Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
In Sha Allah (With Allah’s Will), in the future, I shall discuss my experiences during my former marriage. Today, I shall narrate the story from the perspective of obedience to the husband and seeking permission.
Soon after the marriage, my ex-husband acknowledged I no longer argued with him, as I was aware he was my husband, but neither did I do as he instructed. When he made that remark, I looked him in the eye and felt vindicated that he has finally understood the real meaning of “Obey your husband”. I did not utter a word.
What was there to obey? If he had his way, everything I did before I married him would grind to a halt. “You should stop praying only one Rak’ah (unit) of Witr (late night special prayer)!” “And stop reciting that Du’a after your ablution; it is a weak Hadeeth!” He expected compliance, yet he treated strange women better than he treated me. Who will comply? Surely, not me.
Thenceforth there was little interaction or discussion between us. On occasion we did discuss, however, the discussions were not a natural response or desire to air my views. In the initial days of my former marriage, I freely expressed my opinions without the need to agree with my former husband.
At one point, he expressed his frustrations that I always disagreed with him. “I am only having a discussion and presenting my views”, I offered gently. “That does not mean I am ridiculing you or that I will not act upon your words.” At other times, he would flare up that I had not performed to his instruction. “I forgot. I had the intention of doing it, but I forgot.” I would plead. To him, I was constantly forgetting. To me, it was time to get my life back.
During a reconciliatory meeting with some brothers-friends of mine, when I insisted against their advice that I had no intention of continuing with the sham of a marriage and expressed my wish for Khul’a – divorce initiated by the wife – they stated that as Khul’a was a woman seeking the permission of her husband for divorce, my ex-husband had the right to deny me Khul’a.
I was flabbergasted, but retained my cool. Fully aware I had no control over any other individual, I changed my plans to effect my mission. As soon as I reached home, I raised my hands and cries to Allah, “Oh Allah! You gave him authority over me. You have Authority over him. MAKE HIM ISSUE THAT DIVORCE!”
Four weeks later and eight months to the day of our wedding, he uttered divorce. Indeed Allah Alone is Worthy to be obeyed without conditions. I had wanted the divorce to be amicable so we can at least exchange a word or two if we met elsewhere. Well, I guess I needed his permission for that as well, for I did not get my wish. Instead, he abused his powers and I opposed him step by step.
He complained to my very good friend I was disobeying him. “He mistreats me. He does not feed me or provide me with financial assistance, yet when I seek permission to go out to seek help he denies me permission. I will continue to go out. Moreover, he is no longer my husband. He is my husband on probation!”
Actually, initially, he ignored me whenever I requested to go out for my needs. And, I ignored him and went out to attend to my needs. What was my business? Mine is to seek permission. His is to issue it. I had fulfilled my part.
At the time, we were only aware of spending iddah (waiting period before remarriage) in the husband’s home, but later a brother mentioned a woman was allowed to spend her iddah in her father’s home, i.e. elsewhere. With an annoying glee, a brother joyfully stated that as my ex and I slept in the same house and in the same room, once sexual relations occurred we were back to our normal marital relations, i.e. the divorce is nullified and I return to square one.
I was silent and thought, “Oh! He expects me to succumb to the sexual advances of my ex. He thinks women are stupid. If the women he has known so far are idiots, I am not one. I will make sure he understands that.”
In order to avoid sexual molestation and rape, I slept with the bed sheet wrapped tightly around me despite the suffocating heat. I had no choice, for rape must not occur. His filthy two-inches had a restraining order against it. I was the judge and the one to grant permission. YES!
I dreaded sleeping. My ex was always wide-awake waiting for me to fall asleep. Writing this brings tears as I recall my experiences and I am determined that never again will I give anyone who is not worth my life, an iota of control over me.
Naturally, I can only remain awake for so long and it was a matter of time before my body yielded to sleep. I would awake to him caressing my breast through the wrappings and I would knock his hands off. “Get off me!” Every night for 28 nights, he molested me.
On the 28th night, after the same round of sexual molestation, he was frustrated, but sober. “Don’t you want us to reconcile?” His gentleness surreal, unbelievable. “Reconciliation between who and who – the camel and the goat?” I thought. I maintained my silence. I had learnt that responding no matter how innocent was cause for abuse.
“What are you still doing here? Your iddah is over. This is the 28th night.” I had considered spending a complete 30-days for my iddah for avoidance of doubt. However, his words reinforced my perception that it was time for me to leave. Allah had assisted me with preparations.
I thought of informing him of my plans to leave the next morning, so he would be contented that I would no longer share his home. I cautioned myself against such a step: This is a man who abused you as his wife, molested you as his ex. He will NOT be pleased you are about to leave him. Do NOT try that.
The next morning after my Prayers, I sat down to do my laundry. He observed me, as he got ready for work. Some of my belongings had already been packed since the issuance of the divorce. Many more were left unpacked. That combined with my early morning laundry must have satisfied him I would be around on his return.
He left for work. I hurriedly completed my laundry, packed the rest of my property and just on time, the sister I had arranged would come along with a removal van arrived. I was gone. AlHamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) the One Who hears the cries of His Slave.