Tag Archives: Nikah

Zainab bint Younis – 10 Things I Learned from my Ex

10-things-i-learned-from-my-ex

Taken from aboutislam.net website – http://aboutislam.net/family-society/husbands-wives/10-things-learned-ex/

Whether it’s sprung on you suddenly, or it’s been creeping up on you for a while; whether it’s something you needed for yourself or something you never wanted… divorce is a difficult experience to go through. It is a painful process with a deep emotional toll, and for many, it can (understandably) be the source of a great deal of anger and bitterness towards one’s ex-spouse.

However, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us that there’s always a silver lining to even the darkest of clouds in our lives.

“How amazing is the affair of the believer! Verily, all his affairs are good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good befalls him, he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him.” (Saheeh Muslim #2999)

In the months after my divorce, both celebrating and mourning the end of a chapter of my life, I realized that my marriage and divorce alike were a learning experience. To that end, I offer the following ten things I learned from my ex-husband.

1) I am beautiful. When I first got married, I was both incredibly young and crippling insecure about myself. For the longest time, I had been a tomboy and a late bloomer; by the time I hit my mid-teens, I was already insecure about how I looked.

It took quite a bit of convincing from my then-husband for me to eventually believe that I was, in fact, pretty – and more than that, beautiful. Marriage gave me the freedom to explore aspects of beautification that I had avoided out of awkwardness, and to develop positive self-image. I will always appreciate and be grateful for the fact that my ex was the one who coaxed me out of my shell and made me comfortable with myself.

2) Being flawed doesn’t make you evil. By the time I recognized that my marriage was toxic, I had come to resent my then-husband. Often, I conflated his flaws and faults with him as a person, and had some very unpleasant things to say about him. It was a struggle to realize and remember that he wasn’t evil; he had his own inner demons and baggage that he was wrestling with, and while it didn’t excuse his behavior, it didn’t mean that he was all bad. It just made him painfully human… like me.

3) Just because it isn’t true love, doesn’t mean it isn’t love. I spent a great deal of time conflicted over the nature of my feelings for him. As his wife, wasn’t I supposed to be truly in love with him? How could I think that I loved him, when I knew that I wasn’t going to be spending the rest of my life with him?

While we grow up hearing about how we’ll meet our one true love, nobody really tells you that sometimes, you’ll find yourself loving someone who isn’t your one true love… and that’s okay. Allah has put you in that situation for a reason, and it is very often a blessing. There are many more types and shades of love than we are taught, and it is a blessing to experience them.

4) Unrequited love is painful even for the one who doesn’t love you back. Perhaps one of the worst feelings I ever experienced was knowing that he loved me more than I loved him in return. It was brutal, it was harsh, and it made me feel like the worst person on earth. It’s the unrequited lover who usually gains everyone’s sympathy – the story of Barirah and Mughith is quite apt – but to know that you aren’t the right person for the one who loves you with all his (or her) heart, is an incredibly painful feeling, especially when you do care about them deeply.

5) Remember the good, not just the bad. There’s an infamous hadith that mentions women who become so upset that they forget the good that has happened to them. Having been in a situation where it was tempting – and easy – to overlook the bright spots in favor of brooding on the dark times, I can say that gratefulness to Allah goes a long way in healing painful hurts.

Even in deeply unhappy situations, there can still be moments of small happiness, little joys and pleasant memories; things to think back to and smile about (even if that smile is a little sad). Don’t let the bitterness completely overcome the traces of sweetness left.

6) You don’t stop caring just because you’re divorced. My marriage ended slowly and agonizingly, and my divorce was painful… to be horribly honest, it was probably worse for him than it was for me. Yet although I was elated and relieved to be divorced, I wasn’t able to stop caring for him entirely.

After years of being together, of a relationship that was unique despite its turbulence, it’s impossible to just throw out the feelings of tenderness and compassion and to feel apathetic. Even though we are Islamically non-mahram to each other and will have minimal contact for the rest of our lives, there will always be a part of me that worries about him and hopes that he will be really, truly happy. The heart doesn’t have an on/off switch, so don’t expect it to.

7) Don’t be tempted. Some nights, when you wake up suddenly in the middle of the night and roll over in search of a warm, comforting body, you’ll realize with a lurch that they aren’t there anymore.

