Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
I am a convert and my sister entered Islam but then informed me and my husband that it was just an act to avoid to be bullied by her classmates. My husband is a very hard man and he wants me to cut all relations with my sister. One day he almost punched me. How can I explain to him that his attitude is islamically wrong? How to deal with his anger?
Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. My heart goes out to you, sister. May Allah grant you the answers which you seek.
Mercy towards non-Muslim family
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” [Quran, 21:107]
Showing mercy to non-Muslim family is of the utmost importance; through seeing you as a compassionate role model, their hearts may incline towards embracing Islam.
I am so sorry that your mother is distressed by your husband’s behaviour. She has every reason to be upset. I hope that by you showing good character, she will be able to see the good of Islam.
Honour family ties
Abu Huraira reported that a person said: “Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).” [Bukhari]
‘A’isha reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “The tie of kinship is suspended to the Throne and says: He who unites me Allah would unite him and he who severed me Allah would sever him.” [Bukhari]
Your husband does not have the right to force you to cut off ties with your sister. He has no Islamic basis for his demand. On the contrary, forcing you to break ties goes against the teachings of Islam. All of my teachers continue to stress the importance of keeping family ties, even with non-Muslim or non-practising family members, and I cannot emphasise enough how critical it is.
Yes, it is important to limit contact with her due to her current lifestyle, but the answer is not to cut her off completely. What hope will she have to return to Islam if she loses contact with you? Allah is Most Merciful and can still guide her without your presence, but she is still your sister, and blood ties are sacred. Reject your sister’s behaviour, but not her entire person. She is still a valuable creation of Allah whom I pray, one day, will return to the fold of Islam. None of us know the state upon which we will die. As Shaykh Nuh Keller said once, “The wheel is always turning.” May Allah have mercy on us, and keep us on the straight path.
The role of the husband
“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character. And the best of you are those who are best to their women.” [Tirmidhi]
Some husbands can fall into the trap of believing that if they say jump, their wives must blindly obey and ask, “How high?” This is not the way of our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He had many discussions and loving interactions with his wives, never hit them, and never abused his authority. Our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is an excellent example of a husband who nurtured his wives and respected their opinions and intellect.
Often, when husbands fear losing control, they start enforcing unreasonable rules. It is simpler to give up and cut off ties, instead of choosing to explore more compassionate and complex solutions. Black and white thinking is a logical error many people fall into, when in reality, Islam is nuanced in its compassion. In this final stage of humanity before The Hour, more and more Muslims are going astray. You will find so many families who have fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who have strayed very far away from the deen. The solution is not to give up on them and leave them to their ignorance. The way of the believer is to always keep the door open in the hope that one day, they will return.
The root issue that needs to be addressed is your husband’s underlying fear. Why is he demanding that you cut ties with your sister? What is he so afraid of? How can you allay his anxieties? Is there a elder in the community who he can listen to? Would his parents be able to reason with him?
Anger management classes
It sounds like your husband is struggling to contain his temper. Given the fact that he almost hit you in the face, I am very concerned for your well-being and that of your children. I would strongly suggest that you make dua for Allah to lift his affliction, as well as gently suggest that he seek some form of counselling, particularly anger management. His behaviour is not only affecting your home life, but is also distressing your family.
If your husband refuses to seek any help on his own, then seek out couples counselling. Counsellors and psychologists are trained to be objective, compassionate, and honest with both husbands and wives. Often, all it takes is a calm third party to cool an otherwise volatile situation.
If he refuses to participate, then I recommend that you seek counselling regardless, and learn ways to better manage your hardship. You cannot change your husband’s behaviour unless he chooses to, but you can improve your own coping skills. May Allah grant you strength.
Give in charity to the less fortunate, and make dua for Allah to ease your heartache.
In the last third of the night, stand up in prayer and beseech the Lord of The Worlds. Empty your sorrow to the Most Merciful, and beg him for guidance and ease. Plead to Him to soften your husband’s heart. Truly, He is the Turner of hearts. Nothing is too difficult for Allah Almighty.
Please refer to the following links:
Should converts break ties with non-Muslim family members?
Can we break family ties with siblings who treat us badly?
Should I maintain ties with family members who openly sin or shun them?
Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.