Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
To what extent is a husband in charge of a wife’s life? I am not able to do anything or buy anything for myself, and I’m not allowed to work. I feel there’s no solution, and I’m trapped here. I have five children so I can’t leave. We always had problems, and he has become very abusive and violent. We can only obey his rules here, and no other choices are even heard. He does things contrary to Islam, but he doesn’t seem to care. I’m tired and feel hopeless.
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you feel so trapped, and I empathize with your frustration and sadness. I pray that you can come out of this soon and that your marriage turns into a happy and loving one.
Have you tried communicating with him about how you feel? You should tell him that you feel deprived and that you want to buy things sometimes for yourself. Even if he disagrees, you should always have some kind of savings on the side if you can find a way to make money or save some of what he gives you. Try reading The five love languages or The seven principles of making marriage work. Even when trapped, these books will help you in the meanwhile.
I can tell by your question that you are feeling overwhelmed with the children. There is no tougher task than taking care of young children, especially when the mother has no help, is tired, sleep-deprived, and possibly not in the best shape. I urge you to take care of yourself, get enough sleep, take vitamins, eat healthily, get exercise, and don’t eat junk. Make dhikr and pray on time for mental peace. See a doctor about how you can improve your health and address any health concerns.
Unfortunately, the children are victims as well if their father is being abusive and violent. It is absolutely haram for him to be abusive toward you or the children in any way. If you ever fear harm from him, don’t hesitate to call the police and protect yourself and your kids from his abuse. Preventing his abuse is obligatory, and there is no shame in that.
You must be strong and decide what you want to do with this marriage. Do you want to stay? Do you see things getting better? Or are you ready to leave? Is it right to leave now or when the children are older? Will you consider staying if he bends the rules a bit, like letting you work? Do you drive? I don’t know enough details, so I leave you to pray istikhara and take counsel from others around you, among your family, friends, and a local imam. You deserve a better life than this, and I’m afraid that if you don’t get proactive to either work on the marriage or leave him, it could get worse.
Turn to Allah
Turn to your Creator in your distress, and don’t ever go near the haram at your husband’s request. He has no right to contravene the shari’ah, and you may not follow him in that. Pray the Prayer of Need before dawn, pray on time, read some Qur’an every day with the meaning, and teach your children to practice their religion as best as you can. Supplicate and teach your children the same. Never forget that Allah is by your side:
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.'” [Tirmidhi]
Please see these links for useful tips:
Given the considerations in such cases, please consult reliable local scholars about the specifics of the situation.
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[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 master’s 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.