By a concerned sister in Islam
Recently I met someone through a friend. We texted a few times and then decided to meet up in a group so that we could get to know one another in a safe space amongst friends. From the onset we hit things off and he seemed to be the kind of man I could introduce to my children. Yes, you read that right.
I have kids.
I am divorced.
That alone should tell you my struggles.
You see, in the Muslim Indian community, married women are considered ‘used goods’, the scourge of the earth, a disease, despite the fact that our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was ordered by the Almighty to marry a divorced woman as an example to the people around him that there is nothing wrong with this practice:
“…So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished. There is not to be upon the Prophet any discomfort concerning that which Allah has imposed upon him. [This is] the established way of Allah with those [prophets] who have passed on before. And ever is the command of Allah a destiny decreed” (Quran 33:37-38)
Nevertheless, the man in question had no issue with my ‘status’ and certainly no qualms with the fact that I had children. In fact, he enquired regularly about them and wanted to genuinely get to know them. In the presence of my parents, I allowed him to meet my children and he was an instant ‘hit’. They adored him and there was no doubt in my mind that we would all get along well. It was no surprise then, when we both approached the topic of marriage. After all, it was the right thing to do.
What he didn’t know however, was the poor reputation I had earned as a result of my ex-husband’s malicious rumours about me. My ex-husband is, in my opinion, a narcissist. When he realised that he no longer had control over me or my life after we divorced, he went on a malicious spree in the community and accused me of all sorts of indecencies. What shocked me more than anything was the readiness of the community to accept his testimony without any evidence or proof. Again, my brothers and sisters in Islam failed to adhere to the very instructions set out by the Almighty in the Holy Quran. A similar thing had happened to the Prophet’s wife Aishah when she was accused of adultery by the community. Allah addressed the matter such:
“24:11. Verily, those (- hypocrites) who brought the false accusation (against âishah, the wife of the Prophet), are a section of your own people. Do not think this (- incident) to be bad for you, rather it is good for you. (As for the accusers,) every one of them shall receive (his due punishment according to) that which he has accomplished in the form) of sin. As for him (- Abdullâh bin Ubayy bin Salûl) who among them took the principal part thereof (in fabricating and spreading malicious scandal against her) there awaits him a grievous punishment.
24:12. When you heard of this (accusation) why did not the believing men and believing women have a better opinion in respect of their own people and say, ‘This (charge) is an obvious lie?’
24:13. Why did they (- the fabricators of this charge) not bring four witnesses in support of this (accusation of theirs)? Since they failed to produce the (required) witnesses, it is they who are the very liars in the sight of Allâh.
24:16. And why did you not say as soon as you heard of it, ‘It does not behove us to talk like this. Holy are You (O Gracious God). This is a monstrous calumny
24:17. If you are (true) believers (you should bear in mind that) Allâh admonishes you never to repeat such a thing again
24:18. And Allâh explains to you (His) commandments and Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Wise.
24:19. Those who love to spread immorality among the believers, will have a woeful punishment in this world and the next. And Allâh knows while you do not know (the consequences of this evil).
As a result of the malicious rumours that were spread about me, the man in question was unable to convince his parents that I was a good woman and that he knew me to be God-fearing and kind. It was not an easy thing for me to do, but I let this man go. Without his parent’s blessings there’s no way we could have been happy together and I was certainly not going to be the cause of a rift in his family.
I write this piece as a woman who is scarred, not just by an ugly divorce, but by a fickle community. I caution anyone who is thinking of spreading rumours about the honour of a woman by using the following Quranic quote:
O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful (49:12)
You could possibly ruin the happiness of someone you don’t even know. Are you willing to live with that? What would the Almighty think of your actions?