What steps can a wife take if her husband is addicted to pornography?

Q&A.Darulmahmoodnet

bismillah.dm

Question:

I am married for 6 years Alhamdulillah. We have 1 son together. Unfortunately, I discovered at beginning of June 2020 that my husband is addicted to pornography, chat websites and naked women (search history went back to when we were only 2 years married). I tried to not make a big deal of it by not shouting or confronting directly. But we tried to communicate (at least from my side) and he knows I know about everything. He didn’t show any regrets nor excuses nor that he wants to stop. I try to understand that if it is an addiction from before it must be hard for him to stop, he most probably is not happy about it too. Allah knows best if I still love him but I make an effort to pretend. I increased in keeping myself beautified and in his khidmah and I have told him clearly I’m ready to accept him taking a second wife as he told me that a second wife can make a man stop indulging in Haraam (this is hurtful for a 1st wife to hear especially if he add that there is nothing lacking). But, he says he will never be able to take a second wife as being an Aalim people will then reject him and the society we are in doesn’t agree with polygyny.

My questions are as follows

1) I need help in accepting the situation, what ‘Amal should be done? I need to know what to do to live with this situation and carry on till Maut inshaAllah. It’s difficult but for the sake of my baby and my parents I’ll bear.

2) Some answers of Mufti Saheb in similar queries was to help the husband to prevent him but I don’t think in my situation it will work, he is not open to it. I just want a solution for me to stay in the marriage somehow happily and move on and overlook that portion of him.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Sister in Islam,

Pornography is a major sin. It deprives a person of the mercy of Allah. It also robs a person of his human morals. Your husband is engaged in a major sin. The consequence of his sin is worse as he is an Alim of Deen. He is married and has a wife who can fulfill his desires in a Halal way.

Your husband must understand the evils of pornography and regret it. He must make a firm resolve to overcome the addiction. The addiction will not go away by itself. He needs to take action, otherwise, he will not be successful.

His belief that marrying a second wife will stop him from committing haram is incorrect because he is seeking an external solution (i.e. marrying a second wife) for an internal problem (i.e. pornography addiction). From your inquiry, it seems you are doing whatever possible such as beautifying yourself and being available for him. The problem, then, seems to be within him and he needs to overcome it. Marrying a second wife will not fix this.

Ibn al-Jawzi writes in Sayd al-Khatir regarding a man who has not thought properly about why he wants a second wife: 

“He only thinks about the good parts of a woman, but after he gets married to her…he continues to ponder upon her faults (‘uyub). He never used to think about those faults in the past, so afterwards becomes bored with this woman, and seeks something different. Little does he realize that getting a second wife might entail many hardships such as the second wife lacking religion (din), sound intellect (‘aql), good management (tadrib), or love (mahabbah). So he misses out on more things than what he gains. This is why fornicators commit this crime. They interact with a woman while all of her faults are hidden, and all of her beauties are apparent. They enjoy her for that moment, then move on to another one. So a wise man must realize that he can never get everything that he aims for.”

Sister, it is one thing for you to understand that he has become addicted over the years, but an entirely different thing for you to accept it as normal or that this will cure itself.

Your husband needs to realize that what he is doing is wrong, seek forgiveness from Allah and commit to the recovery process.

Yes, he is probably not doing this intentionally to hurt you, but that does not mean he is not causing you pain and sorrow through these actions.

When your husband has an urge to view pornography, he should instead come to you and fulfill his desires in a lawful way. One woman has what another woman has. He needs to be open and honest with you about his urges so you can help prevent him from engaging in inappropriate behaviors.

Talk to him and help him see how wrong he is. Your husband is an Alim. Collect some verses of the Quran or Ahadith on the prohibition of illicit conduct. Present them to him in a diplomatic and caring way. Remind him of death, the condition of the Qabr and the punishment of Allah in the hereafter for such immoral conduct. Tell him you love him and care for him not to be punished. Present thought-provoking points to him, for example,

  • Would you view such immoral content in the presence of your mother?
  • How will your mother, who gave birth to you and cared for you look at you thereafter?
  • Would you view such immoral content in the presence of your most revered teacher who taught you Hadith?
  • How then can you view such content in the presence of Allah when you know the Creator of all eyes is seeing you?
  • How daring can you be in front of Allah?
  • What if death comes to you in that condition? What will become of you?
  • Would you tolerate your mother or sister to be those images in the porn? Imagine looking at your mother or sister conducting such acts.

Quote him the following Hadith about the youngster who wanted to commit Zina. See the shame that Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) instilled in him.

