In this counseling answer:
“Any attempt to explain to your son what has happened must be done with honesty and understanding. Explain it to him in the context of marital relations in general -not specifics- so as to not bad mouth the boy’s father. Rather, try to do it in an educational way, think of it as an effort to educate him on the importance of peaceful family relations. Explain to him the importance of love, the importance of following the example of Rasulullah (SAW) and why parents need to be kind to one another, respectful and cooperative and why they cannot be violent, etc.”
Dear sister. My heart goes out to you. It is hard enough today trying to keep what families we have in touch, let alone together. It is also upsetting to hear of yet another Muslim man and father proving himself incapable of overcoming his fears for the sake of Allah and the unity of his family. Too many of us men just don’t seem to ‘get it’ today.
I’m particularly saddened of your case because it sounds like you and your husband once truly loved each other, which of course is an incredible gift and blessing from Allah. Nonetheless, the Prophet (SAW) didn’t say “marriage is half of deen” for nothing! When Aisha (R.A.) was asked what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) use to do in his house, she replied that he used to engage himself in mihna i.e. the service of his family, and when the time for prayer came, he went out to prayer (Bukhari).
I’m a little unclear of the legal issues here, namely, what your husband is allowed to do or not to do. I can’t help you with that one. To the rest of your question, firstly, I think you are very wise for wanting a stable male figure in your son’s life, however, given the situation I think it might be wise at this point to go slowly and let the dust settle first. I think that you are right in that pushing something too fast in terms of bringing another male into your life and son’s life could be a bit much at this point, if done intentionally.
In sha’Allah your son will re-establish a father-son relationship albeit given the obvious boundaries, and you should encourage it and encourage positive relationships in the family as best you can give the circumstances. I think it’s always good also if you find that your husband is trying to ‘pollute’ your son’s thinking by saying bad things about you, that you encourage the father to focus on the well-being of the child and urge him to keep discussion of your marriage/breakup to the two of you only.
Perhaps you can suggest this as an informal rule that anything having to do with the separation only be discussed between you and him, for the sake of your son’s positive relations with both parents. In sha’Allah your husband will be able to see past his selfishness for the good of the family and your son.
Finally, any attempt to explain to your son what has happened must be done with honesty and understanding.
Explain it to him in the context of marital relations in general -not specifics- so as to not bad mouth the boy’s father.
Rather, try to do it in an educational way, think of it as an effort to educate him on the importance of peaceful family relations.
Explain to him the importance of love, the importance of following the example of Rasulullah (SAW) and why parents need to be kind to one another, respectful and cooperative and why they cannot be violent, etc. Islam is the way of peace, love, and surrender of the self to Allah, not the way of surrender to our own fears and egos. This must be taught – the cleansing of the lower self and its selfish and sometimes vengeful ways through love and surrender.
Teach him the right way and highlight the ideas rather than focus on the negatives. Unfortunately, until now his only experience of family life is based on the example that has been set by his father – one of violence and anger. Thus, it is really important that he understand the way of love and peaceful relations. Until he gets another example to learn from, i.e. a new father in the house, you have to take it upon yourself to show him how a loving and God-fearing family should interact without doing it in such a way as to slander his father. It’s quite a challenge for certain.
May Allah support and guide you.
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