Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another One Needs a Hug

It wasn't my first phone call.

I first tried to call an old friend. I haven't seen her since I returned. That's seven months. Why? She's busy. I get that. She's got a career, a husband and kids. I left a message. She never called me back.

I then called a woman I've been meaning to talk to again. She and I have some parallel paths in our past. Though we are years apart (she actually is old enough for the man I met on Thursday), the two of us aren't that dissimmilar in our Islamic maturity. We both reverted to Islam, both married Muslim men, and both divorced them. We have both been left wondering about our place in the community as born-Muslim friends (like the one I called and didn't hear back from) seem too busy to care.
She had started to see a non-Muslim man.

She took off hejab.

She has stopped praying.


"I still love Allah Subhana Wa Tala," she told me flat out.

I know she does.

I am truly hurt for her.

Aren't you?

She entered into Islam with purity and, through mismanaged marriages and a disconnect with others, she is now leaving Islam. I can't really blame her. I can't.

"Life is not for the faint of heart," my mother is fond of quoting.

It's so true, isn't it?

No, life is not for the faint of heart, or for the sensitive, or for the Muslim-American woman in hejab who only wanted to serve Allah with all her heart. Subhanallah! How many reverts need to stop practising their Islam before the community realises they are not caring for their sisters?

We sisters need support. We are truly alone in the world. We don't have a mother or father who will guide us and our decisions based in Islamic principle. We either have to face celebrations filled with fitnah or shun them and be away from those who used to love us when we were, "Jane." Now, as, "Aisha," we don't feel apart of any group. The ones who used to embrace us can't truly treasure all of us and the ones who should step in aren't willing to do so.

We need husbands. We do! We need men not boys. We need a way to meet in halal settings with real opportunities for communication. And we need not to be mocked for having needs. For me, I do not have any male family members in my life. None. I only know my father through emails now. There are no brothers, uncles, or cousins in my life. Think about that! I love the input of the male mind. How do I get that balance when I am not allowed any interaction? I can't. I miss it. That's a real need. More than the need for sex, I need that man who can talk to me and calm me down in the storm.

We need respect. We really are Muslim. You have any idea how hard we have struggled to get where we are? We literally changed everything. You will never know how many beautiful clothes I gave away in an effort to be a better person. I look different. I grew up looking one way and now I look more different than I ever imagined. In the inside, I am filled with a new language and new ideas, which I have had to painstakingly learned bit by bit. And there is all the cultural information I've had to sift from the truth. There are all the mean awful people I've had to make excuses for along the way.

What can I tell her when I hear that she has stopped practising Islam? I tell her that I understand and that I am still her sister.

Do you know the last person I told that to? She stopped having any contact with me at all. This is after years of loving each other. That hurts.

It is interesting to me that both of these women left the practise of Islam after spending significant time seeing non-Muslim men. The hejab came off and not just for him. The hejab came off and stayed off for everyone.

Probably hurts them more than it hurts me. But, it does hurt me.

I left the apartment last night for a walk. I walked to Mr. Boo's former daycare, where there was a Muslim woman. We talked and she was nice. However, she could not agree with my request and reason for my visit. No, she would not watch my son if I get a job interview. I could not pay her to watch my son so I could get a job. She would watch him only once I had a job. Catch-22.

"Call me when you get a job!" were her last words. She called them out in friendliness. I know. I just don't think she understood how hard life can seem---how impossible sometimes. It could be easier and I don't think we reverts are asking too much.

We left from there and I wondered where we were going. In so may ways, I wondered where we all were going.


Um Zakarya said...

Assalamu aleykum dear sister,

I understand exactly what you mean when you understand this sister.I've been married for a month to a muslim man for whom I'm leaving my country and my whole life with my 7 years old son and I've found out he's secretly looking for a second wife on the net.I'm considering a new divorce and I was married twice before him...

Us reverts go through so many struggles that I can just understand why some surrender.

Yosra said...

Asalmu Alaykom UmZakarya,

Wow. I feel for you. That is some hard, cold reality you've been dealt.

One month. Dang. That's not right.

I'll tell you how long it lasted with my Islamic marriage: three weeks. It was three weeks before he brought up divorce---and it was because the sofa pillow was lying flat on the couch, instead of propped up as he had asked.


And it's embarrassing after those two previous marriages to admit this one sucks. It is hard. I'm sorry it's so hard for you. I wish you a better life. Allah did not bring you into this world to have you feel rotten.

It isn't so much the idea of the second wife which is so horrible. It's the fact that, in such a short time, he is window shopping for another. He has invested about zero into your relationship and now you are competing with fantasy.

I pray that you do what is best for your son. That's what I had to come down to. If it was only me, I could do just about anything if it was only me Since I am Um, I have to think better and do better. I know you will inshahallah consider all the options and make the best decisions.

Rabena sahil. May Allah make it easy on you.

Anonymous said...

A huge big warm hug to you sister
May Allah's compassion and mercy surround you.

A good muslim man is hard to find even for a born muslim. One might think they have found a good man--only to find themselves incompatible later. Although a born muslim--I too left the country I was born and raised in for marriage.

