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Help: My Husband is Turning to Atheism for 5 Questions!

30 January, 2020
Q Assalamo alaikom, My husband has recently decided he can no longer practice Islam. I cannot begin to tell you how devastated I am and how much it has affected me. He has decided that Atheism and science are the way forward. He has some questions that he cannot make peace with. Some of them are here: 1. Husbands may hit their wives if they merely fear highhandedness in their wives (regardless of whether they are actually highhanded or not) (Qur'an 4:34) SAHIH INTERNATIONAL Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. 2. Mature men are allowed to marry prepubescent girls. (Qur'an 65:4) SAHIH INTERNATIONAL And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women - if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated. And for those who are pregnant, their term is until they give birth. And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him of his matter ease. 3. Unequal Punishments (starving to death?) (Qur'an 4:15) SAHIH INTERNATIONAL Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women - bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them (another) way. Compare this to the punishment for men. SAHIH INTERNATIONAL (Qur'an 4:16) And the two who commit it among you, dishonor them both. But if they repent and correct themselves, leave them alone. Indeed, Allah is ever Accepting of repentance and Merciful. 4. Mary Confused with Miriam (Qur'an 19:27-28) SAHIH INTERNATIONAL Then she brought him to her people, carrying him. They said, "O Mary, you have certainly done a thing unprecedented. "O sister of Aaron, your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother unchaste." (Qur'an 66:12) SAHIH INTERNATIONAL And [the example of] Mary, the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity, so We blew into [her garment] through Our angel, and she believed in the words of her Lord and His scriptures and was of the devoutly obedient. The claim that Mary's mother is the wife of Imran is also false. (Qur'an 3:35-36) SAHIH INTERNATIONAL [Mention, O Muhammad], when the wife of 'Imran said, "My Lord, indeed I have pledged to You what is in my womb, consecrated [for Your service], so accept this from me. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing." But when she delivered her, she said, "My Lord, I have delivered a female." And Allah was most knowing of what she delivered, "And the male is not like the female. And I have named her Mary, and I seek refuge for her in You and [for] her descendants from Satan, the expelled [from the mercy of Allah ]." 5. Shooting stars are "missiles" against devils. (Qur'an 67:5) And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with stars and have made them what is thrown at the devils and have prepared for them the punishment of the Blaze. And for those who disbelieved in their Lord is the punishment of Hell, and wretched is the destination. I know that only Allah Subhanahu Wa-Ta'ala can bring Islam back in to my husbands heart but I must try what I can. Insha Allah you or someone you know can help him. Thank you


Short Answer: Turning to Atheism for a Muslim is indeed a serious issue, so you must do your best to help him. You will find here an answer to the five questions. Please do continue to provide your husband with more resources. Your efforts to guide him back to Islam are reward-worthy, indicating your sincerity as a Muslim.


Asalaamu alaykum and thank you for sending in your question to our website.

First of all, sister, I ask Allah to guide your husband back to Islam and to grant you patience during this calamity.


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This is indeed a very serious situation for any Muslim wife to be in.

Your intentions and efforts to guide him back to Islam are reward-worthy, indicating your sincerity as a Muslim.

May Allah (SWT) make this task easy for you and be with you, and guide him back to His Straight Path.


The five issues that he has raised are among the common ones that are often quoted by self-professed critics and skeptics of Islam, most notably atheists and apostates.

The Quran is a Linguistic Arabic Miracle

Before I attempt to address each one of them shortly, I would like to begin by saying that there are many verses in the Quran that mention a particular phenomenon, topic, or object of Allah’s creation, or an aspect of Islamic law, without going into the complete details of it.

The fact is that many verses of the Quran are actually very deep and profound.

When modern-day “experts” of science attempt to approach the Quran with a critical eye, they often do so from a linguistic and historical perspective, treating it like a human-authored textbook.

The Quran is the spoken word of Allah: it is a light, a criterion, guidance and much more.

It is not a textbook or an instruction manual that is meant to detail/expand upon each and every aspect of Islamic law, for every era of time.

Rather, the Prophetic narrations and scholarly consensus often explain the details of the verses of the Quran.

That being said, let us briefly address his five concerns.

1- Men Should Beat High-Handed Wives?

This verse outlines the underlying principles of the husband-wife relationship in Islam.

The part that your husband has an issue with (as do most critics of Islam), is the one in which he is apparently allowed to “hit” her if he fears high-handedness in her.

