Written By: The Divorced Muslimah

 

 

On the 29th of January this year, it was eight years since I was issued with a talaaq. That day is so clearly etched in my mind.

 

We were separated for a year when he decided that it was time we were divorced. For a year, my baby and I were living with my parents and during that year, I tried twice to reconcile, to make a home, but he backed out each time. He arrived at my place of work and issued a written talaaq.
 
Mentally, I was expecting it, but emotionally I wasn’t ready for it. It was so hard to keep back the tears in front of my colleagues and still go on working as if everything was okay. To add further to my pain, I noticed that one of the witnesses was his mother. I couldn’t understand how his mother could put her signature to such a document. Didn’t she have consideration for me as a woman, or to her little innocent grandchild? Didn’t she think to counsel her son to make the marriage work?
 
I am grateful, though, that I have a wonderful family who took me in, supported me and stood by me, and helped me raise my child. I am also grateful that I have a job that allows me to take care of myself and my child and be able to contribute to the household expenses.
 
For two years after the talaaq, the father of my child neither supported her nor visited her and I didn’t think it was my duty to call him and ask for maintenance or tell him that he needs to establish a relationship with his child. All I did was make lots of dua: for me, for him, for my child, for my sustenance and mostly for my family who didn’t waiver in their support.
 
I spent my iddah just going to work and making sure I drove straight back home. I spent my time in reciting Quran, praying extra prayers, and fasting. I thank Allah that I had my child to care for, so that was a distraction, and she added that much-needed joy to my life.
 
Most weekends I strapped my baby in her car seat and we spent time together, doing loads of fun stuff. Allah granted a great gift and amaanah in my child, and I take my role as a mother very seriously. I began to live my life, and understood that I can have a full life without a husband and that I am strong enough to be a single parent. It was his loss if he wasn’t interested in getting to know his child.
 
I can’t say the days were easy, neither were the nights when I would lay awake wondering what I could have done differently so that I could have held on to my marriage, what I should have said and what I shouldn’t have said or done. I had to rely on my awesome sisters to shop for my child and I…But the days went by and I survived my iddah.
 
The first and the best thing I did next was to find a Muslim female counsellor. I realised that as much as I spoke to my sisters and my mother, I wanted an unbiased and independent opinion and advice. I wanted someone else to tell me where I had gone wrong and if my broken marriage was my fault. What I came to understand was that no matter what I had done or said, it would still have come to this. A marriage cannot work with one partner making an effort and a man who can walk out on his wife and four-month-old baby doesn’t have compassion or doesn’t care enough.
 
 
I cannot say that my eight-year journey has been a walk in the park. It hasn’t been easy raising a child on my own. Slowly but surely, I allowed my heart to heal, my mind wandered less to the past, and I started to pay more attention to myself. I joined a females-only gym, got my body in shape, started to eat healthier, and made new friends. Previously, after I got married, I gave up going to the gym and only spoke to my friends occasionally, and my time revolved around him, his family, and my home.
 
Alhamdulillah, after a few years, he contacted me and showed interest in visiting my daughter and started to pay maintenance. I had to teach both of them how to react to each other, as the only men in her life were my father, brothers, and brothers-in-law. She didn’t know what a daddy was. I had to teach him to take it really slowly and not overwhelm her, to earn her trust.
 
I have forgiven him, for my own sanity and for the pleasure of Allah, and we have an amicable relationship because of my daughter. I must emphasize that the forgiveness didn’t come overnight: it came after many years, after lots of fights and arguments and resentment. I want her to have a good relationship with him and what happened between him and I should not impact on their relationship. I encourage good manners and respect towards him and his family, and so far, it’s working, Alhamdulillah. I have peace of mind knowing that I am a good single mother, and am doing my best to raise my child as a good Muslimah, Insha Allah.
 
Whether I will remarry or not remains as Allah’s will, but since I don’t frequent places where I would meet men, and people are reluctant to introduce me to possible suitors, and some men are not open to women with kids, I leave everything to Allah, and just get on with my everyday life. Yes, it would be nice to have a man around, but hey, I have learnt to become really handy with a screwdriver and drill. I know how to change a tyre, a light bulb and a toilet seat!
 
I hope that my story gives some inspiration and strength and the understanding that the world and your life doesn’t end when a talaaq is issued; it just means that another chapter in your life has begun, and it’s up to you to decide whether that chapter is going to be a sad one or a happy one. I chose a happy one and it can only get better, chapter after chapter, Alhamdulillah!
 
 
 

The Divorced Muslimah is a courageous single mom, daughter and sister who has survived divorce and lived to tell the tale. Her motto has always been: If you look over your shoulder, you are going to stumble and fall. Keep looking ahead and you will succeed.

 
 
 

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