How to Raise Children with a Non-Muslim Wife

10 June, 2021
Q Dear counselor, please advise for couples in which the mother is not a Muslim. How can they raise their children as Muslims?

What are the most important things such couples must do in order to have a happy, Islamic environment at home?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

The topics to address in this case would be those where the mother does not agree with certain Islamic practices.

Talk a lot with your wife, and educate her about Islam.

Be involved in your children’s life and help your wife raise your children as good Muslims.

Make du’aa’ that she becomes a Muslim.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

Raising children with a non-Muslim mother whilst achieving a happy and Islamic environment largely depends on the mother’s attitude.

Islamically, the children should be raised upon the religion of the father. So, in theory, it shouldn’t be an issue.

However, perhaps if the mother comes from a strict Christian or Jewish upbringing, there may be some resistance.

How to Raise Children with a Non-Muslim Wife - About Islam

This may especially be the case if her family are strong in their religious beliefs and still hold a lot of influence on the woman, whether in more subtle ways, or openly and aggressively.

This could make things more difficult, but not impossible. In this case, it would require a lot more teamwork between the mother and father to negotiate and be open about their own thoughts on the matter.

Address All Issues

The most important topics to address in this case would be those where the mother does not agree with certain Islamic practices.

Hopefully, there won’t be anything since she has knowingly accepted and married a Muslim man. However, it’s important that these things are addressed first to avoid any disputes moving forward.

Such examples may include things like not celebrating Christmas. You may negotiate that since she is not a Muslim, she is free to celebrate herself with her family, but that she should not bring it in to the house.

There may be other things too that you would need to negotiate together. This is vital to ensuring a healthy upbringing for the children from the start and to avoid potential arguments further down the line.

Communicate – A Lot

Even if there is no resistance from the mother and they are willing to raise the children in a Muslim home, it is still important that the mother and father communicate well on the topic.

Since she is not a Muslim, she may not be aware of some of the necessities of a Muslim home.

So, the wife will first and foremost need education on this to ensure she is not supporting the children in things that are not compatible with Islam. This could easily happen quite innocently simply due to a lack of knowledge.

Do Not Overwhelm

Since there is so much to learn, it’s important that the most important and basic things are implemented first. This will make things easier for her and more comfortable for the children too.

Do not expect her to implement too much in one go as it could become overwhelming for her. It may cuse difficulties for her as well as put tension on all relations in the home.

In time, as she learns more, she might start learning some of the sunnah practices and begin to implement the same and encourage the children in these things.

When it comes to education, perhaps you could encourage her to attend any Islamic classes with the children.

This will serve to increase her relevant knowledge as well as increase the bond between her and the children in a happy and supportive environment.

There are also many things to support a happy, Islamic environment in the home, without even requiring any knowledge of Islam as such.

Things such as showing love and support to each other and towards the children is vital in Islam, but are also qualities that can be exhibited by anyone regardless of their religion.

Be Involved in The Children’s Life

Since the mother is not a Muslim, the husband will need to be more actively involved in the children’s upbringing than he may be otherwise as a means of supporting the mother.

This also serves a secondary purpose of being good role models to the children and showing them what a happy and supportive marriage looks like.

In sha Allah, this should have a positive impact in their marital relationships in the future.

In sha Allah, in time, as she becomes familiar with Islam and supports the raising of her children as Muslims, she herself will fall in love with Islam and become a Muslim too. Make du’aa’ to Allah.

May Allah reward your concern for families where the mother is not a Muslim and may He guide those in such a family to the path of Islam.

Amen,

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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)