Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I am a convert to Islam, and I married a single mother. We were so happy at first but, then time went on, I noticed a difference in our practice of Islam. My wife likes to mingle, is out almost all day, and is very active in social media, staying online till 3-4 am.

I have prohibited her from the beginning but she never listens. She said she is just interacting with Online Arabic class and Qur’anic groups. With reservation I give permission but always reminding her of the risk. As the years went on she became bolder, rebellious and more defiant despite learning Qur’an and Hadith everyday.

My wife admitted to being in a hotel room with another man for two days. She asked me to divorce her but I did not accede to her at that time, thinking about the impact on my kids. I have keep the status quo. I have several kids with my wife. Please advise me what to do.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

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

Marital Infidelity

Dear questioner, I am so sorry to hear about your wife’s infidelity. Not only is she your wife, she is also the mother of your children. I pray that Allah heals your broken heart.

Seeking out marriage counselling

I encourage you to exhaust all options to save your marriage. Is your wife open to seeking marriage counselling? As unthinkable as it sounds, please know that it is still possible to find your way back to a loving marriage with your wife. You describe that you were both so happy as newlyweds. Learning to Love Again After an Affair.

Again, this will only work if your wife is motivated to improve your marriage. I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Need as often as you need to, in the last third of the night.

Divorce as a last resort

It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The most hated of permissible things to Allah is divorce. ” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

I do not know what it is like to lose parents to divorce, as a child. My parents divorced when I was in my mid-twenties. I spent many years as a child fearing they would divorce, and I spent many years as a teen wishing they would. Their turbulent marriage impacted on my expectations of how I deserved to be treated, my ideas of femininity, masculinity, my own expectations of marriage etc.

I invite you to reflect on this – what are your kids learning from watching you and your wife being unhappily married? What could they learn if both of you choose to work this out? Alternatively, what would your kids learn if your wife feels forced to stay in a marriage she does not want?

I encourage you and your wife to read The Unexpected Legacy Of Divorce.

It is most likely one of the hardest decisions you will ever need to make, as a parent, but you are not alone. Allah is always with you. Allah is always with your children. My parents’ troubled marriage and divorce gifted me with empathy and compassion, but only after I overcame the worst of its pain, through Allah’s Help. If divorce truly were more harmful than beneficial, then Allah would have forbidden it completely. In His Wisdom and Mercy, He allowed it. Please know that divorce is a last resort, but it is still permissible.

I encourage you to perform The Prayer of Guidance as often as you need to, in order for you to gain clarity from Allah. Watch how things unfold. If Allah softens your wife’s heart and makes her willing to change her ways, then that would be a sign for her to stay and work on your marriage. If she remains unhappy, unrepentant, and wants a divorce, then that is a sign to let her go.

May Allah grant you, your wife and your children whatever is best in both worlds.

Please see:

Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)