The only "rules" that really matter are between you and Allah--And what he wants is in the Quran. What is not in the Quran isn't really important and one should use ones God-given intellectual abilities to navigate those problems to the best of our abilities.---and have faith that Allah is compassionate and merciful.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Anony,

You are indeed welcome here. Your comments are right on.

Yes, I agree to everything you've said.

Allah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem

UmmAbdurRahman said...

Salamu alaikum yosra, I've been reading your blog but not commenting. It seems that I'm not the only one.

I've been dealing with a lot and because of it I'm just existing in this little bubble with me and Abdurahman. The community dissapoints me. Poeple act like caring individuals but are really just after the dirt. I got sick of people asking about my husband and having to explain things and reassure them when I"m realy the one who needs reassurance. I need support. I was given money two years ago and that was it. No one worries about me and Abdurrahman, and if they do they don't show it. InshaAllah things will be better when he does finally return, but for now I don't have the energy to deal with most people. Please don't think I"m talking about you. Just the community in general.

It's been a struggle to keep my faith. Even though I don't have my husband's physical presence, I have his emotional support. I feel as though I wouldn't be able to make it without that. MashaAllah he is a good man who has waited patiently for us to be reunited. He has shown me more in this 22 months in terms of kindness and good character than I ever saw in our almost 7 years of marriage. I don't mean that he was a bad man. It's just that in difficult times, especially in marriage, you see who someone really truly is. When times got tough and Allah began to test us, he toughed it out along with me. He didn't run and look for something else...something easier. He's made sacrifices for the sake of our family. I pray that Allah rewards him greatly for that.

If you have a job interview please call me. You offered your support to me when I needed it and I would like to do the same for you. I can't promise to do it regularly because I work nights and I need to sleep, but if you don't have anyone else I would be more than willing to help you.

I don't understand why that sister won't watch him while you look for a job. It makes no sense. InshaAllah I hope you find a job soon.

Colleen said...

Salaams Yosra---Walahi, you seem to be reading my mind. Right now I have only 1 friend that I talk to. But she has 3 kids, a husband, a mom who is currently living with she is very busy. I call, she doesn't call back for days. It's hard I know. I miss having women who share the same beliefs as I. You can almost say that I am the only Muslim in my town. It's probably why I am online more and more. To read about others who think like me and can support them.

When we convert, it seems that we are lost in our own little world. We don't have the "culture" behind us to go towards a certain group. The Arabs with the Arabs, The South Asians with the South Asians...etc. We (converts) basically are left on our own. It's so sad.

You are soooo right. We do need good husbands. Here is my thoughts on this. Because some of our foreign brothers see us as "Americans", they think they can go further with us than there sisters in Islam in the country where they came from. For me, I want someone who understands my mind. To really know WHO I am. To really stand up and take a hold of the reigns, but know when to let me have them lol. To have someone who is a best friend. That I can discuss anything (and I do mean anything) with and have them not freak out or call the religious police on me just because I think in a different way. But more important to respect me. Respect is so important. Not belittling me in front of people or treat me like 2nd class just because I am a woman.

As for these women who are seeing Muslim men, you just need to let them go and Insha'Allah they will come to realize that this is not the right path for them. Yes, it does hurt. I hurt along with you. But just be in the wings when they need you.

As for the woman who you wanted to watch your son, I didn't get it. She wouldn't watch your son so you could go to a job interview??? Why? Was it a bad date for her or was it something else?

Hang in there. If you ever want to talk, I am here for ya.

Salaams sis!!!

Shabana said...

If you lived near me I would watch your son anytime. And I'm not just saying that.

Anonymous said...

Asalamu Walaikum Sis,
I can only echo the same--begging people to help me to help myself, subhanallah.
Locally we have a daycare assistance program that pays for something like 10 days of daycare while you job search. I don't know if this is everywhere, and really it is ridiculous that they assume you can get a job in 10 days flat! But, you may find something similar, Allahualim.
Love and Peace,

M. du Tapis said...

Assalaamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullah,

Marriage in Islam is indeed full of predators, especially for convert sisters.

However, it is ever more important to study the proper process of marriage in Islam and the marriage contract. So so so many problems are solved this way.

There are so many sisters who marry because they are trusting and spend no time to follow the marriage process that Allah swt gave them, conclude a hasty contract, and then realize what they got into and can't get out. Yet it's sometimes so easy to take these precautions.

The Shari'a is there to protect us and often times we don't pay attention to it and pay for it. This is not to diminish the suffering of those unfortunate sisters in any way. But it is equally necessary to learn one's deen to stay away from harm.

Faith Confusion said...

Wow. I loved this post. I think about how i will go about getting a job when the time is right. Where will i put my daughter while i go to an interview?? I cannot believe that woman would not look after mr boo. that makes no sense. Sometimes people seem to delight in hurting us in small ways, i think.
And yes, we need men not boys. I am married to a boy. I feel that i have two children, a baby and a teenager, and my boy is almost 30.
And i miss one of my closest male friends. I am not muslim anymore but for my husband i shut off contact with a friend i worked with and knew for 4 years. i think i was more honest with him than i ever was with my girlfriends, something about being able to be vulnerable with a man and not judged as a woman would judge.