Islamic marriage advice and family advice

He’s not a practicing Muslim!

salat - men in a row

as salam alaikum,

I'm very depressed. I've been married for 4 years, and it was a love marriage. I have a son whom we both love. I was not wearing hijab before, and not practicing islam sincerely before marriage.

My husband is also a muslim, but does not offer salat, fast or do what a normal muslim should. I always tried to explain to him, and he says he believes in Allah but does not believe in praying etc.

We love each other and I want my son to have good akhlaq. I feel like we should separate. I did istekhara and everyting. It's a lot of pain I'm going through, please advise what should I do at the earliest.

-zuhi shaikh

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27 Responses »

  1. Salaams,

    The reality is that we cannot control what other people do. We cannot force them to become the person we like. It also happens that sometimes we marry someone and we, or they, or both parties, change. Sometimes the change works out to strengthen the marriage, sometimes it doesn't.

    I think you making istikhara and separating from him is a wise choice. You realize now that you have values that don't match his currently. In shaa Allah the time of separation will motivate him to think about what he really wants in life from himself and his marriage, while giving you to consider your next steps. It may be that the time away makes him realize he wants to be more pious himself. Or, he may realize that he doesn't. Then at least you'll have an idea of what it will be like if you remain married to him, and whether that's what you truly want.

    May Allah guide you both, sister. It's true that making such a big change is a lot of pain and difficulty, but could be the most beneficial thing you did for yourself and your child, if not your marriage. Please know that every hard decision we make for the sake of Allah is not ignored by the Almighty. He will recompense you for your iman in this, in shaa Allah. Keep your trust in Him, and watch how it works out for you.

    -Amy Editor

  2. You married a guy you loved. So most likely you knew about his habits and religious practices.

    I have a feeling you have other problems in your lives that are causing you depression. Get a job, see a psychologist.

    What makes you think you and your son's life will get better without your husband?

    • Salaams,

      Yes I agree with you that she knew about these things before marriage, but as you can see she was also at a different place herself then and apparently it was not an issue for her at the time. Now it is.

      -Amy Editor

  3. Assalaamualaikam

    It seems that you and your husband have grown apart, and are now in very different places with regards faith and lifestyle. I think a civil divorce court would class this situation as having "irreconcilable differences", if the two of you can't come to a satisfactory resolution.

    Have you tried speaking with him about how serious this issue is for you? If you're at a stage where you're leaning towards separation, it might be worth a try to raise the issue with him directly. Think about what he would have to do in order for you to feel able to stay with him, and what you would want him to do during any period of separation - for example, attending classes at the local mosque or community centre, to learn about why and how Islam is practised.

    Midnightmoon editor

  4. The are many practising Muslim husbands who cheat on their wives and are involved in things which are haram in Islam. Don't take a hasty decision of separation now. I have come across many non practising Muslims in my life and one thing common among them is they judge practising Muslims very closely and are quick to make generalized opinions about them.

    For eg if there is a Muslim man in the neighbourhood who prays & fasts but is rumoured to be involved in some haram act, these people will latch on to that & relish giving the mans example ( to justify their own behaviour) whenever they are cornered about their non compliance of obligatory acts of prayer & fasting.
    The best you can do is try to become a perfect Muslimah wife, a true worshipper of Allah and Insha-allah he may someday have a change of heart seeing your piety & piousness.

    • Out of curiousity, what is the practical advice that is going to make the son practice Islam in this situation? Will the son learn that as the head of the household that he can behave or believe anything he wants and his wife will just ignore it? Will the son learn that he should pray like his mother and his father's role is irrelevant? This isn't about two people alone, it is about a boy whose future faith is in jeopardy.

      • @Saba
        Out of curiosity, Can anyone guarantee that a son from a household whose head is a staunch practising Muslim would grow up to become a pious & strict practising Muslim himself ?

        [006:125] And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islam, and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky. Thus Allah puts the wrath on those who believe not.