‫عَنْ أَبِي أُمَامَةَ قَال َإِنَّ فَتًى شَابًّا أَتَى النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ائْذَنْ لِي بِالزِّنَا فَأَقْبَلَ الْقَوْمُ عَلَيْهِ فَزَجَرُوهُ قَالُوا مَهْ مَهْ فَقَالَ ادْنُهْ فَدَنَا مِنْهُ قَرِيبًا قَالَ فَجَلَسَ قَالَ أَتُحِبُّهُ لِأُمِّكَ قَالَ لَا وَاللَّهِ جَعَلَنِي اللَّهُ فِدَاءَكَ قَالَ وَلَا النَّاسُ يُحِبُّونَهُ لِأُمَّهَاتِهِمْ قَالَ أَفَتُحِبُّهُ لِابْنَتِكَ قَالَ لَا وَاللَّهِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ جَعَلَنِي اللَّهُ فِدَاءَكَ قَالَ وَلَا النَّاسُ يُحِبُّونَهُ لِبَنَاتِهِمْ قَالَ أَفَتُحِبُّهُ لِأُخْتِكَ قَالَ لَا وَاللَّهِ جَعَلَنِي اللَّهُ فِدَاءَكَ قَالَ وَلَا النَّاسُ يُحِبُّونَهُ لِأَخَوَاتِهِمْ قَالَ أَفَتُحِبُّهُ لِعَمَّتِكَ قَالَ لَا وَاللَّهِ جَعَلَنِي اللَّهُ فِدَاءَكَ قَالَ وَلَا النَّاسُ يُحِبُّونَهُ لِعَمَّاتِهِمْ قَالَ أَفَتُحِبُّهُ لِخَالَتِكَ قَالَ لَا وَاللَّهِ جَعَلَنِي اللَّهُ فِدَاءَكَ قَالَ وَلَا النَّاسُ يُحِبُّونَهُ لِخَالَاتِهِمْ قَالَ فَوَضَعَ يَدَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَقَالَ اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ ذَنْبَهُ وَطَهِّرْ قَلْبَهُ وَحَصِّنْ فَرْجَهُ فَلَمْ يَكُنْ بَعْدُ ذَلِكَ الْفَتَى يَلْتَفِتُ إِلَى شَيْءٍ (مسند أحمد 21708)

Translation: Abu Umaamah (Radhiyallahu Anhu) said: A young man came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, give me permission to commit zina.” The people turned to him to rebuke him, saying, “Shh, shh.” (Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)) said, “Come here.” So he came close to him and he told him to sit down. He said, “Would you like that for your mother?” He said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.” He said, “Nor do people like it for their mothers.” He said, “Would you like it for your daughter?” He said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.” He said, “Nor do people like it for their daughters.” He said, “Would you like it for your sister?” He said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.” He said, “Nor do people like it for their sisters.” He said, “Would you like it for your paternal aunt?” He said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.” He said, “Nor do people like it for their paternal aunts.” He said, “Would you like it for your maternal aunt?” He said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.” He said, “Nor do people like it for their maternal aunts.” Then he placed his hand on him and said, “O Allah, forgive his sin, purify his heart, and guard his chastity.” And after that, this young man never did anything. (Musnad Ahmed 21708)

Also obtain appropriate literature and place it within his sight, for example, lower your gaze, the evils of porn etc.

Place cards or frames around the house with advices – Fear Allah – You are not alone – Allah is watching etc. All these are means of Hidayah (guidance).

Then perform Salatul Hajat and make Dua to Allah to put Barakah in the means you have adopted.

You can then work with him to block websites and apps on any devices (computers, laptops, smart phones) he has access to. The passwords should be known to you only so it is difficult for him to engage in any inappropriate activity.

We are listing some software and services that can be used to block inappropriate content:

Qustodio: The free version of Qustodio can protect a single device and includes basic protection features. The smart filters block inappropriate content even in private browsing mode. The website is: https://www.qustodio.com

FamilyShield: This is a free service from OpenDNS. It is preconfigured to block adult content. The website is: https://www.opendns.com/setupguide/#familyshield

Norton Family: This service is currently being offered at no cost for 6 months. It blocks unsuitable sites. The website is: https://family.norton.com/web/

While blocking websites and apps is a good step forward, it is not the solution. By itself, blocking website and apps will not help overcome an addiction of pornography.

The solution is getting professional help with the aid of a support group and therapist. Your husband would need to see a Muslim sex addiction therapist who can help him overcome this problem with Islamic principles. Your husband needs counseling sessions with a therapist and also group therapy, if possible, to know that other Muslim men are struggling with the same issues and are in the process of overcoming their addiction. That will give him encouragement to overcome his addiction as well. He will realize the problem is internal, not external. He will also be able to lean on those brothers for support, learn from their experiences and benefit from group therapy with them. If you do not find any therapists in your area, or it is not practical to seek direct assistance from a therapist, then you can contact Khalil Center, www.khalilcenter.com to help your husband get online therapy or ask them to refer you to a therapist near you, Insha-Allah.

While it is very noble of you to understand that this addiction will not go away in a few days, you cannot just allow him to continue. You should be patient – but – you need to be firm as well. Help him realize that he is heading in the wrong direction and needs to change course. You can – and should support him through the recovery process – but you cannot ignore his addiction because it is and will continue to affect you and your marital relationship in addition to your husband’s spiritual and physical well-being.

If there is a need for you to take strong action against him with the intention of stopping him, you may do so. You know his weak point. He is afraid of being rejected by people. That is why he doesn’t want to take a second wife.

Ask him, what if people come to know of your addiction? What you are afraid of will be a reality and even worse. The pain of embarrassment will make you forget all your desire and you will only regret.

You may even state to him that you may be compelled to discuss the issue with his seniors.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Mahmood | darulmahmood.net