How Can I Divorce When I Can’t Afford It?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

My husband is physically and verbally abusive towards me and my grown-up daughters. Due to his constant taunting and insult, I have started hating him and don’t feel any intimacy towards him although I never refused him in bed. I want to get rid of this painful relationship but I can’t feed my kids and don’t have a shelter to keep my daughters. I have been tolerating it for 18 years but now I feel I lost patience. I don’t want to take khula because I don’t want to lose my only house.

Answer

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your pain and frustration in your marriage. I pray that you can prevent this abuse by the grace of Allah and that you find a suitable solution to this trouble.

Finances Preventing Divorce

You are certainly not the only one who feels that they cannot afford to split from their husband. Housing prices, rental prices, even food prices have risen globally, and many feel trapped. A woman who plans to divorce should have a secure financial plan in place before asking for a divorce. Even if one manages to separate and scrape by, it would take a ton of courage, patience, and doing with less for a long time. I can only advise you to start working now, saving up, or getting certified in some skill set that you can monetize later.

Divorce

Divorce is a major decision and the most hated thing to Allah among the permissible things. However, abuse is also hated by Allah. I must ask that you pray istikhara and exhaust all options before considering divorce. How much effort have you put into communication? Counseling? Taking courses on marriage or reading books that specialize in marital trouble? Have you read The Five Love Languages or asked him to read it? Take some time to go through these resources and muster all your energy into improving the condition of your marriage first. Then, ask Allah fervently before dawn, ask those around you, consult, and make the decision that is best for you.

Resources

Course Suggestions

Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for a Successful Marriage
Keys to Successful Muslim Marriages: Practical Lessons That Explain the Prophetic Spirit of Marriage

Answer/Article Suggestions

Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance
How Does One Perform the Prayer of Need (Salat al-Haja)?
How Do I Deal With an Unhappy Marriage?
Am I Destined to Suffer in an Unhappy Marriage?
Should She Stay in an Abusive Marriage?
Should I Stay Married Even Though I Hate My Husband Because of His Bad Character and Irreligiousness?

Book Suggestions

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan Silver
How Do I Deal With an Unhappy Marriage?
Am I Destined to Suffer in an Unhappy Marriage?
Should She Stay in an Abusive Marriage?
Should I Stay Married Even Though I Hate My Husband Because of His Bad Character and Irreligiousness?

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.