Q: I am a young man aged 27. I have committed many sins. Since I reached the age of puberty, I seldom offer Salah (Prayer). I got married eight years ago. I did not observe Salah before marriage or after it. When I married, it was a month before Ramadan. During the month of Ramadan, I had sexual intercourse with my wife on six separate days but my wife was reluctant to do so. It should be noted that she observes Salah. We had our children while I was still negligent of most of the Salahs except Friday Prayer. Now, Praise be to Allah, I am following (Part No. 18; Page No. 295) the right path of Allah (Exalted be He) and have abandoned sins such as smoking, listening to songs, playing forbidden games, and so on. I also keep up the five obligatory Prayers in the Masjid (mosque) in congregation. I will not abandon Prayer for the rest of my life In sha’a-Allah (if Allah wills). Since I am serious about purifying my soul, I would like to ask about issues such as: First,
was my marriage contract with my wife invalid because I did not offer Salah at that time?
If so, what should I do? Second, what about the children I had from my wife during that period? Third, should my wife offer Kaffarah (expiation) for having intercourse with me even though she was unwilling and did not know the ruling or punishment for doing so? She thought she was just required to make up for these days? Fourth, I had sexual intercourse with her six times on different days in Ramadan. Do I have to make Kaffarah (expiation) even though I did not use to offer Salah at that time? If I have to offer Kaffarah, will it be sufficient for me to offer it one time for all the days I missed or do I have to offer a Kaffarah for each single day? I appreciate your advice! May Allah reward you best!
If the reality is as mentioned, that when you concluded your marriage contract with your wife, you used to intentionally abandon Salah while your wife used to offer Salah, your marriage contract is invalid; because it is a marriage contract between a Kafir (disbeliever/non-Muslim) with a Muslim woman. 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.
(Part No. 18; Page No. 296) The children you had during this period are related to you because you had them on the assumption that your marriage contract was valid.
by your repentance to Allah (Exalted be He) and observing Salah, you have professed Islam once again. So, you have to renew the marriage contract in the legal way.
your wife has to make up for the days during which she had intercourse with you. She also has to feed a needy person for each missed day if the following Ramadan goes by before she makes up for them. Furthermore, she has to make Kaffarah (expiation), namely freeing a Muslim slave, for each day on which you had intercourse during Ramadan. If she is unable to do so, she has to fast two consecutive months for each missed day. If she is unable to do so, she has to feed sixty needy people by providing them with half a Sa` of food for each missed day, approx. A kilo and half for each needy person. As for you, you have to repent to Allah (Exalted be He) for what you have done, however, you do not have to offer Kaffarah (expiation); because during that period you were not a Muslim as we mentioned. (Part No. 18; Page No. 297) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.