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A Convert: I Thought I Married a Pious Husband

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Jan 16, 2018

Question

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. I’m 20 years old. I reverted to Islam a few months ago and since then I started to really practice it; I pray, chose to wear the hijab, abaya. I learn the Arabic language and read the Quran, and so on Alhamdulillah. I fought my family and lost most of my friends. But I surrounded myself with pious old sisters, Alhamdulillah. After 7 months of being a Muslim, I choose to marry thinking I will marry someone pious with whom I will recite the Quran, pray and who will teach me more about Islam. I met my husband who is a Middle-Easterner. Some sisters warned me about the age difference and that he's been by himself for so long, I married him. I was wrong. Even though he studied Sariah and treats his parents excellently, my husband is someone not easy to deal with. He does his salah usually much late before the next one to enter. He hardly wakes up for Fajr prayer. He hardly goes to pray in the mosque and if he goes, he stays for gossiping with other brothers for hours after isha prayer even though I made it clear that this was not normal for a married man. if I say something he perceives as wrong he goes out so annoyed and comes home even at around 1 or 2 am in the night. The worst problem is the abuse. He is emotionally and even physically abusive. He loses totally his control easily and becomes another person raging of anger. We had really bad episodes even in public. He has been pushing me hard, breaking things, grabbed my hijab in the train. Yes, I provoked him and reacted badly to his anger as well but he has double my age. I feel I am a kid sometimes Every friend of his praises him and wouldn’t believe me, even my wali, the imam in my city is his closest friend and wouldn’t listen to me. Emotionally, he makes me feel it’s always my fault, doesn’t assume his fault and Allah knows best but I’ve been doing way more good to him that bad. He threatens me if i want to seek help and tell somebody about our relationship. I first say to Allah subhanahu wa ta'Ala and make dua but I am wise enough to seek help because this is not normal couple fights. He makes me doubt myself, when he knows I’m sensitive he talks bad, call names so I start to cry. When I need him he prefers to ignore me 2 days straight because he doesn’t want to hear me talking. Yes, I do talk because I want to improve my relationship and I want communication. If I am worried and stressed about little things, I need him to calm me down not close the phone and avoid me so I don’t stress him too. He doesn’t do his duty. He doesn’t want to buy food and give money for food or things for the house. If he has oil and bread, this is fine for him. But he knows I’m crazy about fruits and healthy things to eat and I am used to that. I’m a student. I need energy, healthy snacks and so on. I don’t have a job so I ask money from my parents to buy things for the house because "he doesn’t find them necessary". He said he was tired of the marriage and doesn’t want to have patience with me. He is one minute a loving and caring person and the next one if I mention something about food, money, or I ask him, "please when you go outside can you buy this" or others he goes crazy and mad and aggressive and leaves me I really don’t know what to do, but I can’t study and I can’t live like this being scared every day and living in fear. Now he is nice and I’m hopeful and we talk about how to improve our relationship and hours later he can’t take a suggestion so he will leave me on the street and run between cars to the first taxi while I am crying. Please, advice, me I beg you! JazakAllahu khairan barakAllahu feekum.

Counselor

Answer


A Convert: I Thought I Married a Pious Husband

In this counseling answer:

“Please do seek domestic violence counseling as soon as possible. Reach out to your family to see if you can stay with them. Reach out to your Muslim sisters at various Masjids for support and referrals for resources, and look online for services and shelters where you can stay if you need to.

Lastly, please let someone whom you know and trust know what is going on. Try to ensure this person is not connected with your husband. Someone needs to know in case there is an emergency or you need to leave quickly and need help doing so. Again, a counselor can help with this, but it is also advisable to have someone close who can come help you when needed.”


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,

Thank you for trusting us with your marriage concerns. First of all, congratulations on reverting to Islam. It is a wonderful gift from Allah.

I am very sad to hear about what you have been going through with your new husband. I am quite sure it is not what you expected at all. I’m so sorry you have to go through this.

Although we will be tested, as Allah says in the Quran, we are not to tolerate abuse. As you are young in age and a fairly new Muslim, it is normal for you to want to be married and have a loving, pious husband to learn Islam from, to guide you and to build an Islamic life together with. It is also normal, sister, to expect that one who says he is Muslim and pious is, indeed, pious. Sadly, this is not always the case.

However, as reverts, we often do not come into Islam expecting someone who is Muslim to abuse us or treat us poorly. We come into Islam sometimes thinking that all other Muslims live and behave according to Islamic principles. This is not always the case. Just as in any other religion, there are Muslims who are cruel, abusive and do not follow the Qur’an or Sunnah. Sadly, you happened to marry one.

