unIslamic and it's worse if you feel no guilt doing it. Secondly, it may get you married but what about when the lie comes out and you find yourself in the situation of a divorce? Thirdly, what exactly were you thinking?!

People who need to lie to get married, should probably not think about marriage. Would they want to marry someone who lies to them about who they are? Also, they need to think about what they'll achieve by lying. Usually, it's just a path to make themselves and their spouses miserable.

I've caught a couple of lies. One was the situation where I made istikhara and after a while I got to know the real person. The worst thing about that person was he defended his lies. Another time, I came across someone's profile who I know as an acquaintance and had lied on their profile. That's when it hit me that people lie on their profiles. It can be about their age, height, their residency status, their marital status and pretty much anything that can increase their chances of marriage. Some kinds of deception include simply presenting a different picture of themselves and pretending to be someone they are not just to make themselves seem more attractive. I understand that everyone wants to make themselves seem to be a good person but lying about things that are in no way true or exaggerating things unrealistically is not the way to go about it.

Before you fix anything or make ANY kind of decision, you SHOULD meet the person you like. Make sure the meeting includes the family and even friends if necessary. If the person hangs around with bad people, it's quite possible they aren't very good themselves. Ask a lot of questions because it'll help you get to know the person and their thinking.

I've heard of people going as far as hiring detectives to follow the person and I'm not quite sure about how useful that is. People are known to put up appearances in public. It can also be offensive to a person if they are genuine. I guess one should use that only in situations where they fear things are fishy or too good to be true and something is missing. If you have a gut feeling about something not being right, keep talking to the person till you feel better about it.

ALWAYS pray istikhara and ask Allah (swt) to help you make the right decision and move away if the person is not right for you. He (swt) is the only one who can reveal to you what no one else can possibly know, including the family.


Chiara said...

It is true that lying to get married, or to impress someone, or even lying to oneself ultimately backfires. This is easier to do before meeting of course. Abu Abdullah who is a pious Muslim and a security consultant gave advice about how to check out someone one is meeting online. He met his own wife online, through a Muslim matching service, and they are now happily married, with a baby. The story of their meeting, relationship and the birth of Ameena is on my blog in 3 parts, the security advice is in Part II Umm Abdullah gives her recommendations. She is also quite amusing about her initial impressions of him, and how they changed including after praying istikhara.

A German Canadian friend who was tired of the blind dates her friends were arranging for her post divorce, joined a matchmaking service. She met an Australian, and they agreed to meet for a week's vacation at a ski resort: separate accommodation, public safe place, diverse activities, and worst case scenario a good week of skiing. They were compatible and met a few more times like that before marrying in Australia, and his moving to Canada. Unfortunately after 6 months they separated and activated their pre-nup to expedite a divorce. I think in this case they made a premature decision to separate. She didn't heed my advice to give it more than 6 months which is the usual major adjustment period for a country change, let alone living together and being newly married. His mother in England was also fatally ill, and his business partner in Australia who was supposed to be handling things there had a new diagnosis of breast cancer. 6 months wasn't long enough for him to build a life in Canada, and she was rigid about sharing her space in the condo she had bought and furnished previously, and impatient with his adaptation. I mention this because I think there are some classic things they did that made the relationship more difficult to maintain: not experiencing more of each other's country and building relationships there prior to marriage; one moving to the others space and world; splitting when in a period of transition; allowing externals to interfere in the relationship; not seeking professional help or taking the advice of well intended and informed friends; and moving too quickly straight to divorce.

I agree that family can be biased, and one may also not be as forthcoming with family to protect relationships or self-image--especially when, as is often the case (one of the top 3 reasons for divorce) the family is the problem!

Husain said...

Conventionally speaking one would have to agree with you.

But consider the saying: "All's Fair in Love and War".

