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Spiritual Perspective: My Husband Is Not As Practicing As Me {Part I)

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Disclaimer: this advice is not in relation to any woman who is facing any forms of abuse from her spouse. This is for a woman who is primarily concerned about her husband’s spiritual practice and state.

A common question that I am asked, is from Muslim women whose husbands are good/ decent but do not pray all their salah, and/or do not seem very interested either in developing themselves spiritually or with seeking Islamic knowledge. Essentially, what can Muslim women do about husbands who are not as religious as they are? How does a Muslim woman concerned about both her faith and her husband, handle this situation?

This situation can feel frustrating, and at times, may even make one feel down. It can be difficult, not just because you as a wife want to be supported in your endeavors, spiritual struggles, and journey, but also because you want the best for your beloved husband. You want him to also feel the spiritual benefits you are feeling, and want Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to be pleased with him. Perhaps you can also see the guilt/pain or spiritual void in him, and that pains you too.

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We are all on different paths in our journey towards Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). We reach there in different ways and in different periods of our lives, and each one of us is responsible for our own spiritual journey. Even when we become practicing Muslims, some days we feel spiritually stronger, and other days less so.

You know your husband better than I do, and if your husband is the type who will take your advice, encouragement, and reminders as something solely positive, then of course go ahead and do that. However, the truth is that most men (and perhaps even some women) will not take well your well-intentioned advice. It may come across as critical, condescending, or judgmental, or he may even feel threatened or less respected rather than supported and empowered. This is dangerous as it could lead to toxicity in a relationship; going against the purpose of marriage, which is to have a harmonious loving peaceful family environment. So, what should one do in this type of situation?

My advice is as follows:

1. Let go completely of making judgments about your husband.

Don’t think to yourself: “he is so wrong” or “why is he sinning?,” etc. When that thought comes to your mind, say astaghfirullah (I ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for forgiveness) and remind yourself that a) the blessing Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has given you to stay away from that sin can be taken away from you any second, and b) in the eyes of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), despite your husband not praying possibly even his compulsory prayers, he may be more beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) than you, or may even have a better ending (death) than you. If you can at this point, make du’a for him, please do so.

Eventually all judgement of that person will cease from your heart, and these judgemental thoughts will no longer come to your heart and consume you with negative energy. Shaytan causes rifts when one starts judging, which then leads to looking down on others; when that was never intended in the first place.

2. Make sincere du’a for your husband at every given opportunity without letting him know that you are, and do it with immense love.

You can pray that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) guides him, makes him among His most beloved of servants, helps him, eases his difficulties, and grants him Jannah; and any other du’a you want to make. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “The du’a of a Muslim for his brother in his absence is responded to. There is an angel in front of him that has been assigned to him; every time he makes a du’a for his brother with good, the angel assigned to him says, ‘Ameen! And to you the same.’” [Muslim]

Wake up for tahajjud if you can, and make du’a. You want the best for your spouse regardless of how it impacts you, and remind yourself that you are doing this not for you, but to please Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Sincere du’a is SO powerful!

3. Continue sincerely loving your husband and fulfilling all his marital and human rights.

In fact, I would recommend that you even go above and beyond if you can. For example, show him extra love and care, make him that extra cup of tea or his favorite dish when he wasn’t expecting it, etc. Do not in any way think that just because he is not obeying Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), your obligation to obey him as a husband has gone or reduced. Rather, you are obeying Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) by obeying him, and even if your heart may feel that your husband doesn’t deserve to be obeyed or loved, you are wiser, more intelligent, and have more knowledge; you will obey him and love him even more because Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) asked you to.

4. Radiate with positive energy and never look down on your husband or make him feel less.

Be positive around him and with him, and look at the positives he brings to your life and to others around him.

5. Be discreet in your optional worship, if helpful.

If you can sense that your husband may feel uncomfortable, guilty, or sad if you do optional acts of worship in front of him -and you do have another space you can do it in, or you can do it silently or conveniently at another time-, take those options. The immense barakah (blessings) of you doing optional good deeds such as praying Quran, doing dhikr of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), learning the deen, etc., will diffuse throughout your household and to your husband too. You do not need to do it in front of him for the barakah to reach him. For example, say you are praying tasbeeh fatimi whilst your husband is near you, if you can discreetly count it on your fingers rather than on a physical tasbeeh (rosary), then do that. It is not good manners nor good for our spirituality to inadvertently rub our good actions in people’s faces, even if we do not intend to do that. Unless of course you are confident that this won’t make him feel uneasy; rather encourage him to pray too or let this serve as a beautiful reminder.

6. Everything you do in your life, do it solely to please Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

This includes any way you serve or do nice things for your husband. When you do something solely to please Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), you are rewarded immensely by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), and lots of barakah will enter your life. Furthermore, when you do an act of service to a human solely for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), you don’t have any expectations from that person to ‘pay you back,’ or start thinking of yourself as a ‘victim,’ or that you are taken ‘advantage’ of. This gives you immense freedom, as you do not expect anything back and there’s no room for resentment to build.

7. Write down your husband’s favors upon you and/or good qualities.

Keep a daily/weekly gratitude journal (it can be on a piece of paper or a free app like Presently) of things you are grateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for; which include things your husband does for you. This helps you focus on the many positive things your husband is doing for you and your family, rather than on what you may perceive as shortfalls or negatives. This also prevents resentment, ungratefulness, and bitterness building in your heart for your husband, and by extension, for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) too. Also, don’t forget to regularly thank your husband for all the different things he does for you. Everyone loves to be thanked, and it will encourage him to love you even more.

