In this counseling answer:
•The process of consultation in marriage is stressed in Islam, and this also applies in a divorce where children are concerned; consultation should be the goal.
•Seeing as all secular solutions have failed, why not consider the role of a trusted imam or sheikh in the community, one that your husband’s ex-wife might respect and listen to.
•Both your husband and his ex-wife should attend more than one consultation with a respected member of your community, to put the past to rest and learn what their duties are to their children.
As-salamu `alaykum my dear sister,
We really feel sorry for you and the situation that your husband and the children find themselves in. Some Muslims revert to Islam with deep and sincere intentions, while others bring with them the heritage from their jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) days. Your stepchildren’s mother has obviously used the civil system of custody law to avenge the harm that she feels has been inflicted upon her.
In order not be unfair, please bear in mind that because you have been able to bring out the best in your husband, does not mean that his ex-wife was able to do the same, and that might be a basis for her anger, even though we cannot justify this. In the selfishness of her anger, she has also inflicted harm upon her children. By the grace of Allah, al-hamdu lillah, they seem to know that they still have their father’s love and your love. This will help them much in their self-worth as she destroys their self-confidence in her blind anger.
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In general, in these situations, civil law can only create an imbalance, because civil law fails to recognize the rights of both parents. At the same time, if you make an input into the situation by talking to her, it may only result in her casting a wider net in her path of wrath, which will increase the negative impact upon the children.
Furthermore, it is not clear if her new husband is a Muslim or not, or whether the children’s mother is still a Muslim or a practicing Muslim, despite her actions. In this sense, the well being of the children lies with their biological father, but one must also add that children aged seven and five are not well placed to decide whom they should live with; although the biological father has a right to protect their rights.
The process of consultation in marriage is stressed in Islam, and this also applies in a divorce where children are concerned; consultation should be the goal. Seeing as all secular solutions have failed, why not consider the role of a trusted imam or sheikh in the community, one that your husband’s ex-wife might respect and listen to. Both your husband and his ex-wife should attend more than one consultation with a respected member of your community, to put the past to rest and learn what their duties are to their children.
It may take some time to convince her of this step, but it is one that should be pursued with care and good intentions, so that her anger will lose impetus, and so that your husband’s ex-wife can wake up to the harm that her actions are causing her children before it is too late.
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