Some days, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about what if… what if you went back and things would change? What if you want to stay in touch with him/her and you’ll find that s/he’s not so bad, after all? Don’t go there. In many cases (I would venture to say most), the person you divorced is going to be the same person they were when you were married. Unless you both actively choose and commit to try again, with marriage counseling and a firm decision to resolve the issues that caused your marriage to end in the first place, don’t be tempted to fantasize about Happily Ever After, with the same person. Instead, trust in Allah that He will give you both what you actually need.

8) Toxic relationships are real. Unfortunately, few of us learn about – or how to identify – toxic relationships in the many lectures and books we’ll devour prior to marriage. However, it is something necessary to learn about, in order to be aware of unhealthy behavioral patterns that may emerge in your marriage, whether it’s coming from you or from your spouse. It doesn’t matter what cultural background you’re from, toxic relationships are real and can become worse – even abusive – if not recognized and dealt with as soon as possible.

Some people conflate sabr (patience) with enduring an unhealthy marriage without striving for resolution or positive change, but the Qur’an describes the marital bond as being one of love, mercy, and compassion. A marriage that lacks these qualities can be detrimental to one’s Imaan (faith), and should not be left to fester.

divorce-heart9) It won’t always end well. Sometimes, even if we really want to have the kind of amicable divorce where everyone conducts themselves with politeness and respect and maybe even friendly cooperation… it’s not so easy for the other party to share that vision – and sometimes, it’s just impossible.

Whether you’re the one who initiated the divorce or the one who received the news of it, the pain and inner torment of it all can be too much to shelve away neatly and go on as though none of it matters. Some of us are able to acknowledge our emotions and move on, and some of us aren’t. It can get nasty, it can get even more painful, but at the end of the day, we have to realize that as much as it would be much more convenient for things to go smoothly between you and your former spouse… it just might never reach the point of being an amicable divorce.

Once again, this is a time to turn to Allah and make du’a for the other person (even if we really, really don’t like them right now) that He ease their pain and yours.

10) Divorce can make you a better person. The struggles – and the good times – that you shared with your ex-spouse all took place for a reason. Allah tests those whom He loves, and divorce is just one of those trials and tribulations in life that we can emerge from as stronger Muslims and better people.

Not only are we given the opportunity to turn to Allah with a broken heart and find healing in the Words of al-Shaafi, the Healer, but we are now equipped with life skills that will help us recognize our own faults and shortcomings. We are also, inshaAllah, better able to understand and empathize with the ex-spouse, which is an excellent reminder of the importance of humbleness and forgiveness (and how hard they both are to truly embody).

Divorce is undoubtedly a difficult, unpleasant life experience and there’s no way to really put a positive spin on it… but there are ways to recognize the blessings that accompany every fitnah in life and to benefit from them, knowing them to be a part of the journey to Jannah, inshaAllah.

{Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you?} (Qur’an 2:214)

A Muslim Guy’s Take On The Muslim Marriage Crisis

An interesting and thoughtful take on the Muslim marriage crisis affecting the Muslims of the west, especially those who pursue their career over other aspects of their life.

Gingerbeardman

From middle-path.come blog –  https://middle-path.com/2016/09/13/a-muslim-guys-take-on-the-muslim-marriage-crisis/

So recently I was surfing through the net and came across various articles on what many have termed as the “Muslim Marriage crisis”, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a growing phenomenon of marriageable age Muslims in the West who are increasingly finding it difficult to search for compatible marriage partners in what many perceive to be a lack thereof.

This phenomenon has specifically affected our Muslim sisters the most as there is an ever increasing number of highly educated and successful Muslim women in their late 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s who are intelligent, beautiful, and financially independent, holding down professional careers on their own; all qualities which should make them attractive prospects for Muslim men, yet they make up the great majority of the demographic affected by the Muslim Marriage crisis.

Why is that the case? Many have suggested that it’s due to a lack of equally qualified Muslim men, or that Muslim men are intimidated by outspoken and, what they view as “overly qualified” Muslim women who were raised to think independently in a society that espouses individualism, and thus avoid proposing to them all together and instead go abroad to their home countries where they marry “submissive” women who are still in their youthful prime. Many also believe that Muslim men marrying outside their faith (which Islamically is allowed as long as it’s with a chaste Christian or Jewish woman) is only exacerbating the crisis by depriving single Muslim women of potential spouses and decreasing the already small pool of available Muslim men.

