My Parents Said I Would Go to Hell If I Asked for Divorce

09 October, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaykum.

I have been married for three years to my first cousin, who is the son of my mum’s sister. We both got married at a very young age, I was 19, and he was 17 or 18. He was not my first choice for marriage, but my mother picked him for me and I accepted her decision at the time. We do not get along at all. We fight all the time and I do not get along well with my in-laws. My mother seems to be in the driving seat for making all the decisions, and my husband fully supports her as she favors his family over me.

My husband brings out the worst in me. He makes me feel very bitter and angry towards everything. I can honestly say I have never loved him. Many people have tried to help sort out our problems but nothing has worked. He blames me for everything that goes wrong and has never changed. He denies everything if you confront him. When I tell my mum, she doesn’t believe me. I cannot speak a word against my in-laws. Our marriage seems like a cover for him to fulfill his mother’s dreams of coming to England. When I spoke to my family in Pakistan, they told me my mother in-law has made black magic on my mum.

My mum has sudden mood swings when you mention his family and supports them in every possible way. She has told my husband that he can re-marry whilst being married to me because he needs to be with me for citizenship. I would like to divorce my husband. I have asked him to divorce me but he has refused. Is it okay to ask for a divorce? We do not have a sexual relationship. We do not live together anymore. He lives with my parents and I have moved away from them. My mum and dad told me that I am disobeying their wishes and that I will go to hell, especially if I divorce him.

I no longer wish to stay in this marriage, we have never treated each other like husband and wife. There is no love in this marriage, but I can honestly say I have tried to make it work. I am very depressed and confused. Please can you help?


.In this counseling answer:

• You should take time out to reflect on what you have experienced so that you can do your best to put this phase of your life behind you, in sha’ Allah.

• You have to restore and repair your relationship with your parents.

• You have to seek the advice of your family and friends on how to go about handling your current marriage.

As-salamu `Alaykum,

Thank you for writing to us. What a challenging situation, indeed, to have been thrust into a marriage at such a young age, and to someone who was not your first choice! We appreciate the frankness with which you are approaching this matter. The following thoughts are intended to help you get some clarity regarding your situation.

First, we want you to think about yourself and how this entire experience has affected you. You should take time out to reflect on what you have experienced so that you can do your best to put this phase of your life behind you, in sha’ Allah. Allah (swt), Most High, knows the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of what clearly seems to be a marriage of convenience—to help your cousin move from Pakistan to England. Make du`aa’ (supplication) to Allah (swt) seeking His assistance as you come to a decision about what to do.

Second, you have to restore and repair your relationship with your parents. No matter how “in charge” your mother wants to be, she cannot hold you life hostage. You need to involve your father so that he is aware of all that is going on. In order to do this, you will have to reconnect with your parents, either by regular contact or by actually moving back into their home. They need to be able to see just how dysfunctional your marriage is to your cousin. Your father, especially, needs to know that your whole life is on hold and you are “depressed and confused.”

My Parents Said I Would Go to Hell If I Asked for Divorce - About Islam

With enough du`aa’ and clear and frank conversation with your father, we think you can get him to step in and, in sha’ Allah, help to bring some resolution to this matter. It is your father after all who was supposed to be your wali (guardian) when you first got married. If he did not fulfill that role then, make du`aa’ that Allah (swt) bestows mercy in his heart and he resumes his duty as your guardian!

Third, we want to specifically address your mother’s behavior. While she must care for you and want what is best for you, she has not yet proven that she is capable of actually doing what is best for you. Getting you to marry a younger cousin against your own wishes was not in your best interest. In addition, staying with this young man is not in your best interest. While you might not be able to convince your mother of this or get her to change her ways, you should make du`aa’ to Allah (swt) to protect your mother from the black magic of her sister. Continue to maintain a loving relationship with your mother, in sha’ Allah, despite the hardships she has imposed upon you.

Finally, it would have been very easy for us just to say divorce your cousin and move on with your life; however, divorce is among the most despised of the permissible options granted to us by Allah (swt), Most High. We realize that you are not really in a marital relationship; nevertheless, you have to seek the advice of your family and friends on how to go about handling your current marriage. Most likely, those close to you will agree that you should divorce this young man, but you should at least consult them for all the various issues related to your marriage.

Check out this counseling video:

You are dealing with a difficult situation, but we are confident that if you make du`aa’ to Allah (swt), in sha’ Allah, He (swt) will not let you down. Turn to Him (swt) and seek His guidance through the Istikharah Prayer (supplication for guidance in making a decision). When you do get a divorce, we suggest strongly that you not immediately rush into another marriage. Take your time, process your feelings, try to put your past behind you, 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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About Abdul-Lateef Abdullah
Abdul-Lateef Abdullah, an American convert to Islam, obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science & Economics at the University of Delaware, his Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University, and recently completed his Ph.D. from the Institute for Community & Peace Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, in the field of Youth Studies.
He has worked as a Program Assistant for the Academy for Educational Development (Washington, D.C.); a Social Worker at the Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, New York); and the Director of Documentation and Evaluation at Community IMPACT! (Washington, D.C.). He has also worked with the the Taqwa Gayong Academy (New Jersey, U.S.A./Penang, Malaysia) for troubled youth, both Muslim and non-Muslim. As a recent (1999) convert to Islam, he spends much time writing about his experiences as a Muslim-American convert.