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Will Allah Be Displeased With Me?

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil advises a sister whose husband is addicted to porn on how she best can tackle this sensitive issue.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have been married for 21 years. My husband has been addicted to porn since before we got married. I did not know this until a few years into our marriage. I have tried to talk to him several times but he gets angry and defensive. He tells me he doesn’t want to be controlled and if I continue to try to stop him he will be more determined.

In other aspects of his life he is very religious, masha Allah. Recently his addiction had become too much for me and I no longer want him to touch me. At first I did not refuse him, but tonight I had a long talk with him. I told him I want to help him stop his addiction and only do what pleases Allah.

He had the same reaction as before and again said he will not be controlled. Finally I told him I don’t want to have relations with him if he will not stop. He said in that case Allah will be displeased with me because I am not fulfilling my duties as a wife.

My question is, is that true in this case? Am I still obligated to fulfill my wifely duties even though he continues to watch pornography and I cannot bear to have him touch me?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

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

Witholding Marital Intimacy

Narrated Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him:

Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” (Bukhari)

Dear sister, I cannot imagine how difficult this situation is for you. I pray that Allah heals your husband and your marriage. 21 years is a very long time to struggle with his refusal to repent.

Although you are at your wit’s end, I do not encourage the use of ultimatums, especially in regards to withholding intimacy. Doing so is a form of controlling your husband’s behavior, and this would naturally cause him to be defensive.

As hard as it might be, try to imagine his pornography addiction as a drug or alcohol addiction. Threatening to withhold marital intimacy from an alcoholic does not make him more likely to stop drinking alcohol. This route could add to his feelings of anger and frustration. However, he is choosing to refuse to get help. He is still responsible for his actions.

In short, for as long as you are married to him, you are still obligated to have marital relations with him. I say this within the context of your husband being gentle with you and being sensitive to your needs and wants in the bedroom. If you are feeling repulsed by him, then you both need to work on solving this issue.

By the same token, these actions are displeasing to Allah:

1) watching pornography

2) masturbating while he watches it

3) disregarding your feelings.

Marriage Counselling

It was narrated from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, blessing and peace be upon him, said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

A successful Islamic marriage is a mutually respectful and loving partnership with the joint intention of pleasing Allah. Within this context, your husband is failing to recognize his role in displeasing Allah through how much he is hurting you.

Is it possible for at least you to attend culturally-sensitive counseling? Ideally, it would be better for both of you to attend counseling, but your husband seems resistant to any form of change. Please know that you can still tremendously benefit from counseling, even if you attend it by yourself. A good counselor can help empower you and help you recognize what is within your sphere of control, and what is not.

Accepting a Wife’s Influence

A wise husband knows how to accept his wife’s influence. Consider these links:

Love Quiz: Do You and Your Partner Accept Each Other’s Influence?
Husbands Can Only Be Influential if They Accept Influence

Prayer of Need

You probably feel extremely powerless. Because of this, I encourage you perform the Prayer of Need to appeal to the One who created your husband.

Pornography Addiction

Purify Your Gaze is an excellent resource for people like your husband. Again, only he can decide to get help.

I encourage you to consult Megan Wyatt from Wives of Jannah to help you navigate your difficult and sensitive marital situation.

Prayer of Guidance

I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance as often as you need to in regards to staying in your marriage. A positive answer could be your husband softening and finally getting the help that he needs to treat his addiction. A negative answer could be your husband persisting in his addiction and refusing to repent.

Oppression

Narrated Anas, may Allah be pleased with him:

Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one.” People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” (Bukhari)

At the end of the day, if you cannot bear to touch your husband, then it does not seem like a marriage worth staying in. Please exhaust all options and consider divorce a last resort. Divorce may be frowned upon, but it is still permissible. If both of you fail to fulfill your obligations towards each other, and continue to oppress one another, then divorce may even be obligatory. Please remember that Allah has given you the gift of agency. Use it to draw closer to Him.

Please see Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long, A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation, and “Too Embarrassed to Talk About It”: Pornography Addiction and Some of Its Effects on Muslim Marital Life.

I pray that Allah blesses you with wisdom, courage and insight to do whatever is most pleasing to Him.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


I’tikaf: When The Aching Bones of Your Wives May Testify Against You

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I’tikaf is intended to be a blessed time for those who have the opportunity to engage in it so why is it causing so much marital discord between couples who Jazmin Begum-Kennedy is counselling?

Iʿtikāf (Arabic: اعتكاف‎‎, also i’tikaaf or e’tikaaf) is an Islamic practice consisting of a period of staying in a mosque for a certain number of days, devoting oneself to worship during these days and staying away from worldly affairs. The literal meaning of the word suggests sticking and adhering to, or being regular in, something, this ‘something’ often including performing supererogatory (nafl) prayers, reciting the Qur’an, and reading hadith.

Every year, I read wonderful social media updates from brothers preparing to go to i’tikaf followed by others praising them and requesting them to make dua. This ought to be a beautiful thing but unfortunately for the wives left behind, it is often a nightmare.

