I wanted to start with a prelude beforehand. In no way am I an advocate of divorce however, I am so thankful for my Lord, who has forbidden oppression. I am thankful for his mercy, kindness and forgiveness. There was a time I hung my head in shame over divorce. Then there came the time I felt liberated by it. I thank Allah every day for saving me from my past that tormented me. Allah hates divorce, lets never forget that. Our goal should always be to strive for blissful everlasting unions. I asks that Allah allows us to have mates that we may dwell in this life and the next with love, peace and mercy! Ameen Ya Rabb.
In Islam, married life should be filled with mercy, compassion, and tranquility—even while experiencing difficulties. Marriage is a great blessing. Each partner in the marriage has certain rights and responsibilities, which are to be fulfilled in a loving way in the best interests of the family. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Divorce, however is decreed by Allah as a mercy for the believers in exceptional circumstances, when all attempts of resolving disputes between the spouses have failed. There has been a lot of abuse and violation of marriage laws. There are also a lot of misconceptions about the women's rights in marriage and during divorce.
Recognize, that Islam outlines certain steps that need to take place both before, during, and after a divorce. The needs of both parties are considered. Any children of the marriage are given top priority. Guidelines are given both for personal behavior and legal processes. Following these guidelines may be difficult, especially if one or both spouses feel wronged or angry. The couple must strive to be mature, just and fear Allah, who is the disposer of all affairs. Both husband and wife should really search their hearts, evaluate the relationship, and try to reconcile. All marriages have ups and downs, and this decision should not be arrived at easily or hastily.
Ask yourself, "Have I really tried everything else?" Evaluate your own needs and weaknesses; think through the consequences. Try to remember the good things about your spouse, find forgiveness and patience in your heart for minor annoyances. Communicate with your spouse about your feelings, fears, and needs. During this step, the assistance of Islamic counseling may be helpful. If, after thoroughly evaluating your marriage, you find that there is no other option than divorce, there is no shame in proceeding to the next step. When it is truly the best interest of all concerned, Allah gives divorce as an option. Nobody needs to remain in a situation that causes personal distress, pain, and suffering. In such cases, it is more merciful that you go your separate ways, peacefully and amicably.
Some tend to regard divorce as outward evidence of inner character flaws. We may carry a vague sense of personal failure about being divorced; we may internalize a sense of shame or inadequacy that is inappropriate and unhelpful. In such cases, our sense of guilt or shame may entrap us—limiting our ability to move forward. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. It’s a gift that we are usually generous in giving others at home, at work, or the Masjid. Yet, for some reason, we don’t afford ourselves the same luxury. We think our actions, especially divorce-related ones, are somehow reprehensible. I always want to explain why or how it occurred or retreat from the subject altogether. At this very moment I feel a bit anxious writing about the topic. I've said to my husband several times, how I wished we met and married 17 years ago! I would have loved to only be married to one man and have had him father all of my children. However that was not decreed for me.
Accepting responsibility for your own shortcomings and working on them to avoid mistakes in the future is one thing. But constantly blaming yourself for things in the past is neither helpful nor healthy and doesn’t change a single thing. So why not put that energy we spend on feeling bad about the past into something beneficial like trying to secure a good life for ourselves and our children. MaShaAllah, give yourself the chance to start over and make better decisions? As Muslim we believe in Allah's Qadr and we know everything happens for a reason. Each test or trial is a learning experience and I have learned so much about marriage from divorce.
No one wants to admit that he or she was wrong. It's easier and simpler to point the finger at the other person, but it's not realistic to believe that we were blameless. Don't get me wrong: if your spouse was unfaithful, had an addiction, or was abusive to you, you could not control that, and you could not cure it, but do yourself a favor and borrow wisdom from it's demise. Maybe, there were things you could have done differently or better, even if it's painful to admit. The decision to marry without truly analyzing if it was a suitable mate could have been your only mistake. You can expect your healing to flourish once you've owned your mistakes.
Allah is most merciful and kind and I try to make mention of this everyday. I truly feel I've been shown unaccountable amounts of mercy by Allah, and from this I feel obligated to offer more to others. I thought that the more hardship I endured, the harder my heart would become, but the opposite has happened. I now understand firsthand how it feels to have misfortune, and because of that, I never want to be the bearer of hardship on anyone else. I am more often now, gratefully, a bigger giver than I was before, and I have divorce to thank for that.
Divorce takes time to get through, to heal from and move past. You will feel fine one day and awful the next. Continue to seek the comfort from Allah, even if it takes longer than you expect. Allah is the disposer of all affairs, The healer and creator of all things. And only he can restore your heart and your life. I never expected this would be my fate. But I'm so thankful for my journey. I now find great contentment with my belief in divine decree. What is for me, will be for me and what is not will escape me! What relief, MaShaAllah! In part two of Marriage Advice after Divorce, I plan to showcase in great detail what I have learned and share how someone pursuing marriage could circumnavigate some of the pitfalls I've endured.