Dealing with disobedient revert wife
Fatwa No: 357073

Question

Assalaamu alaykum. I need help with the following issue: my wife and I met before she became Muslim, while I embraced Islam a week before I met her. I told her that I would not marry her as a non-Muslim, so she embraced Islam and attended the masjid every week in order to learn from the imam and it is about 40 km from her place to the masjid. The problem is that she stopped everything which I had been trying to teach her after our wedding and which she was actually doing. We have been married a little over two years now, and she never even read the Quran, and she is disobedient to me in a lot of things; for example, if I comand her to do something, she will say that I am not the one to tell her to do something. May Allah reward you.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Firstly, we would like to congratulate you for the blessing that Allah bestowed upon you and your wife by guiding you to Islam; verily, it is a priceless blessing that calls for gratitude to Allah. One of the most important manifestations of gratitude to Allah is to seek useful knowledge, carry out righteous deeds, attend Thikr (remembrance of Allah) gatherings, and keep the company of righteous people.

Our advice to you regarding your wife is as follows:

First, be patient with her; patience yields praised consequences. Please refer to fatwa 83577 about the merits of patience.

Second, supplicate Allah in her favor frequently; Allah has commanded us to supplicate Him and promised to answer our supplications. Verily, He does not disappoint whoever turns to Him in sincere supplication; He says (what means): {And your Lord says, "Call upon Me; I will respond to you." Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hellfire (rendered) contemptible.} [Quran 40:60]

Third, give her advice. Tameem Ad-Daari  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "The religion is (founded on the exchange of sincere) advice." We asked, "To whom?" He replied, "To Allah, to His Book, to His Messenger, to the leaders of the Muslims, and to their common folk." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] And let the advice be given in a gentle manner out of compassion for her and having her best interest at heart, for that would make her more accepting of your advice. ‘Aa'ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "Kindness is not found in anything but that it adorns it, and it is not withdrawn from anything but that it makes it defective." [Muslim]

You should also remind her of the obligation to obey her husband in what is lawful and good. You can mention the following hadeeth to her: Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "If I were to order anyone to perform Sujood (prostrate) before another (out of reverence), I would have ordered the woman to perform Sujood before her husband." [At-Tirmithi]

It should be noted that the wife's obedience to her husband is pertinent to the marriage-related matters and its implications, as scholars clarified. You should also clarify to her that disobeying her husband in matters wherein she is obliged to obey him is a kind of Nushooz (recalcitrance), for which Islam prescribed a treatment, which we explained in fatwa 85402.

Eventually, if your efforts to change her attitude fail, you may consider divorce. Abu Moosa  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, "There are three individuals who, when they supplicate Allah, their supplication is not answered: a man who has an ill-mannered wife but who does not divorce her..." [Al-Bayhaqi]

It is worth mentioning that a non-Muslim woman may pretend to be interested in embracing Islam only because she wants to marry a Muslim man, and then once she marries him, she shows her real character. Such women often take the Shahaadah (the two testimonies of faith) without adhering to the manifest Islamic rituals such as the prayer, fasting, etc.

It should also be noted that abandoning the Quran is blameworthy. Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {And the Messenger has said: "O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Quran as (a thing) abandoned."} [Quran 25: 30] One manifestation of the blameworthy abandonment of the Quran is refraining from reciting it.

Some scholars said that the Muslim should recite the whole Quran at least twice a year if he cannot recite it more. Imaam Ahmad  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him held that it is disliked to let forty days pass without reciting the whole Quran unless there is a valid excuse. In any case, you should encourage her in this regard by reminding her of the great merit and abundant rewards of reciting the Quran, as has been established in the Quran and authentic Sunnah.

Allah knows best.

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