Divorce is no-doubt a challenging and sometimes traumatic life change. However, in Islam, the wisdom of the iddah (waiting period) gives couples a chance to emotionally adjust to what will become their new normal after their marriage dissolution.
Henrietta Szovati, the author of HeartSmart, explains that people are often fearful of change. “They are scared of stepping out of something that is established (even though it does not work) and cannot be with a new situation so they stay instead.”
The iddah serves to give some breathing room to the marriage and helps couples ease into their new roles as exes, individuals, and possibly co-parents as well. It’s a time of great adaptation and rebirth.
After waiting for a long time, even years, for their Islamic divorces, some are happy to have the end in sight.
One woman recalls, “It was a period of relief, of having got out of that marriage.”
Others have supportive family to help them through it. One woman remembers, “Iddah was very easy for me; a relative let me live in part of their house so I wouldn’t have to worry about paying rent or buying groceries.”
Yet another sister recalls that the iddah period was not any different than her day to day life of abandonment. “The iddah was not a problem,” she recalls. “The man had left us and travelled to the other side of the country. It was like the previous six months, just me and my children.”
However, for others, the iddah can be a challenging time. One woman recalls that the iddah period was a struggle. “[It was] very overwhelming. I was going through the legal process, I had to work, and I had to take care of my kids while grieving the death of my marriage.”
Another sister remembers, “[The iddah] was strenuous and daunting. Every day was harder than the first.”
Munira Ahmed, a parenting and relationship coach working in Pakistan, understands that divorce can be a tiring time emotionally and spiritually. She recommends individuals keep their faith while divorcing by taking care of themselves and working on growing their self-esteem.
It’s also important for them to learn powerful coping skills and surround themselves with positive people.
This helps divorcées emotionally prepare themselves for the years ahead and re-center themselves for considering new relationships.
Henrietta also explains, “When a woman gets divorced, there are widely held beliefs that ‘She is done, that is her life now.’ If she has children, she is not going to be welcomed for consideration. Being divorced is definitely a barrier to even stepping into the marriage scene again, more so for women than for men.”
One of the most crucial first steps for a divorcée is to take their time.
Henrietta counsels, “Don’t panic, rush, or want to change your life in a week! Take time to explore, heal and appreciate yourself. Do courses, explore your life, explore your possibilities, and build yourself. Travel, explore and discover who you are after your divorce as a way to heal.”
Keeping the faith
Henrietta shares that faith is the only thing that will help you through a divorce.
“[Have] faith in the fact that this is for the best,” she shares. “Seeing the gift in divorce is hard at first but having faith in knowing that it brings its gifts is more than comforting, it can be life-saving.”
Zahra Summayah, founder of Manifesting Muslimah, encourages everyone to get counseling to heal from grief, trauma, or abuse. She also encourages divorcees to surround themselves with good people who encourage them in worship and connection with God.
One divorced brother would agree that it is good advice.Pages: 1 2