Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I have a teenage daughter and son. Their non-Muslim father is a very good manipulator and liar. It is sickening and he gets away with things in child custody court. We have therapists because we have been suffering for five years. One of my kids was suicidal but they cannot prove it was due to the father’s doing. Kids spend half of the time at their dad’s (they’ve parented themselves for four years at his house).
They are neglected but not enough to raise flags, they have nightmares often. They are good Muslims and he is trying to deviate them from Islam and encourage bad things. He gets drunk with friends and my kids get scared. Sometimes I lose hope with this 50/50 custody arrangement.
What du`as can I say? Can I pray he will move away and leave us alone? Is that cutting kin ties? Can I make du`a against him? We need peace and want to end the anxiety, fear, and torture.
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you are going through this hardship with your ex-husband and I empathize with watching your children in pain.
I feel that there is not a lot that you can do because your custody is court-ordered. You have two things in your control. Your du`a and your own behavior with the kids. Controlling him or changing him is not going to work. Having therapists is wonderful and I pray that you can continue on that streak.
You already pray for your kids at every prayer. Focus your du`as on asking Allah to make them strong and capable and have certainty of faith. It will help a lot if you can make du`a for their father as well. It is true that he might be sick, but he is badly in need of du`as to guidance and if you pray for his welfare, it will help your children. Try these du`as on a daily basis and teach them to your children too.
As for your own behavior, two things are key. 1) Be there for them in every way, and 2) never backbite about their father in front of them.
1) When they come home to you, love them, hug them, talk to them, but listen more. Don’t get angry with them, show them mercy, take them out, counsel them, teach them, bond with them, bring good company over for them. Pray with them and be happy with them, have fun with them, and cherish every moment you have with them. Give them coping mechanisms that they can use when their father drinks or scares them.
2) Never speak an ill word about their father in front of them, it will do no good. There is no benefit in it whatsoever. He is their father and they must respect him for the rest of their lives. It makes it harder for a child to connect, interact, love, forgive, and respect a father if all they heard were words trashing him. It will not make them positive and loving people. This is great harm, so please steer clear of that. Also keep in mind that badmouthing their father will only harm you, as it will increase your anger and eat up all your good deeds. (You can explain to them that drinking is haram but I think they know that)
I pray that Allah sends you relief and well-being and I pray that their father turns around and becomes the best father he can be for them.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.’” [Tirmidhi]
Given the considerations in such cases, we urge you to please consult reliable local scholars or counselors about the specifics of the situation. Jazakum Allah khayr. May Allah facilitate all ease and good for you.
[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, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied Fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.