Glimpses of Marital Bliss: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV| Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII
Most people who marry do not expect their marriages to end in divorce. But what if they do? How does a person recover from a difficult marriage or a divorce? Below, one woman describes her experiences and shares her reflections.
“Divorce: a word that has always weighed really heavily on my heart. In fact, I would ponder about how heavy the Arabic word for it sounded. Talaq felt like each of its letters came out with difficulty.
I saw it happening to people around me but never imagined it happening to me. Not because I am special in any way, but because like any other girl I had dreams of a blissful marriage filled with love, kind words, and just lots of beautiful things. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
A few months into my marriage I saw a side of me that I never even knew existed. I went from being someone who was full of energy to someone who feared doing anything, from someone who loved to smile at everyone and everything around me to someone who forgot what it felt like to smile. Tears followed tears. From nights that were filled with beautiful conversations with the Almighty, to sleepless nights spent thinking of solutions to my many problems. I kept asking myself: Who am I? Why has my marriage changed me so much? Why do I feel lost and confused? Why is there no one around me to support me through this? I noticed my self esteem go downhill and with it went my iman (faith). I was unknowingly distancing myself from the One who mattered to me the most: Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He).
I could no longer make decisions on my own, something I grew up doing with the help of my parents. I grew up in a household that respected my decisions; my father’s role was always that of an advisor and a supporter, not that of a commander. But in my marriage I felt restricted in all that I did and fearful before making any decisions.
I was being spiritually abused. I did not even know that form of abuse existed until I experienced it. I drifted further and further away from Allah (swt). I missed Him. I wanted the life I used to have back, but most importantly I wanted the relationship I had with Allah (swt) back. He must have missed me, too, because 11 months into my marriage I went through a divorce. What I truly found amazing is that the divorce happened a day after I prayed istikhara (the prayer of guidance) about continuing in that relationship.
I was left with no closure; my ex-husband disappeared (literally) after ending the relationship over a phone conversation. At that moment, something beautiful happened. Allah (swt) was back. It was then that I realized He had never left. He was always there and always will be, but now He was back to being my focal point in my life. In knowing that, I found comfort, and most importantly I found closure.
I was blessed to have a supportive family and great friends around me, but their support was different from the kind of support that can only come from Allah (swt). In the middle of the night when strange thoughts haunt you and you’re left crying into your pillow, Allah (swt) sends His sakinah (tranquility). He reassures you that He is there for you, and you get up in the stillness of the night and pray. As my forehead reached the ground, I was overcome with tears of gratitude that I was now safe with Him. I realized that what I just gained back was more precious to me than the world and everything in it: that feeling of peace that was never present when I distanced myself from Him. To many, it seemed like I had lost a husband and my chance to ever get married again. If only they knew that in reality I had gained so much and lost nothing.
“What has he lost who has found you (O Allah), and what has he found who has lost you (O Allah)?” – Ibn `Ata’ Allah rahimahu Allah (may God have mercy on him)
The experience I went through changed my outlook on life, on people, and on myself. I learned to trust in Allah (swt). He taught me how to trust Him. I heard it from many, read it in articles, listened to it in many lectures. “Trust in Allah.” But Allah (swt) is the best of teachers. When you make Him your source of strength, nothing can break you—not someone’s words nor their harsh treatment. He will start to show you in ways you never thought possible that if you trust Him, He will never let you down. He will shower you with blessings. Believe Him when He says:
“…And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him…” (Qur’an 65:2-3).
Guess where this beautiful verse happens to be in the Qur’an? The chapter titled “The Divorce”.
He has certainly provided for me from where I did not expect. Three years later, I am happily married to a wonderful man alhamdulillah (praise be to God). A man who teaches me everyday that true happiness lies in tawakkul, full reliance on Allah (swt). A man who is a reminder to me that this beautiful deen (religion) is a source of empowerment for both men and women alike and should never be used to belittle anyone. A man whose mouth utters nothing but kind words and whose beautiful character teaches me how to become a better person.
To all those who have been through a divorce, men or women: make that experience your strength, and do not let things that some people in our society say let you down. Most importantly, do not let your own self down. Be the one to set an example to those around you that being a divorcee is merely an experience and not a status that you need to carry with you for the rest of your life.
This is not the end; it is the beginning of many beautiful things. Do not lose faith, and do not let your divorce define the person you are today in a negative way. Strengthen yourself so you can help other divorcees when they need it. As difficult as it may be, do not dwell too much on the reasons behind your divorce or who was right or wrong, and most importantly, do not tell yourself, “It wasn’t my fault.” Look for faults within yourself or think of ways in which you could have handled some situations better, so that you learn from mistakes and become a better person.
One thing I learned about myself is that I need to stop believing everything that is told to me, especially in regards to my own religion. I decided to seek knowledge for myself so that no one can ever manipulate me into believing things that are not necessarily true.
Do not wait for anyone to make you happy. Do not walk into a relationship expecting your partner to make you happy. Find out what brings you happiness, and do more of that.
After my divorce, I refused to hibernate in my room and think for hours about what went wrong, so I decided to volunteer at a center that helped children with special needs. I walked in with the hope of helping them out, but I walked out realizing that they were the ones helping me. Despite their disabilities, they still managed to smile. Every morning I got a hug from them that brightened my day. They made me realize the many blessings all around us that we fail to see once we mistakenly decide that our life has ended due to one difficult experience.
