Thursday, 6 October 2011

She loves him but he cannot stand her because she is not beautiful. Should he divorce her?


I married a girl two years ago, and I agreed to it because she is religiously committed and she had memorized the Qur’aan in a short time. But when I saw her on the night of the engagement, I was put off because she is not beautiful. But I forced myself to accept her because of her religious commitment and other good qualities. We got married, but then I found out that she is bad-tempered and moody, which has affected our relationship and has made me keep away from her even more. It has reached a stage where I think that I do not love her, and I have started to shun her in bed, and she has been harmed by that a great deal, but she loves me, and I am afraid that if I divorce her, she will be greatly affected by that. I deeply regret having married her, and I am very upset, but I cannot stand her and I do not want her to waste her life with someone who does not love her, and I feel confused. I am very worried that my Lord may punish me for having married her even though I did not like her. I heard a lecture from a Shaykh who said: Marry her for her religious commitment even if she is not beautiful. What is the solution? May Allaah bless you.

Praise be to Allaah.

We highlight
many points in our answer, and we hope that you will pay attention to what
we are going to say. 

1 – Allaah has
commanded husbands to treat their wives kindly, and He tells them that they
may dislike their wives in some ways but they should not hasten to divorce
them, rather they should be patient and keep them for two reasons: 


Because if
they dislike one thing about them, there may be other good things about them
that they like. So if someone has a wife whose looks are not pleasing to
him, we say to him: Be content that she is a woman of good character, and
make this quality a reason for keeping her and being patient with her, for
that is what is best for your honour and your wealth and is best for your
children’s upbringing. 


Allaah has
decreed that there is a lot of good in this world and in the Hereafter, in
his being patient and putting up with her. In this world he may have a
righteous child from her, and in the Hereafter he may be greatly rewarded
for his patience. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“and live
with them honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a
thing and Allaah brings through it a great deal of good”


Imam al-Tabari
(may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

“and live
with them honourably. If you dislike them” perhaps you dislike them but
if you keep them, Allaah will grant you a great deal of good because of your
keeping them even though you dislike them, such as a child you are blessed
with through them, or your kindness towards them although you dislike them. 


Imam Ibn
Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:  

The words of
Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): “If you dislike them, it may be
that you dislike a thing and Allaah brings through it a great deal of good”


 mean: perhaps
your patience in keeping them although you dislike them will bring you a
great deal of good in this world and in the Hereafter, as Ibn ‘Abbaas said
concerning this verse: it may be if he is kind to her that he may be blessed
with a child from her, and there will be a great deal of good in this child.
In the saheeh hadeeth it says: “No believing man should hate a believing
woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics he will be pleased with

Tafseer Ibn

al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

What both
spouses must do is to fulfil the duties enjoined by Allaah of kind
treatment, and the husband should not mistreat the wife because of his being
of a higher status than her and being in charge of her affairs. Similarly it
is not permissible for the wife to try to prove she is better than the
husband. Rather both of them must treat the other kindly. It is well known
that the husband may dislike the wife, either because she falls short in her
duties towards him or because of some lack of intelligence and wisdom, and
so on. How should he deal with this woman? We say: This is mentioned in the
Qur'aan and in the Sunnah. Allaah, may He be blessed and exalted, says
(interpretation of the meaning): 

“If you
dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allaah brings through
it a great deal of good”


And this
happens in fact. A man may dislike his wife for some reason, but he shows
patience, and Allaah creates a lot of good in this, and the dislike turns to
love, the lack of interest to delight, and so on . 

And the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No believing
man should hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics
he will be pleased with another.” Look at this balanced view.  Allaah gave
great wisdom to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him): “If he dislikes one of her characteristics he will be pleased with
another.” Does anyone get everything he wants in this world? No, not at all.
You will never get everything you want in this world, and even if one thing
is perfect, something else will be lacking, even days. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning): 

“And so are
the days (good and not so good), that We give to men by turns”

‘Imraan 3:140] 

that the Jaahili poet said: 

A day against
us and a day for us, a day when we are sad and a day when we are happy. 

Try this and
you will find that it is true. The world does not stay the same. A well
known saying is: It is impossible for things to stay the same. So if you
dislike something about your wife, think instead of what you are pleased
with, until you are convinced. 

al-Baab il-Maftooh
(introduction to part 159) 

2 – You should
note that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told
us that beauty is one of the things for which a woman may be married, but he
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us of that which is
better, which is a wife who is religiously-committed. 

It was
narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Women may be married for four things: their wealth, their lineage, their
beauty and their religious commitment. Choose the one who is
religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you

Narrated by
al-Bukhaari (4802) and Muslim (1466). 

Badr al-Deen
al-‘Ayni (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

He mentioned
“their religious commitment” because through that one may attain goodness in
this world and in the Hereafter. What is befitting for those who are
religiously committed and of noble character is that religion should be
their focus in all things, especially in long-term matters. Hence the
Messenger chose that which is best in the long-term and emphasized its
importance, so he said choose the one who is religiously-committed, because
through her you will attain the benefits of both realms (this world and the
Hereafter) and your hands will be rubbed with dust if you do not do what you
have been enjoined to do. Al-Karmaani said:  Choose (the one who is
religiously-committed), if you understand, O you who are seeking guidance. 

