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This Is What It Looks Like for a Divorced Muslim Woman

Being a divorced Muslim woman has become more acceptable in our community. In fact, nearly a decade ago, it was complicated and not very common – but nowadays, more people are becoming outspoken about their unhappiness. Having said that, the taboo around divorce still exists, and more so for Muslim women than men. Even after a divorce, Muslim men can comfortably live normal lives, but Muslim women continue to face difficulties.

I was trapped in an abusive relationship – but in the community, women would say I was being selfish and ungrateful.

One woman stated that getting a divorce actually set her free to live her life because she was so miserable. She said, “I was trapped in an abusive relationship – but in the community, women would say I was being selfish and ungrateful. My ex lived his life to the fullest while I raised our children, returned to school, and worked. None of it was easy. It required a lot of discipline.”

In an attempt to understand her lived experience, the following is an interview she allowed us to conduct with her where she was able to elaborate on her own personal story. Here’s what she had to say.

As a divorced Muslim woman, do you ever see yourself getting married again? 

I’m not sure. I still have reservations about it, but it’s not off the list. I’m not sure how I would, though, because meeting someone isn’t as easy as one may think. Dating isn’t allowed, and many will say it’s haram or culturally inappropriate. If you asked me this question a couple of years after my divorce when I was still healing, I would have said there was no way I’d ever get married again. But somehow, after healing from all the pain of an abusive marriage, I’m finally feeling better and more open to the possibility of marriage again.

Do you feel judged or criticized by your community?

I used to. At first, I got a lot of hate and negativity from everyone, including my family, so it was hard to deal with. I was a single mom trying to make a better life for myself and my kids. That was something many of these women couldn’t understand. Leaving was the best decision I ever made, and I don’t regret it. I’ve seen how much happier my kids are and how they can be themselves. We take family trips and have pizza and game nights – simple things we didn’t do before. The best part of my life is watching my kids grow and mature without violence in the home. This has been the most rewarding part for me. I’ve also noticed the shift in my community. They’re more supportive of women wanting a divorce because they’ve seen how my life improved. That’s another reward for me.

Do you feel lonely sometimes?

Honestly, no. I’ll tell you why. My kids, job, pets, and friends keep me so busy, I don’t have much time to get lonely. I’m constantly involved with projects or taking trips, so I don’t have time to sulk. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not cold, but sometimes I do wish my kids had a great father figure. Having someone to help me with maintenance around the house would be nice because it’s been hell trying to keep up with my schedule. A pair of extra hands would be great, but those hands must be kind and compassionate. My career, for now, is motherhood. My kids come first, so a man in my life takes low priority right now. Plus, being a single mom, you become overprotective of your heart because you really can’t just be with just anyone. Only single parents can truly understand the struggle. I have friends who don’t have kids, and they constantly comment about how I should remarry or at least date. They don’t realize you don’t have that luxury as a single parent. Whoever you bring into your life will become a part of your child’s life.

What advice do you have for divorced Muslim women?

Please don’t rush into another relationship, no matter how difficult things get. It will not be easier for you. In fact, it can become more difficult. It takes two to be in a marriage, so don’t go for the most convenient option. You deserve better, and so do your kids. If you’re childless, do whatever your heart desires. But as a single mom, your decisions also impact your children, so take your time, heal, then go from there. Divorce can be rewarding for some and harmful for others. No two stories will be the same. My story is unique because I have gained independence by providing for myself and my children. Many women stay in unhappy or unhealthy marriages because they are financially trapped. Having some form of independence, like your education, work experience, a good network, and a support system help. And remember, it’s important for us to support other women.