Being divorced is hard to swallow, no matter what gender, religion, or race you are from; no matter how strong one acts, going through a divorce takes a huge toll on our lives, emotionally and physically.
With that being said, divorce in the Arab culture is a tad dramatic. Despite the drama, I am proud to be an Arab-American and a Muslim. But like every other culture, there are some social behaviors that we may not agree with.
To me, marriage was supposed to be like “The Brady Bunch,” “The Cosby Show” and “Family Matters.” Marriage was a loving couple with children living under one roof.
They loved each other, cared for each other, and there was affection involved like kissing!
I waited my whole life for marriage, never considering divorce in the equation. No one in my family was divorced, so I didn’t have the exposure to what it entailed — I didn’t realize the obstacles it brought, didn’t realize the tears that would fall, and never thought it would be this hard. Seven years later and I’m still that divorced chick.
So, who am I? I’m your basic Arab Muslim girl that got married early because that’s what I was told to do. The marriage didn’t last long, though.When I moved back to my parents’ house, I went back to school and got my degree.
Today, I run my own business.
Sounds pretty legit, huh? I mean, you do what is expected, right? Actually, it’s been harder than I thought.
As I went along within my new life chapter, I went through a lot of name calling and judging. Apparently being divorced in my culture isn’t taken too lightly, and rarely acceptable.
Terms such as, divorced female (it’s so much more hurtful translated in Arabic), second hand, “used”, and many other hurtful words were uttered to describe my status.
I was treated as if I had a defect; my imperfection was looked down on and despised by many. Let’s not forget to mention the group of people that give women like me the look of empathy which daggers straight to the heart. I would like to say to these people “Please don’t feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for yourself for allowing these terrible labels to consume your belief.”
As my own community continues to use hurtful terms to label me, my religion, Islam embraces my imperfection.
In case you needed some reminding, our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was ordered by Allah (SWT) to marry Zainab bnt Jahash, who was divorced.
Before Zainab, we must remember his first wife, Khadijah, who was not only 15 years his senior, but she was also previously married… twice!
The man that lead armies in and out of battle fields, a warrior of Islam, the magnificent being that was able to have billions follow his teachings, our beloved Prophet (PBUH) didn’t feel belittled or cheated when he chose to join hands with divorced women.
So, tell me how people with so much less significance feel the need to criticize and judge? Allah (SWT) had our beloved Prophet marry divorcees and widows specifically to show others that we are humans too, to set a good example of a righteous Muslim (along with other specific reasons as well).
I may be divorced, but I must say, I’m wiser. I have a clear image of what I want and don’t want associated in my life. I’m more experienced. I’m very proud of my accomplishments and I will tackle every obstacle that comes my way.
So, this is my advice to you if you are going through, or are struggling with the aftermath of divorce:
Love yourself for who you are, for the choices you made and will make; be proud of yourself because you are a magnificent human being.
Divorce is not the end of the world. Stop trying to place blame. Sometimes it just wasn’t meant to be.
Embrace your beauty and intelligence, and understand that just because you are not on a guy’s preference list, it doesn’t make you any less of a human. There is nothing wrong with you. There is, however, something wrong with our society’s mindset.
Filter out negativity from your life. When you are able to do that, you will be able to also filter away unwanted people who you don’t need in your life.
Divorce is not the end of the world. For some, it may be the beginning of new journey. I hope you are able to find yourself if you, to, are going through this detour in life.
Written by Faten Kased