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New to Islam And Abused by Fiancé

Questioner

Hiba

Reply Date

Jan 18, 2017

Question

I recently met a young lady who is thinking about converting to Islam. This would be great news but the reason she wants to come to Islam is because she has met a Muslim man (in India) online. And says he will marry her, but he is so possessive and borderline abusive of her. He demands that she wear niqab (she lives in the West were hijab is hard enough on a dedicated Muslimah, much less a not-yet-Muslimah). He checks in on her through Skype and Whatsapp non-stop to make sure she is not doing something “haram”. He doesn’t want her to leave her home, and so on, and so forth. And all of this, he presents to her as Islam. If she starts off her life as a Muslim with such a harsh approach, I fear she won’t be Muslim long. And on top of that will be in an unhealthy relationship. I am very concerned for her. How can I advise her?

Consultant

Answer


As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh Hiba,

Thank you for reaching out to ask for assistance in dealing with this case.

While it is good to hear that someone is interested in Islam, it is very worrisome to hear that she is in a very unhealthy online relationship with the person claiming to teach her about Islam.

May Allah reward you for seeking help and looking out for your friend’s best interests.

First of all, if this person is truly doing da’wah and trying to teach her about Islam, he should know that it is prohibited for him to be in seclusion (khalwah) with her – even if it is “only” online.

The Prophet (peace be upon him-PBUH) informed us,

No man is alone with a woman but the Shaytaan will be the third one present. (Tirmidhi)

This applies to any circumstance in which an unmarried, unrelated man and woman are communicating or interacting, whether in ‘real life’ or online.

The correct thing for this man to do is find a Muslim woman whom your friend could speak to in order to learn about Islam – and it seems from your question that you yourself are a Muslim woman, and are in a good position to speak with her.

Secondly, this man’s behavior is very alarming and inappropriate. He has no right to make any demands of her or to control any aspect of her life.

Ordering her to wear niqab (face veil), not to leave her home, obsessively ‘checking in’ on her, and so on are all examples of very controlling behavior, and signs of emotional abuse.

Considering that this is all happening while their interactions are solely online, one can only imagine what he would be like in person.

From an Islamic perspective, he is not only wrong with regards to the issue of engaging in khalwah, but also in terms of trying to force her to do things such as wearing niqab. The Quran says:

{There is no compulsion in religion.} (Quran 2:256)

The true essence of Islam has nothing to do with niqab or not leaving one’s home – rather, Islam is about recognizing the truth about God, the purity of tawheed (Islamic monotheism), and submitting oneself to God alone.

Thus, the main focus on what your friend should be learning about Islam should be about her relationship with God, not about what she should wear or where she is ‘allowed’ to go (by a man on the Internet who has no Islamic relationship with her!).

I would suggest that you sit down with your friend and explain to her that not only is this man’s behavior unIslamic, but it is also abusive.

There are resources online about how to recognize controlling and abusive behavior, and if she feels that it is difficult to end the relationship with him, she may want to speak to a qualified counselor or therapist about how to move past him.

As her friend, and a Muslim woman, you should also try to be supportive and remind her that Islam is not about men telling women what to do, but about every individual’s personal belief in, relationship with, and obedience to God.

If she chooses to wear niqab in the future, that’s great as long as it’s completely up to her – the most important thing, before anything else, is to believe in Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).

May Allah reward you for trying to help your friend, and may He guide her to accepting Islam and protect her from those who may harm her, ameen.

I hope this helps. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.

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

New Muslim: How to Minimize the Stress?

A New You: A 21st Century Guide for New Muslims

Are Muslim Men Jealous or Selfish?

Tips on How To Deal with an Abusive Husband

I Can’t Trust Very Religious Men; They’re Abusive

Premarital Relationships — Why Not?




About Zainab bint Younus

Zainab bint Younus is a young woman who finds constant inspiration in the lives of the Sahabiyaat and other great women in Islamic history. She hopes that every Muslimah is able to identify with the struggles of these inspirational women and follow in their footsteps to become a part of a new generation of powerful Muslim women. She blogs at http://www.thesalafifeminist.blogspot.com


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