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Am I Divorced?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Mar 19, 2017

Question

Assalamu alekom was rahmatullah. I'm a convert and still learning, and married for almost a year now. My husband and I knew each other before I converted to Islam. Shortly after marriage, I became pregnant with a beautiful boy. But since that time it's not the same anymore. We always had some argumentation from time to time like everyone does, but since pregnancy, every time we argue he is telling me to divorce me and how strong, wonderful and better the women from his country are (I'm European. He is Arab). I try to be a good wife and good muslima (like he is used to) but he is always correcting me: its the wrong way how I clean up, the wrong way how I talk to people, the wrong way how I wear my clothes or hijab. And also the smallest things, others do always better. He also told me that if a man or woman wants to divorce in Islam, they just have to say like 'I divorce you' for 3 times and it's done. He never said it 3 times in a row, but all together in every fight more than 3 times. I read that you need to have 2 persons who witness the divorce. And now I'm confused and not sure if we are still married or not, Insha allah you can help me. I feel a bit guilty to ask here, but I don't know what to do, I tried to talk to him multiple times but its not working. Assalamu alekom.

Consultant

Answer


Am I Divorced

Salam,

Thank you for your question. I am so, very sorry to hear about your difficulties.

Firstly, you can read the link here to find out some more about the ruling of saying, “I divorce’ you for 3 times“, as you stated. With that in mind, I sent your question to one of our scholars and he has advised that you and your husband visit a nearby Islamic center, meet the imam, and explain what is happening exactly.

Based on this, the imam can give a clear verdict. It would be difficult for us to give a straight forward answer on such an important and delicate issue without input from both parties and a face to face conversation.

As for your husband telling you, “how strong, wonderful and better the women from his country are” and trying to change most things about you, I recommend contacting the ask the counselor section for advice on dealing with this kind of unhealthy communication.

From what you are saying, it seems that he is belittling you and trying to make you feel inferior. This kind of language can have very harmful psychological effects, and for this reason, I direct you to the counselor.

But from an Islamic perspective, making another feel inferior based on race, ethnic, or cultural origin is not allowed. In fact, we are never, ever supposed to belittle anyone for any reason, especially not those closest to us, like a spouse.

Marriage is built on two pillars: affectionate love and mercy. As the Quran says about marriage:

{And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.} (Quran 30:21)

These emotional aspects of marriage are so important to building a strong relationship, family, and society.

As for your husband’s attitude toward the way you complete tasks or even the way you talk and dress, it could be that he is confusing cultural attitudes and ethos with Islamic directives.

Men who hail from Muslim majority countries and marry converts often expect their newly converted wife to change her culture to his, to be more like his idea of what a Muslim women should be.

But really, he wants her to be like what he thinks a woman from “back home” should be like whether it is true or not, whether it is Islamic or not. These husbands are confusing Islam with their ethnic, cultural, or regional expectations. This is very common, and not isolated to Muslim communities.

The thing is that there is so much diversity among Muslims that this kind of expectation is not conceivable. You do not have to give up your identity or culture to embrace Islam. Islam does not endorsed a certain culture over another

In fact, as Muslims, we are not supposed to conceal our heritage, and abandoning one’s culture or even identity can be a form of that. 

So, it is vital for you to begin learning Islam from scholars from your culture. Hamzah Yusuf, Yasir Qadhi, and Suhaib Webb are wonderful scholars among many who work within the Western context and have many lectures available on YouTube. Also read “Being Muslim: A Practical Guide” for advice on manners and worship. This way you can learn exactly is expect of you as a Muslim.

Then discuss with your husband exactly why he wishes you to act a certain way. Show him love and mercy and request that he shows you the same in return.

And remember that Islam is a mercy. It is easy to follow.

I hope this helps. May Allah bless you marriage and increase you in beneficial knowledge.

Please keep in touch. Salam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Cultural Baggage in a Multicultural Marriage

When Reverts Marry – Battling the Culture Clash

Reverts’ Marriage & the Culture Clash

Learning Resources for New Muslims




About Theresa Corbin

Theresa Corbin is a New Orleans native and Muslimah who converted in 2001 after many years of soul searching and religious study. She is a freelance writer, editor and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion, integration, societal stereotyping and bridging gaps between cultures and religions.

Visit her blog, islamwich, where she and fellow contributors discuss the intersection of culture and religion.


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