Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: My wife wears a headscarf but very tight jeans. I always try to explain that she really needs to wear looser clothes to no avail. I also often think that she doesn’t pray. I want to study Islam with her and she is not interested but, on the other hand, she wants constant attention from me.
How should I go about all these issues?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you ease in your difficulty.
Patience and dua
“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” [Qur’an, 2:153]
Don’t give up on your wife. Keep making heartfelt dua for Allah to turn her heart towards Him. She is blessed to have a husband with sincere concern for her wellbeing in both worlds.
Change of strategy
“Verily, kindness is not found in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it.” [Sahih Muslim]
It sounds like your wife is not responding well to your current approach. It may be useful to try a more subtle method of persuasion. Reflect on the above hadith and the idiom, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Most people respond better to gentleness. This is especially true with spouses.
The way your wife dresses is symptomatic of a deeper issue – possible lack of connection with Allah. As she nourishes her relationship with Allah, she will naturally draw towards what pleases Him, in all that she does, including her clothing.
1) Remind yourself why you married your wife
Think of her positive qualities. Spend time creating happy memories with her and make these ‘nag-free’ zones. As tempted as you may be to comment on her clothing or prayer, please refrain, and set the intention of pleasing Allah by being kind to your wife. Being good to her, spending time with her and fulfilling her natural need for your attention are all forms of worship.
2) Lead by example
Attend regular circles of knowledge and encourage your wife to come with you. If she’s not ready to attend, then gently share with her what you’ve learned over a meal. Choose classes which will educate and inspire both of e.g. Tafsir or Seerah classes.
3) Remember to be kind
You cannot force your wife to pray or dress modestly. All you can do is gently nudge her in the right direction. Praise her when she does something right. Don’t only harp on what she’s doing wrong. The more her heart inclines towards you, then the more likely she is to want to listen to you. It’s easier to love and listen to someone who sees the good in what you do.
4) Keep good company
Find good Muslims you and your wife can socialise with. Perhaps the company of kind and pious Muslimahs may inspire your wife.
There is something very special about making dua during the blessed time before fajr. Release your worries and fears about your wife to your Merciful Lord, who loves those who approach him during this sacred time.
Make continual istighfar and seek to also improve yourself. It’s easier to spot the mistakes in others, rather than notice the flaws we have in ourselves. InshaAllah, your sincere journey towards improving yourself will help your wife do the same.
And Allah Most High knows best.
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani