When a Marriage Falls Apart

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Divorce is a life-altering decision, regardless of how long you were married or how many children you have. Not only will your physical circumstances change, but your psychological well-being takes a hit as well; it is an extremely vulnerable time. J. Samia Mair opens up and shares her thoughts following her divorce and turns to the words of Allah for comfort. 

Keeping It Together When a Marriage Falls Apart
J. Samia Mair

Everything was upside down. Unlike my colleagues who counted the days to the weekend, I looked forward to Mondays when I was going back to work. And I dreaded Fridays, knowing that the weekend was coming. I remember telling my ex-husband that home should be a place of refuge from the world, not a place of turmoil. It should be a place where spouses support, encourage, and love each other, not a place of belittlement, tyranny and fear. When your worst enemy is your spouse, there can be very little peace at home.

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Divorce and Loneliness

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After a long Summer break, Crisis Analysis returns with our next topic: divorce and loneliness. Many would assume that loneliness is to be expected after a divorce. To have lived with a constant companion, only to suddenly find yourself without them, would leave a mark. However, one would not expect to feel completely and utterly alone. Khurshid Khatib interviews Sana and Maria, two women that found themselves isolated by the Muslim communities around them following their divorce.

Divorce and Loneliness
Khurshid Khatib

Divorce is acknowledged to be one of life’s most stressful experiences. As well as huge personal turmoil, the breakdown of marriage may also bring with it financial burdens or the upheaval of a move to a new home and where children are involved, the traumatic issues of custody and court proceedings. Divorcees may also have to consider the prospect of raising their children alone, a situation that few will have envisaged or expected for themselves.  

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When Divorce Brings Freedom

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As the opening entry to our Crisis Analysis series: The Divorced Muslim Woman, we talk to Shalina Litt. Shalina is a Muslimah who found both strength and freedom through her divorce. Unfortunately, most divorces are seen as a breakdown of marriage resulting from faults on both sides. Now, whilst this may be the case in some divorces, it is not the truth for all. 

Shalina shares her story – how walking away from her marriage lead her to start an exciting new chapter in her life…

Getting Divorced Was The Best Thing I Ever Did
Shalina Litt

If I told you he stamped on my head and I still stayed married to him, you’d think I was crazy.  What did it take for me to finally walk away? I lost my baby. For me, that was when the case was closed. I asked for my khula [divorce], full of emotion. At this point, I was surrounded by people who were full of opinions about our messy end. Nothing else mattered to me but justice. I felt like after this part of my life I had nothing but my religion to lose.  I prayed desperately to Allah SWT to keep me on this straight path.

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Ramadan Battle Plan

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As the time for Ramadan approaches, everyone prepares for the blessed month in their own way. Everyone develops new ways to take advantage of the rewards available, trying to improve on their efforts the previous year.

The beginning of Ramadan is full of promise, positivity and opportunity. But as the month progresses, the fasting becomes harder and the novelty of taraweeh prayers wear off, our goals for the month seem further and further away. The spark fizzles out and the month can often end in guilt and regret.

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Yearning to be Like the Sahabah: Uniting as One Ummah

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From cramped prayer spaces to unfair accusations, Khadijah Stott-Andrew discusses the problem of ostracising women and explains how we should use the Prophetic example as a solution.

A common desire amongst Muslims today is a deep yearning to have been with the sahabah and to have thrived during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). At the other end of the spectrum, some people even blame their indiscretions and lack of resolve on the fact that they do not live amongst our pious predecessors. Many people feel that the times and circumstances the sahabah were blessed with were an exclusive formula that rendered the companions epitomes of perfection – a perfection that we can only dream about. However, if we were to study the authentic ahadith, we would see that the companions were humans who occasionally made mistakes. Mistakes that the Prophet (SAW) helped them to fix. Through the grace of Allah (SWT), these situations have been recorded in order to guide us in our day-to-day lives.

Having said that, there is one quality that enabled our pious predecessors to earn such a title – they were pure of heart. The sincerity that flowed through each of them inspired them to change when they went astray, to repent when they made mistakes and to seek counsel when they felt lost.

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Crisis Analysis: Muslim Women and Divorce

 

Image Credit: http://lamya-and-co.deviantart.comUmm SalamahSaudah bint Zam’ah

Zainab bint Jahash
Hafsah bint ‘Umar
Juwayriya bint al-Haarith
Umm Habibah
Safiyah bint Huyy
Maimoonah bint al-Haarith
‘A’ishah bint Abu Bakr
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid

These were the wives of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, the Mothers of the Believers. Excluding ‘A’ishah, they were all either divorced or widowed when they married Rasullulah S.A.W.

Fast forward 1400 years and divorced or widowed Muslim women are struggling to re-marry, struggling to cope, and struggling to break away from the oppressive stigma that plagues their every move. Continue reading

Keeping My Marriage Alive

Khadijah Bint Khuawaylid:

A legacy that keeps my marriage alive

Khadijah Stott-Andrew

Khadijah Stott-Andrew reflects on how the character of Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid RA has been a constant guidance throughout her marriage.

