Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My husband is a good man, but has no interest in Deen

Man drinking alcohol from a bottle

"He drinks alcohol..."

I am a Muslim woman, 30 years of age, Sri Lankan, living in Melbourne Australia. I’ve been married for 8 years and I have a 3 year old daughter.

My marriage was a arranged marriage and my husband is a Sri Lankan too but raised in Australia. His mother in a convert and his father doesn’t practice Islam. So the children have been brought up like that too. Although his mom is a convert she practices Islam and she tried to teach them too, but kids always like to take the easy way out. So they became like their father.

At the time I got married to him he said he doesn’t drink and he was smoking but he gave up. After I moved to Australia he started again. He doesn’t drink all the time but occasionally at office parties and entertaining their non Muslim cousins at home.

It’s written in out marriage certificate that he is giving me Sri Lankan Rupees 50,000 as mahar but he never gave. How important is that?

I have never seen him pray. On eid we do go to mosque together sometimes if he is not working. Every month of Ramadan I have to force him to give zakat. That too he doesn’t give what he should be. And when he has to go to gym he doesn’t fast. Missing a fast is not a big deal for them.

I must admit he is a good man, a good father, a good husband and I love him but these are the things that really bother me. It’s been 8 years now but he never changed. I sometimes really want to give up on changing him but when I think of my daughter im really sacred. I don’t want her to be like him.

I sometimes think I will give up on this marriage and leave to Sri Lanka, but my child will not have a father. I really need some advice from someone. Please help.

- fazshi

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7 Responses »

  1. Dear Fazshi:

    First of all I would like to say that I am sorry to hear your situation. I understand that it is heart-breaking to see your spouse not practicing religion like you do. Actually, one of the problems that Muslim families now a days face is the spiritual and religious incompatibility between spouses.

    I myself actually do not have any straight answer about how the religious gap between a husband and a wife can be shortened, but I can suggest you something. You need to give dawah to your husband, but you need to careful of the following issues before you approach him to give dawah:

    01. I know that you are a practicing Muslimah, but I remind myself and others every time of this first condition of giving dawah: you must practice first. The importance of practicing first cannot be over emphasized. This is a common sense, isn't it? If I do not pray but shout at my younger brother for not praying, his instant retort would be, "Do you pray?" Many times we find in Muslim families that parents watch movies but when children approach their bedroom, they yell at them and say, "Go out. you are not supposed to see what we are watching". Isn't this hypocrisy and double standard? So, I again remind any brother or sister, including myself, who is engaged in dawah to remember this important first condition. Allah said at the beginning of Surah Saff:

    O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do. [61:2-3]

    02. You must learn how to give dawah. Believe me or not, giving dawah to someone can be the most challenging job in this world. It is indeed the most challenging job, and that is why it needs training and preparation.

    First, you need to have the utmost patience. Often giving dawah will lead you to frustration. But if you are pepared and know your expectations, you will be able to deal it more easily. If things get tough, just remember how much mocking and ridicule and abuse the Messenger of Allah had to endure to give dawah to people.

    Second, you will have to gain knowledge. This is one of the main tools of giving dawah. Always read Islamic books and listen to lectures. Attend khutbas and weekly halaqas. You need to keep constant touch with knowledge. When you will gain knowledge, you will know where to begin from with your husband. If someone's imaan (conviction) is at your husband's level, I would of course call him to pray and fast and give zakah, but I would first try to have discussion with him about something more fundamental. Those fundamental issues according to my humble opinion are: the concept of Allah and tawheed, the purpose of life, and the existence of hereafter. I sincerely believe that if I can mend someone's concept about God and His magnificent attributes, enlighten him about the true purpose of this life, and really make him understand about the enormity of the life that is awaiting us after death, he or she will come to realize that there is actually no room except submitting to the will of Allah, and will consequently take steps of become a practicing Muslim.

