Short Answer: No matter what the situation may be, regardless of your husband’s state of mind or feelings about Islam: he absolutely needs therapy. If I were you, I would make that a non-negotiable point in the marriage. He is almost certainly processing trauma and if he blames Muslims for his trauma in Iraq, then he is processing it badly.
Assalaam alaykum, sister.
Thank you so much for writing to us. I am very sorry to hear about what you are going through. I cannot imagine the strain that must be putting on you. I will make dua for you and I ask everyone reading this to do the same.
I am afraid, unfortunately, that I do not have a clean and easy answer for you. I don’t know your husband or the trauma he has been through. I do not know if logic and reasoning can get to him, or if he needs to process his emotions first.
First Thing’s First
No matter what the situation may be, regardless of your husband’s state of mind or feelings about Islam: he absolutely needs therapy. If I were you, I would make that a non-negotiable point in the marriage. He is almost certainly processing trauma and if he blames Muslims for his trauma in Iraq, then he is processing it badly.
If he is already seeing a therapist, he needs a new one. If he isn’t seeing one, he clearly needs it. Additionally, do not push him to see an imam/sheikh for “counseling.” He needs someone with a license who is experienced in matters of post-traumatic stress.
If he is able to address these issues, the rest of the matters may fall into place. Insha’Allah, he may finally be able to see that Muslims as a whole are not to blame and certainly Islam is not to blame for his trauma.
A Lack of Logic
As far as your husband’s lack of logic in the situation, I would not encourage you to push this on him at this time. Wait until he is open to discussing – until he is actively seeing a therapist.
This said, it may be important for your own peace of mind to realize the fallacies in your husband’s thinking.
He was part of an invasive force that went into a sovereign nation and essentially overthrew the government. Imagine if another country invaded America. Would Americans stay idly by and just peacefully accept our invaders? Or would we fight back? Would we not defend our home using any means necessary? The Muslims he encountered in Iraq were just doing that very thing: trying to defend their home.
Of course, I do not know if that is the source of your husband’s dislike of Islam. I don’t know if it is because of being attacked by Iraqis (who were undoubtedly not only Muslim, as Iraq has a large Christian population, as well). Perhaps he witnessed bad behavior or Muslims among Iraqi forces who were cooperative?
In either case, it is unfair and unreasonable to dislike an entire religion based on the actions of a few – particularly as those few were in a war zone. I wonder how Iraqis who encountered American military feel about Americans?
Please keep in mind that I do not intend to attack your husband. Rather, I am pointing out the flaws in his thinking.
Though I stand by my advice to make therapy non-negotiable for the continuation of your marriage, I also encourage you to have patience and compassion for him. My husband is Iraqi and was in college when America invaded. He has lived in a war zone and has experienced things I cannot imagine.
Likewise, your husband has experienced things you cannot imagine. I do not understand and become frustrated with the way my husband processes his emotions sometimes, but I have to remind myself that I cannot force what I think is best (as long as he is not causing harm!). He has to do things in a certain way. He has developed certain coping mechanisms. Your husband is likely going to have to go through a similar process.
Again, though: therapy.
I would not advise you to rush to end your marriage, unless he is causing harm to you or your children. Be patient with him and have compassion. Try to see things through his perspective. You know him best – once you are able to see things through his point of view, you may be better equipped to help him overcome his trauma and help him return to Islam.
Make continued dua that he is just going through a phase due to post-traumatic stress. Make dua, but tie your camel by seeking therapy for your husband and lining your ducks up, in case – God forbid – your marriage does come to an end.
Lastly, pray istikhara. Pray it repeatedly. Allah will guide you and show you the best course of action.
And Allah knows best.
May Allah bring peace to your marriage. Ameen.
I hope this helps.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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