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You’re a woman … no more arguments

You’re a woman … no more arguments

A Muslimah shares her experience of getting married and becoming a widow.

By Zuhena Parveen,

Mangalore, India


4 years ago, on this day (Apr 21, 2012), I was told to have a bath early in the morning before fajr and change into the clothes my aunt had ordered me to wear – a new white salwar kameez (traditional dress worn in parts of South Asia). When I asked about its authenticity, whether it was really expected that a bride dress up in white early on her wedding day, I was told that it’s an age-old custom and was reminded not to waste time arguing on silly things.

No more arguments … I was a bride.

After sometime, I was dressed up in my wedding saree and adorned with jewelry. I was entering into a new phase of my life and I was the center of attention. It was my big day – my wedding day! According to people, I was a salafi … too rigid, too strong.

A year later, on June 25, 2013, after the funeral prayer my husband’s body was taken out of the house for burial. I was again told to have a bath. Again, I did not know the reason. Without questioning it, I took my bath and changed into the clothes my mother-in-law said, in a very sad tone, that I should wear; an old simple salwar kameez.

After sometime, the gold that I had worn – earrings, bracelet, chain, and anklets, were taken off. Curtains were drawn and my male cousins were stopped from seeing me. I had entered into the hard version of my life – My Iddah, and I was the center of attention. Next day in the morning, my aunts bought me a set of simple plain white salwars and I was informed to henceforth wear white dresses. When I asked about its authenticity and whether it was really necessary for a widow to dress-up in white, I was told that it’s a custom, so if I didn’t wear them people would talk bad. I was forced to dress-up in a plain white salwar-kameez. It just didn’t feel right to me, but…

No more arguments. I was a widow.

By then I had already realised people have mixed culture into the pure deen of Islam. I also realised that I don’t need a label and I don’t need to pander to a particular group to be a good Muslim. I am a Muslim with no labels attached, and I can respect people and still separate myself from their beliefs. After all …

“Allah wants ease for you and He does not want for you difficulty  …”
(Qur’an 2:185)


About Zuhena Parveen

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