Islam · Religion · Women and Islam

They Demand Me to Leave My “Non-Muslim” Husband!

I converted to Islam: Now I’m Demanded to Leave My “Non-Believing” Husband.

      * This particular note is different, in that I tend to write on personal issues regarding my life experiences in relation to Islam. However, this one is for my sisters who lead secret lives in the homes of their non-Muslim husbands. I admire these sisters so much– for doing something truly courageous within their marriage. I could not bring myself to convert in my previous marriage when I was also curious on Islam; therefore, I consider them {sisters who come to Islam despite the challenge of being married to a non-Muslim} better than me.

To any sister of Islam, who finds herself in such a situation, I would like to say, welcome to Islam! You are truly on a genuine and beautiful path. You are here, because Allah shed his grace upon you. When anyone comes to Islam all Muslims should be happy and respect you as a new revert, especially for one who finds their way under such complicated circumstances. Secondly, you do not have to leave your husband against your will. And third if you decide because the situation becomes hard or abusive, know your rights–both relevant to the legal system of your country and as stated in Quran. I will discuss much on your rights as evident in Quran. Most of all, you do not deserve to be persecuted by anyone if you have chosen to live with your existing husband as a new Muslim.

“They demand me to leave my “non believing” husband, because I converted to Islam”: This statement I have heard a lot lately as women from the Western hemisphere are coming, in great numbers, to Islam. I have witnessed accounts of this demand being pushed on new sisters of Islam by a few overly zealous, or should I say “jealous” Muslim brothers. Such great and life altering demands tend to push a sister away (leading sisters astray or preventing them from Jannah). This push for divorce on new Muslim sisters has not only been done with extreme behavior that has led to the sexual exploitation of my newly converted sisters, but it’s also done with a mannerism unsuitable in the true practice of Islam. If the husband does not convert, sisters are told to divorce them, and if not this makes the marriage haram (no evidence such is true). During the time of our Prophet (saws) it was extremely important that families were not divided; this is a sunnat that must be carried on today.

If you are married and convert of Islam think on this: Allah has already placed a man with you, and the effects this has on your relationship with your family are everlasting. The ties of kinship in Islam are very important; more so than abandoning your family, because of opinions that some very uneducated and mislead brothers might offer. This is the reason for the Ayat in Quran that clearly stated “Let there be no compulsion to religion.” The ayat is in relation to those that refused to convert family members during a time when our Prophet (saaws) reclaimed his territories from the Jews. There was a story in which a woman refused to convert her Jewish child to Islam. ‘There is no compulsion to religion’ {Quran} was not a command in order for Muslims to remain steadfast in the face of their oppressors desires, to force them into denouncing their faith. This ayat, was a reminder to Muslims themselves, once they had attained power they could not force another heart to believe in Islam.

Allah is the one, the only one, who brings about believers: we are not in his position; we are not in the position to create a believer by force or lift the seals Allah has placed on another man’s heart. “The earliest commentaries on the Qur’an, such as that of Al-Tabari, make it clear that some Muslims of Medina wanted to force their children to convert from Judaism or Christianity to Islam, and this verse was precisely an answer for them not to try to force their children to convert to Islam.” Should a husband who shares children with a women through a legal marriage be rejected of those rights as well? No this is not a command in Qur’an for Allah knows each of our intentions and judges us accordingly. He is the most merciful!

Moreover, asking a sister to abandon her family may bring more harm on a sister if she loses her husband, children, mother, father, and so on… in the eyes of Allah. This push on a sister to divorce will damage her surely in the Dunya and Akira. It can lead to her total abandonment of family, and one day she will have to answer to Allah for this–as family should be taken into high regards. Most important, abandonment of family can prevent one from entering Jannah. A handful of ill informed brothers and sisters out there are so eager to pull converts in and marry them for their own selfish intentions that they keep the truth from sisters, which will bring about punishment on the sister and the parties demanding the abandonment of kinship.

