Muslim Matrimonials and More's Ask Bilqis


Monday, August 2, 1999


As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu, Bilqis.

I was impressed with the privacy and usefulness of your web page, and decided to ask for some advice, insha Allah.

I am 42 years old and 6 1/2 months into a bi-ethnic marriage (my husband is Arab Moroccan and I am African-American). My husband and I had our initial nikkah 2 1/2 years ago in Germany (he was a university student without an American visa). To make a long story short, he has not fulfilled the mahr as agreed and has not blended into the family (I have 2 teenaged sons and one 20 in college). I am a struggling Muslimah and I have been father and mother to my children and I've done the best that I could. Now, I need someone to take responsibility for me and provide leadership and guidance. Unfortunately, my current husband is greatly lacking in experience to be able to assume this responsibility. You might ask "didn't you consider all that before you married him?" I can only answer that I allowed myself to believe what I was being told, and that my husband may have had good intentions and willingness, but now it is obvious he cannot assume the responsibility. So, now I'm ready to scream, because instead of gaining a leader, I feel like I have another child (he is grossly immature and very closed minded for 32). Once again, seems like I took the bait and believed what I was being told without any real evidence.

Because of these problems, I have not been able to feel love for my husband, and whatever I felt initially when we married in Germany has been washed away by the reality of what I have really married. I don't want to hurt him, but I want to stay within the boundaries of Islam. I don't feel I can do that as his wife, because I don't love him. I am struggling now with how to peacefully end this marriage rather than letting it drag on tormentuously. I feel like I am using him because our feeling are nowhere near the same.

I got in this mess because I don't really trust any of the men in the community (a divorced woman is treated like damaged good and pushed toward polygyny). I sought out on my own on the internet and that is how I met my husband. I really need help and leadership from an Islamic perspective, and someone that I can trust.

I hope you have some advice for me. Ma salaam

-Muslimah Fed Up and Going Crazy


Dear "Fed up and Going Crazy",

There could be many factors for you to consider in this situation. Time, cultural differences and expectations can be some of the things you and your husband need to scrutinize more closely.

You seem to say that even though you married 2 and 1/2 years ago, you have been living together as husband and wife for only 6 months. You are really still newlyweds getting to know one another. This is also a situation where there are teenaged children and a Muslimah who has had to be strong and independent to maintain herself and her children (and may Allah (swt) bless you many times over for it, dear sister!). So, needless to say the past 6 months have been a BIG PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT for all of you.

Culturally, your husband, I am assuming, was born and raised outside the USA. If he was born in a predominantly Muslim country, his experiences have been very different from someone born and raised in America. Islam should be your COMMON GROUND and a starting point for trying to resolve your problems. If he has Islamic ideals it may be difficult for him to translate them into the environment you now find yourselves, especially with regard to the children. As we know, there are many influences in the West that conflict with Islam.

Cultural differences sometime can lead to differences in expectations - but here again Islam should be your common ground upon which to build a foundation. Perhaps if you can discuss your expectations of one another in a clear and concise way, the understanding needed to act in a responsible manner can be achieved. If some mutual understanding of expectations can be achieved then perhaps you can use this to gauge your progress.

You weren't very specific in your letter, so it's hard to know exactly what the problems are, but I hope I have mentioned some things for you to think about and perhaps try. Marriage sometimes requires subtle changes in ourselves, sometimes major changes, but constant communication, patience and the desire to make it work can make the difference. Give it more time, talk to your husband about your concerns - try to find out how he truly feels and tell him how you truly feel.

This is not an easy situation; a new marriage takes time to mold so that it fits you both. May Allah (swt) guide you through the difficulties and open your minds and hearts to the opportunities and possibilities for a good marriage.

-Bilqis Muslim Matrimonials