Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
The big fat D-word. It’s probably the ugliest seven-letter word that I’ve come across. Well, besides the ones I sometimes used in my mind, but, well… let’s not go there.
And the effects of divorce are loathsome. Divorce breaks up families. It stirs up ill-feelings. It creates dysfunctional kids. A divorce is never easy.
And although the very notion of it was still detestable to me, I could not help but think that this was exactly where it was leading. The surprising fact now was that it wasn’t for the reasons that I thought it would be. Shabeer taking on another wife was never the problem. Although it was never my idea of a perfect marriage, I had accepted it and hoped for the best.
And I know that polygamy, or polygyny, more specifically, for most women is a detestable thing. Infidelity, though brushed under the rug, has become ironically, more acceptable. When at one stage having multiple wives was a common tradition and a norm, as society became more ‘westernised’, religious traditions that had been observed by the Prophets of the past and even regular people right up till the twentieth century have now became ‘unacceptable’.
And the fact that it was part of my beautiful religion too, like many others, didn’t mean that it was easy. Sharing your husband. I mean, I’d been there. But if you have the kind of husband who is willing to make it work, the way it should be done… I think that half your battle is won. The other half is trying to weather those feelings of jealousy and inadequacy that sometimes surface.
And then of course, there is a chance that your husband will have no idea what he is getting himself into. He doesn’t understand the responsibility. He lives only for that moment of artificial attraction… lured by the idea of an enhanced marital life that will somehow fix everything.
It was a rough life when your husband doesn’t know how to be fair. When he doesn’t fulfil your rights the way he is supposed to. Always feeling compromised in a marriage…
And I supposed that it boiled down to being content. For both of us. I often wondered how things would have turned out, if instead of pushing to lose those extra kilos and be in with the fitness crowd, I had concentrated on my failing marriage. I mean, I had seen the signs. Because I wasn’t content… seeing other women accomplished and living the ‘perfect life’ on social media, I was chasing an unachievable dream. I was chasing an illusion… Until I saw the light for a fleeting moment before I skunk back into my rut of being ridiculous all over again.
What baffled me most was how I could sit on social media, scrolling through a strangers ridiculous feed with links that lead to another link and another link… and then you just have to keep clicking on more and more and accumulating more junk information and insecurities that you never cared about getting in the first place. And then you feel guilty about wasting all that time from the onset, and start feeling all completely out of whack because that person you were reading about has such a great life and you’re still stuck watching them with a nagging child literally tugging off your clothes. I wasn’t sure why it kept happening to me, but if I gave my much needed devotions the same kind of attention, I knew that I wouldn’t be in the same sick state of soul that I was in right then.
The Prophet advised his Ummah (nation) to have contentment when he said: “If you are content with what Allah has given you, you will be the richest person.”
Contentment, huh? Maybe I just felt that I needed something to keep me going all the time. The secret to happiness. Contentment was something I didn’t have… until I learnt that it was to do with the richness of the soul that I was constantly fighting to attain.
So back to the point of my chase for content, let me tell you something about Shabeer. He is not the perfect husband. Even before he had taken Hannah in Nikah, he never was. He didn’t even come close. He’s selfish. He’s obnoxious. Sometimes he’s just downright hurtful. But… despite all this, I could not control my heart.
I know that you’d probably laugh at me, but if anyone had to ask me why on earth I took him back… I can tell you right now: I really don’t know.
I mean, it’s not like I was doing anything wrong, but he had left me for weeks with four kids, and not even a phone call to keep me going. He had done it completely wrong. He had betrayed me on a level that was way beyond just marrying someone else.
But it was a weak moment. Maybe I felt sorry for him. Maybe.. just maybe… I thought that he would see it as an appealing side of me, and fall all hopelessly in love with me all over again. Maybe I thought it could really work. Like, really.
I sound like Mary Poppins, I know.
But seriously, I was a romantic kind of girl and at that time when I met him, Shabeer did it for me. He made the cut. He did the the functions, the romance.. whatever it took. The only problem was, he wasn’t present. Not with me. He loved all the attention and glam that went with it all, but behind closed doors… I was always left feeling a little at a loss.
I would have loved to have the kind of doting husband who gave me and my kids all the time in the world. I would have been ecstatic if I was blessed with a saint-like husband that was devoted and helped me to the be the best too. But Allah knows why we choose something that sometimes doesn’t feel like the best choice in retrospect.
And of course, I was so glad that for Adam.. it was the complete opposite. Allah had picked the perfect partner for him.. a partner that would not only see the best in him, bring out the best in him… but also helped him to be the best person that he could be. I was in awe of how the two of them understood each other, compromised for each other, and saw each other’s soul in a way that I could only wish I had with Shabeer.
She had a selflessness about her that I just couldn’t digest, and I was so grateful that she had come in to literally save me that day.
And of course, as I heard my mothers voice in the upstairs passage while I lay in bed that Friday night, feeling all hollow inside, I was honestly panicking.
Now since you guys kind of know my mother inside out… Well, kind of… You probably have caught onto the fact that me and her.. Well… We just don’t along. And I’m not even exaggerating. Every single time I’ve ever tried to talk to my mother, it’s always ended up as some kind of uncontrolled world war three in the house.
We just do not see eye to eye. I actually could not even believe that she gave birth to me. Some days, I could swear that I was adopted from another mother. Actually, when I was younger, that’s what I kind of hoped.
At least that would mean that I was wanted.
”How are you feeling, Rubeena?”
That was my father. A sweet old man who asked the things a normal father asked. No big eyes. No harsh accusations. No drama.
I loved him to bits.
I nodded and smiled. I couldn’t exactly tell him that I felt like there was a ton of bricks raining on me, could I?
Besides, he looked like he was having a good day. Well, as good as a day that anyone could have, living with my mother. I didn’t want to spoil it.
“Mums here,” I said, stating the obvious. I didn’t even hear them come in.
He nodded and raised his eyebrows.
“How is she?” I asked carefully, trying to ascertain the mood today.
When I’m in my room, I could never hear what was going on downstairs. Sometimes I was grateful for that, because it meant I could unintentionally ignore the screams of my bantering children, with no guilt at all. It was bliss.
“You know your mother,” my father said, non-committally. “She’s not in the best of moods. This morning we had a big fight about the renovation she wanted to do on the kitchen….”
Gosh. Another renovation? My mother really took the trophy for most cosmetic renovations in the least amount of time.
”And now she’s taking it out on my poor daughter-in-law…”
My father got up slowly to go back down, hopefully to kill any tension, and I took a deep breath to steady myself. I didn’t even ask him more. I felt like there was a tangled up knot in my tummy now. I felt bad for Khawlah, and of course, Dayyaan chose the perfect moment to literally run in and take a giant leap-bounce on the bed, almost kicking my head off in the process.
Honestly, the boy was getting out of control. Completely.
“What the hell is wrong with you?!” I screamed, reaching out to smack him… clean across the face.
The smack was painfully audible, and I saw him flinch as it was administered. He just looked straight back at me stubbornly, with his narrowed eyes, almost like he was only broken inside. Not even a single tear escaped his eye as he jumped off the bed and calmly walked out my room, leaving me in just a slightly enhanced state of despair.
I closed my eyes, the guilt now overtaking. Oh, the guilt.
And I knew that these behavioural problems were because of me. Us. While Danyaal has remained pretty unaffected, due to some miracle and spending the least amount of time at home… Dayyaan and Zia had been literally tipping me over the edge. All of these challenges had only started when Shabeer had come back, and I knew that all the arguing and bickering with Shabeer being here would do no good for the kids. I just wasn’t sure if a separation was the ultimate solution.
My tummy was, all of a sudden, feeling weird as I stressed about how I was going to work this all out. I had a lot of decisions to make and it was scaring me. Was I damaging my children permanently? Was divorce really the best option?
I put my thoughts on hold as I realised that I was due for a bathroom trip, and of course, it was right then that my mother chose to walk in.
“Rubeena,” my mother’s voice said acidly. I could already tell she wasn’t thrilled, “What is going on? Is something wrong?”
“What is she doing here?” She asked, with a frown. “And her friend. Two girls alone downstairs, Rubeena. I don’t trust them.”
I rolled my eyes internally. It would have been too obvious to do it literally.
“Khawlah’s here to help me, mum,” I said, sounding tired. “I’m pregnant and I’ve asked Shabeer to leave. Anything else?”
If my mother’s mouth could have dropped open wider, I’m sure a tennis ball might have fit in there. I had a feeling she had more to say, but I had shocked her out of it. It was the first time in my life that I had been so straight with her… so brutally honest. And it was about a time she knew the truth too.
“You asked him leave?!” She yelled, when she finally recovered. “Are you mad?! He’s rich and good looking. Shabeer is every women’s dream! You’re literally throwing him away to the dogs!”
“Let them have him,” I retorted, unfazed.
Now he was every women’s dream? How even?
“Why didn’t you call me?” She asked now, finally saying what she needed to. “If you needed help, I’m your mother. Why can’t you tell me?! I’m family.”
”Khawlah is also family, mum,” I said instantly. “And no matter how much you don’t want to accept it, the more I will remind you of it.”
Because annoying the crap out of my mother gave me a weird sense of satisfaction.
But of course I didn’t say that. I wanted to live.
“Hmph!” She said, turning her face away to show me a point. I honesty didn’t have the energy to argue with her right now. If she wanted to be upset, she was really welcome to be. She looked like she was about to walk out and I got up, hoping to pursue that much needed trip to the bathroom.
