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Does Your Spouse Help or Hinder Your Faith? The Stories

Does your spouse help or hinder your faith?

I asked this question to a group of reverts who have married born and raised Muslim spouses. The results varied from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Trying to gain knowledge and improve upon Islam is a common goal that reverts around the world face. Shortly after reverting, the majority are urged to marry quickly thinking that their spouses will help them in their journey for knowledge to live a life as happy practicing Muslims. This is not what becomes of all marriages however, unfortunately to the shock of many new Muslims.

There is this general belief that new Muslims have, which is naivety for most, that all Muslims practice Islam as they should, and see them as a source for improving upon their faith. However, it sometimes exposes a shock to reality, that they may actually be the ones that have the stronger faith and knowledge, and end up being the ones that are expected to support and improve their spouse’s faith instead.

This can be the cause of a troublesome marriage for some, while others overcome it, and both spouses improve and support one another. Even if it doesn’t cause “problems” in the marriage, it definitely doesn’t “help” the marriage, or their deen.

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The Helper

First, we have the uplifting spouses who increase faith, which we will call “the helper”.

Spouses that care about their own faith, will also care about the faith of their partners. These are the types of spouses we should all strive to be and search for. Marriage is a partnership in all aspects. A spouse is to be a companion, friend, lover, guide, teacher and supporter to strengthen one another.

{O you who have attained to faith! Ward off from yourselves and your families that fire (of the hereafter) whose fuel is Human beings and stones.} (66:6)

In the Tafsir ibn Kathir of this verse, Qatadah explains:

“He commands obedience to Allah, to not disobey Allah, he orders his family to obey His orders and helps them to act upon His orders. When one sees disobedience, he stops them and forbids them from doing it.”

When a spouse sees that their partner is doing something against Islam, they must teach them the correct way and encourage them to stop what they are doing. Spouses are a reflection of each other, and they are bound in marriage for the sake of Allah. Therefore, couples must strive to make their reflection pleasing to Allah. As a team, a husband and wife can grow together as one for the one who grants blessings or hardships in their marriage.

As Muslims we are always in a state of learning, new and old Muslims alike. Sharing knowledge on Islam has such high importance, and we should be eager to share it with those we love the most.

Sister Stacey stated:

Alhamdulillah my husband was and is religious and we married about 4 years back when I was 25 years old and had been Muslim for 9 years already. I already knew a lot but it’s amazing to discover how much there is left to learn and that’s what sitting with people of knowledge does. It makes you realize how much you don’t know!”

New Muslims must look for committed and righteous friends and spouses who can help teach, give advice, and support them so that they will not be affected by the negative influences and environments around them to prevent them from falling back into former non-Islamic ways, habits and lifestyles.

Sister Aisha A. described the ideal marriage when she spoke about her marriage:

“My husband is very religious, and pushes me to be a better Muslim daily. Where he is weak, I see it as Allah teaching me how to be stronger. Where I am weak, I know Allah is strengthening my husband. We both chose each other in marriage for the sake of Allah, so this helps keep everything in perspective. When things are difficult, and when things are easy, we are both seeking the pleasure and reward from Allah, inshallah. I take all things between me and my husband as an opportunity to get closer to Allah, inshallah.”

The Hinderer

Next we have what we will call “the hinderer” who drags their spouse down.

Sister Elizabeth talked about her former marriage and said:

“As for my ex-husband, I married him expecting to have someone to help me learn more about Islam, to lead us in prayer, and teach us how to pray, etc. He appeared religious to me; prayed 5 times a day (although not usually on time), fasted, could recite some Quran and hadith easily etc, so I was excited to have someone to help my daughter and I on our new journey in Islam.

Unfortunately this didn’t happen… I learned how to pray via YouTube and usually when I asked questions about things I was told to ‘Google it’. After I first reverted, 2 months after we married, I tried waking him for Fajr prayer and instead got in trouble for doing so. Many things I tried to do that were required by us in Islam were not encouraged.”

Sister Maria expressed her frustration which led to her divorce. After marriage she was pressured by her husband to remove her hijab. This made her feel like she was treated as a “trophy wife” that he chose based on looks alone, because he didn’t want her to wear it around his friends.

We should always care about our faith, and if our spouse is dragging us down, we must put importance on the matter. It is crucial, especially for all new Muslims, to have a devoted pious spouse that can uplift them and help strengthen their faith.

It becomes even more important when children are involved, because children learn from their parents, and they need consistency in all matters to be raised properly. No one wants their children to be a “Muslim by name” only. If one parent is religious and the other parent isn’t, this implants in their mind that it is ok to be lazy sometimes, otherwise, both parents would be doing their best.

Advice for Those Marrying a New Muslim

When you make the decision to marry a new Muslim, be a source of guidance, and live as a good example for them.  Increase your knowledge and practice Islam to the best of your abilities. Marriage should benefit the faith of both spouses, not only one.

Don’t leave your spouse feeling disappointed in your Islamic knowledge and practice. Be patient in their learning, don’t push them away, and most importantly encourage the positives, and don’t be too harsh or extreme with the negatives. They will overcome any negatives if you provide a good example to follow and show patience.

A husband has an obligation of ensuring that his family practices Islam. It is a duty that must be taken with great sincerity. Forget cultural traditions that you hold, as well as those that your spouse holds, and live according to Islamic teachings only.

New Muslims take time in adjusting their lifestyles to suit that of a proper Muslim. So with patience, and tenderness, you will support one another in all matters.

Be each other’s learning tree and grow in knowledge together, while sharing the knowledge you already have.

Remember, many new Muslims take their overall view of what all Muslims are like, primarily from their spouses, and if they are left with disappointment, it can diminish their faith.

Be the example you wish for them to follow that is pleasing to Allah, and you shall reap the rewards in this life and the hereafter. Consider it as blessing, because everything they learn and take from you will be an ongoing blessing for you.

(This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.)

About Shannon Abulnasr
Shannon Abulnasr: An American convert sister who accepted Islam in 2006, and since has dedicated her efforts as an advocate supporting new Muslims after their shahadah. You can read her reversion story here and visit her website created for new Muslims and non-Muslims.