In this counseling answer:
“Cheating on you, having children out of wedlock as well taking a second wife when he cannot even treat you with respect is very far from the teachings of Islam. I am confident, sister, that in sha’ Allah you will make the right decision for you and your boys. Make your lists, speak with your husband, make istikharah prayer to Allah (swt) for guidance, seek out counseling, and try to make time to do good things for your healing.”
Thank you for writing to us with your most important question. First of all, what a wonderful blessing that you reverted to Islam. Allah (swt) guides whom He wills. Surely, Allah (swt) loves you.
I am sad to hear, however, that your husband has not been a very good example for you, neither as a Muslim nor as a husband. Cheating on you, having children out of wedlock as well taking a second wife when he cannot even treat you with respect is very far from the teachings of Islam.
It is also a very painful way to live a marriage, sister. He has not only cheated on you but has lied to you. Therefore, you lost trust in him.
Cheating also brings with it not only the above losses but the risk of you getting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) due to his immoral acts. I highly suggest that you get tested for STD’s. In addition, use protection (condom) during intercourse until he gets tested and recommits his life to following Islam and being faithful.
I don’t understand how he supports you, sister. You stated he doesn’t work and was a drug dealer? Please forgive me if I am mistaken. If he is a drug dealer, it is a very dangerous “profession” that puts himself at risk as well as you and the children. Additionally, it is haram and, income from a haram source is also considered haram.
If you meant drug dealer as in pharmaceuticals, well, then it is a different story and it is, of course, a good profession.
You are a very strong sister. I respect that you want to keep your family together, ma sha’ Allah. However, I kindly ask you to look at all angles. Do you want your children (especially two boys) to have a role model who cheats and lies all the time and deals with drugs (if this is the case)? Parents are to provide a loving, halal home environment for their children. Sadly, your husband has not done this. He has not been a good example for his young sons.
Sister, I would kindly suggest that you sit down with your husband when things are calm, preferably when the children are not around. Tell him how much you love him and that you desire to remain married to him, but you desire an Islamic marriage as you are Muslim. Please, do contemplate on this before you talk to him.
Make a list of his good points, the joys the marriage brings, and list some of the good times you shared alone as a couple or as a family. Then make a list of the things he has done that have hurt you, and how his actions go against Islam as well as against being a husband and father. If you approach him with the positives first, he may be more receptive to the things he needs to stop doing or needs to work on. When discussing what he needs to stop or work on, including a few things that you as well need to improve upon so that it becomes a joint effort in saving your marriage and getting closer to Islam.
If he is open to change, then alhamdulillah. His change should include not selling drugs, getting a halal job, stop cheating, stop lying, start going to the Masjid as a family, keeping his prayers, and teaching his children Islamic values. I would kindly suggest that if you both can reach an agreement, please put it in writing as a contract.
I would also suggest that you both go for marriage counseling, in sha’ Allah. Your local Islamic community may offer marriage counseling which would be best, but if not, please seek out a reputable counselor.
Sister, it will take the time to heal from all of this. Please, be prepared to put in hard work to make this marriage one in which you feel loved, valued, and protected. However, it will take two. He must be an active participant, willingly; even more so than you as he is the one who has not fulfilled his obligations.
If he does not want to change, sister, and live right, you need to make some hard decisions. You can agree to live in a home wherein cheating, lying, (possible drug dealing) and an absence of Islamic values are present. It will be a home as you are used to and currently not happy in. It may be a life of danger for you and your boys. Certainly, they will not grow up with a solid foundation of Islamic principles, unless you can somehow manage to take control of the home and not allow haram things to come into the home. But this will be very hard, sister.
See, it is just not your life at stake here; it is your children’s lives as well. Allah (swt) will hold both you and your husband accountable.
So, in addition to your hurt and pain he has caused you, my dear sister, it gets more complicated as you are the charge of your children’s safety, well-being, and Islamic upbringing.
It is terribly sad that the choices others make can impact and hurt us so greatly. I admire your love and dedication to your husband, sister, I really do. But there are many things involved here. If he is not willing to change and sincerely repent to Allah (swt) and live an Islamic life, you and your children may be better off if you divorced him. It may be hard at first, sister, but with supports in place such as your local Masjid, sisters, family, and most importantly Allah (swt), you can do it.
Regardless of your decision, I highly encourage you to get counseling. It will help so much going through a healing process. If you stay and he marries this other woman, or if you decide to divorce him, you will still need to heal.
Also, engaging in more social activities with sisters can provide enjoyment and a source of refuge. Our sisters can be one of our greatest strengthens during times of hardships and trials.
Additionally, exercising, taking up a hobby, and family outings with your children provide a respite away from the stressors you have been going through. In sha’ Allah, sister, continue to stay close to Allah (swt). Make du’aa’ for your marriage, read the Qur’an, and do dhikr. Get involved in doing charity work in your local community; there is always joy and blessings in helping others.
I am confident, sister, that in sha’ Allah you will make the right decision for you and your boys. Make your lists, speak with your husband, make istikharah prayer to Allah (swt) for guidance, seek out counseling, and try to make time to do good things for your healing. Whatever decision you make – either to stay or to divorce -, may Allah (swt) make it easy for you, dear sister.
You are in our prayers.
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.