        Her priorities should be on efforts to save the marriage rather than worrying over her sons future.

        • Salaams,

          I know I'm not Saba, but I just want to share my thoughts. I don't think it has to be 'either/or' with her son and marriage. It can certainly and easily be both.

          In fact I think they are of equal concern. Her son's future is no less important than her present marriage. If we were not to think of our future generations, then there would be no need to be wise in selecting a spouse for character and deen. We could simply chose whomever we like the most.

          In reality, even though it's true that people will or won't be guided by Allah despite their circumstances, that's the exception and not the rule. In general, children raised to fear Allah tend to become religious, and children raised in heedless homes tend to be hedonistic. It's the general trend, and not one to be ignored simply because there are exceptions to it.


          • @ Amy

            Her husband is a believer and not an idol worshipper.I think it would be foolish on her part to jeopardize her marriage worrying about her sons future. Character and deen are dynamic and never static, she herself claims that she was not practising Islam sincerely before marriage, so I believe its unfair on her part to expect her husband to change like she did, its possible he might in the future,by the will of Allah.

            Children raised to fear Allah tend to become religious or children raised in heedless homes tend to be hedonistic is a hypothetical assumption and not a rule neither a trend, especially true today in these modern times.

          • Can you please explain how separating from someone with good intentions to repair a damage in a marriage, is jeopardizing it? From your point of view?

            Needless to say I disagree with your other perspectives as I've already outlined. I don't think it's fair you compare him to an extreme- an idol worshipper.

            By the way that was not hypothetical- if you look at the west you see dunya, you look at the east you see conservativeness. As a general rule- every place has it's positives and negatives but there's a reason why people from the west are the way they are, and why people from the east tend to be more deeni. If it was hypothetical that would not be an apparent fact as we are easily able to observe.


          • @ Amy

            Advising married women to use separation as a tool to repair a marriage is dangerous, as it can backfire easily & break the marriage. The bare truth is its easy for divorced Muslim men to remarry( find another spouse) compared to divorced Muslim women with a child.

            The point is she need not worry about her sons future, as her hubby is not an idol worshipper.

            There are pockets in the west that are still conservative & religious like the bible belt of USA. Shockingly a survey showed there are more people accessing online porn in the bible belt compared to whole of USA & also it was found Islamic countries top the world in online porn searches. Hence to assume conservativeness corresponds to being more deeni is erroneous.

        • I live in the "Bible Belt", and have for the past 20 years. I can assure you that it is neither conservative nor religious. That would explain why there is an ample amount of porn watching here. fact, I have seen more dunya activity living here than I saw growing up in California, which reputationally is a very liberal state.

          Yet I have talked to many people who were born and raised in Arab countries, many of whom have never watched porn, nor seen a woman naked in real life, and take Islam very seriously.

          And, most people are not "idol worshippers' in the traditional sense of the word. So the fact her spouse isn't one, proves nothing.

          I don't see how separating can threaten to break the marriage, when her husband's lifestyle choices have already put the marriage in that position from what she's saying. If she stays, the marriage is already at the breaking point simply because of what he's neglecting in his ibadah. No difference there.


          • @Amy

            wiki says :'The Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the south-eastern and south-central United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation's average. '

            According to you it is neither conservative nor religious, nice, that gives credibility to the porn survey. Unfortunately, similar truth is unfolding in most Arab Muslim countries today, although they show strong religious tone in public life, the reality is different behind closed doors, in private and in some places its out in the open.

            You have talked to many people who were born and raised in Arab countries, many of whom have never watched porn, nor seen a woman naked in real life, and take Islam very seriously, proves nothing.

            She does not need to worry about her husband forcing their son to commit shirk, as he is not an idol worshipper.

            She has accepted that her husband's lifestyle choices are similar to her own before marriage, Allah Willing her husband can became a practising Muslim, like she has. She needs to be patient, explore all other possible options and make dua instead of jumping on the bandwagon of separation and risking derailing her marriage forever.

