Saturday, February 7, 2009

If a Wife Leaves Islam

What happens if a wife leaves Islam? I've searched the Internet and asked a few people I trust and the answer is always the same. If a wife apostatizes from Islam the marriage is not valid any longer, and the children go to the father.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Muslim men are allowed to marry women 'of the book' (meaning Jews or Christians), only if they agree to keep a Muslim house and raise the children as Muslims. I would think that would be a difficult thing in itself. A Muslim man has to find a chaste Christian or Jewish woman that is religious enough to be chaste AND willing to raise her children as Muslims. BUT things change when a Muslim man marries a Muslim woman (revert or not). If she leave Islam, she may no longer be willing to raise the children as Muslim.

The problem is, that this ruling would never be carried out in the west. Even if the husband was willing to give up his wife, no western court would ever give the full custody of the children to the father. Sadly this would mean that the child would probably be pulled in many different directions and have a struggle to keep on the straight path of Islam. Inshallah things like this are rare, and when it does happen may Allah Subhannahu Wa Ta'ala make it easy for them.

12 comments:

Lisa said...

I'm currently going through this. My husband is Syrian and after 10 years as a Muslim, I have come back home to Christianity. My 4 year old son continues in his Islamic school and will be a Muslim until he makes his own choices at 18.

One of the things that may surprise you is that while I would be awarded full cutoday as the American mom, the courts would rule against me if I tried to bring my son to Christianity. They believe in stability and since he was born into Islam, so shall he remain. Which I'm ok with. Trust me I've looked into this with a lawyer, it's the law in Texas.

Jamilah said...

Thanks for posting Lisa. Inshallah your son stays Muslim... I understand that its hard for you right now, but I really do pray that you come back to Islam.

Candice said...

That is a strange situation. I was imagining, before reading Lisa's comment, that someone who leaves Islam for another religion must believe very strongly in that religion, knowing the consequences of leaving Islam. And that if she believes that strongly, she'd surely do anything to make sure her child was also a believer of that religion.
If she was simply not fully believing anymore in Islam but not especially serious about another religion, it would be best and easiest to "stay Muslim" but not a practicing one. Just a cultural one. To avoid all the difficulty of "leaving Islam" publicly.
I guess there's a halfway point like Lisa's situation. I can't imagine not believing in a religion and having to see my child growing up learning about it as though it's fact. Has to be really difficult. As you said Jamilah, hopefully she returns to Islam.

أم ترافيس said...

SubhanAllah. Not easy indeed :(

Im sure nothing would be carried out according to shariah here either :(( Some things... but definately the divorce laws are in favour of women here... so I am sure that would be the case too.

Amber said...

Is the rule the same if it's the father who leaves Islam? The child stays with the mother, because she's still Muslim?

Also, what are the chances of finding a 'woman of the book', who keeps the laws of her faith, meaning she's observant, but who then has so little regard for her faith that she's willing to let her child be raised in another?

Jamilah said...

Amber

You know I actually don't know what happens, but I would think it would be the same thing. Islamically the kids have to stay with the Muslim parent.

sarabg said...

Assalamu Alaikum,

I believe I may also be caught up in a similar mess,
I'm so confused. I reverted to Islam three years ago, after I married my husband and found out we were expecting.
I did not want our child to grow up confused or with two religions, I studied and read allot! and in my transition I truly felt I had found the right path. In fact I still believe it. But it is so hard to be a Muslim revert when society does not accept you. Every says "Subhana Allah" and "MashaAllah" & "Alhamdulila" and say how wonderful that I found the right path. They even call me sister. But would they feel the same if I had married into their family? I am a Mexican American born and raised in Chicago as a catholic, I am also divorced with three children prior to my marriage. My children also reverted and are learning Quran and how to live Islamic lives. they are not and have not been confused because I had never taught them religion, until now. My husband is Pakistani, his family does accept me or my children and they are still continuously trying to separate us. Unfortunately my husband has not made his stand with them because he does not want to hurt them anymore, and this I understand. But they unfortunately see it as our marriage being a passing phase for him. I have been mistreated, humiliated, stepped on by his family and friends and now my husband is going astray. How do I continue believing if I am surrounded by hypocrites? How do I raise my children to believe in Islam when we are treated so unfairly? My husband was supposed to be a good role model for my boys and he has failed me and them. I now have two daughters with my husband and yes his family See's them every weekend I sacrifice letting them go knowing I can't even call to check up on them. Now I'm afraid of getting divorced and losing my daughters. It's so hard to come across people who are true and do not put society before religion. How is Islam supposed to spread if if the majority of the people have the mentality of "you can be my sister, but not my daughter"? Why do these Muslim men bring women to Islam than leave them hanging? why are they forgiven but we condemned if we go back to our previous religion? I gave everything up in the name of Islam and have been a very pious wife, I have been very patient, but I have also cried many tears I have prayed for my husbands family despite their actions towards me and now I find myself so confused? How do I raise my children in such a bias society? I truly hope I have not offended you, I speak purely of my life experience's. Your advice would be appreciated. Salaams
Sara

Jamilah said...

