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Married to an Agnostic Husband; Shall I Leave Him?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Jul 24, 2019

Question

Assalamualaikum,

I am a 26-year-old woman, with past struggles with anxiety and depression that was unwarranted. I had a really quiet and peaceful childhood and I was always focused on my studies and succeeded in Alhamdulillah and graduated as an engineer.

I love my parents so much; they never held back from giving me everything they had and more. I fell in love for the first time with that amazing guy who became my now beloved husband whom I admire and respect. I left my home country and my family and moved to live with him in the west, and I love it Alhamdulillah.

Recently, I became a practicing Muslim as I wasn’t before. I am always striving to improve as a Muslim, so I always research and watch lectures to try to increase my knowledge. People are nice and freedom of choice is key.

My problem is, I am currently living a life which I don’t know whether I like or not anymore. I love my husband, I love the country, I recently got a job alhamdulillah and I’m starting to progress professionally. I love my life with him inside the house, love, help, respect, care, trust, and understanding.

However, I am struggling with my religion. He is agnostic; his parents are non-practicing Muslims and they get offended by me and his sister practicing. I am really confused.

I am already struggling enough with my faith as I fight myself to try pray on time, cover up, stop caring about being outwardly pretty. I was a totally different person before becoming a Muslim; I didn’t use to dress modestly, I prioritized education, I was super slow at everything, and I had and still have OCD concerning cleanliness which is a huge current struggle in terms of wudu.

I always used to prioritize others over myself and I still do, I don’t know how to get rid of that trait. I also must go visit his friends and family with him, and somehow be alright with watching them drink and gossip and celebrate Christmas and making fun of Islam, even though they are Muslim.

I am not allowed to complain about it because if I want to be allowed to practice, I have to give them freedom to do what they want.

I feel like I’m living the life of hypocrites, married to an agnostic, stuck with a family where I have to witness sins with a large smile, and I don’t have any other choice. At the same time, I don’t want to blame others for my bad situation, because I also struggle with my faith.

The fact that I also can’t speak out against everything they say about Islam or do. I feel bad to blame them as I am the one who is too afraid to speak out. My husband is never on my side, but I don’t want to get a divorce because I love our life together, and I have that maybe one day Allah will guide him like how He has guided me. I keep thinking that if I don’t have the courage to even defend myself how will I defend my religion. I know Allah doesn’t like weak believers, and I am one of them. I am struggling really hard. If I leave him, I feel like I would be leaving a blessing as it’s so hard to establish a happy married life. However, if I stay, I will lose myself progressively.

I tried to avoid his family, but it didn’t work as they created issues about it even though I didn’t hurt anyone. Then they claim I’m a bad Muslim because I am trying to separate him from his family even though I never did or intended to.

He always goes see them and help them and is so good to them and I am happy about it, but for some reason they want me to stick to them or else I will live in hell. My weak personality doesn’t help me at all.

Would I go to hellfire? I am so ashamed in front of Allah. I was a great Muslim, now I am only trying to pray on time no more than that.

Please advise me, I am so lost.

Counselor

Answer


Married to an Agnostic Husband; Shall I Leave Him? - About Islam

In this counseling answer:

• Take time to make duaa (supplication) and pour your heart out. Allah (SWT) knows what is going on within your heart. Find comfort in that love and light.

• The good news is you didn’t say, atheist, so your husband already accepts that there is a higher power and something greater than himself. This can be the building block to start growing his faith inshallah and you can be instrumental in this.

• Visit the mosque together.

• Give dawah to your husband via your behavior. Ask your husband to do good deeds/acts of worship with you.

• Expand your social network to include practicing Muslims and set boundaries with current social interactions.

• Instead of “I am weak” say Alhamdulillah I am so strong I can handle this test or else I would not have it.

• Try to discover your flaws and work on them and surround yourself with good Muslim friends.


Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatuulahi wa barakatu.

Thank you for writing in Dear Sister and trusting us with your difficult situation.

It is my understanding you recently became more practicing, Alhamdulillah, but this is creating internal conflict as your husband is a reported agnostic and you are around a lot of haram and fitna. It is also my understanding it is not your desire to seek a divorce, but you have faced a struggle with his family in the past when you tried to rectify this issue.

To begin with sister, I want to highlight that it is such a beautiful thing that you said you always want to improve as a Muslim.

Married to an Agnostic Husband; Shall I Leave Him? - About Islam

You are expressing gratitude for moving closer in your connection to Allah SWT and enjoying this increase in faith. This is your anchor right now Sister. Whenever you are struggling, consciously remind yourself to hold onto that gratitude and say alhamdulillah.

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ ” [Quran 14:7]

Divine Love

You mention Allah (SWT) does not love those weak in faith. Sister, every one of us has weak moments in this life and the fact you are struggling so fiercely shows how strong you are! No matter how much we struggle or even how much we fall; the love from Allah (SWT) is beyond human comprehension. You are loved Sister by Al-Wadud; the Most Loving, Affectionate, the Beloved.