Lies could be another term for creativity, ingenuity, embellishment for the sole purpose of obtaining the love of your life. Going at lengths to for the pursuit of the hand of a maiden used to be considered as chivalrous in a bygone era. Can we forgive them for their enthusiasm ?

Deception is an altogether different ball game. Hard to argue when one's sole purpose is to "deceive" or cheat or swindle.

I guess what I'm trying to say is:

Lies that lead to deception are to be condemned. Agreed.

Lies that lead to bliss, can they ever be condoned ?

single4now said...

Chiara - I agree. Everyone should read Abu Abdullah's advice, especially the girls. :P
It's unfortunate about your friend because it seemed like they had a good thing together. Adjusting to a new place is certainly hard on a relationship. It requires a lot of understanding and patience. Plus, some people find it easier to adjust than others. I know a few families who moved to Canada and couldn't afford to live there because the husbands couldn't find a job. In many cases, the husbands moved out of the country to find jobs.
As for family being the top 3 reasons for divorce, that's scary. :S And sounds like it's something out of a desi soap. :P Actually, I know an Arab girl whose mother-in-law insisted that her son divorce her after a yr of marriage. I don't really know the details of that but I'm wondering what the husband was thinking when he agreed.

Husain - lol, that quote should be taken lightly because it really doesn't fall under the guidelines of Islam. You may find bliss temporarily but eventually when the lie is caught, things may not seem so blissful. Can a lie actually lead to something good? I'm really not sure about that. It also depends on what you are talking about. Lying is pretty much the same as deception. You are lying and presenting a false image of yourself which is deception. A couple needs to be more enthusiastic with each other after marriage because before marriage it's all happy happy joy joy until you both start living with each other and find little things that annoy you. That's when you need to be enthusiastic and make changes for the other person. And if you can't see yourself making such adjustments, you better start working on it prior to marriage. Oh and by you, I mean, everyone. :)

Husain said...

After being rapped on the knuckles for inciting a 'false image of oneself', I am glad you called me out on it. Might I add I was expecting it too.

Actually the point is not how much of a lie is a deception. The point I was trying to drive home is:

Are certain actions which are taken in the greater sense of good (virtue) AND without the intention of deception - pardonable ? Even if they in a strictly pedantic sense fall under the category of a LIE. Let me illustrate with a couple of common examples.

Consider the 'lie' of a potential groom of concealing his rather promiscuous past. He has repented sincerely but is aware that if the gory details are unraveled - his potential suitor would turn away. The couple in any other case would have been a suitable match for each other.

Secondly, if by the same logic that all embellishment of one's appearances can also be termed as 'lies'. - one wouldn't need to work on one's looks. No gym, no mascara, no straighteners, no dieting. Zilch. We all are agreed (even the beauties out here I am sure) that our morning straight-out-of bed look is rather unsightly and our face sans make up is the 'reality'. But you wouldn't be encouraged to post that pick on a matrimonial now would you ?

A husband praising his dear wifeys much to be desired cooking skills is well known. Need not elaborate. (speaking of which, why don't they cook for them if its such an issue ? but khair thats off-topic).

We ofcourse know that that from a dogmatic point of view the baseline is set by the saying of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) that "Whoever cheats is not of us". No twisting around here.

But remember also and especially when pertaining to the first example, it is a sunna to cover up one's sins, by not mentioning them. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "My entire community is excused, except those who manifest [their sins]."

Fiqh is an operationalization of the Qur'an and guidance of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), according to sound principles. Its essential guidance and rules are for all times; particular details may, however, be subject to time and place considerations.

My point being (and I promise I'll stop soon). Not all untruths can be termed as Lies 'in essence'. And Not all 'Lies' need be seen as black and white.

Keeping our moral and ethical standards high is most virtuous. But to expect that standard and apply it sternly will be problematic in "spouse hunting". Don't get me wrong, I am not saying - go ahead and accept blatant lies and untruths but just be more considerate of the other persons circumstances. If he/she is not at the same level as you but has the willingness. Lend a helping hand.