Asalamu Alaikum Sarabg

From your words I can tell that you have a very good understanding of what you believe and understand about Islam. Allah tests those whom he loves, and it seems he loves you very much!

The issues that are happening with your husband's family are cultural, and it happens a lot in Muslim families that don't listen to the Prophet when he said that no race or nationality is superior over another. Some Muslim parents think still that they get to choose who their child marries, and that is just not the case.

The only thing I can suggest is to turn to Allah swt, ask for help and guidance for you and for your in-laws. The other thing that usually helps a lot is knowledge. If you have Quran and Sunnah to back yourself up with, no one can argue with you. Start to look for things that will help you explain to your husband what you are going through and have 'back up' from Quran and sunnah to support your points.

Please sister, don't let this shake your faith in Islam. You are right about it being the true path. All of these road blocks are just there to test you, and I get the feeling you are strong enough to get through it...inshallah.

Big_loser said...

Salaam.
This is how I see it... a human being can choose Islam, or not. I think it is an individual choice. If you stay Muslim, or choose Islam, it is because you saw something good in it. I personally believe Islam is the truth. I am proud to be a Muslima. However I will not walk around with hijab/niqab/abaya/burqa/a potato sack or long sleeves on in the middle of summer. I will cover my head when I pray to Allah. I will try to learn to keep my prayers, and even go to Ju'mah at the Masjid sometimes. But I will never become overly religious. Until women in my country wear hijab/niqab/abaya on a regular basis without people staring and being rude, I will not do so either. I feel that it is a cultural thing, and I have cultural pressure to not do these things. I have a right to decide what I will do with my life. So there we have it sisters. It boils down to choices. No whining or complaining. You choose Islam, so see Islam for what it is-truth and beauty. Forget about the rest, and don't let people get you down. Fiman Allah

Big_loser said...

PS: If your husband and his family treat you badly, leave him. Don't blame Islam for your marriage troubles. Pray to Allah to help you be stronger in your life, and to increase your Iman. Once you say Shahada, you are a Muslima for life-come what bad or good will come to your life. Islam is not about a Man. It's about Allah. Don't forget that. Be strong and keep your faith in Islam!

Fiman Allah

Jamilah said...

BL - when you say "However I will not walk around with hijab/niqab/abaya/burqa/a potato sack or long sleeves on in the middle of summer." you are making a mockery of those who do this. We do this because Allah commanded us too. We know its hot, but I'd rather obey my lord than worry about my own worldly gains.

it is your choice, but please don't try to justify it and say its ok. Its not ok.

grayweed said...

Salaam alikum Sister

I am a husband to a revert sister and this article caught my Eye. My wife is a Canadian and i am an Indian and how she is with me... believe me she is really doing well with the Islamic way of life..... but the biggest question she did not revert because of me or to marry me .... she reverted because she realized what is Allah by her self.. and she has a complete different view of how life treated her...

The sisters who are facing the problems of husbands now taking care you. or not being muslims enough in no means concludes that islam teaches this.

what ever religion we follow there is always heaven and hell and there are rules... but the one who sets the rules is Only one. the almighty. find out who he is .... from the different books bible, quran, and other religious books claim the same that they are books of god... find out which book is the book of God...

your soul is separate from your husbands soul in the eyes of THE ALMIGHTY.. and each soul is test on his faith.... going back away from Islam is very easy... but staying course is the test... test for reward of jannnah..

as for children may it be yours or anyone... we have to know that we are humans and only humans if The almighty wants to see them heaven they will be guided by the true god for sure....

its all about sincerity... to ones belief .. faith...and sincere hearts are known by Allah (swa) and he will be guided..

i request you all to first cross check our priority... and believe me if our priority is reaching heaven of the true God then be sure... we will stay source... and guided.. and rational...

may Allah guide us all to be good humans and may he easy our test..of this life.

your brother in islam.... regards...