Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Can I seek divorce from my neglectful husband?

Assalamu alaikum,

I am in need of advice about my marriage. My husband married me about 3 years ago in his country. I am from USA and I now know he has only married me to relocate. I have not filed for him to get a permanent residency card and so now he has decided that he does not want to live with me unless I file his papers.

He has become rude and hateful over this ordeal. I recently had his child and he left us soon after her birth. He had tried to leave prior to her birth, but I did not allow him to go as I needed him to be present at the birth. He had misinformed an elderly man and told him that my family was treating him badly. So, this man allowed him to come live with him. He had told the man that he did not have any children as well. He tells lies constantly to others and they believe him because he is from their same nationality. But, the Americans all know he is a liar.

He has not offered any financial support to me since marriage. He is now working undercover (as his papers are not in line to work legally). I have only received $100 from his job that he is doing at this time.  He never calls to check up on my well-being or that of our child and he knows I am ill. At the time he left me I had a cesarean section so I was not healed and the doctor said for him to help me for six weeks but he was on a mission to get away from me.

Now, when I try to talk to him he says "do whatever you want". But he does not say he wants a divorce. I believe he may possibly have a new woman where he is now. I am not 100% sure but that is what my gut instincts tell me. I just want to know am I able to obtain a khula? I want to be free as it is now I have not been intimate with him since October 2009. I do not know what he is doing where he is but he threatened to commit zinnah numerous times.

Anyway, please advise me Insha'Allah.

- sister_in_islam

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6 Responses »

  1. Praise Be to Allah

    If the husband is giving his wife her rights as prescribed in sharee’ah, then it is haraam for her to ask him for a divorce, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who asked for a divorce for no reason, the fragrance of Paradise is forbidden to her.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1187; Abu Dawood, 2226; Ibn Maajah, 2055; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood).

    What is meant by the words “for no reason” is without any urgent situation which makes it hard for the marriage to continue.

    If the wife is being harmed and the situation is too difficult for her because of the husband’s falling short in giving her her rights, or his withholding her rights from her, or because of his bad treatment and other similar reasons, then she has the right to ask for divorce, and she may refer to the qaadi and tell him what is happening, and he in turn can ask the husband to give her her rights or to divorce her.

    If she has found out that he has some bad characteristics, he should not hasten to ask for a divorce, rather she has to be kind to him and advise him in the way that is best, and help him to change his character for the better. He acknowledges the way he is and has promised to change. This is a positive step on the husband’s part and it is the first step in dealing with the problem. The wife should help her husband to do good. If every wife wanted a divorce when he was quick to get angry or transmitted some words that were spoken between him and his wife, or other mistakes, there would be no household that was not broken up and its members scattered.

    Allah Knows Best

    • The last paragraph was supposed to be focused on if the husband was willing to make a sincere change for the better and the wife could help him do that. Sorry maybe my fasting is making me lose my focus. And I'm sorry to the sister for not not giving a better answer.

      • I apologize brother, I thought you had copied an answer from IslamOnline or some other site. Sorry about my assumption, forgive me, and I deleted my previous comment.

        I've noticed that my responses have become a little bit testy lately. Maybe the fast is getting to me, ha ha. I need to chill out and try to be more understanding and supportive. I will work on that.


  2. Sister in Islam, wa alaykum as-salam,

    Go to the Imam of your community, explain your husband's behavior, and tell him you want a divorce. He may try to talk you out of it, but if you are firm on the matter then he should contact your husband and ask him to declare divorce.

    Now if I can play devil's advocate for a moment, and please forgive me, it doesn't mean that I am taking your husband's side, but there are some unanswered questions.

    If I were a foreigner in this country, hoping to stay and live here, and I married an American woman sincerely intending to stay with her and be her husband for life, and then she refused to apply for residency for me, I would also become disenchanted. I might conclude that my wife is not loyal to me, is not truly committed to me, and does not trust me. I would think maybe she doubts my sincerity and my love. And that would be a big turnoff.

