Considering a prospective wife who is fond of alcohol
I have been talking to a Muslim woman and am considering marrying her. There’s one catch. Currently, she drinks alcohol. Now I know this is forbidden in our religion. She claims that she wants to stop and needs my help; however, she wants to continue drinking in the first year of our marriage. It is my belief that if she continues to do this after we are married, I also will be held accountable for her sins (held accountable for what happens in my household). She states that that’s not true, ultimately everyone is accountable for their sins only, no one else. Which is true? If I know that she drinks and don’t attempt to stop it, will I also be held accountable for this? If so, can you provide a hadith or a Quranic verse so that I can use to back up my argument?
I understand from Surah Nisaa, verse 34 and via Prophet (sws)’s ahadith that a husband should stop his wife from drinking, but I am not sure that if she does not stop, what happens.
Generally speaking, one should be careful in choosing one’s life partner. If a prospective partner has a moral/religious problem, it is better to choose another. However, life sometimes is not as simple as that. You may have no choice and you may be in desperate need to get married. In that case, you should try to let your partner know about what is right and what is not, intelligently, and pray for him/her. If you think that the problem is of a serious nature and things are not improving, you can always call the arrangement off. The morals of your spouse are also important because she is going to be the mother of your children. You cannot afford to let your children be brought up by somebody whose morality is suspect.
The mention in Surah Nisaa, in my opinion, is concerning situations where things appear to go out of hand, in a way that the wife resorts to a revolt-like attitude (nushuz). In that case, you can follow the sequence that has been mentioned in the Quran. Remember that there are three steps listed there of which, beating up mildly is the last one. The sequence is important. Also what has been mentioned is not in the form of a binding command but a suggested way to adopt in preference to divorce.