    Third, you should very careful about how you present your dawah to your husband. Our approach to give dawah is very important. The people to whom we give dawah to sometimes feel intimidated. Do you want to know why? Because of our approach. Sometimes we give dawah in a way that they feel we are trying make them look worse than us. Despite our best intention, because of our approach, they think that we are trying to be dominant over them. So you need to be very careful about your presentation. If I see someone smoking and just shout at him, "Smoking is haram", most probably he will get offended and will reject my dawah. But if I say, "Oh my brother! I am genuinely concerned about you. I am concerned about the state of your health and the state of your spiritual well being". Then I talk about the why smoking is harmful both for worldly and spiritual reasons and then conclude my lecture with "Smoking is haram", he will very likely take my dawah.

    I am not assuming here that you have a bad approach, I am rather talking about some general etiquettes of giving dawah. You may approach your husband like that. You can say, "Look, I am genuinely concerned about you". He may say, "Why?" You will say, "Because I love you. Don't you love me?" He will say, "Yes" You say, "Do you ever want to see a moment where both of us will be cursing at each other?" He will say, "No". Then you can explain how love and friendship with no spiritual and religious basis will cause agony in the day of judgment and how Allah will cut off this relationship. You can then explain to him that the only way to eternally keep the relationship between you and your husband is to hold the rope of Allah, as it will lead both of you to paradise. If he then questions the existence of hereafter, you will then have to being your weapon of knowledge to tackle those issues.

    Fourth, persuade him to listen to lectures of different scholars. I say different scholars because you do not know whose dawah will click his heart. Each scholar has his unique way of giving dawah. Two good sites for Islamic lectures are:

    http://www.halaltube.com/
    http://www.hoor-al-ayn.com/

    My personal favorites are: Abdur Raheem Green, Hamza Yusuf, Sheikh Yassir Qadhi, Sheikh Yassir Bijras, Nouman Ali Khan, Abu Nasir Jangda, Abu Adnan et el. Before you make your husband listen any lecture, you should listen it first. I found many of their lectures to be real heart softeners.

    Fifth, try him to listen to Quran. Never underestimate the power of the words of Allah. In fact my re-birth as a Muslim happened by listening to Quran. My mom used to tell me to pray and fast and I was actually a mechanical Muslim. Then one day I was listening to the recitation of Sheikh Saud Shuraim, the deputy chief of imams of Masjidul Haram. He was reciting Surah Araf and became extremely emotional when he recited the following verses:

    They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers. [7:23] "

    I was shocked and full of awe. That great imam was thousand times better than me in terms of religion, yet he became extremely emotional when he recited to His lord that he wronged himself, whereas I was spiritually a dead person, yet I could sleep, eat, and enjoy with ease? That was a great awakening for me. Since that day, I became a great fan of this Sheikh and I also like Sheikh Abdur Rahman Sudais, the chief imam of Masjidul Haram. The video that I was watching can be found here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejgmEWRheys

    If you do not have a specific sheikh whose recitation you like, I would encourage you to try the recitations of Sheikh Sudais and Sheikh Shuraim on your husband. You can find a lot of their recitation videos in youtube. It worked like charm for many people.

    03. Last but not least, you should remember that no matter how hard you try and how much you want to see your husband practicing Islam, the guidance ultimately comes from Allah. Whomsoever Allah misguides, none can guide. Whomsoever Allah guides, none can misguide. So try hard, but put your trust in Allah. Make lot of duas. Dua can indeed move mountains.

  2. Salaam my Sister,

    I am sorry that you are in this situation and can understand your worries. Our shared sense of religious values and ideals is what keeps our hearts at peace, and ultimately teaches our children what to do.

    In regards to the mahr, this is an absolute obligation which he must give you. There is no negotiation on that, this is your God given right and a duty upon your husband.

    “And give to the women (whom you marry) their Mahr (obligatory bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) with a good heart” [al-Nisa’ 5:4]

    Regarding your husband's practice of religion, I would advise that you attempt to inspire him one step at a time. Inspiration is positive feelings and a sincere desire to follow the inspiration. Choose the smaller things first (the occasional alcohol you mentioned for example). You say he is a good man, so he will care and respond about what hurts you. Explain to him that when he drinks alcohol, it hurts you and you wish for him to abandon it. Once he has seen the light and committed to giving up alcohol you can move onto fasting and explain that this is very important to you and you will feel closer to him if you could share this experience together

    Slowly, slowly - one step at a time, he will begin to absorb these things and as long as you are addressing them kindly and lovingly, he will begin to respond to you. Be patient, and expect things to take time and remember that you must come from a positive place and not go into a speech about how everything he is doing is wrong.