Few men make enough fanfare or even mention who will

  • pack their things for them,
  • do grocery runs,
  • cook fresh food each day,
  • send the fresh food to the men in i’tikaf each day, twice a day – for iftar and suhoor,
  • take care of the children and the school runs,
  • serve their parents,
  • serve their in-laws
  • take care of her own health, while pregnant or otherwise

All this on often little to no resources.
For these women, engaging in more prayer, Qur’an reading and quiet reflection during the blessed 10 nights of Ramadhan are a remote possiblity.
Don’t get me wrong- I am all for i’tikaf but men need to make provisions for their womenfolk first before they set off. Every year I am left counselling mothers who have been left to take care of young children and demanding inlaws, as well as send freshly cooked food to their menfolk at the mosques. Often, they are not left with much money or resources to barely feed the children and elderly in their care, let alone send food to their men in i’tikaf.

“But My Wife Doesn’t Mind”

I don’t just listen to the women’s side of the story. I have spoken to many men about this. Last year, one brother messaged me saying how the companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  often left for months and years and no one complained. He insisted that his wife didn’t complain either. When I asked him if he had asked her, he did not reply.
We do not live in societies that allow for such privileges. When the companions of the Prophet ﷺ went away, they left their families in a community with extended families and friends. They had maids as well as wet nurses for support.
These days, women have to do school and mosque runs, shopping, take children to appointments, chores for in-laws etc. Everything is done by one person – the mother.
On top of the daily grind of life, there’s the added stress of arrange the delivery of fresh, pipping hot food because she doesn’t want to upset or anger her husband who has gone to get closer to Paradise.

Is This The Path To Paradise?

What blessing is there in striving for Paradise, off the back of another human being?
I acknowledge that being in service to those in worship is a form of worship itself, and may Allah reward all who engage in this to the best of their abilities. However, on the flip side, there is a disturbing element of injustice and oppression.
Just before I wrote this, I was consoling a mother who is experiencing a very difficult pregnancy and has a toddler to attend to. She can barely keep her head up due to the sickness and exhaustion. Her beloved husband set off for iti’kaf leaving her with strict instructions on making sure his two meals are delivered at the right temperature.
I try not to aggravate situations like this. I try to hold my tongue, for what it’s worth. I advised this woman to go to her parent’s home so she can get some much needed respite. She is drained. She is carrying life in her womb. It is her God-given right to be nurtured during this fragile time and her God-given right to request her husband stay home and make himself useful. I told her to print this profound hadith and hang it in her home so all can see what our beloved Prophet ﷺ had to say:

The best of you are those who are best to their wives.

SubhanAllah, it is time to reflect on why we do things and how our actions, even if it’s to do something good can be so damaging for our hereafter. I was reminded by a fellow mother, Sumayyah Omar on Muslim Mamas that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to the people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to feed his hunger. That I walk with a brother regarding a need is more beloved to me than that I seclude myself in this mosque in Medina for a month. Whoever swallows his anger, then Allah will conceal his faults. Whoever suppresses his rage, even though he could fulfill his anger if he wished, then Allah will secure his heart on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever walks with his brother regarding a need until he secures it for him, then Allah the Exalted will make his footing firm across the bridge on the day when the footings are shaken.”

Scholars and Imams, Insist On A Checklist

Wouldn’t it be great if the imams in all our mosques would read this hadith out during Friday sermons in Ramadan? And then advise the men to follow basic protocols before packing their bags? Moni Akhtar, another mother from Muslim Mamas made a great suggestion: the masjid should give out a form of prerequisites before men are accepted into i’tikaf:

  • Have you asked your wife if she can cope without you?
  • Have you left her with provisions?
  • Have you paid for a cleaner to come and help?

Guidance and prompting from the ulema is sorely needed to raise greater awareness.
I would love to leave on a good note but instead I am forced to leave a warning. Your women and those in your care may not utter a word  now but their aching bones will testify against you on the Day of Judgement. May Allah have mercy upon us all, ameen.

Photo credit: Juliana Cunha

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Jazmin Begum Kennedy (JBK) is a ‘Qualified Housewife.’ By day she is a mother, wife and teacher; by night she wages war against oppressors and writes books. She is an experienced teacher of primary and secondary education, an acclaimed professional artist (JBK Arts) and published author of Mercy Like the Raindrops, Blessed Bees, No School Today and the upcoming novel, Fifteen. Jazmin is an online counsellor specialising in domestic abuse, rape and child abuse. She also physically helps victims of domestic violence flee their abusive marriages. She is the co-founder of the Nisa Foundation, working as a women’s aid worker for victims of domestic violence. JBK currently homeschools her three children, whilst managing a network for Home Educators in the Greater Manchester area of the United Kingdom.

A Timeless Love – The Prophet ﷺ and Khadijah, by Habib Ali al-Jifri

Habib Ali on The Prophet and KhadijahHabib Ali Al-Jifri beautifully recalls the loving companionship of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his loyal wife Khadijah. He explains how this love story began and continued even after she passed away; and most importantly, what lessons we can learn from this story for our own marriages.
Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life is one of SeekersHub’s most popular courses. Register today for any of the 30+ courses on offer – places are very limited.
This video was recorded for the “Love & the Beloved” CelebrateMercy webcast about the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ married life. See more videos at CelebrateMercy.com and subscribe to on YouTube.

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