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Husband is Abusive, But I Am Afraid to Divorce

15 March, 2022
Q Salam Alaykum. I live in the US and have a Bachelor’s degree from here. I met my husband at the workplace. He proposed me and I asked him to approach my parents who, thinking that I like him, accepted his proposal. I have been married for 14 years now and have 3 kids with my husband. In these last 14 years, my husband divorced me twice and per Islamic law one is remaining. I have always had very hard time living with and adjusting to him due to his workaholic nature and anger issues. He is very anti-social and lives in his little room 24 hours or travels. He never goes to any community or family gatherings, or visits friends. I was always afraid of divorce; therefore I never took that step. I tell him though that I feel so depressed and it affects my health, but he does not care. I started making friends and I thought this will divert my attention and I will not think so much about him. But this makes me even more depressed when I see my friends having such a happy life with their husbands. My husband only comes to me when he wants sex. He forces me and forcefully fulfills his desire whenever he wants. Isn't it abuse? He says this is his right. He says if I want I can apply for divorce and leave him and the kids. He will never change. He curses me and my family for no reason. I took him for marital counseling twice but no result. I involved our elders, still no result. He says he is providing me house, clothes, food, and he is fulfilling all my rights. He says I should only go to places where he wants to go (i.e.: only restaurants). He says I should not invite anyone to his house nor make any friends in the mosque. I also called the police when he was beating me twice, but then I told them for the sake of my kids that it was a mistake. I think I destroyed my 14 years with this man. I deserve to be happy, but my kids are attached to him. I am scared of divorce. I want to find and remarry with someone who will love me and will care about me. Am I thinking wrong? What should I do? Should I leave him and file for divorce? I pray to Allah in each prayer to change him. I am going towards serious depression now. I feel I have no marital life at all. I have two brothers and a sister, and they are all busy in their own lives.


In this counseling answer:

” if you feel that your marriage is not serving any of the purposes and meanings above and you have tried marital counseling, involving elders, and even abuse is involved, which is a very serious matter, you need to evaluate the situation and decide on how you would like to move forward.”

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum my dear sister,

I am very sorry to hear about your difficulties. I pray that Allah (swt) will ease your burdens. I would first like to take this opportunity to share the attribute of Allah “Al-Wadood”, The Most Loving, with you because I believe it can in sha’ Allah strengthen one’s faith and hope in Allah’s mercy which is one of the greatest ways of dealing with difficult times.

In terms of the situation with your husband, I would first like to ensure that as you may know in Islam, there are many verses from the Qur’an and ahadith (Prophet’s authenticated traditions) which emphasize the importance of not harming oneself or others, of gentleness, and of kindness such as “ There shall be no infliction of harm on oneself or on others” (Ahmad), “Indeed, gentleness does not enter into anything except it beautifies it nor is it removed from anything except that it makes it ugly” (Imam Muslim), and “Those in whose hearts is no mercy for others will not attain the mercy of Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

All of these attributes in addition to others are even more important in a marriage which should be characterized by love, mercy, and tranquility as Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an:

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“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put Love and mercy between your (hearts), verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” (30:2)

Also, in a marriage, it is the husband’s responsibility to ensure that he is taking care of his wife and his family as the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “All of you are custodians and will be asked about your charges. The Imam is a custodian and will be asked about his charges. The man is a custodian of his family and he will be asked about his charges. The woman is a custodian of her husband’s house and she will be asked about her charges…” (Bukhari)

I am not sure how the selection of your husband took place sister, but when considering marriage, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If one whose character and religion please you comes to you (with a proposal), you should marry him (to your single women).  If you do not do so, there will be tribulations in the land and great corruption.” (Tirmidhi)  

Therefore, there is a great emphasis on character and religion when a sister wants to choose a husband.  Also, a man said to Al-Hassan Al-Basriy: “To whom should I marry my daughter?” Al-Hassan said, “To one who fears Allah for if he comes to love her, he will honor her and if he dislikes her he will not oppress her.” Finally, the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: “The best of you are those who are best with their families, and I am the best with my family” (Tirmidhi)

Therefore, if you feel that your marriage is not serving any of the purposes and meanings above and you have tried marital counseling, involving elders, and even abuse is involved, which is a very serious matter, you need to evaluate the situation and decide on how you would like to move forward.

Divorce is never an easy decision to make and has its own implications; however, remaining in a marriage that can be a threat to your safety and to your mental well-being and also to the well-being of your children can have even worse implications. Our bodies are an amanah, a trust from Allah, and we need to make sure we take care of that trust.

If you choose to separate, I hope your family can support you and your children until you find work if you are currently not working. If necessary, relying on government support may be an option at least temporarily.

Of course, I understand your wish to be in a happy marriage and you have every right to have that wish. Though, it is important to understand that it may take some time and you should take your time before entering into another marriage if you choose to separate, especially since there are children involved.

Also, remember the power of du’aa’. We need to search deep inside our hearts for our innermost desires and call unto Allah [SWT], knowing that no du’aa’ is too great for Allah [SWT] and that the power of it is truly beyond our imagination. We may make a du’aa’ once or even for years and later forget that we made it when Allah [SWT] answers it. If we were to closely examine all of the blessings in our life, we will realize that they were a result of our supplication or the supplication of loved ones for us by the grace of Allah [SWT].

So, continuously supplicate to Allah and pray the istikharah prayer for Allah to guide you to what is best and trust that if He takes something away, He will replace it with something better in sha’ Allah. We are told in the Qur’an:

“Whoever fears Allah, Allah will find a way out for him (from every difficulty) and He will provide for him from sources that he could never have imagined.” (65:2-3)

In terms of feeling depressed, please talk to someone you trust, – maybe your parents, your siblings or a close friend, – and reach out for help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out for professional counseling with a psychologist or a counselor for some time until you feel you have overcome the most difficult stage. Taking care of one’s mental wellness is just as important if not more important than physical wellness. You may wish to view this article I have written about overcoming hardships on the path to contentment and happiness.
Believe my dear sister that difficult times will come to an end and that experiencing your greatest weaknesses could have enabled you to develop your greatest strengths. Believe that Allah (swt) in His Infinite Wisdom and Power will heal your pain, mend what is broken, and grant you comfort and contentment. When life brings you down, take some time to recover, ask Allah to help you, then get back up again, dream again, try again, learn again, succeed again and be happy again in sha’ Allah.



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

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