Husband Doesn’t Practice Islam: What to Do?

04 July, 2017
Q As-Salamu Alaykum. After studying Islam for two years, I took my shahadah 4 months ago. I met my husband before I reverted and although he accepted Islam 5 years ago, I knew he has led astray when I married him this month. His negativity has very little influence on me as I'm steadfast in my faith and my studies. I'm a strong Muslimah and a good wife even though he lives a very sinful life. Does his lifestyle affect the blessing of our household/family including me? I also think about Jannah whether I'm going to be rewarded with it, in sha’ Allah. How could I expect to marry him there? Also, when I make du'aa' for him, is it pointless when he has gone so far from Islam’s teachings? (He smokes, drinks, curses, he doesn’t pray often and makes illegal money, etc.) He says he wants to change and his intentions are good. What shall I do? Jazakallah khair.

Answer


 In this counseling answer:

Marriage counseling is for all couples who want to improve their marriages. Counseling can help you find a common ground and set a strong foundation for your marriage. If it’s not available or not affordable, the counselor urges that in a marriage one must be proactive and share their feelings, thoughts, and humanness to their spouse and not be afraid of showing vulnerability.


Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,

Thank you for sending us your question, First, I would like to congratulate you on becoming a Muslim. I ask Allah (swt) to give you the strength and courage to live a fulfilling and God-fearing life, and may Allah (swt) bless you in your endeavors.

You have questions regarding your marriage and your husband’s character. You mention that you have chosen to be a practicing Muslim while your husband is not practicing and leads a “sinful life.” As a Muslim mental health professional, I would not be able to answer the first three questions. For those, I would advise you to send them to our “Ask the Scholar or Ask about Islam” sections on the website. As for the last question regarding your husband’s intention to change and how to help him, I can try to help you with that to the best of my ability.

You mention that your husband says that he wants to change his bad ways and that his intentions are good. Certainly that can be true. Many people, however, get “stuck” in their ways because it is genuinely difficult to change even though deep down inside they would like to. My advice to you sister would be to participate in marriage counseling. Please do not think that marriage counseling is only for couples who are on the verge of divorce. Marriage counseling is really for any couple who is facing some challenges within their married life.

It is true that you may think now that your husband’s lifestyle does not change your own, however, will you guarantee that won’t be the case a few months or years from now? How about when you have children (if you both chose to have them)? Have you both discussed the different lifestyles you lead and how you both feel about it? Have you done any kind of counseling or discussions about lifestyle and expectations before marriage? Have you discussed if you want to have children, how you want them to become, and how to raise them? Those are all critical issues within a marriage that needs the utmost attention.

If marriage counseling isn’t a feasible option at this point for you and your husband than I would suggest you start having open conversations with your husband about your future together. A good way to start these series of conversations is by discussing the above questions that I asked earlier in this paragraph and go from there. The point is to stay connected with your spouse and do not wait for him to initiate such conversations. One must be proactive and share their feelings, thoughts, and humanness to their spouse and not be afraid of showing vulnerability.

However, if marriage counseling is available to you both, I would highly recommend it. I read that you reside in the United States. Alhamdulillah, there are many Muslim mental health professionals in the USA and depending on where you live, you may be able to find a few. Even if you cannot find a Muslim counselor, a non-Muslim counselor can also help the both of you make goals for yourselves and your marriage. Counseling can help you find a common ground and set a strong foundation for your marriage, especially since you both are newlyweds.

Salams,

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About Aliah F. Azmeh
Aliah F. Azmeh is a licensed clinical social worker who practices in Detroit, Michigan. Aliah graduated with a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2007 and has experience working in the United States and overseas. Aliah currently works as a clinical social worker and provides individual, family, and marital counseling at Muslim Family Services in Detroit, MI.