Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My husband agreed to me not wearing hijab before marriage but now he is forcing me to cover.

upset muslim woman, distressed sister

Salam alecom,

I am extremely torn, depressed and in need of advice.

My story begins when I met my husband on a social dating website and we started talking as friends. The more we talked the more we found we had in common even though we were miles apart and grew up in totally different cultures and countries.  After a while he confessed that he loved me and hoped I felt the same, well I did. He felt that I would reject him because I was western and he was a Muslim. Well, I accepted him no matter where he came from or what religion he was. I loved him for who he was.

He told me he accepted me as I was and I believed him. One day out of the blue he told me I had to cover my hair and I told him no I wouldn’t do that and if he expected me to then we should stop where we are and just be friends. He didn’t accept that and said no he loved me and it was ok. After about a month he started asking me to convert to Islam, I politely told him no again. When he asked why I told him I just couldn’t blindly believe in a religion (I am not just talking about islam, any religion). There are things in Islam I do agree with such as there is only one god, Allah. I also believe that Jesus(pbuh) was a prophet and not a god. But there are other things I don’t agree with and this is why I didn’t want to convert.

We never met in person so we got to know each other through the internet. We had lots of fights over me changing and converting. We talked over the course of 2 years before deciding to meet and marry.  Even though I agreed to marry him I always told him I would not wear a scarf and he always said ok I am not going to make you wear it. There was a point right before I left that I was going to call it off because I felt he hadn’t listened to me when I said I would never wear a scarf. He begged me not to leave him and come and everything would be fine. So I met him in person for the very 1st time. I fell in love with him all over again. He asked me if I still wanted to marry and I said yes but again confirmed not wearing a scarf.

I had agreed to convert to Islam. So I’m a convert for marriage. He hasn't helped me understand anything and I feel totally lost. I have tried to research Islam on my own but without someone to help me understand and the things I read make me totally confused!

Before I met and married him I didn’t practice any religion and I was very happy with my life. I did believe in god(one god), but as far as a practicing religion I had none. After marriage I started to dress modestly, pray and started to memorize some of the Quran. But I don’t believe wearing a scarf draped all around me makes me a better person! I don’t think not wearing it makes me a bad person either. Since it states in the Quran that Allah knows what’s in everyone’s hearts, then Allah knows I have good intentions and a good heart. I am not saying anything bad about the quran, or the religion but when you can’t blindly follow or believe it’s not going to work.

 I love my husband with all my heart. He is my soul mate and I can’t see living without him, but I can’t be forced into something I am not. He told me Islam is not by enforcement but he has “forced” me the whole time.  Just like he is forcing the “scarf” on me now. I have changed a lot and again I pray, learning quran, dress modestly and even fast. But covering my hair is not an option. I am faithful to my husband so he doesn’t have to worry I will stray, but all that I have done isn’t good enough. I feel it will never be good enough. He is forcing me and making me misserable and depressed. He knew I didn’t cover my hair and he still married me! I never promised him I would. Religion is supposed to bring peace and happiness to us but so far I have not been happy or felt any peace.

I can’t feel or see the beauty in Islam because of my husband’s enforcement. I am depressed, misserable and I am oppressed! I also feel betrayed and that he lied to me. Many say the “scarf” is their choice, well it’s not mine and it is being forced on me! I have no problems with women who wear hijab. If it’s their choice I am happy for them. Have also read on websites that many muslim women don’t feel the need to cover their hair, and I also read that muslim women never covered their hair during prophet Mohamad’s(pbuh) life that it was something only his wives did, that muslim women only started to emulate the prophet’s wives many years after HIS death. I don’t believe it’s fard and there is no real “consequense” for not wearing it.

I just can’t take the pain and hurting anymore and thinking suicidal thoughts more and more everyday… My mother is of no help because she isn’t religious at all and is always negative and asking why am I doing this. She doesn’t understand that I am trying. I can’t talk to my husband either because he is the other end pushing me. I do not live with my husband and the distance makes a strain on us, but I can’t take his pushing me anymore or my mother’s negativity. Please someone who can relate help me. I am at my wits end! I really don’t want to be preached at by men telling me I need to wear a scarf because my feelings right now are I don’t trust a man’s opinion on what a woman should or shouldn’t do. So please sisters help me! I will take any constructive advice(even from men).

Thank you for your time and consideration….



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19 Responses »

  1. Salaam Brooke.

    I am so sorry to hear about what your husband is doing. Its so wrong for him to be forcing you. Islamically hijab is fardh (obligatory) but at the same time it is something that should be done out of free will and not by force. It is something that should be done to bring you closer to God not something to bring you further away. Hijab may be fardh but there are many other things much more important which a new Muslim should be focusing on.

