Wa ‘Alaikum Salam,
Thank you for writing to us. Here are some thoughts for your consideration.
First, may Allah (swt) reward you the sincere concern you are showing in helping your brother during these challenging times. However, we caution you to be sure that your desire to help does not cross the line of interfering with your brother’s married life. We do not mean to imply that you are interfering; we just want to urge caution so that in the end no one has reason to believe that you influenced the outcome of whatever decision your brother or his wife reach. Make lots of du’aa’ for them and ask Allah (swt) Most High to grant your brother the tranquility and peace he needs to reflect upon his marriage and to make the decision that is best for his faith, his family, and his future.
Second, to be quite frank, if the only reason your brother wants to leave his wife is because he does not find her attractive without hijab, then we suggest that either he is not being forthcoming about all of what he finds wrong with her or that he is being rather superficial. How is it that he actually agreed to marry her without ensuring that he felt compatible with her and that he was attracted to her to some degree? How fair is it to this young woman who made the explicit decision to become his wife only to find out now that he has determined she is not attractive? How would your brother feel if she turned to him instead and said, “I’m sorry, you are just not as handsome as I expected you to be?”
We urge you to help your brother come to his senses. If, indeed, he appreciates her character, gets along well with her, and enjoys her company, it could be that his heart will grow to love her.
“… if you hate them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it.” (4: 19)
Let him make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) day and night to open his heart and to fill it with love for his wife. On the other hand, if he insists that he is not attracted to her and based only on that reason he wants to leave her, that is between him and Allah (swt).
You have outlined the potential consequences of his actions and we agree that the young woman’s life will be turned upside down if he divorces her on such a superficial reason. We do not suggest that anyone stay with their spouse either simply out of pity for that person, but getting married is not like choosing which apple you would like to eat. A person cannot and should not be taken for granted. Allah Most High knows best what is in your brother’s heart, and he should continue seeking guidance from Allah (swt) through the Istikharah prayer. If he is convinced that he wants to leave her, then he should not stay with her with a commitment to make the most of marital life. He should not stay with her and then make her life miserable, taunting her about her looks and expressing constant regret about staying married. The Qur`an warns against this way.
Finally, your brother should exercise patience, and above all he should look deep within his heart to see if, in fact, he really wishes to dissolve his marriage because he does not find his wife attractive without her hijab. He needs to think about the consequences of his actions. Help him to realize that divorce is seen as the last resort and is allowed although it is the most detested among the allowable actions of a believer. Advise your brother to make lots of du’aa’ and to get closer to Allah (swt) through prayers, fasting and giving charity. Let him appeal to Allah (swt) to help him resolve this impasse in his life.
And Allah (swt) knows best,
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