As I put pen to paper, I contemplate the reasons why I feel honoured to be called Khadijah. Although, I was not always sensible of this honour; unlike most reverts, I was fairly young when I chose my Muslim name. Only just hitting double figures, I picked the first name that “sounded pretty”. My Mum became Muslim when I was just 8 years old, and I followed along with my mind until my heart embraced the deen completely, when I was 14. At this point, I had been known as Khadijah by everyone around me since I had started secondary school. Yet, there were times when reading about ‘A’isha’s feisty, yet playful attitude, that I wished I hadn’t been so hasty in my name choice.

However, 2007 brought a nasheed into my path – a nasheed that divulged the true beauty around the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid RA. The words of this nasheed touched my heart in a way I never thought possible, with its lyrics describing the strength of Khadijah and the unwavering loyalty that bonded her with the Prophet Muhammad SAW. It explained the respect, love and understanding that existed between them and made their marriage one of the most inspiring love stories I’ve ever heard. Hearing this nasheed motivated me to purchase books, look up articles and search hadiths, as I was desperate to learn more about their beautiful marriage. Putting Romeo and Juliet to shame, I have always seen Khadijah’s marriage to Muhammad SAW as one of the most exquisite partnerships in history, and I struggle to discuss the beauty and tenderness behind their relationship without tears filling my eyes and a lump forming in my throat. Continue reading

Don’t Be Sad

SISTERS Reads

Don’t Be Sad

Written by Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni

Published by IIPH

Reviewed by Khadijah Stott-Andrew

“It’s the will of Allah, sis. Just have sabr, insha Allah.”

“Always remember – Allah tests those he loves.”

Sound familiar? Whenever we turn to others for support during a difficult time, we are swarmed with comments like these. We hate to admit it, but they often provide little comfort. We are told to turn to our deen during times of need, but not many people explain how we can actually do that. How can we find the strength to be patient when our tests almost cripple us? How can we feel content with total reliance on Allah swt when it feels like the whole world is crashing at our feet, leaving us isolated and lost? Continue reading

Ramadan Battle Plan: Set Up and Sneak Peek!

Peace be upon you, my lovely readers!

So, apologies are in order. I initially promised a post per week; that was unrealistic optimism on my part. I am currently in the UK spending summer with my family, and I am living out of a suitcase! Add that to sharing a house with multiple family members and there is limited time for me to snuggle up and think, never mind throw out a blog post!

But, I am here now!

Today, I want to share my Ramadan Battle Plan (RBP) set up. Not how I originally set it up, but how I am actually using it now. If you see my previous post, you can see that I decided to use my large Kikki-K planner for my Ramadan Battle Plan. However, with my Erin Condren Life Planner already taking up most of the space in my bag, I decided to store my Ramadan Battle Plan in the Kikki-K, and carry the current day’s pages with me in my life planner. This system has been working really well because I use my life planner several times a day and each time I open it I am reminded of my Ramadan goals and keeping my RBP up to date. Changing the pages over each evening also gives me a chance to review and reflect my achievements that day. Continue reading

Ramadan Battle Plan

Ramadan has crept upon us again and in just over 10 days we’ll be swept up in a whirlwind of dates, hunger, thirst, fried foods and long taraweeh prayers…. but that’s not what Ramadan is about. Ramadan is a chance for us to detox our souls, reconnect with Allah and come out of the month feeling energised for the year ahead.

But that is not how I usually end Ramadan. For me, Ramadan usually ends in a concoction of negative emotions: regret that I didn’t achieve more, guilt that I didn’t try as hard as I could have, relief that the hustle-and-bustle of a month has come to an end, and guilt again at feeling relief. Then, panic – will I make it to next Ramadan so I can make up for the mess of the one just gone?

Ramadan is often unorganised for me. The days speed by (ironically, because iftaar seems to drag its feet) and I spend more time trying to juggle my many, many, MANY daily demands in order to squeeze a pathetic attempt at half a juz of Qur’an reading. When I got married, this system was only intensified. Between work, taraaweeh and Qur’an study, I barely saw my husband. He was off working on his own personal goals, making the most of the blessed month. Surely, this was a golden opportunity? My husband was out most of the time, didn’t need a fancy-pancy iftaar with all the trimmings because he was always rushing off somewhere, so what was my excuse for not having the time to see to myself? Where was my spiritual focus?

Enter the Ramadan Battle Plan. An ingenious planner from Halalify Islamic Planners meant to guide, support and prompt you through your Ramadan, ensuring that you make the most of it and avoid those nagging feelings of regret we all know too well. Click here to find out more about this incredible planner and how SISTERS Magazine plan to get involved! Continue reading