I am a married woman with four children. The eldest has already left home, those who remain range between 18 and 11 years of age. For medical reasons I had to have surgery which rendered it impossible for me to have further children. I have been studying Islam, and my heart has been filled with the desire to follow Allah and live by His ways. My husband has no interest in Islam, and no longer permits me to even speak to him about it. Since I made the decision to accept Islam and live as a muslimah, I have regarded him as being no longer permissible to me in any way. I consider our marriage to be non-existent in the sight of Allah and the father of my children understands this.
Because we feel it is best for our children to have a mother and a father, we continue to share our home. We no longer love one another, have not had physical relations for over six months and do not plan any in the future. We live as room-mates and parents but not as a couple.
I now propose to guide the children towards Islam.
For some three months I have been in contact with and have had the guidance of a Shi’ah Muslim gentleman over the Internet. He lives in the USA, is married and has two children. Although we have not yet met, we have developed very strong feelings for each other.
If my marriage is void in the sight of Allah, I would like to marry a Muslim man, to be specific, the one I have just mentioned. At what point do I become permissible to another? When does the interim period of abstinence from sexual activity – idd’ah – start? After the nullification of the marriage or should I still wait for three months? When does nullification of the marriage occur? In my heart this happened three months ago.
In your opinion, is it possible to live in the same home and continue to raise the children? Although it would be difficult, I do understand Allah’s laws and feel able to do so without breaking any of His injunctions.

Welcome to Islam and the pleasure of Allah. The moment you chose Islam and made the declaration of faith – shahadah – your marriage to the man who prefers to remain non-Muslim was nullified.
You have to calculate three monthly cycles from the time of embracing Islam as the period of idd’ah, after which you are free to marry that Muslim gentleman. This period of idd’ah is obligatory even if you are no longer able to have children.
If you continue to live in the same house as your ex-husband, for the sake of children whom you must educate according to Islamic teaching, there are two conditions to which you must adhere:
a. You must wear hijab in front of your ex-husband since you are no longer a couple.
b. You must sleep in a different room from him.
This would be a very difficult task for you to undertake, and we pray Allah Almighty helps you if you do proceed according to the wishes you have expressed here.
However, you have raised a number of issues which will affect the lives of at least nine other people. How do you decide to marry a virtually unknown man with whom you only have contact via the Internet? The only way you can guide your mature children to Islam is by your own good example. I don’t think that it is right to introduce a Muslim to your children as their stepfather, and at the same time estrange them from their biological father who continues to live with them in the same house. Furthermore, what about that Muslim man? Are you expecting him to divorce his wife, leave his children and marry you? Please think twice before you decide on any action you might later regret.