I am a religiously-committed young man. I married a woman about six years ago and I have a son and daughter from her. Before marriage, she was described to me as religiously-committed, then after that I found out that she does not pray regularly and when I ask her whether she prayed or not, she tells me that she prayed, but I am certain that sometimes she did not pray (i.e., I checked on her between prayers). I have offered her a great deal of advice and I have spoken to her frankly on some occasions and by means of hints on others. What I cannot do is forsake her in her bed, because I cannot do without marital relations. I divorced her once, then I took her back because I feared for our children if the family broke up. I have prayed to Allaah for her a great deal, asking Him to guide her. What should I do with her? Should I put up with her (knowing that I do not find fault with her for anything except this)? If I put up with her, what should I do? Will I be sinning if I am intimate with her? Or what should I do?.
Praise be to Allaah.
What the husband should do
is enjoin good upon his wife and forbid her to do that which is evil. He
should call her to do good and warn her against evil, thus fulfilling the
responsibility that Allaah has given him. Allaah says (interpretation of the
“O you who believe! Ward
off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and
And the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A man is the shepherd of his
household and is responsible for his flock.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (893)
and Muslim (182).
One of the greatest of good
deeds is performing prayer on time as enjoined by Allaah, and one of the
greatest of bad deeds is being careless and negligent about that, by not
praying at all, or by not praying on time. Allaah criticized the one who
does that, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Then, there has
succeeded them a posterity who have given up As‑Salaah (the prayers) [i.e.
made their Salaah (prayers) to be lost, either by not offering them or by
not offering them perfectly or by not offering them in their proper fixed
times] and have followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell”
And the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Between a man and shirk and kufr
there stands his giving up prayer.” Narrated by Muslim (82).
And he (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The one who does not pray ‘Asr, his
good deeds are fruitless.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (553).
If your wife does not pray
at all, then there are ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) which show that not praying at all is kufr, and it is
not permissible for you to keep her because she is not a Muslim. In that
case you have to tell her that her insisting on not praying means that she
is not your wife, so she must either repent and start to pray regularly, or
else you must leave her.
But if she prays sometimes
and not at others – which seems to be the case from your question – then
that does not put her beyond the pale of Islam, but you have to advise her
and look for the causes of her shortcoming so that they can be dealt with.
But that should be done in a kind and gentle manner. So explain to her the
importance of prayer, and the sin involved in falling short with regard to
it. Strive to strengthen her faith and encourage her to do good deeds and
acts of worship. Help her to make friends with some righteous women and
supply her with some useful books and tapes that will encourage her to do
good, and always ask her about her prayers.
We ask Allaah to guide you
both to that which is good.
See also question no.
And Allaah knows best.