Category Archives: marriage

Convert for Marriage? – Reverts’ identity.

stars storm

 

In May’s edition of Sisters Mag, Anisah Jameel-Hardy talks about turning to Allah for the first time, and having her duas answered in her article “Guidance through the stable door“. The imagery of a sister at rock bottom looking to the stars and realising the proof of the Creator, seeing the signs all around, is a profound one, reminiscent of the story of Ibrahim alayhi salaam as a child (this is one of my children’s favourite bed time stories). As such it has a deeper significance to Muslims.

However what really touched me about her article, is the involvement of her husband in her reversion story.

So many of us reverts knew our husbands before marriage, and feel our husbands were instrumental in leading us to the deen. We feel that we learnt and grew in our Islam together, and both came to an understanding that for the sake of akhirah and to please Allah nikkah was the best way.

But we are also ashamed.

Sometimes we can feel as if our reversion is somehow seen as fake by others, and our reasons for coming to Islam doubted. People often just ask if you knew your husband before marriage. They are not interested in the intricacies, they are not interested in the time you were apart as you knew zina was haram. They just make assumptions, judgments  based on a person that you no longer are.

Then we sometimes stop telling our reversion story. Or leave out and gloss over our husbands’ involvement in it, emphasize the break in our relationships. It is almost as we feel the need to defend or justify ourselves.

Comments such as “what sort of reverts did they show on that tv programme, they all reverted for marriage, not proper reverts, I reverted not having met a single Muslim” are thrown about on facebook and on forums.

Well that’s great for you. However Allah guides who He wills in the ways which He wills. Sometimes haram relationships are the cause of both parties coming to Islam.

Of course you cannot make the halal haram. But there is a difference between trying to do this, and repenting, renewing your intention, and nikkah for the sake of Allah.

So my feelings are that sister Anisah was very brave in telling the world her story. In admitting she wasn’t a saint in jahiliyya. In letting people know she did wrong, and understands she did wrong, but Allah was on her side and answered her duas, and showed her undeniable proof of Islam.

I went through stages in my reversion. First I would tell everyone everything about me, as that was the only identity I knew, and so much of my self was based on jahil things. Then I denied everything about before I was Muslim, pretended it didn’t exist. Alhamdulillah, know I have come to the realisation that although I cannot understand or identify with the girl I was before, although I do not recognise her, she is still me, her experiences still shaped the person who I am now. I will not pretend I was an angel, but I will not rely on her for my identity either.

I guess after 8 years, I have finally found my own identity. Not as a mother or wife, but as me. After not knowing who me was for so long now I know who I am and what I stand for. Alhamdulillah.

InshaAllah due to sister Anisah sharing her story, others will feel more comfortable with their own.

May Allah unite the Ummah and keep us all on the straight path.

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Motivated mindset in marriage

Sayeda Habib’s article on Synergistic living in the April edition of Sisters Mag really got me thinking. She asked readers to consider four questions;

How do I view human beings and the world in general?

Do I go out of my way to ensure I have a positive effect of others?

How much do I notice the effect I have on others?

And

What are three things I can do right now to have a better relationship with people and the world?

lately I have been thinking about motivated mindsets mainly due to a Facebook page called Adnan Inspired. At first I didn’t get it. I even commented on one of his status
“just saying it doesn’t make it true”.
Alhamdulillah he didn’t get offended but replied with hikmah
“these quotes are meant to create a motivated mindset”.
So what is a motivated mindset? how can it effect our lives? And what has it got to do with synergystic living?

Sometimes we let our thoughts run away from us. We let our minds be cloudy or unsettled. We react irrationally or emotionally to things we shouldn’t. But our minds are not us. Our minds are not our essence, they are another part of us, like a limb. Our minds don’t control us, we can control our minds. We can create new synapses and pathways in our brain. Programme it to respond in different ways to events and experiences.

This is the essence of a positive mindset. Basically “fake it ’till you make it!”

When it comes to our relationships, with our spouses, our parents, our children, our in laws, we tend to already have preset reactions to differing types of situation. If our husbands are grumpy, you will deal with it based on your knowledge and experiences of the past times he was grumpy. If your children are upset you will react the way you have learnt calms them down the quickest. But sometimes this may be doing our relationships a disfavour. By being reliant on the past we may make it difficult to move on. Obviously we learn from experience and have to keep that in mind. But we also have to recognise and acknowledge change and effort.

Sometimes children change. For example they become practicing, yet parents still treat them and think of them the same way they did a year ago. In doing so they make the journey their child is going through harder. Instead of supporting them, it may seem like they feel it is only a phase and are just waiting for them to fail and go back to their old lifestyle.

Of course some of this reaction is a safety mechanism. Some of it is a preset reaction to situations based on the person you were before, instead of the person you are trying to be now. To the child it just seems like their parents are against them and don’t believe In them or support them.

