Answered by Ustadha Umm Umar
Question: As long as I’ve known my husband he has been addicted to his phone. Always checking it. My main issue is that I have seen chats between him and other women. He says there is nothing wrong with having women as friends. This makes me very uncomfortable, but what can I do?
Answer: Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu sister,
I pray this message reaches you in the best of health and iman.
I wish the answer was as easy as making your husband get rid of that phone! :)
Realigning your priorities
There is a hidden wisdom in everything that happens to us in this world, and perhaps the wisdom in this is that you learn to realign your priorities to seeking the pleasure of Allah Most High and his Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم. This is where your true love should be, in seeking the pleasure of Allah Most High with your every breath and your every moment.
Seek intimacy with Him through your recitation of the Quran, pondering on its words and meanings. Read about our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم and how he conducted himself an strive to be like him, for although our time has passed to be with him, time is still with us to read and learn from his incredible example.
Principles of gender interaction in Islam
As for your husband, he is definitely in the wrong. He should not have women or coworkers as friends, rather it is only permissible to work with them on work only and that is where the relationship should end, full stop. A man should be loyal to his wife, and not actually befriend coworkers of the opposite sex. However, one cannot force another person to have God-fearingness. You need to treat this problem with wisdom, and pray for success that you are able to overcome this.
Upholding good character
I would suggest you work on your relationship, strive to be his friend, keep the house in order and comfortable, prepare the foods you know he enjoys. Ignore this problem he has for the time being, as it will only increase the tension between you. In the meantime just strive in your relationship with Allah Most High and rectifying your own character.
Sometimes seeing the wrong of another person can be a great motivator in turning your own heart in du’a and seeking a better way for one’s own self. At most maybe you could agree on “screen free zones of the house” such as the dinner table or wherever you guys spend family time.
Scholars have said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم was someone who directed his full attention to the people he was with, so likewise when we are sitting with others it is not from etiquette to pull out a screen. We can still learn from his incredible example and strive to implement it in our lives.
Likewise, even in non-Muslim literature on etiquette, they also concur that it is not from etiquette to pull out one’s device while sitting with others. When absolutely necessary, they say one should excuse oneself to check their device, while giving the people they are with a brief explanation as to what the critical matter is that they want to check on.
Keeping a good opinion of others and relying on Allah
Hold your husband in a good opinion, that although he is conducting himself wrongly, he is only doing so out of ignorance. Supplicate that Allah Most High bestows true knowledge on him, such that he realizes the error of his ways.
Perhaps if you could seek knowledge as a family, such as attending a weekly inspiring study circle, that may help as well. Keep turning to Allah Most High in du’a and ask Him to alleviate this affliction from your family.
May Allah Most High keep you all under His protection, and reunite you all together in Jannat al-Firdous, ameen.
Umm Umar (Shireen Ahmed)
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani