Staying with a Drunkard Husband

November 22, 2007


Q: I have three boys and a girl, and my husband is a drunk, God save me, and had been imprisoned previously. He’s addicted to drinking, and it tortures me and my children. I left him, and my children and I are now staying with my family. He doesn’t pay for a single thing and I have no desire to go back to him, and he’s threatening to take the children away from me. I can’t bear that, as I am a mother before everything else. Please help me.

A: There is no doubt the Islamic courts have jurisdiction over this, and one should not stay with those who are addicted to alcohol, as he harms his wife and children. You should distance yourself from him until God guides him back to the right way. If the court separated [the parents], in most cases it will side with the mother and give her custody, as she is qualified for that and he is not. As long as the problem is alcohol addiction he is not worthy of children because he will ruin them and corrupt them, whereas she is more suited for them than he is, regardless of the children’s gender. This is what the court will rule. This is what is necessary. The kids will be with her because she is better than he is, as he is immoral. If she refuses to return to him she’s better off, because he is a danger to her. If he doesn’t pray, it’s necessary to never go back to him, because whoever leaves prayer has disbelieved, God forbid. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The difference between us and them is prayer, and so whoever leaves it has disbelieved.” So you don’t have to stay with someone who doesn’t pray. “They are not lawful (wives) for the Unbelievers, nor are the (Unbelievers) lawful (husbands) for them” [al-Mumtahina 60] Until God guides him and he repents, she’ll go to her family or her children and refuse to have anything to do with him, until God forgives him and he returns to what is right. If he prays but drinks alcohol, that is a huge sin and a huge crime, but he’s not an unbeliever, just immoral. She needs to break off contact with him and get away from him. She’s not responsible, and if she’s patient with him and can be patient, that’s ok.

Sheikh Ibn Baz

Taken from Fataawa al-Maraa “Fatwas on Women” by Sheikh Ibn Baz, Sheikh Authimein, and Sheikh Jabreen. Riyadh, Dar al-Watan lil-Nashr, 1993/1414. Translated by Josh Berer



سكير – Drunkard

والعياذ الله – God Forbid!

مدمن – Addict

إدمان – Addiction

رغبة – Desire

هدّد – Threat

ينبغي – One should, it is recommended that, it behooves one to

الصواب – The correct [path]

أهل – To be qualified to

أولى – More suited

فاسق – Immoral, someone with lousy integrity

أبت – To refuse, turn down

ذنب – To be guilty of

معذور –  Excused from


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