Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour
Question: My husband is addicted to pornography and music. He does not want to stop. Once I found that he watched obscene stuff on his computer, so I hid it, but I told him that i threw it away. Hearing this he got very angry and asked me to leave him and go away if I have a problem with him. Does this count as a divorce? After that he called his parents and said that he wants to divorce me. Did that constitute divorce?
My husband and his family also make rude remarks about my height and make fun of me. I began to feel that he doesn’t love me and I don’t want to be a burden on him , so I told him I will observe idda for three months and during that time he can decide whether he wants to keep me or leave me. Please advise me on this.
Does Saying “Leave Me and Go Away” Count as Divorce?
May Allah give you patience to bear and accept this test in your life. To answer your question, a divorce is dependent on the intention of the husband. So, if he were to tell you to “go away” and did not intend divorce by that, then it is not a divorce and you do not have to go through an iddah. If he made the intention for divorce, then it would be binding. You should ask him if he intended a divorce and if so how many did he intend. [Dusuqi, Hashiyatul Sharh al Kabir]
Does Discussing Divorce Count as Divorce?
As for him discussing with his family that he would like to divorce you, that also does not count as a divorce. Merely discussing the idea of divorce does not count as a divorce. One way that divorce is binding is when a person says the words “divorce” to his wife in English or in any other language (such as “I divorce you” or “You are divorced”) and this would be binding even if he did not intend divorce.
The second way is to have an intention to divorce, even if he did not say the word “divorce.” An example would be like if he said, “Go away” or “go back to your parents” and intended by this divorce. If he was only saying it out of emotion but did not intend it, then it would not be a divorce. [Dusuqi, Hashiyatul Sharh al Kabir]
Marriage is Meant to Honor People
One thing that you should remember is that marriage is there to protect people in terms of faith, finance, and dignity. If at any time you feel there is harm and you cannot reconcile the differences, then you should consider seeking a divorce. You have to consider your safety in terms of spiritually, mentally and physically.
If a person is in a place where they are being humiliated they must move away from that as the Messenger of Allah said, “It is not befitting for a believer to belittle himself.” The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, asked, “And how would he humiliate himself?” He said, “He faces a tribulation more than he can bear” [Tirmidhi and others].
Consider the Future of Abuse
You should think about your own health (spiritually, mentally and physically) and the health of your child. You may be thinking that you are staying in the marriage for your son, but you have to find out whether staying will actually harm your son more. As humans, we learn by imitation.
What is your son learning about how to treat a wife? How will he treat his wife when he gets married? There is a lot of research showing that this can start a vicious circle of transfer of abuse. You should seek more advice (shura) from other scholars, family and professionals and then pray istikhara before making your decision.
Pornography and Abuse are Diseases
You have to also realize that a person addicted to pornography is dealing with a serious sickness and addiction He needs professional help and counseling unless he makes a sincere tawba that turns him away from that entirely. His abuse of you (whether physical, verbal, mental, or spiritual) is also something that he needs help for. If he is not willing to get outside help, then you must seriously consider going through a divorce.
Your Sustenance is With Allah
Finally, remember that your sustenance (rizq) is with Allah and do not have a fear of not being provided for. Your decision to stay with your abusive husband who is addicted to pornography should not be based on a fear of not being provided for. Some women stay in an abusive relationship because they feel they have no other choice and can either not live unmarried or they won’t be able to find another husband.
Whether or not you find another husband, Allah will provide for you. So, do not base your decision on the fear of not being provided for. You have to make your decision based on what is best for you and your son. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and every one of you will be asked about his flock” [Muslim].
And Allah knows best.