Husband must share burden of caring for autistic child with wife
Fatwa No: 292480

Question

Assalaamu alaykum Shaykh. I am writing to you because I am having a lot of problems with my husband. We live in europe and do not have any family here who can help us. We have three small children aged five, four, and one-and-a-half. Our oldest son, who is five years old, has autism and ADHD (a sickness that causes him to be agressive; he hits his brother and sister, he hits me and runs around because he has too much energy, and he acts before he thinks. All this is hard because I must run after him all day to stop him from hitting his small brother and sister. My husband is going to school and working in the weekends. He sleep at his brother's house two-four days in the week. He does not help me with the children or with our sick son, and I cannot even go out alone for one or two hours to take a breath. The doctors and psychologists say that it is very hard to have sick children and that I must to go out alone to get the energy to take care of my son, but my husband does not want to help me. He says that it is my responsibility since I chose to have him. I am going to start to work in about two weeks, at home, with children, which will cause me even more stress and more in need of help. I swear by Allah, Shaykh, I run after my son all day and I am going to go crazy soon or die from stress. Sometimes, it is so difficult to run after him 12-14 hours everyday, so I sit down and cry because I am so tirerd. And my husband still does not want to help me. He comes and goes as if our home is a hotel. He is always out and free and I feel like I am in prison. I watched one show on Iqra channel with Shaykh Mohammed Al-Rifi about children who have this sickness. He said that it is haram for the husband to not help his wife when it comes to children with this sickness. Please shaykh, give advice. If he does not help me, then I will get a divorce because I am living like a single woman.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

First of all, we ask Allaah to help you, to relieve your distress, to make  for you a way out of your difficulty, and to rectify your husband.

We recommend that you supplicate for your husband and your sick son, as Allaah answers the supplication of a person in distress and removes harm; Allaah says (what means): {Is He [not best] Who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allaah? Little do you remember.} [Quran 27:62]

The most important thing by which marital life becomes stable is to have mutual understanding and help each other with the burdens of life, and you should treat each other with kindness; Allaah says (what means): {And due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable. But the men have a degree over them [in responsibility and authority]. And Allaah is Exalted in Might and Wise.} [Quran 2:228]

The children are the responsibility of both parents, so what your husband said to you is not correct; that the responsibility is on you alone. It has been confirmed from Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that he said, “I heard the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) say, “Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for the people under his guardianship … and a man is a guardian in his house and is responsible for the people under his guardianship, and a woman is a guardian in her husband’s home, and she will be questioned about the people under her guardianship...” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

To benefit from some useful guidelines for each spouse to overcome such a problem, please refer to fataawa 88319, 90395 and 257623.

As regards divorce, it may not be a solution; rather, this may increase your problem. So we do not recommend that you seek divorce unless you are desperate and it is impossible to continue life with your husband and you feel that the benefit of divorce outweighs the benefit of staying married to him. So you should be patient and seek the help of some righteous people from your family, or his family or friends, hoping that Allaah will rectify him.

Allaah Knows best.

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