There is always a balance.

Anyways, I have rambled on far too much. What do I know anyway!

Husain said...

@ Chiara.

You have a most amusing blog. If not cathartic for everyone it really is insightful to say the least.

On a personal level, moving back and forth from one Kingdom to another (UK to KSA) has been quite an interesting joy ride from me but your experiences come from a deeper level.

Chiara said...

Single4now--Yes Abu Abdullah's tips are great. They are in fact in Part I--Abu Abdullah of the 3 part post, although Umm Abdullah's perspective in Part II is well worth reading as I mentioned. There's is a really heart warming story, and baby Ameena is the proof. I think all should be careful but statistically and in terms of reputation women do need to be more self protective.

Yes, my friend was a little too rigid I think, which is unfortunate. Inlaws, and finances are in the top 3 marriage breaking issues, and I think the 3rd is household management ie sharing the workload but maybe that one is just me LOL :)

For people with a good situation elsewhere immigrating to Canada can be a step down, and an unnecessary setback. Also many want to live in a major centre where they can live surrounded by people "from back home" but this is more expensive, limits employment opportunities, and retards integration. I know an Indian Muslim who just moved back. He had trouble finding a job here, although he was in IT management there. He was taken aback because he had worked previously successfully in the US. But then he was a recent grad happy with a starting position, and single; now he is married with a child and one on the way and wants a management or at least a programmers position and the market has changed. He also wanted to be in a major centre. I must say that despite a lot of coaching from myself and a friend who is a professional career counsellor he never got the knack of applying here, and was very timid about even living here. Truly discombobulated without the support of extended family. In his case, it was best to go back.

Others who have come as professionals leave after 5-10 years, discouraged by retraining and employment difficulties; or now able to get better work for more money elsewhere.

In the case of my friend there was the added problem of moving in to someone elses space, furnishings, friendships etc. It was too unbalanced, and she didn't want to share her rather large by local standards condo or COMPUTER STATION!!! LOL :)

y said...


Is it just me, or do these blog topics keep getting more and more depressing? =P

"People who need to lie to get married, should probably not think about marriage. Would they want to marry someone who lies to them about who they are?"

Yeah, i agree with that. And 100% agreement with everything in the initial post. well written and thorough. It covers all the bases.

Brother Husain, I think you've gone off the deep It's just my opinion, but I think you're completely wrong on this one.

"But consider the saying: "All's Fair in Love and War"."

It seems to me that you are basically using an 'ends justify the means' kind of argument, after reading through your two comments. First of all, I completely disagree with the entire concept.

But even if we accept 'ends justify the means', we have to ask if the ends you are talking about are actually legitimate ends. You mention love and war. We should ask: Should this woman love me? or - Should we win this war? The answer could be no. Maybe a particular woman shouldn't love us (or sisters can substitute 'woman' with 'man'). Maybe we shouldn't win the war. In that case, none of the means we are using would be justified, because the ends are not justified.

Or the question 'Should this woman love me?' may not even make any sense. It seems to me that questions like these, when we ask 'Should something happen?' are moral questions. We are asking if a particular person loving us is moral or immoral. You are implying, when you talk about the 'greater good' that if a woman doesn't love you, that that is something immoral or wrong. But in fact, two people falling in love is not moral or immoral, in my opinion. It is neutral. If two people decide not to get married, they haven't done anything immoral.

So, to me, i don't think even the 'ends justify the means' works here for your argument, because the end you are talking about (marrying a particular woman as opposed to another) has nothing to do with right and wrong. Don't get me wrong, lol, the ends you mention, like bliss and happiness are all pleasant things that we all dream of, but bliss and happiness have nothing to do with morals. Anyway, no disrespect intended, man. Just trying to make sure you dont fall into any traps.

single4now said...

