Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

Before we married, my wife was a non-practising Christian. Allah guided us both to Islam, and we did our nikah (marriage contract). She has not told her family. We are currently being supported financially by her father. I allowed her to keep her dog before, but am no longer happy about that.

1. Is my nikah valid given there was no one from her family to give my wife away?

2. Are we doing something wrong by hiding her belief in Islam and our nikah?

3. She is refusing family planning as we’re not stable by ourselves. What can I do?

4. What is your advice about her dog. What is the best way to explain it to her?

Answer:Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Validity

1) Your nikah is valid. Your wife’s non-Muslim father is not able to be her wali, until he embraces Islam. May Allah guide him and the rest of his family to Islam.

2) Please pray Perform The Prayer of Guidance on whether or not to disclose your Islam to your wife’s family. If Allah places many obstacles in your way, then that is a sign for you to delay your announcement. If Allah makes it easy, then that is your sign to go ahead.

3) I’m not sure if I understand your question. Do you mean that you and your wife are using contraceptives, and you are unhappy about this? I think it would be wiser for you to delay starting a family until you can be honest with your in-laws about your Islam and your marriage. Please give your in-laws a chance to learn how to be respectful of your Islam, before you bring their grandchild into the world.

4) It is better to avoid keeping dogs at home. Could you negotiate with her to keep it outside? Please keep in mind that it will be easier for her to let go of her attachment to her dog once she has a greater attachment to Allah.

Work

Zubair bin ‘Awwam (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “It is far better for you to take your rope, go to the mountain, (cut some firewood) carry it on your back, and sell it and thereby save your face than begging from people whether they give you or refuse.” [Bukhari]

Is it possible for you to be financially independent? This will make it much easier for you to assert your Islam and your wife’s. I encourage you to seek out your own work. When you are financially beholden to someone else, then you become reluctant to upset them. This is a veil between you and Allah, because all of your provision comes from Him.

Please trust in this. Take the means to find your own feet. When you are able to do this, then you can be honest with your in-laws.

Education

When registration reopens, I encourage you and your wife to do this course together: Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

In the meantime, please request the Getting Married lesson set, and listen to podcasts to improve your character, such as Content of Character. Lead your wife by example.

Wisdom

Narrated Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with her): Allah ‘s Apostle (upon him be blessings and peace) said, “Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely.” [Bukhari]

I encourage you to have patience with your wife. You married her, knowing her newness to Islam. It is far wiser for you to work with her, rather than against her. Be helpmates on this journey to Allah together, and not adversaries.

On difficult days, and every marriage has difficult days, remind yourself why you married her. On easier days, make plentiful gratitude that Allah guided both of you to Islam, and blessed you with your wife. With gentle guidance, your wife can be a tremendous asset to you, like you can be to her.

I pray that Allah grants you the wisdom to treat your wife with compassion, sincerity and nurturing care.

Please see:

Are Muslims Allowed to Have Pet Dogs?
What is the Islamic Stance on Having a Dog?
Can I Live With Roomates Who Are Owning Dogs?
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)