In the Name of Islam, My Life Was Destroyed | About Islam
Home > Ask the Counselor > Marital Obstacles > In the Name of Islam, My Life Was Destroyed

In the Name of Islam, My Life Was Destroyed

Questioner

Z

Reply Date

Dec 14, 2017

Question

As-Salamu Alaykum. I have millions of questions in my head. I married 3 years ago. It was an arranged marriage and I accepted it even though I had always dreamt of real love. But I didn't have much choice because of my culture and religious norms. I entered that marriage without love, but I did my best to create some feelings for that man. I can't say it's a great love as I wished, but I think I love him now. It seems, however, I’m not enough for him. He wishes for a second wife and now his family has started looking for an appropriate woman for him. I am deeply against it because I simply can't deal with it. I feel betrayed; I feel like a slave. Nothing in my life has been my choice; other people live my life. Every time I object, I get the same answer: "it's the spirit of Islam". I went to speak with an imam about the issue of having a second wife and he told me that my husband hadn't done anything wrong. The whole time he was speaking about my husband's needs, but never addressed my needs and feelings. He simply approved polygamy as a natural thing. Now I am in a big trouble: I have started thinking about my faith. Am I going in the right direction? What’s my fault? That I'm "only" a woman? I couldn't have a love marriage. I had to let an unknown man hug me. I need to wear a bunch of clothes outside in the 50 degrees. I couldn't continue my education because being a wife is said to be more important for a woman. Now this second wife issue. Why does my own religion put such big burdens on my shoulders? Arranged marriage, living and sharing a bed with a man I didn't love, throwing my education because of marriage; and now when I felt love toward my husband, I need to let him sleep with another woman and keep silent. When will this finish? Everything in the name of Islam. I hoped at least the imam would give me support, but no. I'm sick of everything. If I divorce, what is waiting for me? Rejection from everyone and losing my child if I ever re-marry. What kind of hope remains for me? I have started doubting Islam. I just want a little peace. I want to relax from all those rules which have destroyed my life in name of the religion. I lost myself; I don't know who am I or who I want to be. I was a very religious person in my whole life; I never questioned the Quran. But now I have so many questions while reading it. Nothing seems to be logical anymore in the book. I’m punished for being a woman. I can't find the right way. I’m lost.

Counselor

Answer


In the Name of Islam, My Life Was Destroyed

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.

Read more:




About Attia Zaidi

Attia Zaidi is a writer, educator, social worker and mother. She has worked with the GTA’s Muslim community for over 15 years in various capacities. Currently, Attia runs a small private practice offering therapy for Muslim families.

find out more!