I was married for 7 years, during which my husband was constantly lying and committing adultery. We divorced 5 years ago because he was cold and cruel to me. A few months later he promised he would not behave that way anymore and that he loved me, so I went back to him because we had one son at that time and he seemed sincere. A few months after marrying again, he had a girlfriend that I found out about. I was going to leave him, but a family friend talked me into staying for our son. So I did. He continued to chase women for years. He would say that he was going to sleep at the masjid and would instead sleep at his girlfriend's house. We live in Canada and there is not a huge muslim community here, so men do not sleep in the masjid, except during Ramadan. I was raised as a Christian and reverted to Islam only one month before I found out about his last girlfriend. He was with her for a solid 2.5 years before I found out about her. I have been muslim for one year now, Alhamdullillah! I love Islam and try to live my life according to the Qur'an and Sunnah. We have another son who is now 2.5 years old. After finding out about this girlfriend he has had for such a long time and how he lied to her and me both, I approached the Imam to get help in trying to change my husband's behaviour. The Imam gave me lots of proof from the Qur'an and Sunnah to give to my husband and none of it was affective. My husband talks about Islam beautifully when it suits his agenda, but his actions show that Islam does not light up his heart. He did not want to give up his girlfriend. He even went so far as to lie to the Imam and I while sitting in the masjid about ending the relationship with her, when he really had no intention of doing it. The woman herself told me that he was still coming to see her. We have gone through marriage counselling for months, and my husband continued to lie and stay with his girlfriend. So while in a counselling session in the masjid, I told him and the Imam that I wanted a divorce. My husband said that he would give me a divorce but wasn't ready to say it that day. He wanted to come back to the Imam two days later and say it. So he did that - he came back two days later and told the Imam that he divorces me (using my name). My husband became abusive while I was waiting out my iddah, so the Imam talked to him and tried to get him to understand that in Islam he must treat me kindly, even when divorcing me. Eventually, the Imam helped me to find a family to stay with for a week to give us some space while he tried to convince my husband to stop the abuse. After the week was over, the Imam suggested I go back home to wait out my iddah. So I did. The abuse was worse and I could only endure it for 3 more weeks. Then I moved in with my friend and her family (sister is Islam). From there, I had to go to a women's shelter (government housing with high security for women fleeing violence in the home) because he was causing so much trouble and had become dangerous. I have prayed istikhara before leaving him, and at every stage of this situation that required a serious decision, and therefore believe that Allah has chosen this path for me. I believe this with all of my heart because some of my du'as have been answered immediately and Allah has provided for me everything that I have needed at every step thorughout this process. I thank Allah everyday that he has made me a muslim and that he has helped me through this very difficult time. I do not believe that my husband has any interest in changing his behaviour and I will not spend my life with someone who doesn't understand the seriousness of lying and adultery and who does not fear Allah. But I do make du'a that Allah will guide him back to the straight path so that he may be a good example for our boys and one day enter Jannah, inshaAllah. I apologize for the lengthly introduction, but it was necessary. I am thinking about the idea of getting married again, inshaAllah. So, my question is: Do you think it would be a good decision to ask the Imam to marry me? The reason I am asking is because he is a very pious man, mashaAllah. Throughout the marriage counselling and his support to me and my children while we were living in the women's shelter I have seen that he fears Allah and is very compassionate, kind, gentle, intelligent, empathetic, very honest, trustworthy, and enjoys the beauty of Islam. I have watched his halaqas on the internet (which he records in the masjid) and can see that he sees, and is moved by, the signs Allah has given to us in this world. I have always felt like I am a stranger in this world because people, especially here in Canada, don't notice the signs around them and don't appreciate what Allah has provided for them. And if I am going to marry again, I would like to marry someone who will teach me more about the beauty of Islam, not make it harder for me to maintain my iman. The Imam shows qualities that I would like in a husband - ones that I didn't have with my previous husband. There are two other points that motivate me to get your advice, and they are: 1) The Imam is married already (with 3 children) and multiple marriages are illegal in Canada. But people get married in the masjid and don't let the government know. 2) My former husband accused the Imam of divorcing us so that