Recently I attended a short course where I bumped into an ex-student of mine from many years ago.
Her three younger sisters had also been students of mine.
I saw her arrive and as I always do with all my ex-students, looked forward to catching up with her once the course ended.
I approached her and joked if she still remembered me. After asking about how she was I moved onto asking about her sisters. I had remembered that one had married abroad a few years ago and enquired about her.
She looked a little embarrassed to answer, her cheeks blushing, her tone of voice changing and quietly said, “shes ok…she got divorced and came back”. I almost had to lip read it was that quiet…
Honestly, I didn’t flinch, in all my years of teaching and volunteering I don’t really think theres anything that fazes me anymore, but to be honest, why should it? It is not my business and it should not be anyone else’s.
I just responded with further questions about children and was so happy to hear her sister had two, mashaAllah.
I said my salaams and left to speak with others. Later on, I was musing about our conversation and remembering how embarrassed she was.
In reflection, I wish I had said something more to her about it, I wish I had spoken up and said, “don’t feel embarrassed, sometimes there just is no other way and its for the best”.
But “would’ve, should’ve or could’ve said” is pointless if its not said in the right moment.
My point is when we hear of others in such situations, we need to do less to make them feel like outcasts and more to make them feel empowered.
No one chooses divorce easily and though its not an ideal for most families, Islamically its usually a last resort and necessary for all parties involved.
So why is it that families are embarrassed if a member gets divorced? Or that communities make it ok to treat a divorcee as an outcast especially when it comes to remarrying?
If we believe we are all descendants of Prophet Adam A.S and Hawa A.S, this makes us brothers and sisters in humanity and that makes US responsible for each OTHER, so why do we make some individuals lives miserable simply due to their marital status, sometimes not even stopping at the individual but also labelling their families.
This leads me to share another incident that occurred a few days later, and that was of a friend sharing with me how she had received a promising marriage proposal only to have turned it down after her beloved mother was “interrogated” by the grooms mother as to why she was divorced!
SubhanAllah! I mean really!? What has her mothers marital status got to do with her own prospective marriage? I really thought that times have changed and that the stigma attached to divorce was disappearing.
I was devastated to see the effect it had on my friend and her beloved mother, and though her mother said she expected it from people, I don’t see how those questions were acceptable.
Islam allows for divorce when marriages are no longer working as marriages and there are clear guidelines provided which are meant to give justice with kindness between the parties involved in a fair and civil manner.
However, communities just love rubbing it in, don’t they? Its like a stain that in their eyes can never be washed away but that is the peoples way of looking at it and not from our beautiful teachings in our religion of Islam at all.
Alhamdulillah for Islam, and alhamdulillah for the Holy Quran and the clear prophetic guidance that has been granted to us.
May Allah swt make us of those He swt is pleased with, enable us to treat others in the way that pleases Him swt the most, that is with love, open minds, understanding and kindness. Aameen.