    "There is no compulsion in religion." (Quran: 2:256)

    I want to draw your attention to a few comments from other readers on this topic to give you some food for thought dear sister:

    "My reasoning here is, your desire to cover your hair must come from your heart, not because your hubby is pressuring you to. To think that because you cover your hair makes you a better Muslim is silly. I know of Muslim friends who cover their faces, hands and feet and still back bite each chance they get which is highly haram in Islam. "

    Also please read the post in full and sister Leylas response - I think it is very applicable to you. Here is the link:

    Here are some extracts but to undestand it fully plz read post and whole comment.

    "Ultimately, it is better to be sincere and authentic about yourself and to do this you must adhere to what is your personal truth at all times, and if you are not ready for such a commitment: than this is the truth and this is what you must stick to. It is better to be sincere and real about yourself, then to be insincere and inauthentic and do something when you do not want to. "For you, the best case scenario would be to return to the Islamic way which is to hold back completely and remove yourself from a state of intimacy with him. Explain that you are who you are, and who you are is not going to wear hijab out of pressure"

    In short I would advise you to speak to your husband. Explain your efforts, stand your ground in Islam we have rights as women. We should not be oppressed. Do not let your husbands attitude taint your view of Islam. Spend time learning about Islam and take it slowly. He shouldnt be pressurising you. Belief is the first most important thing to start with. Researching should be enjoyable. Tell him hijab must come from your heart and not from him forcing you.

    And if he still continues you need to ask him why he will not accept you are you, especially when you are trying. Dont get me wrong, hijab is important but it should be done in the best way, not forced upon you, especially when you are new to Islam. If you need any info/help with your research on Islam or with this issue then feel free to comment on here and we will do our best to help InshaAllah (God Willing)

    Sara Editor

    • I understand completely where Brooke is Coming from!! And Sara is so right !!SubhanAllah!! I am a new convert and I just went over seas a month ago to meet my husband's mom and sisters. My husband never forces me to wear Hijab in America .. but wearing a headscarf was something I had no option of not doing in my husband's family. They were very traditional. Mashallah I really admired all of them but one thing that bothered me was that even that I wore Hijab with my regualr clothes, and my Mother In Law expected me to wear an Abaya too and this really bothered me! Being that her daughters wore Hijab with tight jeans and such. Plus she also would tell me if a piece of the back of my neck was showing from my scarf!! I never wore Hijab in my life and here I am trying to respect my husband and myself and she pointed out every little detail I did in wearing it!!I held my tongue and prayed very hard to Allah.. he knows I had went there with great intentions... Gifts and a lot of Love for my Mother in Law and the rest..I really wanted her to Love me and vice versa.. my husband adores her. But that situation has really disappointed me and has taken away my desire to wear scarf. I get so mad when I think of that situation !! But I will do what Sara says I will be true to myself not just to be accepted , I will say too this is not something I am ready for!! Islam is a sacrafice for Allah not just to please people.. I am a faithful wife, a good mother and always am good to everyone!! I am very proud to be a Muslim Now and will wear a Headscarf when I feel its right for me!! Allah knows what is in everyone's Heart.

  2. Hi brooke,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. May God help you and guide you and your husband onto what is morally correct.

    Wearing hijab is beautiful, it makes a woman beautiful and protects her from harm. The hijab basically means 'to veil or cover' in arabic. So sometimes the quran even speaks about putting a hijjab on things, other words covering something. Your case however is not metaphorically speaking, rather technically speaking, if that makes sense. I will not preach more as this is obviously against your will from the thread, but perhaps just advice as much as I possibly can. I want to advice you that you are beautiful the way you are and that headscarf will just protect that beauty, that's all.

    The muslim woman should wear the hijab as it is a command from our God. Now I know that you still dont see the beauty or wisdom in that. So my advice is, learn Islam before you jump into something you have no idea about. So start by understanding the 5 pillars of Islam, why we are here on earth, how short life is, what comes after life, is there an afterlife? What is the real islamic purpose behind marriage. Also, understand how marriage is a protection as hijjab is and that the two compliments each other in a way. You see, Islam means obtaining peace through submitting to God. We are basically here Brooke to submit our entire life to the one who created us. Once you understand and accept that, then you should put more weight on the bar, and increase your practice and faith to a higher stage and so on, until you become convinced of the headscarf. If it takes time, let it take time.

    Tell your husband you want to wear it, but I would like to understand our religion first and once I do then God will help me make the right decision. Other words, speak soft and nice to him and convince him that you need more time and that you do not want to be rushed. Ask him if you can attend some islamic lectures with some women, who can sit with you and give you nice and comfortable advice.

    I know you must feel confused and feel nobody understands you and that you felt betrayed and so on. Well, I am here to say to you that you should nor worry at all, because you got billions of women out there facing somewhat similar issues as yours. Some are even born as a Muslim and still not convinced of hijab.

