In this counseling answer:
“It sounds like you are really at odds with your culture, not with your religion. You are at odds with your life and your husband’s decisions, not Islam. I would encourage you to strengthen your relationship with your faith. If you choose to stay in your marriage, you may have to start demanding your rights (such as education). If you decide to divorce, you may have to deal with rejection from people, but divorce is certainly not prohibited.”
Wa ‘Alaikum As-Salaam dear sister,
I am very sorry to hear about your sadness. It sounds like you feel very disadvantaged because you are a woman, and you feel that Islam has caused you this grief. It sounds like you did things that you felt were “right” and “religious”, but you did not get anything but hurt from it. I know this can be a very difficult emotion to face. From your question, it sounds that you have a strong level of iman, but feel that it is not benefiting you. There are many issues with your question, and I will try to address what I feel is the underlying problem.
As you know, it is not Islam that has caused you to live a life where your concerns, wishes, wants, and needs are ignored. In Egypt, there have been many influences on its culture. Many people (not just in Egypt) do not honor women and often do things that cause hurt.
The most hurtful thing is when Islam is used as justification. You had an arranged marriage, but Islam does not force this. Many cultures practice arranged marriages, and for some, it works, but there is nothing in Islam that forces this. Actually, without the sincere consent of both parties, marriage in Islam is invalid.
Your husband ignoring your needs as his wife is also not Islamic. Although it may be within his rights to seek another wife, it is not something that is recommended in Islam. In fact, it isn’t even permitted if there is a concern that all women cannot be treated fairly. Seeing how your bids and concerns are being ignored, I doubt that your husband is able to take care of his family in a way that makes everyone feel secure.
Many imams, who are also men, do not understand the hardship polygamy places on a woman. So seeking the counsel of such imams does not help your situation. Imams are religious leaders, thus, they only reiterated that your husband is within his Islamic right to seek another wife. I think you already know this. Islam, however, is not just about rights; it is about responsibility, care, and concern. Putting another’s needs and feelings above one’s own is a major part of our religion. Your husband is neglecting your feelings and making a conversation about feelings, needs, and your wish to be with him in a conversation about his rights. I do not think this is a healthy foundation for a happy marriage.
Why did you not pursue your education? There is nothing in Islam that says you cannot be educated because you are a woman. There may be things in your culture that say that. Maybe they are even justified by using Islam, but you should know very well that Islam, in fact, encourages women to be educated!
There is also nothing in Islam that says a mother has to lose her children if she gets divorced.
It sounds like you are really at odds with your culture, not with your religion. You are at odds with your life and your husband’s decisions, not Islam. From your question, it sounds like you want reasonable things that are permitted in Islam, but people around you are making you feel bad for wanting things.
I would encourage you to strengthen your relationship with your faith. You obviously have a connection to Allah. Reconnect with Him and ask Him to make your life easier.
If you choose to stay in your marriage, you may have to start demanding your rights (such as education). If you decide to divorce, you may have to deal with rejection from people, but divorce is certainly not prohibited.
You need to find your happiness inside of you and create a life for yourself that you enjoy. Do not expect your husband to create this life for you. He may add to it, but your happiness and inner peace lie in you.
I hope your troubles are eased.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.