Archive for April, 2014

How to Deal with a Non-Practicing Spouse

Courtesy of www.suhaibwebb.com

I want to find out what is the ruling for a practicing Muslimah whose Muslim husband does not pray except occasionally. He has tried intermittently to establish salah (prayer) but it was not consistent. He doesn’t go to the mosque and he’s never read the entire Qur’an. Before, he would combine three days at once and pray extremely fast. In the end, he gave up and it has been almost two months now. He doesn’t pray Friday prayer, but he fasts the month of Ramadan. He tells me he believes in prayer, but he is very busy with managing his business and works more than 12 hours a day. He comes back home and always gives excuses that he is extremely tired and would promise to pray the next day without fail.

I have put in much effort to encourage and motivate him, read to him ayat (verses) from the Qur’an and ahadeeth (traditions of the Prophet ﷺ, peace be upon him). Sometimes he listens and other times he gets angry/annoyed and tells me all I talk to him about is deen (religion). He doesn’t like communicating with me about religion much and he sometimes complains about my time spent on the deen although he doesn’t mind me wearing the hijab and going to the mosque.

Before we got married, I made it clear to him that we would pray together, share our deen and raise our children according to Islam. He promised me and gave me his word, and I understood he was devout in his heart. I asked a couple of imams about this issue, and they all told me that all I should do is be motivating/encouraging and make du`a’ (supplication). I fear mostly for any children we may have, because they would be confused as to what is the truth and what they should do. This would also cause problems providing an appropriate Islamic environment at home to raise upright Muslim children.

Answer:

It sounds like when you married your husband you expected him to change and become more religious because it was important to you that you marry a religious man. You feel that he has a devout heart and wish that he would manifest his faith outwardly because you fear that if your children do not see him practice his faith they will become confused. The reality is that people will only change when it is important to them. When you chose to marry him, you chose to accept him with his strengths and weaknesses. If he chooses to pray and read Qur’an, it would be ideal for you, but you now realize you can’t control him nor change him and that your ideal is not the reality.

Your decision to marry him was based on a promise but not on the reality of where he is religiously. Despite not being religiously observant, he is encouraging you to grow religiously and does not stand in your way of spiritual growth. His relationship with Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), is a personal one and despite your well-intentioned encouragement, he may only be hearing nagging and judgment from you. He may not feel accepted by you for who he is despite his flaws, so he will continue to pull away from you because you may remind him to feel awful about himself for not praying dutifully. This negative spiral will only continue to hurt your relationship and potentially hurt your relationship with your children. The greatest gift you can give to your children is to role model empathy for your husband’s struggle. He may be inspired by your attachment to the faith and the peace it brings you. By role modeling what you wish for your husband and children, you will embody the faith in your family because your actions will “speak” louder than your words. You cannot control how your husband and children choose to practice the faith. Approach your family with tenderness and understanding as they progress in the faith and continue to rely on Allah (swt) when you have feelings of fear and anxiety.

Love: It’s What’s Missing

Courtesy of Reehab Ramadan and www.suhaibwebb.com

There is this uneasy feeling that I often get after being friendly with someone. It’s a feeling based on many experiences of misunderstanding and mistaken intentions. It is that uneasy feeling of fearing that my kindness and compassion will be mistaken as flirtation or affection by the person standing in front of me. But here’s the thing: I am a firm believer that this world lacks compassion. This world lacks love. Not the romantic or sexualized love that we are bombarded with in every book, movie and billboard. I am talking about true, genuine, love for all of humanity. The love that would allow me to go out of my way to buy my brother or sister in humanity a gift to bring a smile to his or her face, despite the hardship that he or she may be going through. The love that motivates me to check up on my brothers and sisters, because I really do care how they are doing. The love that makes me raise my hands in the middle of the night and request from the One who answers our prayers to bless my brothers and sisters in humanity with peace and light.

Why is it that the only kind of ‘love’ that comes to mind today is that of the marriage-bound, or at times not-so-marriage-bound, love? Yes, that is a type of love. Yes, that is an important kind of love. But there is another type of love that is missing in our day-to-day interactions, our hearts, and our lives. A kind of love that I am–and hopefully you will be, too, after reading this–determined to revive. A kind of love that, if spread, would revolutionize our quality of life, from the inside out.

But before I take this leap and begin to infuse this blessed emotion into all of my words and actions, let me take a moment to apologize:

I’m sorry, you misunderstood; I am not infatuated with you.

My soul is attracted to your soul, in the most platonic way possible. My heart wants what’s best for you, without gaining anything in return. My smile wants to see your smile reflected back in my eyes, not because I am “in love” with you, but because I love you, just as I love the rest of humanity.

I love you because through you, I begin to see me. I look in your eyes and I see my reflection. I love you because you just happen to be living on the same planet as me, and if I didn’t love you, I could even start to hate you. I love you because if you are hurt, a part of me is pained, because in reality we are a part of a whole; we are one. I love you because when I’m with you your state impacts my own. When you are angry and upset a part of that is reflected onto me. When you are joyous and content, the peace spreads to my soul as well. I love you because when I look at you and see your flaws, what I am really seeing are my own flaws being projected onto you. I love you because love heals wounds and makes scars vanish. I love you because without you, whether I like it or not, I would not be exactly who I am today, even if I don’t know your name. Even if I have never had a conversation with you. God placed us together on this Earth for a reason, and it was not so we could stay as far away from each other as possible. It was so that we can love each other, and through each of our love, we can begin to experience His Love—the one true Love.

Love has many faces, but we have stripped it down to only one type, and in doing this we have deprived ourselves of caring for and helping others in ways that can only be achieved by allowing His Love to shine through us. His Love and His Light.

Many of you reading may find these words too flowery, too weird or just plain absurd for your liking. If that’s the case, don’t worry. It’s okay. I love you anyway.