Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
My husband is not fasting this year citing work as reason. But even on holidays, he refuses to fast saying that it will alter his routine. He is not regular in prayer’s as well. He just prays on friday. Sometimes he eats non-halal. I am losing my patience. How should I deal with this situation?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for reaching out.
Shared religious orientation and practice is extremely important in a marriage for the simple fact that religion is the most profound basis to nurture love, respect, and build for the future. When couples don’t share a mutual religious outlook, not only does it directly affect the relationship, but it also holds the other spouse back from being able to nurture their individual faith and grow as a Muslim.
Despite the general niceties and good qualities of a spouse, these are not qualities that can provide religious fulfilment and the respect that comes with that. When faced with a situation as you have described, one must assess what can be done, what they expect from the marriage, and what is the reality of the situation. To answer these, you need to have a heart to heart with your husband, as well as reflect on your own.
What to do
Perhaps the following will be of help to you:
1. Before anything, try to see what may be holding your husband back from practicing the religion. Bring the question up in a gentle and non-confrontational way. Avoid getting angry and hear him out. If there are specific problems or concerns he has, then try to find solutions, such as arranging to speak to a local, reliable scholar, or consider taking courses together, such as the Marriage in Islam course offered here at SeekersHub.
If he is struggling with practicing, or feels that practicing means changing his whole life around, then if he is willing, then discuss how to make small changes slowly by only observing the absolute obligations of worship. Tell him that he doesn’t have to change everything suddenly, change the way he looks, or his friends etc. It is fine to stick to the 5 pillars for now. That is a good place to start.
2. Having crystallised your own thoughts and expectations beforehand, make it clear to him how you feel and what you want from the marriage. Explain to him that having a marriage based on Islamic principles is important for you, and that him not practicing jeopardises your marriage, and your love and respect for him. Perhaps this may make him realise the gravity of the situation and how you feel about the matter.
3. If it becomes apparent that there is no specific issue holding him back from practicing, but rather, he just does not want to practice, and it becomes obvious that he is unlikely or unwilling to change, then unfortunately, there is not much you can do and the ultimate decision will return to you and what you want from the marriage.
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I pray that Allah guides your husband to the religion and eases your affairs.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.