They differed
concerning the meaning of the words “may your hands be rubbed with dust.” It
was said that it is basically a du’aa’ but the Arabs use it to express
objection, wonder, veneration and encouragement, and this is what is meant
here. It is encouragement to seek the company of religiously-committed
people in all things, because the one who keeps company with them will
benefit from their attitudes and will be safe from evil on their part. 

al-Qaari’ Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhaari

3 – You should
note that true beauty is inward, and the worldly beauty in outward form is
bound to fade, either through sickness or burns, or with age. So the wise
man looks for beauty that will not fade, but will increase and not decrease.
The effect of this beauty is seen in a woman’s attitude and good treatment
of her husband, and the good way in which she raises her children. 

4 – You should
note that Allaah calls that which exists between husband and wife
“affection” and “mercy”; He does not call it “love”. He says (interpretation
of the meaning): 

“And among
His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that
you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy.
Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect”


This is
usually how it is among wise and noble people. The one who wants to get
married hears of a woman who is fit for marriage and he comes to propose to
her and is impressed by her beauty or religious commitment or modesty, so he
marries her. We do not say in this case that he has married for love, and
Allaah does not call that which He creates between them love. This is not to
reject the word or deny that love exists, rather it is to point out
something of the greatest importance, which is that marriage is prescribed
for many purposes, such as keeping oneself chaste, building a Muslim family
and having children. Hence it was narrated from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may
Allaah be pleased with him) that a man came to him wanting to divorce his
wife, and when ‘Umar asked him about the reason for that, he said that he
did not love her. ‘Umar replied: Are families not built on anything but

‘Umar also
asked a woman whether she felt hatred towards her husband? She said: Yes.
‘Umar said to her: One of you should lie (about their feelings) and be
patient. Not every family is built on love, but on good treatment on the
basis of lineage and

So think about
this, and look at the problems experienced by those who marry beautiful
women who are not religiously-committed, and see how their lives are, full
of despair, misery, doubts and suspicion. Look at the happiness and harmony
experienced by those who marry religiously-committed women and how their
lives are and how their children grow up. 

5 – You could
take a second wife, and keep this wife too. You have two choices: 


Give her her
rights in full, and give her the same share as the second wife, which is
treating her kindly as is enjoined upon you, and as we have mentioned at the
beginning of the answer, and as it is well known that it is haraam to
mistreat others in general, and especially in the case of co-wives. 


You could come
to some agreement whereby your wife gives up some of her rights to a share
of your time, but you keep her as a wife and look after her and see her; you
can enter upon her and stay with her, and she will raise your child for you,
and preserve your honour and your wealth. After some time your feelings
towards her may change, and you may give her a share of your time as you
give to your second wife. This solution is mentioned in the Book of Allaah,
in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) and in the words of the scholars. 

It was
narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) (concerning the
verse) “And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part,
there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves;
and making peace is better. And human inner-selves are swayed by greed. But
if you do good and keep away from evil, verily, Allaah is Ever
Well‑Acquainted with what you do” [al-Nisa’ 4:128] that she said: This
refers to a man who see something that he does not like in his wife, because
of old age or something else, and he wants to divorce her, and she says:
Keep me and give me whatever share you want. She said: There is nothing
wrong with that if they both agree. Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2548) and
Muslim (3021). 

According to a
version narrated by Muslim she said: This was revealed concerning a woman
who is married to a man, and he no longer wants to be intimate her, but she
has been with him for so long and she has children with him, and she does
not want him to leave her, so she says to him: you have no obligation
towards me. 

End quote. 

Ibn al-Qayyim
(may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

If a man
spends some time with his wife then he starts to dislike  her, or he is
unable to fulfil her rights, then he may divorce her or he may give her the
choice: if she wants she may stay with him with no right to a share of his
time and intimacy and maintenance, or some of that, according to whatever
they agree upon, and if she agrees to that then it becomes binding and she
has no right to demand anything after it has been agreed. This is in
accordance with the Sunnah and it is the correct way and there is no
justification for anything else. 


5 – If you
cannot be patient in keeping her and treating her kindly, and you cannot
take a second wife, or she refuses to reconcile, then you have nothing but
the final option, which is to divorce her and part from her in a kind
manner, and give her her rights in full, and perhaps Allaah will choose
someone better for you than her, and will choose someone better than you for
her. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

if they separate (by divorce), Allaah will provide abundance for everyone of
them from His Bounty. And Allaah is Ever All‑Sufficient for His creatures’
needs, All‑Wise”


Divorce is
permissible in this case, and it is not haraam or makrooh, but it is the
last resort as it says in al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (29/9): 

It is
permissible in cases of necessity in order to ward off the woman’s bad
attitude or behaviour, or because he does not love her. 

End quote. 

We ask Allaah
to choose that which is best for you and for her, and to help you both to do
that which pleases Him, and to set your affairs straight.

And Allaah is
the Source of strength.

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