          • Amy: Yet I have talked to many people who were born and raised in Arab countries, many of whom have never watched porn, nor seen a woman naked in real life, and take Islam very seriously.

            Google, the world’s most popular Internet search engine, has found in a survey that mostly Muslim states seek access to sex-related websites and Pakistan tops the list. Google found that of the top 10 countries - searching for sex-related sites - six were Muslim, with Pakistan on the top. The other Muslim countries are Egypt at number 2, Iran at 4, Morocco at 5, Saudi Arabia at 7 and Turkey at 8. Non-Muslim states are Vietnam at 3, India at 6, Philippines at 9 and Poland at 10

            I do agree that it will be hard to see a naked woman in real life in a arab country because there are no girls dancing bars in those countries. I often read news at emitrates247 website, it seems like bad things like incest, gang rape, boys rape etc happen in almost all countries

        • Parents are responsible for how their children's upbringing and they will be Islamically accountable--decisions must be carefully weighed by a father and mother--your response sounds like it could be used as a cop-out for bad parenting. I am sorry, but i was looking for genuine ideas. Just because a child may leave the fold of Islam, doesn't mean that you stop trying a good parent.

          I don't think she should run for a divorce, but to suggest that she should become a perfect Muslimah and not at all address his disbelief in prayer is ignoring the matter altogether.

          "Praise be to Allaah.

          It is not permissible to stay with a husband who is like this, because by neglecting the salaah (prayer) he is a kaafir, and it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a kaafir or stay with him. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

          “… if you ascertain that they [women] are true believers, send them not back to the disbelievers, they are not lawful (wives) for the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful (husbands) for them…” [al-Mumtahinah 60:10]"

          And this is why she needs to consult an Imam and/or scholar and telling her to ignore it completely, knowing the affect it could have on her son, isn't adviseable.

          And Allah knows best.

        • When she says " I always tried to explain to him", it sounds to me like she has already tried many things to make a difference. And they're not working.

          Generally no one advises someone to do more of the same things that haven't worked in the past, and that's when it is appropriate to try another level of intervention.

          I don't think being at risk for making someone an idol worshipper is the only thing one should worry about. There are abusive men who are teaching their sons to be abusive, and their daughters to take abuse, but they are not teaching idol worship. Does that make it OK for them to pass on a legacy of violence and victimhood?

          No Way.

          Obligations are serious, or else they wouldn't be obligations. Let's not minimize this into something irrelevant.


          • @Amy

            If all problems in marriages got solved by spouses talking to each other, then there would be no marriage counsellors, no one would involve their family, relatives, community or imam.,

            She says they love each other, abuse is not the issue. If there are abusive men who are teaching their sons to be abusive, and their daughters to take abuse, women are not far behind like abusive mother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, wives.

          • Again, I am asking you to change your username, please, for the reasons I already gave.


    • Salaams,

      Personally I never feel it's a strong point to say that some practicing muslims are very sinful or do severely haraam things, and so that's why we should accept "good" people who consistently don't practice. It's not as though there are only two categories of people: the wicked practicers and the good non-practicers. In fact, I'd venture to say that for each sinful practicing person, there are a number of practicing people who avoid haraam and major sins fairly successfully. I think someone who is on that level, deserves to be married to someone on that level as well.

      All that to say that separating from someone isn't a permanent solution. I don't think it's a bad choice to make when serious values are at stake. She hasn't made a decision to divorce, it's just separation. Separation is a tool that can be very effective when used with good intentions in shaa Allah.

      -Amy Editor

  5. Someone who does not pray out of laziness, or prays irregularly, would be considered a sinner but still Muslim.

    However, if your husband truly does not believe in prayer, as you said, then he is not Muslim. To deny one of the pillars of Islam is the same as disbelief in the religion.

    You must make your decision accordingly.

    Wael Editor

    • Actually the thing is if someone say the Kalima from the heart then Alhamdulillah they are a Believer.

