Nisha Sulthana, author of the autobiography “A Part of Me Refused to Die,” has always been a woman of few words. She possesses a shy side that she feels, at times, cripples her from speaking the truth. It’s therefore a blessing that, despite her shyness, she told the world her story.
As a child she was keenly observant, looking at things intently with a memory for details. These are all qualities that served her well when it came time to tell her own story – a perennial tale of domestic abuse and salvation through the lens of a Muslim woman.
“The way the world was descending into an unprecedented chaos gave me another thrust to write, to add just a ray of light to the compounding darkness,” Nisha says.
Nisha accepted as destiny her arranged marriage to a man she didn’t know, and tried her best with the cards that life dealt her. Over the course of her marriage she suffered physical, verbal, emotional, and other abuses, as well as enduring the alcoholism and infidelities of her husband.
“In the prime of life when I was going through all that I went through, fleeting thoughts crossed my mind of telling my story in a bid to wake up people to the fact that life should not be like this,” Nisha explains.
“I found people clinging to only those parts of the religion that suited them. Right there they had rejected the central theme of Justice that is the life blood of Islam.”
She looks back on her experiences, and at the world around her, and observes that the calamities and tribulations we witness are a directive from God to turn us towards Him. “In relating my story, I attempted to throw light on the hypocrisy of our system that was in direct contravention to its teaching,” Nisha says.
“The abuse I was subjected to was the result of a deeper malaise in our system. This is a Deen with clear-cut injunction for every situation. Yet it was the people who were calling the shots as their whim and caprice dictated.”
As a child Nisha “thrived on love” and “wanted to love and be loved,” which may explain why her life led her to The One Who is the Most Loving (Al Wadud).
“Islam has crafted a beautiful tapestry designed to make this world and the next blissful and fruitful. It did not forbid advancement in any field, but rather encouraged it. What is unacceptable is strife, sectarianism and spread of falsehood and hate,” Nisha explains.
“The experiences I faced after marriage may not be as pronounced these days, but infidelity, lack of commitment, and unethical practices are all there – hidden in some situations and open in others,” Nisha observes. “This book is for the oppressor and the oppressed.”
In essence, Nisha’s story is about God and her understanding of Him and His role in her life. “He allowed me to make the mistakes I made for a reason.” Nisha explains, “I could have easily put my foot down firmly and fled to my father’s house for sanctuary and safety. But I did not. God had willed that I taste all the bitterness of this life – made me swallow fire at times – so that I would draw nearer and closer to Him for Protection, Redemption, Love and Wisdom.”
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