Husband's long work day is affecting their marriage
Fatwa No: 89705

Question

I want to know if I have any right to ask my husband to change jobs. He is currently employed as a chef and works from early morning to late night, because of this he is not able to spend any time with me as he is too tired to talk when he comes home. He spends absolutely no time with our baby son and I feel as if I have no husband. He job means that I have to do all shopping for household alone also that I never have a male companions to go anywhere and people think I imagined that I had a husband. Our relationship which was once loving and caring has become cold and separate we barly speak and have fallen out of love we sleep in separate beds and I fell this has affected my Eemaan as I converted to Islam 2 years ago. He shows no interest in who I keep company with or how I behave. In your opinion are we better off divorced. May Allaah Guide you in you answer. Please give an objective answer as I am aware of the basic rights of the male and female and I fear the relationship has gone past this.

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 is His slave and Messenger. We ask Allaah to exalt his mention as well as that of his family and all his companions.

 

In Islam the husband is obliged to observe and fulfil the rights of his wife and to live with her honourably. Allaah says (which means): {…And live with them honourably….}[Qur'an 4:19]. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Your wife has a right on you." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Another narration reads: "Your family has a right on you." So the husbands are obliged to observe and fulfil their duties towards their wives.

Therefore, we advise you to sit with your husband and discuss the matter with him in a good manner. There is no harm on you to ask him to look for another job since his present employment leads him to neglect your rights as well as his son's. Working as a chef in that country may include prohibitions, like cooking dead meat and pork or use of wine or alcohol in cooking, and this makes the work not permissible in itself even if that does not lead him to neglect your rights. Therefore, he is obliged to leave this type of work, and Allaah may bless him with another permissible job whereby many benefits could be achieved. However, you have to be patient about him and consider his circumstances if he does not find another job. It is not permissible for you to ask for divorce unless he does not fulfil your rights and does not satisfy your sexual desire. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Any woman who asks her husband for divorce, although he did not cause her any harm, the smell of Paradise is forbidden for her."  [Abu Daawood]

Even when there is a sound reason for divorce, you should not hasten to ask for divorce until you balance the benefit of divorcing him and the benefit of staying with him as a wife, especially that you have a son with him, because you do not know whether or not you will get remarried to a better husband than him.  

Allaah knows best.

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