    Personally, I think you should of course confront your husband, if not , then an Imam of the city which you live in, as both you and your husband must be present ( for a fair view of the 'arbitration'). This will allow both of you to sit with a person with knowledge on Islam and its real teachings.

    My wife is not wearing the hijab. We are both BORN MUSLIMS. The fact is, she grew up in a family who did not teach her about Islam either, so she does not really have the passion as much as I do. I am a fully practicing Muslim and so is she now, but she needs more time to wear it as she wants to do it out of her choice. I love my wife and I am confident that hijjab is something that she by herself will choose to wear, very soon. hijjab and Islam MUST COME OUT OF LOVE AND NOT BY FORCE AND HATRED. I mean, I love to bring her a flower to her before I preach...well, not every day as that will kinda be corny, but at least I do try to spice things up and love her and sit down with her and teach her Quran and teachings of the Prophet Mohammad. And every now and then I remind her of the importance of headscarf and the wisdom behind it, and she now is VERRRYY close as she went to purchase a sit of hijjab. So I am happy for that.

    My point is, I know you love your husband, and he loves you. You two are meant for each other, however in order to have REAL LOVE in your lives, one must practice Islam, as this is a global solution for peace and tranquility. If one cannot see that, then one must read more. If it gets worse, then you must get more advice and observe the 1.5 billion Muslims, not their actions but their everyday lives, so that you do not feel alone. You must feel a since of belonging and that you will join a laaaarge family of people who have converted to Islam from UK, US, Canada, China, Australia, rest of EU and all over the world.

    I know you did not want a man responding and preaching, but I just felt I wanted to say something to try and help somehow, please do forgive me for being too dramatic here or going a bit over board here.

    Try and get some reading materials or read more on the internet perhaps on the importance of Islam and why headscarf is prescribed in the first place.

    But dooooooont worry, be strong, only wear it when you feel you are doing it for Allah and not for your husband. This is what I told my wife too and this is part of life. Sit down with your husband and speak nice to him and convince him about your urge to meet more women to learn Islam more because you want to wear the hijjab but I want time to understand first. If you keep speaking this way to him, I'm sure he will understand.

    I ask Allah to guide you and bless you and shed light onto you and make you happy in this life Brooke...

    All the best...

    • Salamalekum ... well said brother ... with a kind heart and honest tongue ... speaking to one's husband in a gentle manner saying that you still need time to understand the Hijab.. this is a Jihad within myself I have been struggling with also.

    • AsSalaamu Alykum,
      I am a convert or revert however you like from the US. I so love the way you put this. So loving and supportive. My fiance never forced me to cover only guided lovingly.

  3. My advice is quite different from the other responders. The fact that you agreed to marry a man whom you had never met is very telling. Not to sound harsh, but that usually is assign of social awkwardness or low self esteem. Combine that with the fact that your husband is being controlling, I hope that you get out of this situation as soon as possible. It's one thing if you had wanted to convert, but you openly said that you only did it for your husband. In Judaism, a convert has to endure at least a year of Torah study for that very reason. Just ask yourself; are you really happy? Should you really have to explain to your husband your feelings when he knew them before you got married? My husband is far from perfect, but he in a million years would never coerce or manipulate me into becoming more religious if my heart wasn't in it. Personally, you sound like a wonderful person who deserves a lot better.

    • I agree with Nicole. Funny enough, when it comes to intermarriage outside of the Muslim community (and why I'm against it) I usually mention America's Jewish communities. People converting for the sake of a spouse, getting married without working (and realizing the responsibilities-financial, commitment, food, shopping, etc) are things that should seldom be taken lightly and can often destroy religious communities if not considered carefully.

      Also forcing someone to wear hijab is ridiculous. A Muslim woman performs these actions not to lower men's gazes ( a ridiculous notion) but for ALLAH. That is true freedom.

  4. Iam with your mother Why would you do this, it makes know sense to me at all the head scarf is the lest of your problems what if you have children you will have know say what so ever as to how they are brought up, read about Islam independently and insha'Allah you will grow to love this religion,

  5. There's nothing in the Quran that states a woman has to cover her hair. It's the Islamic scholars that insists that.Study the Quran and follow it closely, don't worry about what imams or scholars are insisting.They are all men and want to control women.

    • Nea, you are wrong.

      Allah says:

      “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear therof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers' sons or their sisters' sons, or their women or the servants whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you Believers, turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain Bliss.” (Quran 24:31).

      What did the Sahabah understand from this ayah? Aisha (ra) said: "May Allah have mercy on the foremost women of the Muhajirun! When Allah revealed the verse, “Draw their cloaks over their bodies,” (24:31) they cut their sheets and veiled themselves with them." [Sahih Bukhari, Book 60, Number 282]

      Allah says:

      “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (Quran 33:59)

      The command in the Quran is actually pretty clear if you look for it. In the ayah above, Allah says, "that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty..." The pre-Islamic Arab women already wore head coverings. Here, Allah is telling them to draw that covering over their chest as well, to conceal themselves properly.