“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” [Quran 2:152]

Take time to make duaa (supplication) and pour your heart out. Allah (SWT) knows what is going on within your heart. Find comfort in that love and light.

Agnostic Husband

You mention your husband is agnostic from a non-practicing family. The good news is you didn’t say atheist, so your husband already accepts that there is a higher power and something greater than himself. This can be the building block to start growing his faith inshallah and you can be instrumental in this. Of course, we do not decide who is rightly guided.

Go easy on him. I imagine you did not become practicing overnight. It took time. Trying to push or be judgmental will only push him away. Take a gentle approach and let him know how becoming more practicing has impacted your own heart. Use the best behaviors and acts of kindness to show him Islamic character. Visualize him walking a path and you are holding his hand by his side; you are not pushing him or dragging him.

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion” [Quran 2:256]

Visit the mosque together. Ask your husband to visit the Mosque with you outside of Friday prayers, a time when it will be quiet. Let him know this would mean a lot to you and only for a short period of time. If he is willing, pray and take some time to read Quran together. It can be for 5 minutes, whatever he is comfortable with.

Worship together. Doing acts of worship together will strengthen your bond and inshallah help both of you to grow in faith. Expand your definition of worship, remember everything can be an act of worship if you are being God-conscious at the moment and do it for the right intentions.


Check out this counseling video:


For example, box up some food items to donate to a homeless shelter then go feed ducks at a park. Even remaining patient with your husband as you make du’aa’ and try to help him on this path is an act of worship Sister.

Validate his feelings. You mentioned he gets angry about prayer conflicting with his schedule. Listen to his grievances and use replies that showcase you validate his feelings. Such as “I understand you feel stressed when we run late due to dhuhr prayer. I will do my best to pray as soon as able and ensure I am dressed on time, so we are not delayed. I ask for you to please be patient during prayer as it will not take long, I love you”. This type of response is not challenging or invalidating his feelings, but it is also not enabling anger.

Talk about faith. When the moment is right, take the opportunity to speak with him about faith. Let him speak openly and honestly, don’t get defensive. The more he realizes he can speak honestly with you, the more likely he is to disclose his concerns and hesitations with Islam.

Social Network

Your network of family and friends will impact you, as you already expressed. I would suggest focusing more on him than his family. If he grows in his faith they will see the positive changes. Remain respectful with them and do not cut ties but make it clear that you will not engage in haram. When they speak wrongfully, do not return that type of ill speech and show them a better example.

I encourage you to seek out like-minded sisters at the mosque or local Islamic events. If you can find a new friend or two then you could propose the idea to have a meal with them and he meets their husband. The idea is to grow your social network to include more practicing Muslims. This can help you and him InshAllah.

Believe in Yourself

Sister, a couple of things stand out to me in your question. You put yourself down with statements like you are weak, ashamed and stating you used to be a great Muslim but now you only try to pray on time. Surrounded by temptations and non-practicing Muslims shows your strength. You would not have this test if you could not handle it. Please never call yourself weak again. Every day say to yourself “I am strong in my faith “and make duaa for Allah (SWT) to strengthen you.

“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity” [Quran 2:186]

Some of us strive for many voluntary acts and this is commendable, but what makes a Muslim great is not how many deeds he can check off but rather his intention and heart. If you are striving to do that which is obligatory and doing your best to maintain the 5 pillars of Islam then Sister, most would agree that you are doing great!

“Certainly will the believers have succeeded. They who are during their prayer humbly submissive. And they who turn away from ill speech. And they who are observant of zakah. And they who guard their private parts. except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors. And they who are to their trusts and their promises attentive. Those are the inheritors. Who will inherit al-Firdaus. They will abide therein eternally.” [Quran 23:1-11]

Final Thoughts

To summarize, sister, here are the key points to take away.

Make duaa and seek help from Allah (SWT).

Hold onto that gratitude.

Be gentle with your husband.

Give dawah to your husband via your behavior. Ask your husband to do good deeds/acts of worship with you.

Expand your social network to include practicing Muslims and set boundaries with current social interactions.

Instead of “I am weak” say Alhamdulillah I am so strong I can handle this test or else I would not have it.

You are in a difficult situation, but it can improve over time, inshallah. Focus on the possibilities and growing in faith with your husband. Do the best you can and show him patience along with loving support. Seek out strength from other practicing Muslims and never lose hope.

May Allah (SWT) guide your husband to a better path, strengthen both of you in faith and increase the love between you two,

Ameen.

***

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.

Read more:

Can One Be An Agnostic Muslim?

What Is Agnosticism?

Islam’s Response to Agnosticism




About Monique Hassan

Monique Hassan graduated with honors in 2012 with her BSc in Psychology and a minor in Biology and is certified in Crisis Prevention and Intervention. She has years of professional as well as personal experience with trauma, relationship struggles, substance abuse, identifying coping skills, conflict resolution, community outreach, and overall mental health concerns. She is a professional writer specialized in Islamic Psychology and Behavioral Health. She is also a revert who took her shahada in 2015, Alhamdulillah. You can contact Sister Monique Hassan via her website "MoniqueHassan.com"

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