The women who were older stated that you may want to rethink marrying him as he has been alone a long time and the age difference was very great. They may have, indeed, been trying to warn you about his personality, abusiveness and his lack of a foundation in Islam, if they knew about it, without backbiting him. In a hadith, it states that

“The Messenger of Allah () said, “Do you know what is backbiting?” The Companions said: “Allah and His Messenger know better.” Thereupon he said, “Backbiting is talking about your (Muslim) brother in a manner which he dislikes.” It was said to him: “What if my (Muslim) brother is as I say.” He said, “If he is actually as you say, then that is backbiting; but if that is not in him, that is slandering.” (Muslim)  

As Muslims, we take this very seriously. However, maybe they did not know, or maybe they did and just did not know how to tell you. In this case, they should have directed you to an imam who was not connected to him so he could advise you.

Sister, the fact that he has been alone or he is older can make a difference due to the possibility of differences in interests, life experiences, future goals, conversational topics, getting adjusted to living with someone and so forth. However, it does not and should not play a role in abusive behavior or one not following Islam.

Your husband is not following Islamic principles. He is not supporting you and he is abusive.  Sister, did you have a wali besides the imam when you got married? I am not sure by what you wrote, please forgive me, but if it was not the imam, was he independent of your husband? Did he check out your husband’s character in the community? Did he try to ensure your husband was a good Muslim as well as one who would try to provide for his wife? Was he someone who represented your interests and not your husband’s?

The fact that the wali and the imam (if the imam was not your wali) who married you do not want to hear about your husband’s abuse is very troubling. It appears his friends are wrongly sticking up for his bad behaviors without any regard for you, Islamic principles or their accountability to Allah. The fact that your husband has been friends with the imam for a long time, it is more than likely that the imam is well aware of your husband’s personality and way of life. The fact that your husband is abusive and you are seeking help, with your requests being denied is haram, especially from the imam who married you. We are to help our brothers and sisters who are in need or being oppressed. Allah surely hears the cries of the oppressed, and the oppressors will be held accountable.

“Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (i.e., an evil-doing), and killing him is Kufr (disbelief).”  (Bukhari)

Thus, your husband is an evil-doer. The imam, if he knows what is going on, may be held accountable as well. I am not sure though, only an Islamic scholar can address this. However, the point is, people who know him are covering up for him. Allah, however, sees all.

Sister, I would kindly advise you to renew the relationship with your family if possible and seek help from them. I would kindly suggest that insha’Allah you leave your home and either go back to your parents or go stay with a friend. As he is abusive, I would not tell him. I would just leave. Your safety is at stake.

If there are counseling or community centers that offer services, please do go and seek out help. There are some that I found, but I am not sure how close you are to them.

Please, also network with the other sisters at your mosque (or other mosques in your area) and see if they can offer any resources for you. You don’t have to say exact details if you are uncomfortable, but do ask for counseling referrals as well as places where you could possibly stay if you cannot stay with family. Look online for domestic violence shelters/homes in your area as well as hotlines that can offer more help than the referrals I gave you.

Sister, you do need to get away as you are being abused. Abuse of women is appealable in Islam as well as a sin. You need to think about your safety now, and your marriage later insha’Allah. Your safety comes first. Once you are in a safe place wherein you can heal, gather your thoughts. Later, you can think about whether or not you would like to try to save this marriage.

Please do seek domestic violence counseling as soon as possible. Reach out to your family to see if you can stay with them. Reach out to your Muslim sisters at various Masjids for support and referrals for resources, and look online for services and shelters where you can stay if you need to.

Lastly, please let someone whom you know and trust know what is going on. Try to ensure this person is not connected with your husband. Someone needs to know in case there is an emergency or you need to leave quickly and need help doing so. Again, a counselor can help with this, but it is also advisable to have someone close who can come help you when needed.

Sister, I am confident that insha’Allah you will get through this. It is hard now I know, but you can insha’Allah leave, begin your healing journey and start a new life (if you choose so). You are young and have a beautiful spirit. Don’t let this break you. Allah loves you.

Insha’Allah once this is behind you and if you do choose to divorce (which you have every right) Allah will insha’Allah bless you with a wonderful husband in the future who truly loves Allah and you. Inshallah, he will treat you with the loving-kindness, mercy, and respect that Allah commanded.

Marriage is a beautiful union in Islam, sister. It is a blessing and a part of your Islam. The Qur’an states,

“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)

Tranquility, affection, mercy; you deserve these in a marriage. Please know that as a pious new Muslim, Allah loves you and wants to see you happy and evenly yoked. Allah does not want you to be abused. This is not Islam.

Please, do let us know how you are. 

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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