Monday, June 25, 2001
I have been reading your advice column and first I wanted to say thank-you for your efforts to help our community.
I hope you can help me as well. I have been a Muslimah for the past two years. Approximately two years ago, I divorced my husband who claimed to be a Muslim but never really followed the religion and subsequent to my own conversion, began to come even further away from Islam.
Approximately six months after we separated and divorced, I remarried to a man whom I had met on the Internet. He seemed like a very good Muslim man, praying and reading Quran and so forth. However, after the first six months, he stopped working and we began our own business because he stated that he had much experience in this particular line of business. I invested all my money into the business, as well as worked a full time job to support the household, children and new business.
When I would come to our office, from my job, I would be asked to do this or that. My husband had spent the entire day trying to improve the web-site, though nothing on the physical storefront location, which was costing us dearly every month. Finally, I was exhausted and stopped working at our office altogether, as the children were not even getting home with me until 9 or so at night, then dinner homework. It was a mess. The office finally crumpled and I lost everything I had invested, as well as owed money to people.
Several months before we decided to close the office at the end of the lease, I had requested my husband to go out and search for any type of job, as economically we were so desperate by then. He said he would, but never did. When I would ask him about it, he simply stated that until the lease was actually finished, he could not hold down a job (but yet he did not go into our office any longer - he simply worked on his other website from home).
I finally happened to be at a department store buying household goods, when I saw a help wanted sign. I sat down at the computer while the children try to amuse themselves, and filled out an application for my husband. I told him about it and asked him to call them in the morning. He never called them, however, the manager called him anyway. She offered him a job which he started late and quit after one day.
He also has the bad habit to spend quite a bit of money on the telephone on various international calls. I feel like I am sinking into an economic pit, and have not even hit the bottom, so that I can try to get out of it.
He is also very frustrated with the situation (as anyone can clearly see), and shouts and yells at myself and the children, as well as twists our arms if we do something which upsets him. He has also stopped praying or reading the Quran and is just a fraction of the former person whom I met originally.
If I try to bring up anything which upsets me, he simply states that if I am not happy, he is ready to divorce me at any time. He does not want to go to marriage counseling, and simply states that he would rather divorce than go to counseling. He says that I am still young and beautiful and can find anyone else. I do not want a divorce or anyone else. I love him (or at least I did until I started to feel all this anger towards him - I think maybe I still do, but it is hard to know when you are so tired frustrated and fed up). All this stress, is also turning me into a bit of a shrew and I find myself straying away from basics such as respecting my husband and abiding by his wishes. I am becoming very independent and I know that I am losing some of my Islamic wifely mannerisms. All I want is to be able to show my children a normal life and InshAllah, further their learnings of Islam (and InshAllah, my own as well). I would also like not to worry every minute about how to pay the rent or put food on the table for my children. I do not want them to see the struggles to pay the bills, but I am doing the best I can.
I really do not know what to do, because I feel very deprived that I am out of my house working. I cannot spend the quality time with my children as I once did. I am struggling to pay all the bills. I originally divorced my first husband because I wanted to raise my children in a more Islamic manner, however, now I cannot find the time to even sit down with them and read an ayaat from the Quran. I take care of the children, the household, the cooking, the chores, the taxes and the errands. So far, Allah (s.w.t.) has given me the strength and the blessings to come this far, but I find myself utterly exhausted and wish I knew what to do.
I hope that InshAllah, you can give me some guidance as to my situation. May Allah (s.w.t.) bless you sister, for all your efforts and good will toward our community.
-A Sister in Crisis
Dear "Sister in Crisis",
This is a bad situation for you, and I must say one that both angers and saddens me at the same time. I have seen this type of situation happen too many times to American Muslim sisters. And you being a new Muslimah were unaware of the many dangers out there we have to be cautious about.
Firstly, if this "brother" has stopped making salat, he has abandoned his most important duty as a Muslim and you must advise him that he is placing his deen in danger. Also, a man who does not work???!!! I don't understand. You have spent your savings, your energy and time, not to mention being unable to attend to your children in the best manner, what have you and your children gained, while it seems he has gained quite a bit at your expense.
Your rights as a Muslim woman are being trampled upon, and unless this man changes immediately for the better, get him out of your and your childrens' lives. Islam is perfect, human beings are not. You see what is happening. I think you know what you need to do.