I often wonder where these harsh ideologies come from? Many falsely attach them to strict Sunni hadith, however I found Sunni hadith that agrees with my analysis as evidence. So perhaps this is a new trend in Islam that we must nip in the bud.  Mohammad’s (saaws) principals reached the hearts of the first Muslim men and women, and they had such and enormous effect upon them to the extent that they were kind to their non-Muslim relatives. When the Muslim woman probes deeply into the guidance of Islam, she should feel that it reaches great heights of compassion and humanity by allowing followers to uphold the family ties, even if they be from a religion other than Islam. In Shi’a Islam abandoning family is such a great mistake that it is known as the 7th Greater sin.  Here is some guidance and knowledge on the issue from Shi’a Imams (as) and Qur’an–just to give examples of how family should be treasured in Islam–not abandoned:

The seventh Greater Sin is Qat’a ar-Rahm,  the breaking up of relations with one’s kith and kin. 

It is clearly verified by Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) as well as Imam Musaal-Kadhim (a.s.), Imam ‘Ali ar-Riďa (a.s.) and Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (a.s.). The Qur’an has also decreed one to the hell-fire and the curse of Allah (S.W.T.) upon those who severe relations with family.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“Beware of those who cut off relations because I have found them cursed thrice in the Qur’an.”

1) Surah al-Baqarah, Ayat No.27 – Qur’an

“Whoever break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder what Allah has ordered to be joined, and make mischief in the land, these it is that are the losers.”

In the Qur’anic terminology the word Khāsir (loser) is used to denote the one who is cursed.

2) Surah ar-Rā’d, Ayat No.25 – Qur’an

“And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder which Allah has ordered to be joined and make mischief in the land; (as for) those, upon them shall be curse and they shall have the evil (issue) of the abode.”

3) Surah Muhammad, Ayat No.22-23

“But if you held command, you were sure to make mischief in the land and cut off the ties of kinship. Those it is whom Allah has cursed, so He has made them deaf and blinded their eyes.”

The Denouncement of “Cutting Off Kinship Ties” in the Traditions

Several traditions have been found in these regards. A few of these reports are quoted here:

The Holy Prophet (S) states:

“There is destruction in enmity, especially with the relatives. I do not mean the destruction of the law but rather the destruction of the religion. (Enmity among people not only harms the hair and the body, but it also destroys one’s religion).”

(al-Kāfi, Chapter of Qat’a ar-Rahm)

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“Protect yourself from ‘Haliqa’ for it destroys the people.” The narrator asked “What is ‘Haliqa’”, Imam replied, “To sever relations.”

The following are a list of Sunni Hadith also to give evidence of the importance of Kinship. 

Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As (RAA) said: 

“I heard the Prophet (PBUH) openly saying: The family of Abu So-and-so are not my friends, for my friends are Allah and the righteous believers. But they have ties of kinship with me, which I will recognize and uphold.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Report given by Ibn `Abd al-Barr in al-Isti`ab and by Ibn Hijr in al-Isabah, which describes how a female slave of Umm al-Mu’minin Safiyyah came to the khalifah `Umar ibn al-Khattab (RAA) and said, “O Amir al-Mu’minin, Safiyyah loves the Sabbath (Saturday) and treats the Jews well.” `Umar sent for Safiyyah and questioned her about that. She replied: “As far as the Sabbath is concerned, I have not loved it since Allah replaced it with Jumu`ah (Friday) for me. As for the Jews, I have relatives among them with whom I uphold the ties of kinship.” Then she turned to her slave and asked her what had made her tell such a lie. The slave woman answered, “Shaytan.” Safiyyah’s response was to tell her: “Go, you are free.”

The evidence above should make it sufficient to say that in such a case a woman abandons her husband, she abandons the family as a whole; and, this is a severe mistake on her part. She takes the chance of sending her family astray, because of a few rotten apples full of bad advice. Take a look from this perspective, who will the children blame if a Muslim mother leaves home, because another Muslim demanded her to make such an irrational decision? The children are likely to blame Islam or Muslims, of course, and their chances of ever seeing the true beauty of Islam may be forever tarnished.

It was a few weeks ago a sister asked many Muslims in a forum, “What are rules regarding my conversion to Islam and my marriage to my husband who is a non-Muslim?” After reading advice the sister received, I was certain her fragile spirit had been crushed. Many comments ridiculed her, they came from men and surprisingly women alike. Most likely, they were followers of an extreme sect of Islam that use prescribed, untrustworthy hadith rather than Qur’anic verses (not too hard to grasp) as guidance. The sister was mauled by words like; impurity, naljas, haram, the list went on. How quick these Muslims were to accuse a sister before understanding and reflecting on their own actions.

