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Last Updated: 2011/11/24
Summary of question
If my husband cares just for his own psychological needs and is not giving any attention to my legitimate rights and demands, and tolerating such a life is becoming unbearable for me, can I resort to divorce? Am I sinful in that case?
I married twelve years ago and I have no child from my husband. He was suffering from depression in the beginning. We worked together to give an end to his depression, so we read Quran, went to mosques and pilgrimage sites and tried to have recreation which were helpful to some extent but my husband is going to extremes in worship related matters; he has disrupted our lives and marital relationship. He is not paying attention to my emotional and sexual needs. I believe one of the reasons I am not conceiving a child is his extremist beliefs and approaches. There are certain acts which are permissible according to religious authorities and doctors but he considers those things as abominable. He believes that whatever he is doing is correct and flawless and he knows what he is doing. He is ready to divorce me and he has already paid my Mahr (dowry). In fact, we separated from each other once but then we reunited on his request. He says that he is willing to engage in studying the Quran. At present, I am feeling lonely and I am psychologically under great pressure because of the fact that my emotional and physical needs are not saturated. I feel like I am losing my faith. What should I do? My husband is receiving attention from others apparently because they are under the impression that he is a practicing and faithful man. This gives him further confidence about himself. I am also from a religious family and I have full faith in religious matters. I study a lot but there is a great difference between my understanding of the religion and that of his. Whenever I want to seek the advice of people whom he accepts, he starts threatening me. Is it a sin, if I separate from him? I do Taqlid of (follow) grand Ayatollah Sistani.
Concise answer

Although marriage has been strongly encouraged and great emphasis has been laid on it in Islamic sources, divorce is the most despicable halal act. But sometimes it happens there is not any solution to a family problem in which one can take action for it or else the marital life would turn into hell. Hence, if you have taken every necessary and wise action to make your marriage a success and to fulfill your legitimate demands and if your husband is such a self-centered person that he cares for his own psychological needs only and is not in the least caring for your legitimate demands which makes it difficult for you to tolerate, then divorce is the last solution. Of course, it has been stated in the religious doctrines that if you tolerate such difficulties, God, the Exalted, will reward you for the same. In case, it is no longer possible for you to live with him, you can ask your husband to divorce you and you have not committed a sin by doing so. Therefore, you should not feel guilty, even if it is you who first made a request for divorce.

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