8. Remind yourself that you are only responsible for yourself, and you can only change yourself.

We will all face Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) on the Day of Judgement, and He will not ask us why our husbands did not pray or stay away from sins. Whilst we will be rewarded for supporting our husbands, the lack of actions from their part or any sins they may have committed are not our burdens to hold. We can only change ourselves. We may be able to inspire our husbands to make some positive changes, but we may not be able to change them entirely. Let go of the idea or need to change them; rather leave it in Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Hands, who is the ONLY one that can change them.

After you are able to accomplish the above eight things, inshaAllah, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will change the heart and actions of your husband for the better, and will make him the righteous person you so dearly wish him to be. Even if Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) decides in His wisdom that this is not the best time, He will reward you immensely for taking such conscious and sincere actions. You will see an abundance of help, mercy, happiness, and barakah descend upon you, and YOU will be content and happy. Don’t give up, continue with the above actions, and inshaAllah a day will come when your spouse may even beat you in doing good.

It is much easier to be at the top of your game spiritually and otherwise when your spouse is supporting you and cheering you on, but a) the reward you get for doing the good actions alone and in isolation without human support is much more, and b) I’m sure there are many other ways (e.g. financially) your spouse is supporting you which allows you to pray extra prayers or study Islam. It may even be that if your spouse is busy and distracted with worldly endeavors, you have more time to focus on your spiritual journey.

Ustadha Anse Sawsan advised beautifully recently in a Q&A session about family dilemmas: “Remember that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) chose this man to be your husband, someone who has faults no doubt, but your husband is also someone who needs your acceptance, patience, love, and kindness in order to help him inshaAllah to become a stable, fulfilled human being who can give back to you what you have poured into him … you are stronger than you think [you are], you are more powerful than you think, take charge of the situation. If you agreed to go into this relationship, love this person, be kind to this person, contain this person, make peace in this family. The whole purpose of marriage in Islam is to have a peaceful environment to raise a family … you are the person that sets the emotional environment of this family. You can make this peaceful. You can give this man what he needs in order for him not to feel threatened and aggressive … your strength and power comes from [your relationship with] Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)connect with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and see the power and charge you have.”

Finally, keep in mind and take comfort in the fact that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has promised Paradise for the woman who pleases her husband and fulfills his rights (in addition to fulfilling other obligations Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has ordained upon her). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: Any woman who dies while her husband is pleased with her, she will enter Jannah. [At-Tirmidhi].

 

Related reading:

-My Husband Is Not As Practicing As I Am (part 2)

– Marriage: The Charm of Saying ‘Thank You’

Marriage: The Charm of “Thank You”

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Umm Zaynab studied traditional Islamic sciences through the alimiyyah programme, and is currently advancing her studies in fiqh and tafsir.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Sarah

    March 26, 2022 at 7:58 PM

    I’m sorry, but I completely disagree with this article.
    This is about feeding a puppy dog, stroking a man’s insecurities.

    A wife cannot make a husband more practicing and vice versa. This is a ‘feel good’ article , and that’s all.
    My sister is currently in a situation where her husband has stepped away from Islam. He does not want to hear a word about Islam, nor discuss it in the home. He is turning his children against the Deen with his pathetic behavior. He is flirting with other women, having intimate chats etc and blames her for ‘pushing’ him towards these actions. His behavior, yet someone else is to blame. This is just a small part of it.
    No one wants a man – child.

  2. Daniel Khan

    March 27, 2022 at 11:45 AM

    Respectfully, what did you see in him when you said “I do”?

  3. A Husband

    March 27, 2022 at 11:14 PM

    I came here looking to find something that I can relate because I’m struggling with my wife and her lack of prayers. The first point was an eye opener for me. Even though I don’t ask her to pray anymore, I have inadvertently felt that she is not closer to Allah because her lack of prayer. Astaghfirullah.

  4. Abdullah

    March 29, 2022 at 5:47 PM

    So, Undertaker, you’re either trolling Muslims and this website or you’re a Muslim with truly serious issues. Suffice it to say, one of the shortest ways to a disastrous life is to have the attitude toward women that you’re displaying. And one of the quickest ways to turn your life around is to swing a U-Turn on your attitude toward women.

  5. Spirituality

    March 30, 2022 at 12:37 PM

    As Salamu Alaikum,

    Jazaki Allahu Khayran for this article. I believe this article is mainly geared for women and men who are in fairly stable marriages, but where the wife is somewhat unhappy that her husband is not as practicing as she is. Ie, she prays all her fard and sunnahs and tajajjud, reads a juz of Quran a day or more, etc, while he gets in his fard some of the time (maybe not fajr) and thats it.

    I agree in these cases that the advice presented in this article (being kind, patient, mountains of dua) will be helpful.

    That being said, I agree with Sarah that a disclaimer needed to be provided, either at the beginning or the end. This article is not meant for marriages that are falling apart due to the husband being addicted to pornography. It is not for marriages in which the husband is openly engaged with other women. It is not meant for a husband who has left Islam, or is on the verge of doing so. In that case, other steps even divorce may need to be considered (perhaps even eventually required).

  6. Jana

    April 3, 2022 at 5:56 AM

    100% agree with Sarah’s comment above.

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