Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
As a well respected lady and leader withing my islamic circle, a friend of mine is having some marital problems which she would like to resolve in a proper islamic manner. Her husband continuously has affairs and has now been darting to one widower in particular. My friend doesn`t want her husband having affairs nor a girlfriend and she feels she just cant take it anymore and would like to leave the house. She feels committed to looking after her mother in law and would not be happy leaving her alone. She has three children, the youngest being only 4 years old.....what are her options according to islam?
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In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
It is indeed a delicate situation, and we can only give our advice or options based on the information that you have provided for us.
Her options according to Islam are as follows:
She may try to reason with him, and try to instill the fear of Allah Subhanah in him by guiding him to read the Holy Quran, and especially the aayahs pertaining to the grave sin of zina; for nothing but the fear of standing in the Court of Allah Subhanah to give a full accounting of his deeds, can stop what her husband is doing.
If possible, she can try to influence her husband to change his company of friends and encourage him to meet good, God-Fearing people in the community.
She can bear her husbands cheating on her rights with patience, and put her trust in Allah Subhanah! As you have mentioned that she has three young children, and she is also concerned about her mother-in-law. If she can do this for their sake, it is expected Allah will have Mercy on her, and she will earn a huge reward on the Day of Judgement from the Merciful Lord. It is also possible that in time, her husband might realize his mistake, and turn to Allah in repentance.
If she sincerely loves her husband, and rightfully hates this habit of her husband; she may tell him to fear Allah and marry this widow he is having an affair with. This way she will save her marriage, and also save her husband from a very evil and sinful act. But if her husband is a habitual sinner with women, there is always the fear that he might not stop even after marrying the widow, and start his string of affairs again. Nothing but the fear of Allah can stop a person committing a manifest sin!
If she is unable to do any of the above things; she obviously has the option of divorcing her husband. It may be that Allah gives her a better and more God Fearing husband in the future. She may try to only threaten to divorce him at first, and if still her situation does not improve; she has the full right to seek a divorce, and in this particular case, there will be no sin on her.
May Allah make the trial easy on your friend, and give her patience, wisdom and steadfastness to adhere to the Path of Allah. May Allah guide her husband to fear the Wrath and Anger of Allah, and bring an end to his evil habit. May Allah have mercy on your friend, her innocent children and her mother-in-law, and help them in this delicate situation.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,