Husain - lol, I wasn't rapping any knuckles, just clarifying my perspective and meaning. I agree with a lot of what you've said. In that sense, Islam is so beautiful because it makes so many issues really simple. Like what you've mentioned about disclosing ones sins. I agree that it's not right to disclose ones sins of the past but what about someone who has a girl friend or boy friend on the side and is also trying to get hitched? This isn't such a hypothetical situation because I know of a guy who had a girl friend while proposing to a girl and a girl who was married and also still seeing a boy friend from before. These are the levels of their deception. As for their reasoning, I wont go into that but both were extremely selfish and I'd even say pathetic.

We will be judged based on our intentions and there are people who lie because they intend to deceive. Unfortunately, we can't always read people's minds but we can read their actions, and signs and the impression they leave. Just for that purpose, I don't think people should ever rush into marriage. They should take time to know a person at least to the point that they have no doubts. And always pray istikhara because Allah (swt) is the only one who can protect us from something or someone bad for us & our deen.

As for a husband praising his wife's cooking, I think there will be a point where he WILL stop praising if he dislikes it so perhaps it's better to mention it early in a nice way. Else she'll be like, "I've been feeding you the same thing for years and suddenly you find it hard to swallow?" lol. JK.

As for beautifying oneself, that's actually considered good manners and Islam promotes it. Keeping oneself fit, healthy, avoiding bad odours and such. Beautifying oneself for their husband/wife is also recommended. :P Actually, you may find someone beautiful/handsome, but if you find their behaviour bad, you wont actually be attracted to them.

I think overall we are saying the same thing. :) I'm just talking about a lie that can make or break a relationship and causes hurt or was intend to hurt the person or for some selfish gain.

Chiara - Oh I agree about sharing of chores. It can be frustrating if the husband doesn't help out or be there to move furniture or fix stuff. Hmm, I should probably ask guys if they can build/repair stuff among other questions. :P Actually, I can do it myself most times but it would be nice to have a helpful husband.

Yea, Canada offered immigration opportunities but not enough job opportunities to match. Or at least for certain occupations. It's rather unfortunate.

single4now said...

y - depressing? I was thinking more along the lines of serious and meaningful. :P Life isn't always hunkey dory. But inshaAllah, I'll take your suggestion and try to make my posts more positive or think of more positive topics. :) Usually, I just write what comes to mind. I don't think too much about it. It's best when it's free flowing with tweaks towards the end.

But I'm happy you liked my post. :)

y said...

single4now -

"This isn't such a hypothetical situation because I know of a guy who had a girl friend while proposing to a girl and a girl who was married and also still seeing a boy friend from before."

Wow, that is crazy. my question is, are people like this easy to spot, and differentiate from the truly moral people? Like, the people you are talking about in the quote above, if someone met with them to get married to them, could they easily tell the kind of people they are, and if so, if you could give some vague examples of the things to look for. Like, is there some definite or highly selective way to weed out people like that, or is it just praying the istikhara and taking a chance?

single4now said...

y - There is no easy nor a definitive way of knowing about it. It depends on what criteria you use to choose your spouse. People such as these would probably not pray 5 times a day. But this is an assumption/generalization. Some people are really good at keeping secrets. But the longer you speak to them the better because the deception is harder to keep up for long periods of times. I would suggest 6 months. Also, people who give vague answers for simple questions that just don't sound right. Or if they say one thing at one point and another thing at another point. Or if they get irritated because you "ask too many questions". Why should someone have a problem with a person asking questions to get to know them for marriage? Unless the question in some way is offensive.

And yes, istikhara. Because it is the prayer of guidance and who can be a better guide than Allah (swt) who is all knowing. If one doesn't understand the meaning of their istikhara, then they should ask an imam. Also, it's better to pray it before you decide one way or the other so one's own feelings don't interfere with the results.

Of course, I'm in no way an expert in these matters. These are just some suggestions and things one can look out for. It can be for anyone not just extreme cases. But it's always best to marry someone who is religious rather than compromising in this matter.