Asalamu Alaikum Saira,
Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.
After going through your question, I came to two realizations. The first is that your relationship with the man who is currently your husband through nikah kitab (Islamic wedding contract) did not start off in the best way. That is, it started off by you becoming inappropriately close at the workplace, even though you were non-mahrums for each other.
Your intentions were indeed good, regarding the fact that you wanted a pious man to become your husband and be your support in leading a life of righteousness. However, endeavoring to achieve that outcome via the means of a relationship or friendship with him outside of marriage was not the best start.
The second thing that you have painfully realized is that this man has been putting on a fake Islamic persona in order to please you and garner your approval of him as a husband. Since, as you say, he has been living a lie and acting like a hypocrite, it hasn’t worked, as you have caught him doing the haram.
Now that these two factors have become clear, the key question that remains is: should you spend the rest of your life with him, given that he lies and fakes his religiosity? Or, as you suggested, should you divorce him?
Sister, only Allah Almighty knows whether this person will one day become rightly guided on the basis of sincere faith towards Allah, and stop lying to you and deceiving you like this. Or whether he will continue to fake the level of his religious commitment, only to please you, and continue to hurt you if and when you discover his lies time and again.
Lying and taking false oaths are major sins in Islam. Any relationship in which one person habitually lies to another, is bound to fail. However, keep in mind one thing, sister: it is a possibility that, if you remain married to him, he could eventually become a more righteous man with you, a righteous wife, by his side in life.
In this scenario, your remaining married to him despite his penchant for chronic dishonesty will be a great act of charity and ongoing rewards on your behalf, albeit very difficult for you because of the hurt and pain. Many people fake it when they get started on a certain path in life. And then, eventually, as they gain steadfastness and knowledge with time, they go on to become steadfast and confident upon it.
Conversely, it doesn’t sit well with me how he apparently, and Allah knows best, became more religious and zealous in his practice of Islam only in order to please you, instead of to sincerely please Allah Almighty. But sister, how do you know what his intentions are now? And how do you know that his mistakes aren’t just that-mistakes. We all make mistakes and don’t wish to be judged harshly for them. No one is perfect.
Only Allah Almighty knows what his real intentions were and are, but the outcome of his religious change, whether sincere of nor, definitely did not benefit and bless your marriage, since it was not based on sincerity to Allah (ikhlas). In fact, a relationship that is started on the basis of a lie, like I said before, will deteriorate pretty quickly.
This is a risky matter, and no one except Allah knows what your future with him might be like. So, I would advise you to sincerely pray istikhrah (Islamic prayer for guidance) before finalizing your decision to divorce. Continue to do it every single day, preferably in the hour before Fajr prayer, until matters take a specific route/direction.
Also, I would advise both of you to sincerely repent for having had an inappropriate relationship before marriage.
Sister, please be advised for your future proposals (in case you get divorced), that most Muslim marriages that take place as a result of a couple being inappropriate with each other and/or getting romantically involved with each other, are not blessed. These unions do not go on to become happy marriages, unless both spouses sincerely repent for being in a premarital relationship.
In fact, most Islamic scholars advise those Muslims who are romantically involved with each other and who intend to marry, to repent for their premarital relationship first, and then get married. This sustains the blessings in an Islamic marriage.
I hope that this answers your question. May Allah guide you to the best decision, sister. Please keep in touch.
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