As a Muslim guy, I do believe it’s unfair to pin the entire blame for this marriage crisis on to us men as we Muslims must avoid generalizing one another if we are going to get anywhere in terms of finding a solution.

However that does not mean I am absolving Muslim men of the consequences of their actions which have contributed to the marriage crisis and thus I will address that which applies and I will rebuke that which is generalisation at best.

It is true that in the West significant numbers of Muslim men are marrying outside their faith. And I say “significant” because even though it might not seem like it to some, however in comparison to the crisis at hand it is a game changer as the disparity between the number of available single Muslim women and single Muslim men is very large and increasing. For every one Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman, there is one more Muslimah who loses a chance of finding a Muslim husband.

Of course, many brothers will view this as an attack on their right to marry women of the Book and in response will say “oh, but Islam permits Muslim men to marry women of the book”. And I’m not suggesting that marrying chaste women of the book is haram because obviously what Allah (SWT) made permissable none can declare haram. However Muslim men must understand the repercussions of their individual choice to marry outside their religion and how this puts Muslim women at a disadvantage since Islam does not permit a Muslimah to marry outside her faith, thus leaving these sisters struggling to find a spouse.

Another point that ties into the above is that today’s “women of the book” are not the same as the women of the book from the time of RasulAllah (SAW) who dressed and conducted themselves no differently from Muslim women, like guarding their chastity and wearing hijab like loose garments. But since the sexual “revolution” and the three waves of Feminism in the West, where Christians are the majority, a chaste woman is now looked upon as being “sexually repressed” and pre-marital sex and sexual promiscuity is widely encouraged for both genders in every Western country. A single Muslim woman of any age group is still far more likely to be chaste and God fearing compared to today’s “women of the book” whom so many Muslim men marry (or get into illicit relationships with). And since we Muslim men make a big fuss about virginity to our Muslim sisters I think it’s very hypocritical that we then run to tie the knot with non-Muslim women who are more likely to have a promiscuous past.

Also, since the advent of Feminism in the West, men are no longer the sole heads of household with women now holding an equal or greater sway over family affairs such as the religion (or lack thereof) of their children. So in the present context where these factors now come into play, interfaith marriages between Muslim men and today’s “women of the book” are strongly discouraged even by some Muslim scholars due to the greater likelihood of the offspring not having a strong Islamic identity. Thus it is safe to conclude that from the perspective of the Muslim community’s long term interest it is better for Muslim men to marry women from within their own community.

Brothers need to understand that there is nothing wrong with marrying an older Muslimah as long as she is pious, practicing, and God fearing. It’s not fair to our 25 and older sisters that they should be condemned to a life of lonliness due to their age  but these sisters must also be more open to marrying someone younger than them because there are brothers out there who are willing to marry older and much more mature Muslimahs but often get turned down because of their age as well. So it is a two way street which will require compromise from both sides.

Coming to the other point regarding Muslim men being “intimidated” by professional Muslim women and thus avoid proposing to them, I believe this is a nonsensical claim. This might be true for some men, but overall this notion is completely false and I’ll explain why in the following:

Saying that Muslim men are somehow “intimidated” is to imply that they are inherently weak or too cowardly to take up the challenge of marrying a “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” (in the Western sense) Muslim woman which again is completely untrue.

Men, on the contrary, don’t view any such woman who gives priority to her professional life as a potential wife/mother because there is no way such a woman will be able to juggle between full time work as a professional and fulfilling her obligations as a wife and mother (if/when she has children). Either she will have to give up her professional life as a career woman to make time for having and raising children (which will require all of her time and effort) or she will have to forgoe marriage. No practicing Muslim man wants his children raised by nannies and daycares. In Islam, the purpose of getting married and building a family is to bond with one another and to help each other become better Muslims and raise a whole new generation of Muslim children instilled with Taqwa, NOT replace one another with complete strangers nor to be part time parents. Today many of our sisters have been duped into believing that they can live the single life of a career woman while also being a wife and mother. This is in fact out of touch with reality. The traditional role of a father and husband has always been that of the protector and maintainer of the family, which is even clearly stated in the Quran (4:34). And Muslim men are still expected to fulfill this role, but Muslim women no longer feel obligated to fulfill their role as devoted mothers and wives but would rather chase the life of a career woman in order to compete with men in the job market under the false notion of “gender equality”, even to the detriment of their own offspring should they have any. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a Muslimah holding down a professional career, but if it’s getting in the way of raising her children to be practicing Muslims of good character, then from the point of view of Islam’s long term interests as well as her individual well being both in this Dunya as well as the Akhira it is better for her to reduce her work days (if possible) or quit her job all together if necessary, because the children are the priority and as their mother only she is biologically well tuned to raising them and indoctrinating them with the Islamic way of life. No one else, not even the father can fulfill the role of the mother, which is why the father must do his part as the breadwinner of the family (Quran, 4:34).