In Islam their behavior is considered totally inexcusable, hypocritical and not like that of the Prophet (saaws). To verbally stone a sister is also another action that goes against Qur’an. It does not make you “naljas” or “impure” for staying with your husband, especially if you understand how important the family ties are. Allah knows there are things we must do to stay on our path, bringing the true nature of Islam to those we love. Islam is not there to control you or make your life more difficult.

In the case of this sister, I found she suffered from a severe illness. She had been married for many years, to a seemingly good man, who although does not practice Islam reads Qur’an and supports her and her children financially. Where would she be without him? And none of these Muslims demanding that she leave her husband had so much assumed responsibilities to give to her zakat or care for her if she divorced. What was she to do, live on the streets of USA?

And the greatest shocker was… while brothers and sisters shamed her marriage, considered themselves as “muminun”, not one of them mentioned her rights in Qur’an and surprisingly her husband’s rights as a non-believer in Islam. Yes, even non-believers have rights according to Qur’an. If she left on her own will, it would have been compulsory to pay him for all the years he spent on her, financially, as compensation for losing his wife. On top of this she must be well cared for in a suitable home. If it so happened that these brothers and sisters {demanding her to leave the husband} did know of the couples rights, then they were asking for their own condemnation. Hiding truth of Qur’an in situation regarding Islam is also discouraged.

The following ayats in Surah 60 are meant to deal with such impositions regarding women who come to Islam while married, but flee (on their own will) to a Muslim man or a community who assumes protection of the sister. There is no mention of force, not even during war is a woman considered “haram” for choosing not to flee from her disbelieving husband, or even flee to one for that matter.

  • Surah 60:10 Al- Mumtahanah
  • O you who believe! When believing women come to you as Emigres , test their sincerity—and it is God alone who knows best about their faith. 
  • Thus if you find them to be believing women then do not return them to disbelievers.
  • They are not lawful wives for them,
  • Nor are the disbelievers! lawful husbands for them moreover give the disbelievers whatever they have spent to marry them whereupon there shall be no blame on you!
  • if you marry them, once you have given them their full dowry compensation
  • Nor shall you believe hold on to the bonds of marriage with disbelieving women, but ask for the return of what you spent on them in dowry.
  • And let the disbelievers ask for what they have spent to marry a woman who have since believed and emigrated–THAT IS GOD’S JUDGEMENT AS HE HAS ADJUDGED BETWEEN YOU–AND GOD IS ALL KNOWING ALL WISE. ,
  •  60:11 Moreover, if any of your wives, O believers, have fled from you to disbelievers, and in a campaign thereafter you believers overcome the disbelievers, then you are to 
  • give those individuals among you whose wives have fled the like of what they have spent on them in dowry.
  • And you shall fear God, in whom you are believers.

I sit here, and after typing these ayats once more, I am perplexed at how can we deny what is clear. It is in black and white, and it is obvious that one must have patience towards women–whether they flee from disbelievers or flee to disbelievers. Nothing should be forced, a man should bravely swallow his pride and not behave as the annoying seagulls on a beach, hovering over someone’s picnic when a sister comes to Islam. We all should be grateful for the path they have chosen.

Though there is much more I can touch up on; and there much more that supports the idea that a woman should never be forced to leave her family, against her will or be persecuted for it if she does not, I question those who call themselves believers of Qur’an. I question them for not having the audacity to search for TRUTH. Nor do they reveal the truth to these new bright, shining stars who come to Islam. In Islam, as much as I appreciate the brothers, I appreciate the sisters too, as they are all like flowers of every variety. They are so delicate, curious, pure and gentle as new comers, their feelings can get easily crushed. They rely on others to feed them knowledge in their development and progression in Islam. To play on a woman’s emotions and with her heart is like crushing a beautiful flower. To these crushed sisters, be strong, it is as Imam Ali (as) say’s, “Be like the flower who gives off a fragrance when crushed.” Surely, many of us sisters will have our spirits crushed, but the bright side is that we can always utilize what we learn towards our own advantage in the future. Once we share all we learn from these lessons in Islam, we must give off a a beautiful fragrance–in such a way that one feels like he is walking through a blossoming garden of a variety of flowers.

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