Sister, actually, this chapter of the Quran (aptly titled “The Women”) mentions many laws and rules regarding family living and the rights of relatives in Islam.

We should look at the whole picture, not just one angle.

The laws of Islam should not be misused or abused by anyone to mistreat someone who is in a weaker economic or social position.

The guidelines in Islam for husbands to deal with recalcitrant wives follow a long-term, three-step strategy: advising, separating beds, then tapping.

Most rocky marriages either break down totally or get resolved before the final stage (tapping a wife) is even reached.

Even so, a Muslim husband is not allowed to “hit” his wife the moment he fears that she is becoming high-handed.

There are verses of the Quran and Prophetic sayings that exhort kind treatment of wives, but these are often ignored by critics of Islam.

2- Men Can Marry Prepubescent Girls?

Yes, the Quran allows men to marry girls who have not yet passed puberty.

Even the marriage of such underage boys is allowed in Islam.

This is actually similar to the foster care system in modern secular societies, which aims to protect children and provide them with an optimal upbringing/nurturing home environment.

Muslim parents have the right to contract their minor son’s or daughter’s marriage to someone suitable, who is righteous and from an honorable family, with their knowledge and consent, before they reach puberty.

The consummation, however, should be postponed until after puberty.

This allowance has been made in Islam, in order to enable Muslim parents to ensure a child’s good future beforehand, as soon as a good match is found (based upon righteousness).

Criminals and unethical people attempt to abuse the laws of every system. This does not mean that the legal system is at fault, (e.g. when a foster child is raped by their foster parent).

The same applies to Islam. Those who misuse this Islamic law of child marriage to traffic and exploit children are sinners.

3- Starve Adulteresses to Death?

Verse 4:15 of the Quran is a verse that is abrogated.

This punishment, of confining a woman who has been convicted of committing adultery to her home until death, which is mentioned in it, no longer applies in practicality, even though its text has remained in the Quran. This involves the rules of abrogation.

Nevertheless, even when this verse was revealed, it did not command starvation for the confined guilty women, per se.

Rather, it just commanded that they not be allowed to go outside their homes.

After this verse was abrogated, the punishment for both adulterous men & women In Islam, is the same, i.e. either lashing or stoning.

As for the other verse, i.e. 4:16, it refers to homosexuals, men or women, as alluded to by the use of the grammatical dual-plural. [Tafsir ibn Kathir]

And Allah knows best.

4- Mary & Miriam: the Same?

This claim about Mary being confused with Miriam that critics often make is totally baseless.

By calling her the “sister of Aaron”, it does not necessarily mean biological sibling, i.e. this expression is not meant to be taken literally.

Rather, Mary is called “Aaron’s sister” in order to remind her of her pious predecessors, and of her own chastity which was similar to the Prophets in her lineage.

Elsewhere too, in the Quran, Allah refers to many Prophets as the “brother” of their people.

In verse 7:73 for example, Allah says, “And to Thamud, their brother Saleh”.

This expression does not mean that Prophet Saleh was his entire nation’s biological brother!

Therefore, this verse 19:27 is not referring to the biological sister of Prophets Moses & Aaron, named Miriam. Rather, it is referring to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

This has been clarified by a Prophetic narration in Sahih Muslim. For a detailed explanation, click here.

5- Are Meteors Called Stars?

Lastly, the simple answer to the issue of meteors is the allegorical use of certain words in the Arabic language.

The Arabic word nujoom is used to refer to all moving galactic bodies, such as stars (light-emitting celestial bodies) as well as others, including meteors.

When there is a need to be more specific, then other Arabic words are also used, such as shihab, kaukab, and misbah.

Think of it this way: milk, juice, and water can all be termed as drinks, but not every drink is either milk, juice, or water.

To conclude, please continue to provide your husband with resources to bring him back to Islam and advise him to study Islam in-depth based on the Quran and Sunnah to dispel his doubts, instead of forsaking his religion altogether!

And Allah knows best.

I hope that this answers your questions, sister.

Salam and please stay in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

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

Islam and Science: Compatible or Incompatible?

Had Doubts About Islam and God: Forgiven?

Dr. Abutaleb: How to Deal with Questions & Doubts About Islam

How Can I Convince My Husband to Pray?

What Is the Permissible Age for a Girl to Marry?

Why Does The Qur’an Call Mary The Sister of Aaron?

Cherish Your Wife the Prophet’s Way (10+ Hadiths)

How Can I Gain Firm & Doubt-Free Faith?