I Want to End My Marriage But I Have No Support!

17 September, 2020
Q Assalamo Alaikom, I converted to Islam 2 years ago. I got married to a Muslim man and moved with him to his home country. Moving from the West to the East was not easy, but I was sure with his help and support the move would be easier. However, once we got married I discovered to my dismay that he was not really a Muslim in practice. He became abusive, both emotionally and physically. I felt I was doing all the work myself in growing spirituality as well as with my kids such as praying, fasting, the hijab, etc. I want to end this marriage, but it is really hard as they don't support Muslim women getting divorced where I live. What do I do? Please help me find a solution.

Answer

Short Answer: 

  • Sisters in abusive situations: abuse is NOT Islamic and you do NOT have to stay.
  • Allah will NOT curse you for making yourself safe.
  • It is my belief that there is nothing more dangerous to a convert woman’s Islam than an abusive Muslim husband.
  • Almost all the time, abuse from men comes with the warped “justification” of religion. A
  • gain, please know that there is nothing Islamic about abuse – full stop. 

………….

Salaam alaykum, sister.

Thank you for submitting your question and I am so sorry to hear the predicament in which you find yourself.

Abuse is no Time for “Patience”

Alhamdulillah, you do not seem to be in a place where you think the best idea is to “be patient” and “pray he improves,” but I do want to address this, as it is a common notion.

Oftentimes when Muslim women seek assistance due to being in an abusive situation we are met with the answer “Sister, have sabr. Be patient. Make sincere dua and insha’Allah, Allah will change his heart.” This is terrible and dangerous advice. Sabr does not mean sitting on your hands and hoping for the best. It means to take action and have faith in Allah that He will see you through.

It does not matter what kind of abuse it is – emotional, fiscal, psychological, physical, sexual – if there is abuse, you need to get out! If you wish and if it is safe, you can feel free to give him a chance to genuinely change and to make amends – but do so from a safe distance. And please know that it is very, very rare for an abuser to change his ways. Part of the cycle of abuse is apologizing and promising it won’t happen again, so proceed with caution.

Sisters in abusive situations: abuse is NOT Islamic and you do NOT have to stay. Allah will NOT curse you for making yourself safe.

Be Safe

As important as it is for you to escape an abusive situation as quickly as possible, you also must be very careful. I do not mean to scare you, but the time of leaving is the most dangerous time for women in abusive relationships. Statistically, it is the deadliest time. So, you should plan to leave, but you should plan.

Be careful and know where you will go and what support you will have. This, of course, brings us to…

What if I Have no Support?

I do not know which country you are in, so I cannot know precisely the laws that bind you. Neither do I know your country of origin, so I do not know what resources from your home country could help. However, that could be a good place to start – using a private browser (or an “incognito” tab), google resources from your home country. When it is safe, reach out to them for assistance.

Possibly the most reliable thing to do is to go to your country’s embassy or consulate. They often offer help to domestic abuse victims and they can at least point you in the right direction. If you are not physically nearby, call them and ask what you can do.

Additionally, if you can manage to do so without raising suspicion, plan a trip home “just to visit.” Please know that in the pursuit of your safety, it is not sinful to deceive. Once you are home, you will be safe.

But what about Divorce?

Again, I do not know where you are from, so I cannot tell you exactly what to do. If you are American, in most (if not all) states, you can divorce your husband, even if you were married in a different country. Try to have a copy of your marriage certificate with you.

I do not think you should try to pursue a divorce in your husband’s company. You are at a disadvantage in many ways. Make your first priority getting to safety, then worry about divorce.

Guard your Islam

It is my belief that there is nothing more dangerous to a convert woman’s Islam than an abusive Muslim husband. Almost all the time, abuse from men comes with the warped “justification” of religion. Again, please know that there is nothing Islamic about abuse – full stop. It seems that you are still seeing clearly that his behavior is un-Islamic, which is good.

Continue to make dua or do whatever it is that makes you feel close to Allah. Shaytan will try to pull you away from your faith because of this man. The most important thing both for your faith and for your safety is to get away from your husband. Once you are safe, do your best to bring your heart to peace.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

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

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/supporting-new-muslims-abuse/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/woman-respond-abusive-husband/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/abuse-womens-rights/

About Leah Mallery
Leah is a Muslim convert of almost a decade. She has two kids, an intercultural marriage, and half of a French degree in her back pocket, looking to switch gears to science and medicine. She has lived abroad for over a decade, having just recently become reacquainted with her roots in America. She currently lives in Michigan near her family and – masha’Allah – a sizeable Muslim community.