Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I have suffered for four years. I have severe depression. My husband hired a girl at his store with whom he has fallen in love. They gradually went from flirting to texting to facetime all night to being alone at the store at night. At first, he denied it, then he cried and apologized, then he started seeing her again. He fights with me about everything so he can storm out and go see her.
I am a hijab and abaya-wearing mother of six children. I spend most of my time with my kids at home. My husband spends hundreds of dollars on flowers, restaurants, and movies for her. Then he finally started praying, and I noticed he stayed home more. He told me, “let’s move to a different state and start all over. I want to fix everything “. Then he went out of town for two nights with her! The life of my children is in ruins. I am dead. His lies are too many to count. I am so broken I cannot express it to you. I fought to keep my family together, but now he wants me to give him time to end it with her.
I cannot express to you the pain that I feel for you. An adulterous husband makes one feel like one’s world is crumbling. The sheer pain and betrayal are enough to drive one mad. But, I hope, by the blessings of Allah Most High, you will not let that happen!
Look at Your Options and Pray Istikhara
I need to tell you something; you are stronger and more deserving of respect than this. You have more worth than this. You are a religious mother of six kids, and Allah Most High has given you a rank that no one can take away. You will not go on like this. You must sit down and write down the reasons to stay and not to stay with this man. You must ask yourself and trusted religious scholars around you, such as friends and family if you should end this marriage or not.
Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance is the first key. Pray for 7 or 21 days since this is such a big decision. Some people stay in marriages like this and keep trying to make it work until the youngest child is about seven or ten years old. At that point, they feel like they can manage a divorce. Also, consult some reliable local scholars for their advice.
If You Stay
If you stay, you must make certain conditions. Sign up for marital counseling immediately. Tell your husband, no counselor, no marriage. You have to call the shots. Involve your loved ones and his loved ones in reconciliation. It helps a lot when the family or friends get involved in protecting you and showing him how what a big mistake he has made. Also, he must fire her immediately from his store. You can call the police if she ever approaches the store or your house.
If You Divorce
If your istikhara is guiding you to divorce, tell him that you cannot continue with him and that you need time apart from him. It would help if you stayed in your home during the ‘idda, and he should leave. He may come to his senses during the ‘idda time and take you back, and things may improve. It is by Allah’s mercy that there is a grace period of a few months after a divorce for the couple to think about what they want.
Accept your feelings of shock, agitation, fear, pain, depression, and confusion. It will be an emotional roller coaster for a while, but I promise that things will get better.
Don’t seek revenge on the girl or trash talk about him to others. You are still responsible for unnecessarily backbiting and telling others what he has done.
Take care of yourself, and that is most important. I know that after six kids, a woman gets worn down. She doesn’t have that fresh, youthful existence that she used to. But you have the grace, wisdom, intelligence, and patience of a mother who runs a home and family. Exercise daily, eat healthily, cut out all sugar, take all your supplements, and take up a hobby you enjoy. Read Quran every day with the meaning, don’t miss a prayer, pay zakat on time, give charity regularly, and put Allah first. Declutter your home and your wardrobe, and look well-put-together and elegant all the time. Use fragrance and smell good. Sign up for therapy or counseling for yourself to have regular professional support throughout this challenging time.
Don’t blame anyone, nor yourself; Allah wrote this, and it was supposed to happen. Now you have to get through this test and pass. Also, don’t feel like a victim. Allah only tests people according to their strength of Iman (Faith), so the stronger your faith, the bigger the test. Show strength, patience, and dignity. Allah, Most High, says, “[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed-and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving.” [Quran, 67:2]
Keep your kids out of it. They have the perfect innocent young ears to fill up nonsense and truth about their father’s affair. They will believe everything you say. But don’t do it. It is not suitable for them and will backfire on you in the future. Keep his honor and conceal his fault so Allah may do the same with you on the Day of Judgment.
Finally, if you want to divorce, start considering how you will support yourself, in addition to his child support. Think about custody of the children and everything else that comes with divorce. May Allah Most High help you through this and let him see the truth of what he is doing.
Have faith that Allah is with you all the time. Allah, Most High, says, “O believers! Seek comfort in patience and prayer. Allah is true with those who are patient.” [Quran, 2:153]
And He says, “Seek help with patience and prayer-though this is hard indeed for anyone but the humble.” [Quran, 2:45]
And He says, “Be steadfast: God does not let the rewards of those who do good go to waste.” [Quran, 11:115]
I hope this helps.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, 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 later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.