I’m in a custody battle. What should I do?

My ex-husband has abandoned our son. He is in the country illegally and now wants to see him. My current husband, who loves my son, refuses to let my ex see the child. I know that my ex loves our son and would not hurt him and I’d like my son to know his biological father.

We are now in a custody battle, which I’m sure I will win, but should I forbid my ex from ever seeing his son? What I want to do is arrange for visitations where I work, in a public library, supervised by me.

Seveing the relationship between your son and his biological father is the one thing you should never do. Your son is, and always will be, his biological father’s son. In fact, he must have his last name, per 33:5.

If you’ll have custody and visitation will be supervised by you and in a public place, this sounds like an excellent arrangement.

I told my husband about what I wanted to do and he got very upset. I think I remained calm and did the best I could in talking to him.

At least I feel better after telling him.

I get so confused sometimes about when to be obedient to my husband and when I should argue back with him. I feel like a slave sometimes and I’m not sure if this is how a Muslim marriage should be.

No, it’s not. Obedience is not derogatory as it has come to mean to many people. Obedience to husband means trusting his good judgment and delegating leadership to him. That does not preclude good counsel. We are all human and therefore can err, misconstrue or let our emotions cloud our judgment. That is where the Book of God and the authentic Sunna can help the most. They have the decisive argument. A Muslim, by definition, is one who has committed to obeying these sources above all other.

You probably heard this story before. One day, while Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may God have been pleased with him, was giving the Friday sermon and he declared that dowries have been excessive and should therefore be capped. A woman rose up at the back of the mosque and said to him that he couldn’t cap dowries because God says in the holy Quran, “and you gave one of them (women) a kantar (a hundredweight) [in dowry], do not take from it at all.” (4:20). How did Umar, the caliph, reply to her? He said, “The woman is right and Umar is wrong!” As author Abbaas Al-Aqqaad put it in his famous book “The genius of Umar”, “Umar ibn Al-Khattaab (RA) always stopped at the Book of God.”

Continue to communicate with wisdom, calmness and good evidence with your husband. Insha-Allah (God willing), he will realize that the decision you’ve arrived at is the right thing to do and will support it.

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