    The truth is we cannot make people more or less of what they are - they have to want to do it before they will do it, so the best route is to inspire him to see alcohol and fasting in the way that you see it, and invite him to be a part of your life and your experiences.

    I hope this helps inshaAllah,

    Peace,

    Leyla
    Editor, Islamic Answers

  3. Assalam alakum sister
    your sense of Islam is inspiring.
    but if all Muslims start thinking like you; most marriages will break because we all know how bad the level of Muslim practice among the Muslim Ummah is today. You say, "" I must admit he is a good man, a good father, a good husband and I love him """ Although I dont believe the last part; but I would say not to live him. It's more of your fault that you are having your own expectations and havenot tried to fulfill them. I think you are not interested in this marriage for some reasons and want to move on. It has less to do with him.

  4. sister, there is a clear concept from Allaah that "whatever you give up for the sake of Allaah, Allaah will replace it with something better for you"

    so sacrifice this man, and Allaah will give you a better husband and your child will be happeir to have a righteous role model, instead of a drunkard.

    ask yourself this.

    "do you want your son to grow up like his dad, drunkard, doesnt pray, fast etc etc"

    wallaahi you dont.

    Allaah ma'ak

    • Brother Abu-Az-Zubayr:

      I agree that there is a general concept that if you gve something up for the sake of Allah, Allah will replace it with something better.

      But that "replacement" is not limited to time and space as we know it. It most likely means we will be rewarded in the Hereafter, and not in this world. I myself gave someone up for the sake of Allah, and I have not recovered nor have I found someone else, and I doubt I will. But that is besides the point.

      My point is, she is married to a muslim. But he is not a practicing muslim in all respects, and that is difficult for her, understandably. But I don't think the advice you should give her is to divorce because then God will give her a man who is perfect. How did you reach that conclusion? If she gets a divorce, she may remain a single mother for the rest of her life, she may meet a practicing muslim man but who does not treat her well, she may meet a practicing muslim man but lose custody of her daughter, etc - we don't know what will happen.

      The family is sacred in Islam. Unfortunately, I do not have the answers for this girl, other than to read Istikhara and insha'Allah God will put the right guidance in your heart and in the heart of your husband. What I do know is that divorce, while maybe is the ULTIMATE answer depending on what happens, is not the first and automatic answer. Btw brother, this man is not a drunkard, and it appears that he treats his wife and his daughter well. Do you know how many women write to this website and others about how their muslim husbands abuse and/or cheat on them? This is a family worth salvaging, this is a situation where it is possible that the good will overcome the bad - so let's encourage her to work toward that goal.

  5. My dear sister, I would echo on what 'stranger' said in his reply to you on October 6. Nothing can be said accurately and I hope his advice will be useful for you.

    If I may add to it as my personal view...on your frustration and that at time you feel you want to give up on the marriage, I would like to oppose of it since he is a good husband and father and your marriage is a blissful marriage.

    Sister, remember syaitan, syaitan, syaitan groups of them, everyday will return to the their master iblis to be proud of their achievements on every single bad accounts they succeed to make us to do, but the ultimate is those that they could make a husband and wife to divorce.

    How would you know that Allah have made a husband and wife to be together as part as a challenge for themselves to gain Allah's reward in the marriage? If a Mukmin husband can correct and bring their wife to the submission to Allah while she was not before, Allah will reward the husband and both. Likewise, if a Mukmin wife can convince their husband in submission to Allah while he was never before, the wife will receive the reward and both will be blessed.

    Walking away as a Mukmin and leaving your husband drowning in his faith is the last thing you should think of. Not only Allah will not be pleased, Iblis receives his glory, but also you walk away losing the opportunity to receive Allah's reward and blessings. You are not the winner the day you leave your husband. You will loose every single good thing in your life and the promise and Allah's reward into you.

    So please endure and save not only your beloved husband, but friends and families too that are lost and for you to guide.

    Wallahu'alam

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