      I think her husband is a Believer and not a Muslim. Now whats the difference ?

      Believer in Islam: Believe in oneness of Allah and his last Messenger Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W).

      Muslim: One who submits to the will of Allah, according to Islam.

      So if someone don't submit to the will of God, meaning he/she are breaking their religious duties declared by Allah then how can they say they are a Muslim? rather they are a Believer.

      There are Five Pillars of Islam.

      1.the shahada (Islamic creed)

      2.daily prayers (salah)

      3.almsgiving (zakāt)

      4.fasting during the month of Ramadan (sawm)

      5.the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in a lifetime. If you have the money

      And if you try to break any one of them, your emaan can not be completed.

      • First, I prefer that you choose a different username, rather than identify yourself by one (formerly) bad habit. It's not our way in Islam to advertise our faults to the world.

        Second, on the matter of Islam and Imaan, you have it the wrong way round. Islam is the basic state of acceptance that one enters when proclaiming the shahadah. Imaan or belief is a higher state that comes with the development of Islamic character. That's why Allah SWT said to the Bedouin Arabs who had just accepted Islam:

        The bedouins say: "We believe." Say: "You believe not but you only say, 'We have surrendered (in Islam),' for Faith has not yet entered your hearts. But if you obey Allah and His Messenger (SAW), He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

        (Quran 49:14).

        The Messenger of Allah (sws) said that imaan has 70 branches. They include things such as kindness to neighbors, loving for your brother what you love for yourself, and saying what is good or staying silent.

        Regarding denial of prayer, the scholars are in agreement that denial of anything that Allah has revealed is kufr. This is certainly true for the pillars of Islam. If someone says, "I don't believe in prayer," there is no way he can be Muslim, because he is in open defiance of Allah. Saying the shahadah is meaningless if one belies it by denying what Allah has revealed.

        Wael Editor

        • Just a repetition of what Brother Wael said:

          There are three ranks:

          The first rank:

          Islam, which is to submit to Allah. This implies that:

          1. You testify (by your tongue) that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.

          2. You establish prayer (five times daily salats).

          3. You pay Zakat.

          4. Observe the fast of Ramadan.

          5. Perform Hajj if you are solvent enough to bear the expense of the journey.

          This rank is the begining of Imaan/Faith. The testification part (i.e. the first) of it, is the pillar of the four. If you leave the testification or disbelieve in it, you are not considered a Muslim. If you leave any of the four out of laziness, without disbelieving in it, you are considered a sinner but still a Muslim. But if you disbelieve in any of the four, you are not considered a Muslim.

          The second rank:
          Iman, which is to affirm your imaan. This implies that you affirm your faith (by your heart):

          1. In Allah.

          2. In His angels.

          3 In His Books.

          4. In His Apostles.

          5 In the Day of Judgment.

          6. In the Divine Decree about good and evil.

          The effect of this rank relies on completing everything mentioned in the first rank, and its completion is attached to enjoying good deeds, such as kindness to neighbors, loving for your brother what you love for yourself, and saying what is good or staying silent etc...

          You can't act upon the second rank, and disbelieve in any of the 5 in the first rank, and still be a Muslim. No way.

          The third rank:
          Ihsan, which is the perfection of your imaan and your good deeds. This implies that, you worship Allah (i.e. you perfect your ibaadah and your good deeds sincerely for Allah) as if you are seeing Him, for though you don't see Him, He, verily, sees you.

          • There is no effect for Ihsan without going through Iman, and there is no effect for Iman without going through Islam.

  6. Assalam alaikum,

    Indeed your situation is very painful. May Allah ease the difficulties for all in your family. I suggest that along with praying Isthikhara, you should also talk to an Imam to get their opinion on your husband's outlook for Islam--perhaps even talk to more than one. As mentioned above, the fact that your husband chooses to not believe in praying, is very concerning.

  7. As salaamu walaikum. My name is Ummi Fatimah. How do i ask the editor a question

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