Thank you for writing. Ramadan Kareem to you and your family.
We understand that you are frustrated in dealing with your husband and make du`aa’ to Allah to grant you the patience and the perseverance in dealing with him. Your concerns about your husband and the impact he will have on your son are very valid! Here are some thoughts for your consideration.
First, although it is too late to tell you this now, our experience tells us that a person seldom becomes “more religious” just because he or she promises during the engagement period to become so after marriage. Therefore, you already knew about his “obsession” with academic degrees and his lack of interest in his Islamic obligations. The only reason we raise this point is to help you help others who are getting ready for marriage; to tell the young people that in order to ensure a successful marriage, in sha’ Allah, they should never compromise on religion. But all is not lost, in sha’ Allah, and there is hope.
Second, we suggest that you speak more directly to your husband regarding the impact of his behavior on your marriage and on you personally. We realize that you have already tried to influence him, and lately he just gets angrier the harder you try. However, at this point, we suggest you try a different strategy. Instead of focusing solely on the acts of praying and fasting, try to speak to him directly about the very clear obligations that he has to Allah, to you, and to his son. Let him know that you are holding him to his commitment to change and become more religious. Tell him that you do not want him to necessarily stop everything academic, but that you are convinced he will have more success, in sha’ Allah, if he establishes a stronger relationship with Allah.
Let him know that when he does not fulfill his obligations towards Allah, he is not only hurting himself, he is also hurting you, because you want to have a husband who will help you get closer to Allah. In addition, as your son becomes older, he will want to imitate his father. How tragic it would be if your son disobeys you, citing the fact that his own father does not pray or fast. Do your best to create “family time”in which you and he can pray together, read the Qur’an together, and begin, in due time, to teach your son about Islam together. A family that prays together, stays together, in sha’ Allah.
Third, you should continue making every effort to remind your husband in the best manner possible; but in the end, you will have to make a very difficult choice. The reality is that at some point, your husband could go from being neglectful of his obligations in Islam to totally abandoning those obligations. In sha’ Allah, this will not happen. However, you have to be prepared for that reality because at the point where your husband willingly abandons his obligations to Allah, your marriage could be ruled as invalid. You would be a Muslim woman married to a Muslim man who has chosen to “leave” Islam.
We hope and pray that the situation never comes to this, but you have to prepare for it. Talk to your parents and even to his parents to seek their help in dealing with your husband. They need to know now that there are major problems in your marriage. Do not attempt to deal with your husband alone.
Finally, make lots of du`aa’ to Allah to guide your husband and to protect him and your family. Do not delay in addressing this matter. It is very serious. Try to appeal to your husband especially for the sake of his own soul, for your spiritual and emotional well-being, and for the sake of your son and future family.
And Allah knows best.