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Islamic rules about divorce and divorced parents

Q:

I married a woman in Amman Jordan and brought her to live with me in USA. She was twice divorced before me but had no children We had a daughter together. I was a good husband and good father. A year after she arrived to the US she left me. She said that as she was a pharmacist she was ashamed to be married to an uneducated man such as me and that she needed someone of her own social class to be married to. She left me and my daughter. i raised my daughter alone for 2 years. She returned married to a non Muslim who is a local lawyer in a big firm. He immediately started proceedings against me and had the courts find me mentally ill so i can no longer see my daughter. He is claiming to be the new father and is continuously suing me in court for many reasons. My ex wife has testified against me in these proceedings and has revealed much personal information and made it public in the courts. Even things from my childhood (such as having been imprisoned by israeli miliary while growing up in palestine). She has cost me nearly half a million dollars to defend myself. She says she will never stop until i am loving homeless in the streeets. My question: 1) i never divorced this woman. She walked out of my house and obtained a civil American divorce against my will. Am i islamically still married to her. 2) is she allowed to have our 11 year old daughter with her being married to a new husband. he declared shahada in the local masjid but only so he could marry. He does not practice Islam 3) i am fighting legally to stay in my daughters life. I cannot afford to do so anymore. If i walk away from my daughters life is this abandonment of my child? 4) as a divorced husband do i have islamic rights to my daughter? What are they? By the way my daughter has chosen to.live with me when asked by the court. 5) my ex wife is wealthy. He annual income is above half a million dollars annual. I am poor and living off of loans and debt. I have been paying her nafaqa as well as providing my daughter with everything she needs. Am i obligated to pay nafaqa islamically 6) i have had no support from the Islamic community here. Any information you can give me to enlighten me about my situation and the islamic rules about divorce and divorced parents will be helpful. May Allah bless you Maher

A:

Waalykum salam 

 

Thank you for your Question 
 
Sorry to hear about your situation.
 
For your query I called the office of Sayyid Sistani and they answered your questions as below: 
 
1- Yes you’re still married
 
2- yes it’s ok for the child to live with her mother. However it is the right of the father to have her daughter 
 
3- you’re trying your best and continue to do so. Even if it means you can’t legally afford some things but keep your relation and speak to her often. Stand for her in her good and bad times. (Abandoning would be to cut off ties). 
 
4- yes! Your relation with your wife is one and the relation with your child is another. Father and child relation is such that the child is known by her fathers name as he is the root of this child. It has nothing to do with the mother between the two. 
 
5- you have to pay Nafaqa for your daughter. But not your wife. Nafaqah of a wife who leaves her husband and does not comply to his needs is not Wajib on the man. 
 
 
 
Pls read no. 22,23 & 24 
 
In my duas 
Kind regards 
Naajiya Jaffery.