Throwback post: Hardship, continued, July 2013

I knew from the beginning that marrying my husband, or more accurately, having his government accept the marriage, would involve some hardship. However, I was satisfied that I was marrying him in the right way and for the right reasons, as well as having done my homework so I placed my trust in Allah and rolled with the punches. But at some point, the punches become too strong and too many and they began to wear us down to the point we didn’t think we could get back up again, or even if we should.

Our recent news that our third application for the marriage permission had been rejected was nothing short of soul destroying and was the catalyst for both my husband and I sinking into a very dark period of severe doubt and depression. Even when we found seemingly promising means of assistance elsewhere, we remained cynical – after all, we had been let down before. We learnt the hard way that it doesn’t matter how quickly another couple has gained the permission, even if their personal details are identical to yours, because each case is treated entirely differently based on factors almost completely out of your control.

I became increasingly disappointed in myself and my inability to deal with my frustration without taking it out on my husband or binge eating. Other stresses appeared with uncertainty regarding my accommodation and suddenly finding myself the only ‘single’ girl amongst a group of (mashaAllah) married and pregnant young women.

In the midst of all of this I was forced to face a question I had never thought to consider before – had I made a mistake in marrying my husband? Were all these obstacles blocking the way to my husband a sign from God that we are not supposed to be together? Was this perhaps a cruelly belated answer to the istikhara I prayed when I wanted to marry him all that time ago (astaghfirullah)? Despite my efforts to remain objective in the days when I was considering marriage to my husband, did I still manage to ignore some earlier signs from God which were designed to tell me ‘don’t do it!’? These thoughts nearly destroyed me, my husband and our marriage. Divorce had never been an option for us before so the mere mention of it pushed us even further into hopelessness. I did not want a divorce but I felt that if it was a sign from God than I must do it or risk displeasing Him and being punished for it later on through perhaps a bad experience in Saudi Arabia. And yet I had no idea what I would do with myself if we were to divorce. Almost my entire adult life thus far has revolved around my efforts to be with him. My only lasting passions are Islam and the hope of moving to Saudi Arabia to be his ‘live-in’ wife and inshaAllah the mother of his children.

Alhamdulilah I was given the opportunity to ask a Shaykha I very much respect about my concerns (read: obsession) and her simple answer is something which, as a hardcore worry-wart, benefitted me enormously and which I do not think I will ever forget. Having observed that my concern over the ‘result’ of my istikhara was causing me even more distress than the situation which lead me to have the thoughts in the first place, she asked me how I would feel if I went to someone with a problem and they said to me “don’t worry, leave it with me and I will take care of it”? “Relieved”, I said. “Well”, she smiled, “this is how it should be when you make istikhara – you are leaving it to Allah to take care of”. SubhanAllah. From my understanding of the short discussion which followed, the ‘result’ of an istikhara is not so much a sign or feeling to be interpreted but rather it is what happens when you get advise from good, knowledgeable people about the matter, make a decision based on that, then pray the istikhara and take the action required. Then place your trust in Allah/have tawwakul and trust that whatever Allah allows to happen from that point is truly His will and is what is best for you – that’s it! Pressure officially off, alhamdulilah!

“Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said, ‘When is the help of Allah?’ Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.” [Qur’an, 2:214]

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