Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I have been married for less than a year unhappily. I found out he’s been lying about many things. Afterward, he promised to change. Then we fought again, and he laid his hands on me. I considered leaving him, but he begged me not to and said he’d change. Then I got pregnant, and he promised to start praying for the baby’s sake. However, he scolds me for waking him up “too early” at fajr time. If I don’t remind him, he won’t pray. And when I ask him to pray with me, he gets mad and asks me why to pray now when there is more time. He even scolds me for getting worried about my pregnancy.
When I tell him my worries, he tells me to shut up and to stop worrying. When we were fighting, I prayed to istikhara and then got pregnant. I took that as a sign to stay with him and work on it. However, with his behavior now, I don’t know what is right anymore.
I empathize with your stress and the difficulty of all these new changes in your life. Transitioning into marriage, dealing with abuse, and then going through pregnancy in the first year is not easy. I pray that Allah Most High facilitates matters for you and gives you relief.
If I were you, I would pray Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance again about this marriage. I am not recommending you divorce him; instead, ask Allah to guide you to what is best for you. Perhaps, he is under stress with the transition of marriage, and he will overcome it. Possibly, he will require therapy or anger management classes to cure this. Perhaps he is a violent person who has been doing it for so long that it is a rigid habit already, and he will do this again. I am skeptical about any man who can lay his hands on his wife, let alone within the first year of marriage. This could be a preliminary glimpse of what life with him will be like.
Act According to Your Istikhara
If it is negative, take steps to separate from him and know that it won’t be easy to raise your child with co-parenting. Your waiting period would end with the baby’s birth. I pray that Allah makes it easy for you and helps you accomplish your purpose by making this decision.
If it is positive, you will have some work to do. Your biggest mistake would be inaction. This marriage won’t work without lots of effort and patience on your part.
Steps to Working it Out
Pray The Prayer Of Need regularly and beg Allah to help you rectify this marriage.
Seek a therapist or counselor to speak to both of you. This could be a professional or elder in the family, a friend, or a mature scholar in the community. Speak with them openly about your difficulties and follow their advice and guidance. Meet with them regularly.
Check out this link: V is for Violence, and read these books about marriage: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate.
Seek to improve yourself. Although you haven’t mentioned your shortcomings in your question, I feel that any bad marriage takes two to make it that way. Check yourself in everything that you do. Do you fulfill your obligations? Do you prepare meals at home for him? Are you on top of the laundry and the cleaning? Are you dressed nicely and smell good at home? Do you snap back at his comments or scream at him? Do you give him the silent treatment?
You both need to take a free course at Seekers on the spirit of an Islamic marriage, and you need to learn your personally obligatory knowledge. Take it alone if he refuses. Fulfill each other’s rights and the rights of Allah, and the blessings will pour down onto your home by His grace. Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriage
For the Future (Yours or Your Children’s)
Finally, I have to throw a comment that when one considers a man for marriage, asking about his praying five times a day should be the first question. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us to marry for religion, and then we would prosper. I pray that Allah can help you overcome this and that you can live an Islamic marriage in an Islamic home.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, 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.