Am I Sinful to Live With a Husband Who Is Not Concerned With Avoiding Usury?

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: My husband does not listen to my financial advice and we have to pay interest every month. For him it is not a problem and discussing this issue makes him very angry. What is my religious responsibility in this situation as I have to use his credit card? Should I get a job to avoid these issues despite having kids?

Answer: As-salam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

The essential problem here is that your husband does not appear to take riba (usury) seriously and regard it as the grave sin that it is. Riba (usury) has been clearly and explicitly prohibited in the Qur’an and Sunnah. The Holy Qur’an has declared war on those who do not abstain from this grave sin. Regarding this, the scholars point out that of all types of sins and sinners, only two people have a declaration of war from Allah: the one involved with riba (as in the verse below) and the one who harms a wali (friend) of Allah.

Allah Most High says:

“Those who swallow usury cannot rise up save as he arises whom the devil has prostrated by (his) touch. That is because they say: Trade is just like usury; whereas Allah permitted trading and forbidden usury. He unto whom an admonition from his Lord comes, and (he) refrains (in obedience thereto), he shall keep (the profits of) that which is past, and his affair (henceforth) is with Allah. As for him who returns (to usury) – Such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein.

Allah has blighted usury and made charity fruitful. Allah loves not the impious and guilty.

Lo! those who believe and do good works and establish worship and pay the poor-due, their reward is with their Lord and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.

O ye who believe! Observe your duty to Allah, and give up what remains (due to you) from usury, if ye are (in truth) believers.

And if ye do not, then be warned of war (against you) from Allah and His Messenger. And if ye repent, then ye have your principal (without interest). Wrong not, and ye shall not be wronged.” [Qur’an, 2.275-279]

The scholars of Qur’anic interpretation, such as Imam Alusi (Allah have mercy on him) have explained ‘Allah has blighted usury,’ as meaning that Allah, “Removes all baraka (blessing) from it, and destroys the wealth of the one who enters into it.” [Alusi, Tafsir Ruh al-Ma`ani, 3.51]

Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Usurious money, even if much, becomes paltry in the end.” [Ahmad, Ibn Maja, and Hakim, with a rigorously authentic chain of transmission].

Abdullah bin Handhalah (Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “A single coin of usury taken by a person knowingly (i.e. knowing it to be usurious) is worse than committing adultery 36 times.” [Ahmad, al-Daraqutni, and al-Bayhaqi].

Therefore, you should continue to attempt to convince your husband to avoid riba and avoid the means that lead to it (e.g. spending beyond one’s means). In doing so, you should use wisdom and good manners. Depending on the situation, this may entail remaining silent about the issue of riba itself, while you gently encourage your husband to improve spiritually, increase in sacred knowledge, and draw nearer to Allah. When this begins to happen, your husband will naturally incline towards eliminating the haram from your lives. Also, you may want to consider enlisting the help of someone who has influence over your husband such as his parent, sibling, community leader, or religious scholar.

With regards to you working, you should know that the sacred law places full responsibility for financial support of the wife and children upon the husband. A husband cannot force his wife to work outside the home, and she does not have to obey him if he commands her to do so. For further details, please read Shaykh Nuh Keller’s article “What is the meaning of qawwamuna as used in Surat al-Nisa’, verse 34?,” available at Masud.co.uk. Furthermore, Abdullah bin Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Women are the overseers of their husbands’ households and children, and they are responsible for them” [Bukhari and Muslim]. In light of this, if you feel that working outside the home and leaving the children at daycare would cause them worldly or spiritual harm, then it would be wrong to do so. This is because it entails leaving your responsibility (i.e. safeguarding the children) for something that is not your responsibility (i.e. working outside the home). Furthermore, perhaps if you went to work and earned additional income it would only lead to a commensurate increase in spending (as is often the case in our time), and the household would still require usurious credit to cover the expenses. Hence, you should focus on rectifying the root cause of the problem, which is your husband’s lack of concern for the grave sin of riba.

Finally, after taking all worldly means to resolve this situation, you should not forget the greatest means of all: turning to Allah, the One who brings ease after hardship. This can be done by increasing in all forms of worship such as prayer, dhikr, fasting, giving sadaqah (charity), etc. In particular, prayer and supplication in the last third of the night is one of the greatest means for one’s requests to be answered. Also, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) taught us to make the prayer of need (salah al-hajah) for any worldly or other-worldly need that we have. The prayer of need is very simple: It is essentially to raise one’s need to Allah Most High, by performing ritual ablution (wudu), praying 2 rakats (or four), and then making whole-hearted dua to Allah. Any dua is acceptable, but duas that have been transmitted in the Sunnah are best. The dua which has been specifically transmitted in relation to the prayer of need (as recorded by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah) is as follows:

لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ الْحَلِيمُ الْكَرِيمُ
سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ


الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِين
أَسْأَلُكَ مُوجِبَاتِ رَحْمَتِكَ وَعَزَائِمَ مَغْفِرَتِكَ وَالْغَنِيمَةَ مِنْ كُلِّ بِرٍّ وَالسَّلامَةَ مِنْ كُلّ إِثْمٍ
لا تَدَعْ لِي ذَنْبًا إِلا غَفَرْتَهُ وَلا هَمًّا إِلا فَرَّجْتَهُ وَلا حَاجَةً هِيَ لَكَ رِضًا إِلا قَضَيْتَهَا يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ

There there no god but Allah the Clement and Wise.
There is no god but Allah the High and Mighty.
Glory be to Allah, Lord of the Tremendous Throne.
All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds.
I ask you (O Allah) everything that leads to your mercy, and your tremendous forgiveness, enrichment in all good, and freedom from all sin.
Do not leave a sin of mine (O Allah), except that you forgive it, nor any concern except that you create for it an opening, nor any need in which there is your good pleasure except that you fulfill it, O Most Merciful!”

Wassalam,

Umer

Photo: B Rosen