We can also do the same thing to our spouses. We know they have good intentions, and are trying to change, but we are on autopilot and just fall in to learnt responses and reactions. As busy mothers and wives there is hardly time for more in depth consideration of our behaviour. But maybe sometimes we are acting on what we think we know, and not what is really happening.

So how can we prevent this?

By going back to the four questions.

How do I view my husband and my life in general?

Take a moment to consider this. Then consider if it is fair. If the actions he has done lately match up to the way you consider him, or if maybe you are viewing him based on the way he acted last year, last month, or when you were newly weds!

Also think of your life. Do you feel generally positive or negative? Can you pinpoint what makes you feel down? What would you like to be different, in your homelife, your worship, your work? Are you proud of your achievements? Do you take enough credit? How often do you allow yourself a pat on the back, and tell yourself you have done well? All these things will help create a healthy positive mindset and a healthy relationship. Never berate yourself too harshly or beat yourself up.

Do I go out of my way to have a positive effect on my husband?

Do you motivate him? Are you appreciative enough of what he tries to do? Could your reactions and behaviour towards him be more positive? Again think of small things you could do. Maybe make more cups of tea! Notice when he is trying, even if he is making a big deal,out of it or breaking the dishes while washing them, or burning a boiled egg, you can still try and have a positive effect on him. Acknowledge his intentions. Encourage him.

How much do I notice the effect I have on my husband?

You are not in control of others behaviour. But you are in control of your own mind and your own behaviour. You can change the way you act, and it is likely if you change the way you act that will have an effect on your interactions with those around you. They may change their responses. So try and notice if you can see any patterns. If you act in a certain way what effect does that have on your husband? If you change that action does it have a better outcome? My dad used to tell me “smile and the whole world will smile with you”. Try it! It is scientifically proven if you are sad and you force yourself to smile your mood improves! When the sun shines it brightens up the day of everyone it shines on! Cheesy I know, but aim to be the sun!

What three things can I do to have a better relationship?

Now you have thought about quite a lot in the first three questions, it may have taken some time. Maybe a few days to learn to notice the effect you have, and to fully contemplate and reflect on your behaviours and mindset. Now it is time to make a change. Now don’t give yourself too much. Think of three small simple things that you could do. Maybe force yourself to smile In the mornings! Maybe put on make up once a week. Maybe count to ten before you speak whe. You are feeling emotional, or saying thank you and jazakallah khayr to your husband more often. And remember don’t beat yourself up. If you find it hard and slip up, it only natural, you are human not superwoman! And old habits die hard! So just tell yourself you will try and do better next time. Focus on successes, not failures, and Inshallah you will soon see your positive mindset Make a difference!

Healing a community

sisters magazine march 2013

When reading this months feature in sisters magazine on Domestic violence and the charities that are trying to work within our communities to combat this, I couldn’t help but reflecting on my own experiences.

Domestic violence is something prevalent in the community I live in. Most recently. on wednesday as sister cam to me asking for help. She was visible worried and distressed. She was also talking to the family support worker at the local children’s centre. After I spoke to her I sent this email to National Zakat FOundation,

Asalaamu alaykum sisters

I hope you and family are in best of health and iman.
A sister came to me today to ask for help, she is in bad situation. She is currently living with her mother in law brother in law husband and kids, and her mum has recently moved in as she had nowhere to live. The mother in law has always been abusive towards her. Her brother in law is a heroin addict and is constantly angry, stealing money, stealing things from the house and selling it. Her husband smokes weed all night and sleeps all day. Her mother in law has told her that she has 2 weeks to leave the house. Her husband said leave, and didnt help her. She has been to council who say they cannot house her go to estate agents. However she hasnt got any deposit and hasnt got access to her own bank account and child benefit.
I was wondering if there is anyway you could help. The sisters name is
Also the family support worker from the childrens centre is constantly facing situations of Muslim women in need of help and support. SHe is not an expert in social work or anything like that, and was requesting a contact number which she could refer people to in cases of need. Is it possible you have a contact that I could give her inshallah?

jazakallah khayr
Naila

alhamdulillah, a brother from National Zakat foundation contacted her the same day.

As a member of the community I do not know how to support these women, I cannot provide for them. I cannot advise their husbands. And for some reason our husbands are reluctant to get involved. Where are the men? Are men only the protectors and maintainers of their own women? and of course when it comes to those women in Palestine, and Syria and Bangladesh then people use the rhetoric “they are raping our sisters and mothers”. But next door your sister is also being raped, in her own home, by the man who is supposed to be her maintainer and protector. You don’t know. If you do know then you feel powerless to stop it. Why is this? where are the men?

Alhamdulillah for the men of NZF who are strong enough to get involved.

As a member of the community I am grateful for NZF and Nour DV, I know that when these women come to me, I have somewhere I can get them the help they need, somewhere who will understand and respect their Islam.

