A revert divorcee sister shares her experience and asks, “Why is divorce taboo?”
By Aisha Davies
It is not something everyone likes to talk about much, a taboo and I still wonder, “why?”
I wonder why, when the divorce rate among Muslims in the West and the Middle East is increasing, and not at a snail’s pace.
One in three marriages in America and the UK end in divorce, it’s one in every two in Kuwait.
So what’s the big deal? Why are we seemingly so afraid to approach a topic that was perfectly normal 1,400 years ago?
You might think divorce is contagious the way people respond when you want to talk about it!
“Maybe you should leave that for a sheikh …”
The only “sheikh” I’d leave off talking about divorce for is the creamy, chocolate and peanut butter kind that served in tall glasses.
Nevertheless, what’s the point of this blog? Well, several.
As a divorcee, I’m obviously going through a minor grieving process so my emotions thoughts and feelings are all over the place I suppose … perfectly happy and content one minute and feeling rather alone and melancholy the next. A battle of emotions thoughts and feelings after the end of a relationship and I suppose one could say after the end of a life.
And so the new one begins.
Alone, now … but not without my Lord and children. Venturing into the unknown, not knowing what Allah has planned for me next. I am also very much aware of my status: Revert Sister, divorcee with two kids. That’s how it’ll read on paper when I choose to re-marry. And so I feel like this is now my new burden, my new identity almost. A label against my name I didn’t even dream of ever owning. After all, who enters into marriage expecting a divorce ? Not me. Probably not any of us.
But it happens and it happened to me. Rightly so actually; it was the prescription for an ill marriage after such a long time. There’s hikmah in everything.
So, fast-forward several months. The changes are as follows: I have more independence, several income streams, new experiences and a new circle of friends. On the flip side I have sisters who have completely left me to it, an ex who needs to let go, proposals mostly unwanted and the feeling of loneliness is always jarring.
However, I am well aware I am not a damsel in a tower that needs rescuing. I also don’t expect nor want Prince Charming who doesn’t exist to sweep me off my feet. Au contraire.
What most divorced sisters need, including myself, is to feel that we are normal. No, we don’t need rescuing and to rush into re-marrying; yes, we can be independent; yes, we would still like to have some company with our friends (the ones that make an effort to stick around); yes, we are valuable and realise that our worth isn’t determined by a label or our status; no, we’re not ‘used goods’; and yes, we do deserve to be happy – with or without without a spouse.
We should also be made to feel that we can openly talk about divorce without the look of condemnation on people’s faces or the “poor you, there there” look either.
Jam that hype, as they say.
We don’t need sympathy – sometimes a little empathy goes a long way.
And for those sisters (or indeed brothers) who are in the same predicament, know that you wouldn’t be in the situation you are in if it wasn’t good for you. All the hardship, abuse or mistrust you experienced? Gone. So breathe. Inhale and exhale. Relax. Sit back and look at what is ahead, not what is now behind you. Be positive. Smile, even through your toughest times. Make dua. Pray nawafil salah. Read about and learn the Asmaa al husna. Reconnect with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). Know that He is the only one that can remove you from difficulty and the only one that will bring good to you. Nobody else. They’re mere tools to carry out Allah’s Will for you.
And know dear sisters that you will be tested during your iddat and thereafter. You will have peaks and troughs with emotions and hardships. But you’ll get through it. Once you hit the bottom the only way is up. Be the best you can be for yourself and to yourself. Take up a hobby, get a part time job, start the gym, learn self-defense. Do something you’ve never done before, learn about yourself. Your true likes and dislikes. Be comfortable in your own skin. Be confident. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Divorce needn’t be be the end of the world. When Allah closes one door He opens another.
So my dear divorced sister, step through and see where it takes you.
Trust Allah and enjoy the journey.