|QUESTION: There is a lady who has reverted, but her husband is still without religion, though he believes in God. I told her that she would have to leave him immediately. There was some discussion and I gave some evidences. Then somebody came with a fatwa from Shaikh Qaradawi, in which he has said that she can stay with her ex-husband for a period (may be the iddat), but not as his wife. I questioned this so he wrote to Shaikh Qaradawi, who has responded with two instances: one from Omar and the other from Ali (radhi Allaho anhum).|
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
The position of Sunni scholarship is that, based on explicit Qur’anic verses, the marriage of a woman who converts but whose husband remains non-Muslim is annulled. The only difference on the matter concerns when the annulment occurs:
In the Hanafi school, the marriage is annulled after 3 menstrual periods (during which time she cannot have intimate physical relations with him). [This is explained in detailed in the answer below.]
As for Shaykh Qaradawi, he is a respected scholar, but he is noted by scholars to frequently diverge from sound Sunni scholarship. The importance of following sound scholarship is explained very clearly by Sh. Nuh Keller and Sh. Abdal Hakim Murad in their articles at Sidi Mas’ud Khan’s excellent site: www.masud.co.uk
In particular cases where leaving her husband may lead a woman to choose to leaving Islam, not emphasizing this point initially may be from applying the principle of, “Falling into lesser harm in order to avoid greater harm.” However, such cases should be referred to learned scholars of understanding, in order to seek their case-specific guidance because counseling and support is often an effective alternative option.
And Allah alone gives success.