We all give charity abroad, so many people say there are no poor people in our country. But this is not true. There are those who need our help. Our neighbours have rights over us.

May Allah strengthen the Ummah.

Polygamy

Muhammad, A prophet for our time, Karen Armstrong“The Qur’anic institution of polygamy was a piece
of social legislation. It was designed not to gratify
the male sexual appetite, but to correct the
injustices done to widows, orphans, and other
female dependents, who were especially vulnerable.
All too often, unscrupulous people seized
everything and left the weaker members of the
family with nothing… Polygamy was designed to
ensure that unprotected women would be decently
married, and to abolish the old loose, irresponsible
liaisons; men could have only four wives and must
treat them equitably; it was an unjustifiably wicked
act to devour their property… The Qur’an was
attempting to give women a legal status that most
Western women would not enjoy until the
nineteenth century. The emancipation of women
was a project dear to the Prophet’s heart…”

by Karen Armstrong, the best-selling British writer and lecturer on religion, on the issue of Prophets marriages and polygamy in Islam:

Be mindful that…

Be mindful that Shaytan is ever-present in trying to pull you and your spouse apart. He whispers into your ears to say the exact words that will push the hot buttons in your spouse, causing retaliation, and an unfortunate argument

https://www.facebook.com/wivesofjannah

Advice from a sincere sister

Sisters.. I once heard a talk that said when we fight with our spouse we are really fighting(arguing) with Shaytaan since in Islam we have the tools to stop a disagreement escalating into a full blown fight. Insha’Allah take a drink of water, sit down or even excuse yourself and walk away (discuss this as a method together first) and make dua’ah then return..seeking refuge in Allah.

There is no Marital Rape in Islam

Image

That’s it.

There is no concept of marital rape in Islam.

In Islam Rape is a crime of Zina, which refers to extramarital or pre marital sex.

Within marriage there is no extramarital or premarital intercourse by definition.

Therefore there can be no marital zina.

No marital rape.

Zina can also mean other things;

The eyes commit Zina, the hands commit Zina and feet commit Zina and the genitals commit Zina.” (Musnad Ahmad, Hadith no. 4258)

Which means there can be Zina in lustful gazes, thoughts, or without full intercourse.

The word Rape in English is much broader, it refers to “a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent

There is no concept of marriage within this current definition.

However within Islam there can be illegal intercourse within marriage. Such as intercourse during menses, during obligatory fast or intercourse which will harm the woman, due to illness, infection and so on

So although there can be no zina in Islamic marriage. There can be illegal intercourse. Which in English translates as rape.

Still with me?

There can also be assault within an Islamic marriage.

Therefore the man who forces his wife to have sex can be guilty of assault on his wife.

Now, many will be saying a woman should not be refusing her husband, so he shouldn’t have to force her based on the hadith;

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a man calls his wife to his bed, and she refuses to come, the angels curse her until morning comes.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3065; Muslim, 1436.

However this is simplifying the situation and ignoring some other rulings. It has to be understood that out of context the rulings of shariah don’t work. They only work when applied together in its entirety. A demonstration of this is arranged marriages work if the parents are looking out for best interest of kids as per Islam, but if they are more bothered about status and debts and other stuff it doesn’t work for the best of all involved.

firstly –  “al-Fataawa al-Islamiyyah, 3/145, 146 

It is not permissible for a husband to force his wife to do more than she is able to bear of intercourse. If she has an excuse such as being sick or unable to bear it, then she is not sinning if she refuses to have intercourse”

Secondly – This is ignoring the nature of an abuser. That is not the fault of who ever brings the argument that a woman shouldn’t be saying no,as they are normal, reasonable human beings.

In a normal marriage women say no, men say no, neither are upset, the husband who loves his wife and cares about her akhirah wouldn’t be angry with her, as he wouldn’t want the angels to curse her.

In an abusive marriage the husband does not force the woman because she does not give him intercourse. This is a misunderstanding. according to Shariah if the husband wants more sex then the wife they should come to an agreement.

“Because there are no sharee’ah courts nowadays in your country, the wife should try to come to an agreement with her husband on this matter, so she should speak to him frankly and remind him of the verses and ahaadeeth that command the husband to be kind to his wife. She should explain to him that she is only refusing because of the harm that is being caused to her, and that she is very keen to obey him and respond to his desires.”

and often women in abusive marriages do go willingly to their husbands. That is why they are still in the marriage. Because they want to make it work. They are trying. They love their husbands. They try everything, even making agreements with a man who is forcing them to have sex on how often they will be intimate.

This will not stop a rapist raping his wife. Even if she had consensual intercourse with him a few hours previously, he will still force her, hold her down. There is no concept of the woman responding to his call, as he will not even call, or give her a chance to respond. He will just take what he wants.

