Praise be to Allaah.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do that which they are commanded”[al-Tahreem 66:6]
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ameer (ruler) who governs the people is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of the members of his household and is responsible for them. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and children and is responsible for them. A slave is the shepherd of his master’s wealth and is responsible for it. Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 7138; Muslim, 1829)
From these two texts it is quite clear that a man is responsible for his family with regard to teaching them and making sure that they follow Islam, and he should use forceful measures when necessary and when that is the only way to serve this purpose. Allaah will call every shepherd to account for whatever was under his care, so whoever neglects his wife and children in this regard is undoubtedly taking a great risk. Indeed, there is a stern warning issued to such people which makes the flesh crawl. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari (7151) and Saheeh Muslim (142), in Kitaab al-Imaarah, it is narrated that Ma’fil ibn Yasaar al-Muzni (may Allaah be pleased with him) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allaah () peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “There is no slave to whom Allaah has entrusted the care of people, and he dies neglecting his flock, but Allaah will forbid Paradise to him.”
So a man’s responsibility towards his wife is great indeed and he must fear Allaah and do the best he can to fulfil it, whilst always making du’aa’ for himself and his family, that they may be guided and granted strength.
As far as the wife is concerned, she is also accountable and is responsible for her own actions, because the obligations of sharee’ah apply to both men and women, except in cases where Islam differentiates between them in some rulings, such as when it says that it is better for a woman to pray in her own home than in the mosque, in order to protect her from mixing with men. Hence it is narrated in Sunan al-Tirmidhi (113) and elsewhere that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Women are the twin halves of men”. This was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 1/35.
In the hadeeth quoted above it states that the woman is also a shepherd and is responsible for her flock. And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Every person is a pledge for that which he has earned”
“And everyone of them will come to Him alone on the Day of Resurrection (without any helper, or protector or defender)”
So responsibility is an individual matter, and each person will be brought to account on his own. So when a young man grows up, if he goes astray because of his parents’ bad upbringing and the message of Islam reached him, then he will have no excuse, because Allaah gave him the power of reason and therefore he is accountable, even though his father will be accountable for falling short in supervising his child’s Islamic upbringing, and he (the father) is even more accountable with regard to his wife. So the wife must fear her Lord and give thanks to Allaah for His blessings for having given her the blessing of Islam, unlike the kuffaar. She should do her duty towards Allaah by doing that which is obligatory and refraining from forbidden things. She should know that death may come suddenly and that after death there will be the reckoning and questioning, and after that there will be either Paradise and eternal delight that will never end, or Hell with fire that could melt firmly rooted mountains and huge rocks, so what about our weak bodies? We ask Allaah to save us from it.
With regard to you, my dear brother, you have to repent sincerely. No matter how great one’s sin, if a person repents and meets all the conditions of repentance, Allaah will accept his repentance. Then start to teach and guide your wife, using a gradual approach and kindness, accompanied by wisdom, asking Allaah to help you and give you strength. See also Question No. 10680 for more information on this topic.
And Allaah is the Source of strength.