    I have a friend who came here from Jordan as a college student 25 years ago. He decided he wanted to stay. He married a Mexican-American woman and she helped him get residency. Later she converted to Islam and they had children. 25 years later they are still happily married and have four wonderful children. But what would have happened if she had refused to apply for residency for him way back then? I can't say for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had left her. After all, where is the future in a marriage where one partner cannot remain in the country legally?

    It's the chicken or the egg. Which came first? Maybe he thinks you do not trust him and do not sincerely love him because you will not help him; while you think he does not love you, and is not sincere, because he wants residency.

    Husbands and wives help each other, that's part of marriage. That does not mean that they are using each other.

    I'm not saying that I would do all the immature and irresponsible things that your husband did afterwards, like lying about his family and not paying support. I would not do that. Your husband is not fulfilling his responsibilities as a man and a father.

    Wael Editor

  3. Salaams Sister,

    Oh goodness this is difficult. I have had a similar situation and I'm from the UK. My husband had behaved in the same way as yours, except he got permanent stay. We have been separate and he doesn't see the children. I have things set in place but not yet initiated divorce.

    On reading Brother Waels reply, despite my own experience, I agree with this. I have had so much time to reflect, initially dealing with anger and hurt and blaming my husband and my family for supporting him. However, as time has gone on I came to realise many things and learnt about myself and my own role in the demise of my mariage. I still say that my husband has not been a good husband but I have now come to a point thinking did I push him away from me with my paranoia and nagging!

    We have to be fair and honest at least to ourselves. I was so consumed by anger and hurt from my husbands behaviour. I failed to see how my own behaviour made an impact. As I was thinking I was justified. In my case.

    I say this because you may come to regret your decision. As time goes by you will long for your child to have a relationship with her father. You have been married 3 years. How were things during that time? What made you think he was only after a green card?

    We can make the mistake of making assumptions, expecting a man from another culture to read your needs, be impatient with him, not taking into account that they are not only dealing with being married but without family and living in an alien culture. Did you ever suggest to him he was only after stay in the US? I was rather insecure and would say it such alot and my husband got fed up and threw it back in my face.

    Your husband is probably from either an Arab country or Indo-Pak region. The issue is the mentality is totally different. They are not accustomed to forthright women, though many are mysogonists yes. They may feel intimidated and somewhat useless not readily being in a position to carry out the traditional duty. You say your husband does not support you but then he doesn't have the correct paperwork to permit him to work.

    Only Allah knows if he has or is commiting zina, but he could just be saying this as way to hurt you. Yes it is childish but some men really are immature. I drove myself crazy over this. I read something recently though, obviously suspicion is haraam, but it also said something to the effect of if you constantly accuse a person of something, it may lead them to it, especially if they are weak in faith.

    All I can suggest is that you ask him to attend Islamic marriage counselling with you. Get to the bottom of your issues. I was talking with my a male relative about my husband and he told me he was telling me from a male perspective. He said women always use their chilren to get back at their husbands and the man will just show or say he doesn't care for the children to hurt the wife back. It is not right and some men rise above this, but he said some women put their husbands off. For a woman, being pregnant prepares you more for parenthood, because you are living it everyday. For a man, it can be a huge shock to the system, even though they know a baby is due etc. Did you maybe complain too much about his lack of understanding?

    It may well be that you are right in your conviction but you have to consider his side of the story too. Only recently would I have totally agreed with you. However when you reflect on your own self and aim to better your devotion to Allah, you become more honest with your own self and start seeing things as they are. Our own actions have consequences.

    Don't let things spiral out of control, seek the correct guidance and help. You said Americans know he is such and such. These may be your friends where you have only told them of his wrongs, thus they are bound to say that. It's too late for me to repair my marriage as the separation led to growing apart etc. But you still have a chance. Remember being pregnant and having a child is totally life changing. You may feel differently in the future.

    I hope you work things out, Insha'Allah.


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