But of course, my mother was one in a million. Even when she was angry, she knew exactly how to rub it in. She could never be ignored. She stayed put and glared at me, while I put my bedroom slippers on, trying to remain oblivious to her death stare.
”Tell her to leave,” my mothers icy voice said.
I blinked in surprise. This time, my mother had really lost it.
“Tell her!” My mother pressed, standing up and putting her hands on her hips bossily.
I shook my head and frowned.
“Ma, I’m not in a state to deal with-“
”I’m here now Rubeena!” She practically screamed. “This is not for everyone to see and talk about! They’ll just make fun and then the whole world will know that Shabeer left you! And then I… and you… you’ll be so embarrassed.”
I raised my eyebrows. I was sure that there was more to this. This had nothing to do with my embarrassment. It was all about her.
“Just tell her to leave or I will!” she snapped
Oh goodness. My mother was really something else. And all this time, my bladder was taking the toll.
”Okay, okay!” I said hastily, really annoyed. “Just let me use the bathroom and I’ll speak to her. Just… wait. Don’t move!”
I had to be clear with my mother, before she took things into her own hands. Why was it that only I get into predicaments like this? Was there a sticker on my forehead saying “guilt me… I’m easy”? Maybe I took things too personally.
And of course, as I contemplated the words I would use to tell Khawlah to leave, I didn’t expect what would be waiting for me as I took my much needed trip to bladder relief.
And to spare you the gory details, it wasn’t just a false alarm. This was big stuff. I supposed it kind of explained the mood swings and everything that usually came with it.
My heart was frantically beating in my chest, as I rebuked myself for all those times I complained about the pregnancy. All those times I wondered how I could be so stupid. I wanted to kick myself for every moment I had spent in despair, wondering how I was going to handle another baby. And now, as I digested the obvious, I couldn’t help but think about how much would change now… if there was no more baby on the way…
Had I brought this upon myself? Were all my decisions and presumptuous actions finally catching up with me?
Oh, the guilt. The guilt was eating me alive.
I hastily pulled the door open, knowing that my mother would probably have a lot more on her plate now that she bargained for. My body was feeling limp as I swallowed, trying to formulate the words to say what I needed to. I just hoped my mother didn’t send Khawlah away as yet.
Well, even if she did… She kind of asked for it, didn’t she?
She wanted to be the one in control, and now she was going to really have to step up.
“Mu-um!” I screamed, my voice sounding scarily shaky, even to myself. “MUM!”
“I need to…”
My mother came into view, from where she was sitting, looking at me like I was a crazy screeching woman. If only she knew. I breathed in again, trying to steady myself.
” I need to get to a hospital,” I said shakily, unable to control my panic. “And fast!”
So, I got in a bonus post. Next post will probably be after Saturday. I will try and keep to twice a week, Insha Allah! Much Love, A
I’ve often heard that the personality of Nabi SAW was such that he spoke when necessary and always gave an attentive ear.
Aisha said: And this is how Allah’s Messenger used to utter (so distinctly) that if one intended to count (the words uttered) he would be able to do so. [Muslim]
We have been given two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Whenever somebody wants to share a story or just wants to talk to you, turn to them and listen to them attentively, as if only the two of you were in the room. When somebody talks to you, really make them feel that you are interested in what they are saying.
How easy to practice- being a good listener is part of good akhlaaq!
Let’s revive this Sunnah Insha Allah.
How easy to practise!
Oooohh this was such a surprise post… You just made my day❤️❤️🤗
Shame man.. Feel sorry for ruby’s father. Poor chap. How he stayed married with her for so long
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Hehe, shukran sis. ❤️❤️
Definitely a test of sabr for him… poor man 🙈
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This mother in law takes the cake in being self centered…
Sister you so beautifully illustrated the effects of divorce, may Allaah save us from the heartbreak of going through it….
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Unfortunately she’s the typical antagonist… 💔
Aameen, so very true. It doesn’t only affect the couple… it has so many other effects to others around them, especially when kids are involved. Allah make it eas for those going through marital problems, and relieve them of all their troubles… 💔
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Loving the very regular posts
اللهم زد فزد 💕
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Shukran Jazeelan dear sis.. 💕
I really wonder how Rubina’s father manages staying with this errm sorry can I say witch?
Hope everything goes well for Ruby, I’ve really grown to love her now even though initially I didn’t…
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Yes, I suppose you could say that.. Reminds me a bit of Huzaifah’s mother. Well, Huzaifah who dies and then was revived. Yes, same one
I’ve also grown to like Ruby a lot. I think she battles a lot of the things we battle every day. She’s just not very good at it !
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Yeah, never really strike me before till now, when you mentioned it, they are similar. Maybe they sisters👅
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