My husband and I have been married for years and have 3 children.When we got married I knew that my husband was poor whereas I was from a financially stable background. I had a job so I had no problem with working to support us. Before I had our first child I lost my job and my husband said I should join him in his business. I did not enjoy this as the business was not the type of work I was used to but I felt it made him happy so I did it. When I had my first child, I noticed that my husband had controlling aspects where he would not allow me to visit or stay with my family or he would mock the way my family was. I felt that I should try to stay away from my family in order to keep him happy. Soon after, I fell pregnant again and had a lot of complications but my husband still insisted I work everyday until the day I gave birth.
When I had my second child our finances deteriorated and as well as help my husband in the business I took on two additional jobs. I used my salary to pay the house rent, car insurance, medical aid, childrens school fees and whatever else we needed. I did not spend this money on myself. My husband was not bringing in a salary. He received a cash amount from his father’s inheritance but he refused to use this towards me or the children. Again I fell pregnant and our finances were rock bottom, I had such a stressful pregnancy and suffered from depression because of it. I had an offer for a job overseas back in my home country and as I am a professional I spoke to my husband and we decided I should take it. I left my country and went overseas with the 2 children and gave birth to the third. I used my life savings on furnishing our house. My husband did not give me spending money nor did he pay for anything.
He left soon after when we had an argument and he said he wont be returning. He spoke very harshly to me and hurt me in many ways. He called me proud and arrogant, selfish and a liar. He really hurt me and I decided that I wont be returning to him. I have had to go for counselling because it appears that he had a control problem during the relationship which affected my self esteem. I do not want to dwell on his faults in this correspondence as I am human too and I may have caused some of these problems. However for the last few years he has failed to support me or my children and I have supported the whole family including his mother. I have always treated him and his family with the utmost respect and never made him feel undermined because he was poor and couldnt afford to buy me anything or take me anywhere.
My question is whether Islam recognises the breaking of a marriage on the basis of the above as I feel that I cannot love him if he has no respect or appreciation toward me after all these years.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Sister in Islam;
We commend you for your sacrifices and dedication in the marriage. Your husband’s attitude and non-appreciation is unfortunate. In the circumstances, you enquire whether you have legitimate grounds to break your marriage.
In principle, Nafaqa(maintenance) and shelter is the responsibility of the husband. If a husband is unable to fulfil these obligations, the wife may have a legitimate basis for breaking the marriage or seeking an annulment of her marriage. These issues are considered by a Judicial Committee upon the application for an annulment of the marriage by the wife.
However, sister, while we understand your grief and frustration, we also remind you of the gravity of breaking the marriage which will have implications on your children as well. The issue of rights of custody and visitation rights come with many odds and challenges. We advise you to consider the implications of a divorce and weigh the odds and evens of staying married and divorced. In any event, you will have to make sacrifices. You should make lots of Dua to Allah to guide you and make Istikhara continuously with an open mind and seek the guidance of Allah Azza wajal. It may be useful to involve a fair minded person in whom both of you have confidence. It is possible that person could identify a common ground for both of you to give the marriage another chance.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.