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Punished With Being Barren?

Questioner

D

Reply Date

May 04, 2017

Question

I am a confused sister who needs some guidance. I am wondering if my husband and I will ever become parents. I have heard that Allah can punish you for your sins in this world as well as in hell and that if parents have done bad deeds, their children could suffer the punishment instead. Everyone makes mistakes. My husband and I both have had very difficult childhoods. My father never prayed, was not a good father, and was unfaithful to my mother. While my mother gave us a good Islamic upbringing, she did use me as her confidante, and both parents emotionally blackmailed me for their selfish needs. My character was weakened, I had low self-esteem, became anorexic then bulimic and a self-harmer. My teenage life went from bad to worse and continued into adulthood. While my husband's parents were very loving towards him, they left him alone when he was a teenager to educate and earn for himself. He had no guidance during the most vulnerable years of his life. We both became friends at college and were generally decent people. We never drank or went to clubs like other students did; we focused on our studies and took care of our family matters. However, due to lack of support or stability from our families, we turned to each other for support. Inevitably, we started a physical relationship. I think by this time I did not really care if I lived or died. My mother and I had no roof over our heads we had squatted in many relatives' houses over the years, and my mother had emotionally drained me so much that even though I knew I would be punished for our sin I did not care. He was the only friend and source of support I had. We eventually married asking Allah and our families for forgiveness and worked hard to learn from our mistakes and become good Muslims. Over the past thirteen years, we have supported each other and helped each other's families. My husband is the eldest of six siblings. His mother is a widow so I tried extra hard to support him. Ma sha' Allah, we are very happy together and love each other more than ever before. We continue to be good people within our community. We are lucky that we are both respected by our family and friends and they appreciate our efforts. While this all sounds picture-perfect now, we have had to face several years of fertility treatments and have suffered three miscarriages. Burying your child is not easy, especially more than once. We did not lose faith in Allah. We say it is a test and in sha' Allah one day we will be blessed. I am pregnant again. I am grateful every waking moment to Allah for another chance and pray we will be good Muslim parents, but we are both still very frightened and cannot relish the fact that it might work out for us. Many people make mistakes; will Allah punish us again? I still can't stop wondering whether Allah has punished us because of what we did before marriage. Was it because my father was so bad towards his wife and children? Recently my mother-in-law confessed to me that she terminated a 16-week-old pregnancy because after seven children she was embarrassed that people would think she was still sleeping with her husband. She also told me she wanted to terminate her sixth pregnancy but could not find the means to. I was so shocked. Here I am trying my hardest to become a good Muslim mother and here is someone from a strict Islamic background from a village—who could do such a thing? I also think my father-in-law knew nothing of this when he was alive. She does not seem to regret her decision and I am having sleepless nights thinking Allah will punish us for her actions. Can I get any peace of mind? We have asked Allah for forgiveness at our naivety when we were younger. What more can I do to ask Allah to forgive us? We know we were wrong and are trying to make up for it, but are we forever doomed? Will we be facing Hellfire? Are we also burdened by our parents' sins? Please, please give some guidance. I just want to be a good parent and not make the mistakes our parents did. Thank you.

Counselor

Answer


Barren

As-salamu `alaikum,

Dear sister,

I am deeply touched by your inquiry. I ask Allah’s guidance as I attempt to reach out to you across these distances and through these words.

I am so terribly sorry for the losses that you have suffered; they are surely very heart-wrenching experiences leaving you unsure about whether there is a greater pain in this whole world than losing a child that you did not get to know.

What is even more saddening is that amongst all of your pain, you have been trying to calculate why all of this is happening to you and have delved into not only the mistakes that you and your husband made, but also those of your parents. As if it was not oppressive enough that you were the victim of their errors, you now wonder if you are cursed by their misdeeds. I would like to emphasize that you are not!!!

Allah in the Qur’an clearly states:

{And if ye do well to your own good will e do so, and if ye do evil, against your own harm will ye do so. No soul earns but for itself and no bearer of burden has to bear the burden of another.} (Al-An`am 6:164)

{Every soul is held in pledge for its deeds.} (Al-Muddaththir 74:38)

Now that we have set to rest the idea that your misfortune is due to your parents’ actions, let us move on to your sins and how they impact your current state.

Dear sister did you not ask Allah for repentance?? Indeed you did!! Did you not go about changing your life and transforming it into one that is clean and according to Allah’s teachings?? Indeed you did!! You are among Allah’s favorite people, as He prefers the people that ask His forgiveness, not the ones that never make mistakes! Among the conditions of true tawbah is that you never return to the deed for which you are repenting and also that you believe that Allah has forgiven you.

You should believe that He has!! Allah is Most Forgiving, and you have left your wrong ways and have renewed your life. Sometimes, we are so ashamed of our past that it is we who have not forgiven ourselves. This shame results in a skewed view of the world in which everything is a sign of our error and fault. Shall every woman who has lost a child question whether she is a bad person or comes from an ill ancestry? Furthermore, is every woman who bears a child good?

My dear sister, I think that your pain, combined with your desperation, is leading you towards a really hurtful and powerless path. Why could it not be that Allah sees you for who you are today and loves you? People worship for many reasons; some out of habit, others out of obligation, guilt, or shame, and some out of fear; meanwhile, there are some that worship out of love.

Allow yourself to worship Him out of love! You are not a bad person; instead, you are a person who has done bad things in her past and has since learned better ways. Many of the Companions of the Prophet came from pasts soiled with all kinds of terrible misdeeds; however, they came to Islam and to Allah and allowed themselves to transform. It is time, my sister, to allow yourself to truly be yourself.

I am a strong believer that shame is such a negative force that it can poison your body into miscarriage as this negativity is harvested in your very core. I am not saying this to hurt you, but instead to show you that there is another way to exist and define your life.

When you become a mother to a healthy and beautiful child, you will see that among the most important things that you will teach this child is how to worship Allah. Perhaps everything happens in its time, and maybe the time has come to cleanse your heart of your mistakes and forgive yourself so that you can make room for a beautiful child!

The pain is so huge and so life-shaking that it was easier for you to think that you did something to deserve it, but that is not the case. It is often a good practice to begin a daily ritual of doing istighfar (asking forgiveness), followed by many du`aa and verses.

This type of a daily connection with Allah is good for your being and will help you to calm down and connect with the Creator of all things. When you have a baby, in sha’ Allah, you will likely realize that losing the others taught you to have a big heart and have the courage to keep your spirit alive. Losing the others teaches you to have a greater appreciation for the gift that Allah will, in sha’ Allah, bestow upon you.

You are free to be yourself for who you are today! You are free to pray to Allah with no shame. Ask Allah in hope and confidence, and He will answer you. I pray that Allah rewards you for your challenges and that you are able to grow from your experiences.

***

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About Layla A. Asamarai

Layla A. Asamarai is an Iraqi American Muslim residing in the United States. She obtained her MA degree in clinical psychology and is currently perusing her PhD in clinical psychology. She is very interested in the psychological dilemmas that Muslim youth in America are faced with.

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