Build a support system, be around positive people, and please know with certainty that even if nobody in the entire world knows or can relate to what you’ve been through, Allah (swt) knows, and He will get you through it. There can be no greater solace than that.”
*If you would like share sweet glimpses from your marriage with hopes of spreading awareness of positive relationships in the Muslim community, please email Maryam@VirtualMosque.com with a short narrative. Your submission may be featured anonymously in this mini-series of Glimpses of Marital Bliss.
This made me cry. I too went/am going through a divorce. And I too understood that it is Allah’s way of calling me back to safety. I remember this part:
“I was blessed to have a supportive family and great friends around me, but their support was different from the kind of support that can only come from Allah (swt). In the middle of the night when strange thoughts haunt you and you’re left crying into your pillow, Allah (swt) sends His sakinah (tranquility). He reassures you that He is there for you, and you get up in the stillness of the night and pray. As my forehead reached the ground, I was overcome with tears of gratitude that I was now safe with Him. I realized that what I just gained back was more precious to me than the world and everything in it: that feeling of peace that was never present when I distanced myself from Him. To many, it seemed like I had lost a husband and my chance to ever get married again. If only they knew that in reality I had gained so much and lost nothing.”
Indeed, seemingly paradoxically, when I cried to Allah for my need, He commands me to give. So many things happened where always, always I am needed to help and to teach and to protect and to give. To love. To *start* with being happy, not to expect to *end up* so. This is when if you think about it, I was empty – I have no resource inside of me, bereft and alone, my expected future lost. But because He told me to, I obeyed. And I grew. And I could see Him much better, all around.
But this isn’t a linear journey for me. I’m still in the part before finding out if Allah shall give me someone better. And that part can be as hard as the divorce itself. There’s no social template for this part. You have no social identity – you’re neither maiden nor wife, you’re mothering age but not a mother. So you walk on blind, by His direction alone. And so there are stumbles in my progress. Even though Allah assures me every now and again, trust Him, trust His Plan, He’s in control, to be patient. Every now and then I get scared because I cannot see how Allah shall bring to me what seems impossible for me now, even though I remember the calmness of believing it with confident faith. Like when you look down from a height and suddenly feel fear even though there’s no actual change in the situation and previously you were doing just fine. One of those times is right now. And then this article comes through my feed. Reminding me of His promise. Showing me evidence that He keeps it. Repeatedly. Because insaan is forgetful, forgetful of the last time He showed me. I know He is teaching me patience, because it is for my ultimate safety. Oh, what a patient teacher God is.
Yasmin Mogahed’s book has been such a blessing through my divorce, it reminds me to always put Allah in my heart and everyone else in my hands. You can find excerpts online. It’s just as inspiring as this article.
love you for the sake of Allah! ♥♥♥♥
[…] Finding Allah Through Divorce – SuhaibWebb.com […]
I couldn’t have done better if I was d one dat wrote this article. She identifies with me totally
[…] Finding Allah Through Divorce – SuhaibWebb.com […]
Whats exactly does spiritual abuse mean? I am not sure I understand what the author was talking about…
Perhaps it means that a person is depriving another of their spiritual rights and / or spiritual health. I would imagine it would involve ‘bringing a person down to your low level ‘, ie dissuading a person from praying, believing , learning about the religion . Making them feel inferior for getting involved in such things, even though it’s their right to do so.
I would like to congratulate the author on a truly wonderful article. I’m glad it was written at the right time , as often people tell their stories ‘prematurely ‘ leaving the reader wondering if they will ever find a happily ever after . Clearly from this they have , and to Allah is all praise
Jazakallah khayr for giving us joy, peace and hope through your words
Masha Allah! Ironically, I find this the most beautiful of the series thus far. It reminds me of Sister Yasmin’s quote: She found Allah & she lived happily ever after. We should always put Allah first & He’ll bring us through divorce, demise or polygyny. Whatever He permits to occur is for our greater benefit even if we cannot understand it. Our relationship with Him is ALL that’s important.
Truly eloquent, mashallah sis! I think we can all learn from this not just with regards to divorce but life in general.
MasyaAllah. Thank you for such a wonderful post! Going through divorce myself, your articles speaks volumes of what i am going through. And you are right, no one understands us more than Allah does. No one sees the pain and tears more than Allah does. And indeed, all these process did bring me closer to Allah than i have ever imagined.
I too went through the same experience, she left literally over a phone call and that was pretty much that. A year later I still find it difficult to cope and still struggle to find answers at times but I know that only Allah (set) knows best and that this too shall end.
Subhahanallah! So much thanks to my sister who wrote this. Allah shower you with good!
MashaAllah, great article.
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beautiful. just what i needed during my own divorce. This helped me a lot.
Assalamu Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatu sister and to the ummah,
This article has been truly a one of kind, spiritually motivating and uplifting. May Allah bless you in abundance. Include me in your du’as. I am going through a messy divorce with courts, restraining orders etc on me. It’s been a very emotionally challenging time. I’ve got 3 young children. I will come back to this article always when I feel hopeless. Please include me as much as you can in your duas