Divorce: Offered for neglect of prayers

Q171 :I often have to force my wife to attend to her prayers, but she still neglects to do so. Will it be right if I offer her divorce?

A171 : If your wife rejects prayer altogether and denies that it is an Islamic duty, then she cannot continue to be married to you, because in this case, she will be denying a part of Islam which is essentially known to all people. If, on the other hand, she is simply negligent of her duty, then it is your responsibility to remind her and to make her aware of the importance of attending regularly to her prayers. You should not force her to pray, because Islamic obligations cannot be discharged by force. You must not forget that prayer is her duty as much as they are your duty. You are not responsible for her, nor is she responsible for you. Everyone will be accountable to Allah for his or her actions or omissions. Before you contemplate offering her divorce, you should try to educate her in Islamic principles and practices. Try to get her to understand how important it is for her to lead an Islamic life. Most probably, her negligence is due to lack of such awareness. The right approach, therefore, is to strengthen her faith. Try to use different methods, and combine persuasion with a reminder of the different aspects of Allah's grace you and she enjoy. If you have children, you may remind her that they need Allah's protection and care. Like all parents, you pray Him to take care of your children. How can she or anyone else pray Allah to grant her wishes if she does not discharge the duties He has imposed on her? Before offering her divorce, you should consider your situation from all angles. This could be the last resort for you. It may awaken her to the difficulty of her situation. It may persuade her that you view her negligence very seriously. If you do offer her divorce, you should know that if she acknowledges the duty of prayer, you need not divorce her. It is only if she denies that prayer is a duty binding on her that you cannot continue to be man and wife. In this last case, she would not be a Muslim.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )