Asking for divorce because the husband does not pray

Fatwa no. 20612 I would like to tell Your Eminence that I have been married for twenty-one years. I have six sons and daughters. I am always in dispute with my husband, mainly because he does not regularly perform the five daily prayers; and he misses some Prayers. Sometimes, he performs Prayer in the Masjid (mosque) and other times he does not perform it either in the Masjid or at home, particularly, the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer, which he rarely performs. However, he always observes the Jumu`ah (Friday) Prayer. In addition, he smokes; I advised him many times and reminded him of the punishment of neglecting Prayer, but, he did not respond. I ask your Eminence whether I should stay with him or ask for divorce? How could we urge our children to observe Prayer, as they were affected by him and hardly perform Prayer? Who is to blame for that: me or their father; as I am a woman and they do not accept my advice except with great trouble? Kindly advise me, especially that this situation has affected (Part No. 19; Page No. 400) my psychological state and I suffer now from some psychological problems.

A: If your husband persists in his non-observance of Prayer, you have to ask for divorce, for he who abandons prayer deliberately commits an act of Kufr (disbelief). The Prophet (peace be upon him) says, What makes one a Mushrik (one who associates others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and disbeliever is abandoning prayers. A Muslim woman is not permitted to live with a Kafir (disbeliever). Allah (Exalted be He) says, ...then if you ascertain that they are true believers, send them not back to the disbelievers. They are not lawful (wives) for the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful (husbands) for them. The parents are responsible for their children, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, Command your children to pray when they are seven years old, and beat them for (neglecting) it when they are ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and Companions.