Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I married a Muslim at 24 years old. I wasn’t highly religious then but thought we could grow in faith together. Throughout the marriage, I was consistently trying to show him the right path which he didn’t want to follow. He often got angry, ate non-halal meat, didn’t pray, ate in Ramadan, didn’t like zakat and liked interest, didn’t let me wear hijab. He let me do pray and fast, but as my kids grew, he wasn’t happy with me teaching them Quran.
I stayed with him for 15 years always trying but there seemed no change in his attitude to Islam so I left thinking he would confuse kids. I feel guilty after leaving him alone, I now think he has a narcissistic personality disorder.
Did I make the right decision?
Thank you for your question. You are not the first person to leave a man due to his irreligious behavior. May Allah make it easy for you to plan your future, and may your children get all of their rights in their religion and this-worldly affairs.
I really cannot tell you if you did the right thing. I happen to know a lady who left her husband for this reason and was able to raise her son who grew into a good-hearted and pious young man. But it wasn’t easy. I know another who stayed with her irreligious, but kind, husband, and still coaxes him to pray. After about 30 years, he is starting to listen.
Istikhara is the key to any decision, and if you are having doubts about your decision, you should pray it, and consult others around you. If you start to overwhelmingly feel that you should return to him, you could try it, and give it one more fair chance. You could try compromising with him and insisting that he let you wear hijab, among other things.
However, if you are firm where you stand, then you should stick to it and not fear your decision. It sounds to me like your marriage might have been a bit abusive as well, and I am inclined to think that you did the right thing. Not practicing Islam due to one’s laziness or indifference is one thing but preventing one’s children from learning the Quran is entirely another.
Make sure that you give your children their rights by letting them see their father regularly, and make a plan for their future. Plan to give them religious education, along with secular, and get help and support. You will need it as a single mother and you can’t do it alone. When the time is right, I pray that you find a pious husband to grow old with.
Please see these links as well:
Should I Divorce Someone Who Has Stopped Practicing Islam?
Should I Leave My Husband Because of Religious Incompatibility?
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani