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My Husband Is Too Strict About My Clothing

Question: I had a nikah recently and we have not moved in together because we are finishing school as we are both relatively young. When we first met, my husband was laid back, but with time, he became stricter and controlling. My clothing and hijab did need improvement and my husband forced me to change without much kindness or love. I am happy that I dress modestly now, however, he is still unhappy with my shoe color, wearing a watch, not wearing an abaya, and not having a thicker sole on boots! Should I suppress my feelings and obey or is he unjust? He says he is the authority, he will never change and makes me feel like an ill-charactered woman. We are not on good terms because I can’t ignore the pain and it’s impacting my mental health. His treatment of me belittles me. I feel pushed beyond my limits. It’s like I married a stranger, who puts his desires first. I love him and want this to work. 

Answer: Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question.

I am sorry that you are going through so much pain and suffering from your husband’s demands and lack of tact. I pray that you can come to a solution and strengthen your relationship through this conflict.

Minor details

I feel that the things that your husband is asking from you are not far-fetched, as I know many women who personally follow those protocols, but they are minor details. Covering your watch is not necessary, for example, and shoes other than black are still modest. If one chooses to take steps like these toward modesty, they will ultimately be rewarded, as nothing is lost on Allah.

Living apart

I want you to know that the basis of your problem is that you are not living together. Once you live with a person, one truly gets to know them and experiences them as a whole, rather than seeing them on a few outings or having some phone calls here and there. I know many families who refuse to elongate a nikah or engagement for the mere fact that disputes can arise and be exaggerated and end up in a couple breaking up. Please try to arrange to live with him soon, as the intimacy and time spent together result in a bond that can overshadow problems and soften hearts toward one another. Only then, one can see the big picture.

Patience

As for his demands, if I were in your shoes, I would acquiesce and be patient. Ask him to treat you with kindness and know that arguing back will just cause more tension, as he doesn’t seem ready to listen. Try to keep the tension low until you live together. Then you can take a different approach and he might slow down, too. Regardless, your reward is with Allah for He said, “Today I have rewarded them for their patience: it is they who will succeed” [Qur’an 23:111].

Gain knowledge to deal with any problem

As usual, the best weapon against any problem in life is knowledge and applying it in your life. Then you will start to measure your actions against the standard of the shari`ah and not your own or your husband’s criteria. This makes it easier to reconcile and compromise with him.

Please see these articles for excellent advice on the topic:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/what-are-the-requirements-of-hijab/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/can-demand-wife-dresses-modestly-work-less-outside-home-stop-meeting-irreligious-friends-change-baby-daughters-diapers/

Please see this article about marriage in Islam and the rank of the husband:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/im-fearful-islam-causing-depression-can/

Also, I highly encourage both of you to take a course on the spirit of an Islamic Marriage so that you don’t let resentment grow and harm your relationship. You will find countless other benefits by learning your rights and responsibilities:
https://seekersguidance.org/courses/keys-to-successful-muslim-marriages-practical-lessons-that-explain-the-prophetic-spirit-of-marriage/

May Allah give you success, happiness in this life, and the hereafter.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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