It’s 3:00 am and my heart is pounding out of my chest. My sweaty palms begin to perspire rapidly and my body stiffens under my blue patterned blankets.
I can feel my breathing pattern increase, as I face the reality of my current circumstance. I am thirty-six and divorced.
Divorce is an extremely painful experience, as divorce is the death of a dream. The dream of a loving, intact family that is every woman’s deepest longing.
How did I get here?
I was raised by two convert Muslim parents in Central New Jersey and I dreamed about my wedding day since I was a little girl.
I thought marriage would be easy, as I saw this fairy tale continuously played out across my television screen and I watched marital couples navigate their realm with ease as a child.
My parents were a perfect example of what I perceived as a blissful union. They took us on family vacations and lavished us with happy memories during my childhood. In all honesty, marriage – to me seemed easy and natural.
When my wedding day arrived, I knew this meant my new reality would begin. I would be a devout Muslim wife. I would follow every guideline in Islam to ensure my success.
“That is the command of Allah, which He has sent down to you; and whoever fears Allah – He will remove for him his misdeeds and make great for him his reward.” (Holy Quran, Ch. 65, verse 5)
When Reality Hits..
It was a gloomy Sunday morning when the word “talaq” was officially pronounced by my husband. This happened after years of trying to identify the root cause of countless disagreements and disharmony.
The dissolution of the marriage wasn’t a complete shock, but the reality of navigating this unfamiliar realm was daunting.
For Muslim women, figuring out how to live a post-divorce life can be very challenging. Divorced women in the Muslim community are often isolated and stigmatized as a result of their change in marital status.
According to the American Psychological Association, about half of the marriages in the US end in divorce. Second marriages have higher rates.
What Does Islam Recommend?
Overall, it is a fundamental belief held by Muslims that “the most hated permissible act,” stemming from the hadith:
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: ‘The most hated of permissible things to Allah is divorce.’
However, it is essential to mention that during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) divorce, remarriage, and marrying divorcees and widows was a regular part of Islamic culture and widely accepted as a normal part of life.
My New Reality Post Divorce
As a Muslim woman and mother, I face the day-to-day challenges of navigating my new reality without my spouse. At times, it feels surreal to go home alone and not have a partner to navigate life with.
I struggle with making decisions for my children and running an entire household alone. I struggle with the emotional pain and loss of someone I deeply loved.
The reality of navigating life post-divorce for Muslim women can be isolating, as we experience stigma and shifts in our relationships with other married friends. We now seek a new village and the feeling of loss is magnified and intensified, as each meaningful relationship begins to shift.
Divorce is the ultimate lifestyle change, as you no longer think or feel the same about anything. We struggle with continuing to raise our children, while navigating our intense pain and heartbreak.
Ultimately, divorce is permissible and Allah offers a solution for every pain and heartbreak. During this trial and test, we are able to identify tools to reconnect to Allah (SWT).
The promise of paradise and forgiveness for a Muslim’s patience during times of trial is our ultimate gift, as Allah’s says in the Qur’an;
“Peace be upon you for what you patiently endured. And excellent is the final home.” (13:24)