Written by: Mas-oodah Jappie

 

I find that in some (or most) Muslim communities, we often prefer not to acknowledge the reality that issues like divorce exist in our world. The preference we have is to sweep anything that disturbs our state of mind under the rug and allow it to fester.
 

But, the fact that divorce is rife in today’s society, the world over, is an indication that there are millions of women out there who have experienced the trials of Talaaq (Divorce initiated by the husband), and there must to be something that we can do to help one another.
 

We all have our misconceptions or our misinformed impressions of the world; These are passed down culturally or in society. Before I got married I truly believed that talaaq was a scandalous word. It was saved for those who just did not work hard enough at their marriage as no one would really wish to make the Throne of Allah shake, now would they?

 

I firmly believed that it would never be me.

 

Needless to say, my perspective definitely changed. The day I realised I was one of those people I had branded, I begged Allah for forgiveness, for I misjudged and assumed.
 

I wasn’t married for long, a brief five months (although it felt like years). I was young and naïve but I wanted to do things correctly. I didn’t date or go out with boys so we did things the way our grandparents and forefathers did.
 

Go see the girl.
Like the girl.
Make istikhaarah. So it’s positive?
YES!
Get parents to ask the girl to make istikhaarah and, well, the answer lies in her hands.

 

Being the girl, it wasn’t easy either: we had to be on the receiving end. The anxiety and the patience to endure it all was so much. In my story, I had gotten married forty days after I gave my answer. I wanted to do things correctly and we did. Bubbly, boisterous little me was going to tie the knot! It had to be done the Sunnah way.
 

In any case, things started to fall apart as quickly as they began.
Behavioural changes, mood swings, verbal outbursts, and physical altercations; and I thought it was all my fault. I knew I was young and I didn’t know much, so it had to be my fault right?
The rollercoaster of emotions left me ripped of my self-esteem and confidence. I wasn’t the same boisterous, funny, and happy woman. I was self-conscious, afraid of my spouse and I was always on edge. Eventually the truth emerged, a hurtful truth. A truth that scared me.
 

He wasn’t the person me or my family were led to believe he was. He was abusive and he had a drug problem, all of which frightened me, leaving me anxious every time he walked into the room. I didn’t know what to do.
 

The good girl stayed and tried to sort things out, right? I didn’t want to be a failure. What would people say?
 

I was too scared to do anything. In that short frame of time I found out I had fallen pregnant and that was when I reached my point of crisis.
I know we all have been at that point at some time or another. Where we feel:
Hopeless
Afraid
Insecure
Inadequate
Incompetent
Stupid
Callous

And most importantly, as if we are the cause of all the strife.
“I was the problem. It is my fault! I deserve this.” (That was my mantra everyday, unfortunately.)
 

I remember how I would plead every day and night unto Allah. I would cry that I would find peace and that my problems would be solved. I would cry over and over again: “Allah, help. Please, help me… I need You, Oh Allah. I need you. Only You can save me. Please help me….”
 

Most days I would awaken and feel as if I was drowning in an ocean of my own making. I would struggle to swim or move as the air in my lungs was banished, leaving me breathless. Just as I couldn’t take it anymore and I wanted to try and scream for help, my lungs felt as if they were on fire. All I felt was salt water gushing into my throat. The salt water choking me…
Then all of a sudden I was on dry land and the burning sensation was all that was left, a reminder of the pain. I coughed and sputtered trying to bring myself back into balance.
 

This is how I awoke on a daily basis, every single morning. I still do sometimes freeze and choke up and there is seemingly nothing that soothes me more than knowing Allah has me.
I know Allah has me and that is enough for me.
 

One day, 7 years ago, I put my unborn child first. I needed to provide better for her. I was almost 3 months pregnant and I needed her to grow up in a home that was safe and full of love.
 

I left.
 

I came home to my mum and I have been here ever since. I have been surrounded by my loving family, my mother, my beloved sister and my amazing brothers, not forgetting my grandparents and a few special friends who didn’t judge me. They helped me along my journey.
 

I wanted to be free of the shackles of his tyranny in my life, but my struggle was far from over. I wasn’t given my Talaaq, even though I requested it repeatedly. I needed to be punished in his eyes. He could not understand why I could not and will never go back. It was meant to make me suffer. To hurt me.
 

Even that didn’t deter me. I had everything I could ask for from Allah. Initially, there were certain places I used to avoid as I knew it was possible I would see him there. I didn’t want to be near him. Subtle reminders of him could ruin a good day, but I was determined that would change.
 

My reason for pushing on, for seeing goodness in every light, is my smiling little angel, as she makes life so worthwhile. Alhamdulillah.
 

Allah is The Greatest and He hears every plea and eventually, I was free. Officially, it has been two and a half years since I received my Faskh (annulment).
 

When it came, it felt like a weight had lifted from my shoulders. For me, my Faskh had brought contentment and peace. It presented a different opportunity: an opportunity for me to change and grow and to never judge.
 

I’m not saying my iddah was one of joy. It was tumultuous. I had my ups and downs.
Iddah is a reality that we have all faced in many varied, yet similar scenarios; All our stories are different but the struggles we face are similar.
 

Here are a few things to be aware of as a Divorcee:
 

You are still the most amazing individual you have been created to be. My beloved father used to say that Allah doesn’t make junk. So remember that you are indeed special and unique and extraordinary. Subhanallah.
 

Talaaq and Iddah are not easy, but they do become easier to deal with. As women, we are created as emotional creatures who feel more deeply. To be fair there are days when it is not easy but reassuringly it will become easier. Be brave and know that you will get through this.
 

Learn to forgive. Allah is Oft-Forgiving. So forgive wholeheartedly.
 

Allah comes first. Obedience to HIM is always our first priority.
Remember: Allah loves you. HE really does. If you look closer you will find HIS Blessings all around you.
 

The self-pity party is a definite NO-NO. Please see number 1 for further elaboration.
 

Support structures are important. Mum, dad, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins could be a good source of support. If they want to be there for you, allow them to be.
 

Forgive yourself too. You also make mistakes. It’s okay. Do what is best for you. (As long as you are not trespassing the laws of Allah.)
 

Smile. It eases the burdens of the heart. Find a reason in yourself to be happy.
 

Pray. Pray a lot. Make Istighfaar and Thikr and read extra Quraan. Read Surah Mujadalah. It serves as a reminder that Allah hears the plea of the women who call unto HIM. Heal your heart. Heal your soul. Use this as a turning point to gain closeness to your Creator.
 

Every woman treads her own path through life. Our choices of how we interact and respond to everything ultimately mould who we are. Ask yourself who it is that you want to be. Grow towards that person and become her, entirely.
 

My journey has led me to explore and delve deeply into redefining who I would like to be as a mother, and as a woman. I see myself as a resilient, hard-working woman who loves her God and herself; A woman who is subservient to Allah and who is happy with the many blessings she has received.
 

I strive every day to be a person who is happy because she knows that Allah has her. When the dark clouds loom overhead, clouding my happiness and sunshine, I try to remember that dark clouds also bring much needed rain. Rain that is needed so that life can continue and flourish.
 
 
 

Mas-oodah Jappie hails from Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a single mum who has been in the radio broadcasting industry for the past 10 years. She is also an educator, life coach,and  motivational speaker.  She is currently the co-founder and facilitator at Baaqiyaatus Saalihaat Impak Tutor Centre, where she assists in educating the future ambassadors of the Ummah.

 
 
 

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