Coming to the notion that there is a “lack” of “qualified” Muslim men, here too I strongly disagree. But before I explain my reason for disagreeing I believe it is very important to define what “qualified” means from the perspective of the sisters pushing this notion: their definition of “qualified” resembles something out of a Hollywood romantic comedy (or Bollywood if you’re Desi), except its the Muslim version; wherein their Prince charming is young and handsome yet he’s somehow managed to achieve so much success and wealth in his young life but also has all the free time on his hands to give her his undivided attention and make her laugh every second of her life, not to mention he’s religious, faithful, God fearing and extremely pious and has a beard yet he’s liberal enough to allow his wife the freedom to do as she pleases; the so called perfect balance between “Deen and Dunya” as they call it. And if any brother proposing falls short of any of these requirements then he’s considered “under-qualified” or “lacking”. If the brother is religious and God fearing then he’s “too strict” and not “liberal enough”. If he’s liberal then the complaint is that he doesn’t lower his gaze and is “too loose” around other women. If he’s young and still working on building his career then “he’s not making enough” and thus “not financially ready”(after all, someone’s gotta pay for the extravagant wedding so she can impress her friends and relatives, and that’s besides the exorbitant dowry). And if he’s old and accomplished then the complaint is that he’s “too old” and “too consumed” with work to give his wife the quality time she desires. All of this is excluding the separate demands of the parents of these sisters.

So, is there really a lack of “qualified Muslim men”?? Or rather, it’s more likely that these “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” single Muslimah’s turned down every decent proposal that came their way either because the brother wasn’t “good enough” or because these sisters wanted to continue to pursue their degrees in order to obtain a professional career, and thus postponed marriage. And after having achieved their professional goals these sisters then will not settle for what they consider “less”. Often times their professional qualifications bring about a superiority complex within them wherein they believe they now deserve Mr Perfect, but become dumbfounded when they realize no Muslim man is proposing to them.

This mountain of demands makes it difficult for the vast majority of young Muslim men who are of working class background to propose to these single sisters because more often than not their proposals are turned down due to failure to meet one or more of the impossible demands made by either the sisters themselves or their family. This leads to a pattern of Muslim men avoiding proposing to these sisters which then contributes to the notion that there is a “lack” of “qualified” Muslim men.

Having surfed through enough articles on this marriage crisis I have noticed a common trend in all of them where the brothers are shamed for marrying younger wives from back home and those doing the shaming will use the example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s marriage with Khadija (RA) as a weapon against these brothers, yet how many people will shame these “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” Muslim women for refusing to marry younger brothers from a lower social class  due to their weak financial status or lack of certain educational qualifications? After all, Khadija (RA) married the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was illiterate and only earned enough to support himself. Or do the proponents of shaming the brothers conveniently neglect to mention this? if so then why the double standards?

Finally, I would like to address the role of the parents in contributing to this marriage crisis. Many parents raise their children to pursue superficial goals in life and often times postpone their marriages more than necessary until they obtain a certain degree or get a specific job and make a specific salary, wasting their child’s valuable years of vitality and fertility. And when it comes time for marriage, here too the parents will encourage their children to have a long list of superficial demands of what they should seek in potential suitors, leading to the turning down of many decent proposals that come their way.

Unfortunately many Muslims have swallowed the Western Liberal concept of “individualism” hook, line, and sinker wherein they give their individual desires priority over the well being of the Muslim community and its future and no longer feel obligated towards the strengthening and preservation of the Muslim community. And thus today the Muslim Ummah is faced with a barrage of growing problems including the marriage crisis, something that was completely unheard of in the history of Islam.

MENDING BROKEN HEARTS | MUHAMMAD TIM HUMBLE

Superb advice from Ustadh Muhammad Tim Humble, one of the few people of knowledge out there speaking in English who understands the psychological differences between men and women and how they affect marriage,

Rather than just dealing with marriage as a long list of do’s and don’ts based upon rights and responsibilities as many speakers unfortunately do.