He will not do this out of desire that is natural. He will do this out of a desire to control, humiliate,  degrade, make his wives life difficult. Rape is not a crime of passion.

Will you say then the woman is sinful as she didn’t fulfil her husbands rights willingly?

and we have to remember The husband has to fear Allaah with regard to his wife, and not make her do more than she is able to do. He should be kind to his wife and treat her in a reasonable manner.

In the Prophet sallalahu allayhi wa salaams last sermon He sas emphasised good treatment of women, in his last days he wanted his Ummah to remember;

“Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah.”

and he sallalahu allayhi wa salaam also said

The most perfect amongst the believers in faith is one who has the best manners and best of you are those who are best to their wives.”

(Musnad Ahmad)

So how does the treatment of ones wives when a man forces her to have sex come in to agreement with the above hadith?

Also, we need to educate men a bit about female anatomy. This may be offensive but;

“When we turn to our own classical works, we find that sexual conduct has been mentioned in
numerous books. Every single work of fiqh has chapters related to sex. Every explanation of
hadith, every tafsir of the Qur’aan, must by its very nature deal with matters pertaining to sexuality. Additionally, throughout our own fourteen centuries of tradition and history, there have been
many books written to help couples find more meaningful relationships and increase sexual pleasure within marriage. These works are many times quite explicit, but hardly ever crude or vulgar.
And I believe that we can learn much from their language and style.”

http://d1.islamhouse.com/data/en/ih_books/single/en_Like_A_Garment.pdf

So, a woman does not walk around in a state with a gap between her thighs. There is a closed wall of muscle there. If it is forced open it will hurt and bruise. Even if a man forcing his wife does not leave bruises and marks externally, and one says, she has not been harmed by my actions, there are no marks on her, the act of forcing a woman who is not ready or prepared will harm her and bruise her internally.

That is not even considering the emotional affect on the woman. In Islam a woman’s fitrah is to be emotional. Emotions effect the woman’s ability to do things in ways they don’t effect a mans.

So, there is no Marital rape in Islam.

for further info read http://islamqa.info/en/ref/9602

http://www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/we-believe-you-campaign-rape-myths-busted

if you are a muslim woman being effected by Domestic violence, please contact Nour DV http://nour-dv.org.uk/ or national zakat foundation http://www.nzf.org.uk/ if you contact me on fb I can put you in contact with people in these organisations if you like.

Do not suffer in silence, we are one Ummah, you are my sister, if you hurt I hurt too.Image

p.s Although the legal definition of rape and assault has changed with time, and marital rape was only criminalised recently in the west, marital assault and being good to your wife have always been important parts of Islam. Islamic standards do not change according to time or the changing whims of society, but remain constant inshallah.

EDIT: can someone please let me know who shared this article on twitter? I would like to say thanks!

She follows your lead!!

SIncere and heartfelt advice to the brothers from a performance poet and supporter of Nour DOmestic Violence, Abdullah Shariff.

Standing up against all the accusations of the immorality of women these days, and the lack of Muslim Queens.

subhanAllah, this had me in tears, it is so true, a lot of it I can identify with.
https://www.facebook.com/abdullahshariffpoetry

“Like a grown up kids?” – The burden of husbands.

In every marriages there is ups and downs, periods of adjustment, getting used to each others habits, new situations, changing surroundings.

Some Muslimahs get themselves in the situation in which they think that having a husband is a burden; “It is like having a grown up kid”. They feel the needs and demands of their husband along with the inability of their husbands to help them out, and do simple tasks like clean up after themselves or pick their clothes off the floor, increases their work load. Instead of being a support and comfort and companion, they are a burden. Instead of helping, they make things more difficult and add to a woman’s never ending “to do” list.

Then sometimes the Shaytaan takes hold, the woman thinks that life may be easier if she didn’t have an extra person to feed and clean up after, and organise. That things would be simpler, get done more quickly and to her standards, life would be easier.

But what is the reality? Would it really be easier?

We all know that being a single parent is hard work, and every woman who makes the decision to become one doesn’t take it lightly. Every woman has to make the decision that is right for her, and they know how much they can take.

But for those who are pondering their life, their desires, what they want from their future take a moment to think and be grateful.

It all comes down to would it be pleasing to Allah for you to be single? Would being single benefit your Islam, your deen, your imaan?

Whatever the faults that you may perceive your husband to have, does he increase your ilm, prevent fitnah from harming you, preserve your chastity?

Would you have the same amount of time to study Islam, go to classes or do whatever you do? Or would you have to focus on working, and doing the stuff you need to just get by.

These are all reasons to be grateful. Preserving ones chastity is a reason to marry, so of course it is a reason to stay married.

Don’t entertain the whispers. Don’t dwell on the thoughts that come in to your head.

Alhamdulillah alla kulli hal

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