he could marry me. My former husband went to the masjid and spread lies about this Imam to the other Imam and the community. Once the other Imam investigated, he found that the Imam that helped me did nothing wrong or inappropriate and that my former husband was fabricating stories to defame him because he was angry with him for helping me. So, you can see my dilemma. I am torn between the desire for a pious husband with the Imam's qualities and not wanting the Imam's (or my) honour and reputation to be destroyed (considering the previous allegations). I do not even know if the Imam would be willing to marry me or not - I have not spoken a word of this to anyone, including him, and he has not done anything to make me feel like he is interested. I just wanted to get the opinion of someone from the outside who is objective and knowledgeable in Islam to tell me what they think of the idea of asking him to marry me. In Canada, we are raised with the idea that multiple marriages are severely wrong, yet I understand now why people do it. If I see a man who is a very good muslim and tries his best to follow the example of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) then I would consider being a second wife rather than take a chance on someone I don't know. I do not want another abusive relationship. Here, in Canada, people also date before marriage (as I'm sure you know) but now that I am a muslim I won't date. So the idea of marrying someone I don't know is scary. I am in a position now where I have to choose very carefully the man I may marry and I do not have muslim family members to help me in that decision. My whole family is Christian, and they will think I am crazy to agree to be a second wife. They already think that I'm not thinking straight because I reverted to Islam. I consider all of the negative aspects of marrying him and think that I should find some other man to marry, but then I think of Jannah, and how much I want to make it there, inshaAllah, and know that the Imam will help me to be the best muslim I can be and will treat me well. In conclusion, please give me your advice on this situation and tell me if you think I should ask the Imam to marry me or ask him to be my wali and help me find another man with as many of his good qualities as possible and trust that Allah will provide a good husband for me. May Allah bless you abundantly for your patience in reading this lengthly email and for the advice you give me, inshaAllah. May he use you to guide me in his intended direction.
We ask Allaah to make your heart steadfast in adhering to Islam, and to guide you to the best of actions and words, and to make goodness easy for you, and to bless you with a righteous husband who will help you to adhere steadfastly to His religion.
There is nothing wrong with a woman asking for marriage from a righteous man who will help her to adhere to her religion. We have stated that in the answer to question number 20916.
But we advise you not to ask for that from this imam, for two reasons:
1. So as to preserve the dignity of this imam before the people and to preserve your dignity, because your first husband has spread the rumour that he (the imam) is the reason for the separation between him and you, and if you marry him that will reinforce this rumour and confirm it, which would lead to bad consequences for both of you.
2. The marriage could fail or be faced with problems if news of your marriage reaches the authorities in your country. The one who tells them could be your first husband, seeking revenge against you. The Muslim should not be the cause of harm to himself or to others.
Hence we advise you to avoid thinking of this imam as a husband for you. The good qualities that you see in him may be found in someone else, and may be even greater. May Allaah make it easy for you to find a righteous husband who is better than him, sooner rather than later.
You could ask him to help you to look for a suitable husband for you.
If Allaah makes it easy for you to find a righteous husband, then it is essential to have a guardian with regard to your marriage. As you do not have anyone in your family who is Muslim, so none of them can act as your guardian, then your guardian should be the imam of the Islamic centre or some other Muslim who has standing in society and is known for religious commitment, trustworthiness and wisdom. There is nothing wrong with appointing this imam as your guardian to do the marriage contract for you,
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
If the one who should be the guardian with regard to marriage is not able to perform this function, then guardianship passes to the most suitable of those who can be found, who have a kind of guardianship with regard to matters other than marriage, such as the chief of the village, leader of a caravan and so on. End quote.
Al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah, p. 530.
See also the answer to question number 389.
We advise you to be patient in putting up with the mockery of your family because of your becoming Muslim, and do not give up calling them to the goodness that Allaah has made easy for you; and persist in praying for them to be guided, for Allaah may answer your supplication and guide them to the truth to which He guided you.
And Allaah knows best.