I was ancient, old; losing my window of opportunity and the pressure was that of an obese American’s blood. I was 25; being shunned by my parents for moving out without a husband. I was aiming for the stars with my career ambitions. My parents were aiming for the basket with their “burden.” I had a casual conversation with an old acquaintance or a part-time friend. I mentioned it to two very close friends of mine, who shook me verbally and put the thought in my head.
“Hello, you have an opportunity right in front of you. Clearly he likes you. He is a doctor and decent looking. What’s wrong with him?”
Those were the words which opened my mind and heart and I put all faith in Allah. I foresaw this as a moment of, “it was meant to be”. Somewhere in the years past, we had made a verbal commitment. If we’re 25 and not married, we shall marry one another. I felt he came into my world once again to answer my parent’s prayers and cease their struggle to find me a suitable husband.
I put aside any physical perceptions (or the lack of feeling like I was truly in love) with the ambition that love will develop. My naïve thoughts of this notion, as if I was referring to an embryo in my womb, took me to a place far darker than I ever expected. He was nice and his family showed signs of love. After a huge 5 event, 2 year process; I moved to New Jersey from California. I picked up my heart and mind, leaving behind my soul.
The first incident was on our “honeymoon”. He lashed out at me screaming. When I showed no reaction, he began to throw things at me and later pinned me down to the bed. You might think he must have had a reason. but believe me When I say, ‘HE DIDN’T’. This process was short and traumatizing. For the following 3 weeks, it was smooth. I never spoke of this event or ever brought it back up. The next incident took place in his parent basement, where we lived. This time it was a simple argument, between a husband and wife. Little did I know how impact-full a mother in laws involvement could be. As we were discussing, she came down to “mediate”. This women has another son, however this one, the doctor, was her golden child, self-admitted king – in her eyes. From that moment to the next two and half months it was a constant war between her and her opinion of me and how she felt I treated her son.
I wasn’t up to par with her standards: I cooked, I cleaned, I worked and I paid for almost everything I bought myself. I went to all the silly dinners where I had to put on the performance of a lifetime as I was tortured with the hours of verbal communication that was a depiction of Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
It seemed to be their motto on communication. Just review it over and over and over again. They were lost in their own minds, trying to find a way out. My silence wasn’t tolerated. I was forced to speak, forced to answer. Of course, after hours of lies and repetition, I too lost my temper at times. During month 3 (also happened to be during Ramadan) we had multiple fights that led to him to either suffocating me with a pillow, throwing things at me, shoving me to the ground, pinning me to the bed, chasing after me as I tried to escape his verbal abuse – coupled with his mothers, as she would refuse to speak to me even if he and I made up.
I realized there is a simple answer to my problem. Isthikharah! I prayed five nights in a row and my dreams, and actual incidents post prayer, were so vivid and clear. Allah couldn’t have made it any easier. The straw that broke my back was not the lies, from both his mother, brother or himself; not the constant mental torture or accusations of being bipolar from his entire household; nor the fact that his brother in law called me a bitch because water fell on his laptop that he left in my room, as his brother attacked me and I fought back with a glass of water. Not even the endless browsing of paid memberships sites such as “Adult Friend Finder” and others. It wasn’t even the shocking moment when I stepped on the scale to check my depleting weight from 110 to 95lbs. It was the atrocious classless act of spitting on me multiple times! It was heinous; I was well above and beyond that. The ego had flown too far!
I knew my plans to escape wouldn’t come easy, as they once before had demanded everything I owned as I attempted packing to go home when we fought.
It was clear I would have to leave with a strategic plan. I had a job working for $11.00 an hour. I had depleted my savings while I was looking for a job. I found a sublet with another Muslim girl. She happened to work in the building right next to mine. In all of Manhattan, it was a gesture from Allah to feel comfortable, to move forward. She was even of the same race. The situation was great. I moved out and met another man. Months later we are now married and Alhamdulillah happy. For that short time I almost lost myself. I was being convinced I was crazy or that I was wrong. They were turning me into a monster. I had a great support system, my family fully included, that gave me the strength to pull out before it was too late.
If you feel Allah is truly testing you it shouldn’t last forever. He is waiting for you to reach out to him. Isthikharah is the most powerful tool in decision making. It takes strength to pray isthikharah. Was I afraid Allah would send me signs of positivity, to ask me to stay, and make it work? Absolutely. You simply have to believe in Allah.