      Also in Surat An-Nur, Allah says:

      "And women of post-menstrual age who have no desire for marriage - there is no blame upon them for putting aside their outer garments [but] not displaying adornment. But to modestly refrain [from that] is better for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing." (Quran 24:60)

      So if elderly women are given a dispensation to remove their outer garments, then obviously it was required before that.

      In Surat Al-Ahzab, Allah says:

      "O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful." (Quran 33:59)

      If all of that is not explicit enough for you, the Messenger of Allah (sws) made it very clear. That was a part of his job, to explain the Quran, and demonstrate its practice. That's why Allah tells us many times in the Quran, "Obey Allah and obey the Messenger."

      One of the most famous hadith proofs for hijab is the following, "A'isha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that Asma', the daughter of Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) while wearing thin clothing. He approached her and said: "'O Asma'! When a girl reaches the menstrual age, it is not proper that anything should remain exposed except this and this." He pointed to the face and hands." [Abu Dawud]

      So the command to wear hijab is very clear.

      Men should also dress modestly. They should wear loose clothing that covers their legs at least to the knees, and should cover their upper bodies. If they can follow the sunnah by wearing something on the head as well, that is good. If you look at traditional dress in the Muslim world, you'll see that there's not much difference between male and female dress in terms of modesty. Traditional Arab dress for men is a long, flowing robe. In Afghanistan and Pakistan it's the shalwar khamees (baggy trousers and long shirt), and often a turban or kufi on the head. In Malaysia and Indonesia it's a long skirt, and a loose upper garment. These are all good examples of modest Islamic dress.

      Wael Editor

    • They are all men and want to control women.

      Feminist rhetoric.Nothing more.

    • The command for women to wear hijab is clear in the Qur'an and brother Wael has provided the info below. We cannot argue with what Allah (swt) has said so rather than looking at the fact that these scholars are men - look at the evidence behind it.

      The issue of some men wanting to control women is a seperate issue altogether - it should not and does not affect whether or not a woman should be wearing hijab.
      A woman should observe hijab, but she should not be forced or pressured into it - it is something which should come from herself. So even though hijab is fardh it is totally wrong of her husband to pressure her into it. A good deed should be done to please Allah not out of force.

      Allah says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

      The better thing for the husband to do would be to give the sister encouragement and love and allow her to get closer to Islam rather than forcing her and pushing her away.

      Sister I am sorry you feel that men control women, some men do and it is sad that they do it in the name of Islam, but we must not let such individuals behaviour affect our deen. Islam is perfect and correct. We (the Muslims) are not - and some people attribute our bad behaviour to Islam. Ultimately What is halal is halal, what is haraam is haraam and what is fardh is fardh, regardless of how people choose practice their faith.

      Sara Editor

  6. As part of interfaith dialogue, I also point out to people from other religions that Mary (may Allah be pleased with her) is never depicted in church paintings etc with her head uncovered, so why is it different when it comes to "Islam and muslim women". Why and Mary and the nuns not considered "suppressed"!! Women from hindu and sikh religion also covered their heads in modesty - not much these days unfortunately, just like everywhere else like in India and Pakistan where no one in the younger generations is covering any more

  7. Wow, I have the opposite problem! I want very much to cover my hair as the Christian scriptures direct me to do, but my husband won't allow it. I feel for you because this issue is so close to our hearts as women , after all, the word says our hair is our glory! I want to cover mine before God put of respect for Him but my husband says it makes us look weird and stand out. I have submitted to him as is proper but in my heart I am still longing so much for the comfort of my cover.
    I guess it comes down to yielding. Do you believe that your husband is your head? If you do then sometime you will need to yield. If you don't, then do you believe God is your head? If you do then you must yield to what you believe he wants for you.
    Submission to anyone is very difficult, but its like fasting, it's an ongoing prayer. The act of submission, rather than the act that is submitted to, is what makes the prayer.
    If you don't have peace, ask God to show you where His peace is. He is faithful and He will do it.
    Blessings upon you, sister

  8. You are not supposed to be giving your contact infomration here, brother. It is not allowed. I assume Editors will delete your post soon.


  10. I am living the same it is a devastating situation. I saw this post is old so I would like to know what happened? I am currently in this desolation situation and also need help. Thank you

    • This is sooo much my life. My husband says that if I don’t wear the hijab he will love me less and not behave good to me. I love Allah and Islam but he is showing a wrong picture of it. He don’t care about my fasting or praying five times a day, but hijab no no according to him I will go to hell if I don’t wear it.

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