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She waits for him

She waits for him. She knows he will come. She knows that he is simply caught up somewhere, distracted, and, eventually, he will come for her.

Maybe he is still at work, chatting with his colleagues. Perhaps he has gone to visit his mother, or taken his sister a gift. Probably he has stayed at the masjid to pray extra prayers. Wherever he is now, she knows that he will come for her.

Because she made him angry today.

She didn’t mean to. She was careless, of course, thoughtless. She should have known better. If she was more obedient, a better wife, a better Muslim, she would have known that he wanted his white shirt, not his black one.

He always tells her that it is her fault. If she was a better wife, a better Muslim, he would not have to tell her how fat she is, how she makes him sick.

If she was a better wife, a better Muslim, he would not have to slap her for talking to the postman, for asking a question, for answering the phone.

If she was a better wife, a better Muslim, she would know how to keep the children quiet, to iron his trousers properly, to make rice the way his mother does.

So she tries to be a better wife, a better Muslim. She reads the Qur’an, she fasts, she prays her sunnah salah. She gives herself to him, whenever he asks; she does everything he tells her to.

But the beatings don’t stop.

Sometimes, he is sorry. He cries afterwards, stroking her hair, bathing her wounds. Then he buys her flowers and tells her to stay home so that the neighbours won’t see her cuts and bruises. He tells her not to talk to the woman next door – she is nosey, and she hears too much through the thin walls that divide their houses.

He does not like any of her friends. They are a bad influence, he says, bad women. He wants her to concentrate on her duties to her family, not socialising with evil women who want to ruin her marriage. He does not want her to have an email address of her own, in case she communicates with other men. He checks her mobile phone for messages and numbers he doesn’t recognise. He accuses her of being unfaithful even though she doesn’t go out to work and never leaves the house without him.

Yet he can quote Qur’an and hadith, like a shaykh. He knows all the religious rulings, knows how to quote fatawa. It is this that makes her tremble inside – when he uses the deen to whip her into submission.

For when others see him at the ‘Isha salah at the masjid, they admire his strength, his piety, his righteous family. They do not know that he just left his wife at home ten minutes ago, crying silently, bleeding, because she forgot to iron his white shirt.


Na’ima B Robert is a Muslim revert of mixed South African descent. She is author of the popular revert memoir, ‘From my sisters’ lips’ as well as several books for children and young adults. She is also founder and Editor-in-Chief of SISTERS, the magazine for fabulous Muslim women. A prolific writer and commentator on issues affecting Muslim women, Na’ima has been published in The Observer, The Muslim Weekly, Stylist Magazine and The Times.
naimabrobert.co.uk

21 Comments

  • Ismael

    Salams sisters we are organising a dawa event with Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick on the 3rd of January in Harlesden. I would really like for you sisters to do a presentation IA. my te no is 07794239382 -the best time to call is 8pm or after or feel free to email me on mecca2medinabookings@gmail.com please. I hope to hear from you soon IA.

    December 14, 2010 - at 8:32 am
  • Umm Nafisa Nargies

    Salam,
    Masha Allah …very well written
    but subhan Allah it made my heart so heavy….
    May Allah swt help and ease the oppression of all the women Aameen

    December 14, 2010 - at 10:24 am
  • Sadaf Farooqi

    Very true depiction!
    There are more men/wives in our communities like this than we can ever imagine!
    Jazakillahu khair, Na’ima, for such a realistic depiction of a sad scenario inside the confines of many of our ummah’s homes. 🙁

    December 14, 2010 - at 11:06 am
  • Aamir Husain AbdulAzeez

    Sooooo sad but yet true. My Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala help us men realize that Sunnah of the Prophet Salallahu Alayhis Wa Salaam is the best way to strive to be when it comes to our families, finances and manners, morals and ethics. “The best of us is those that treats our families the best.”

    ” If he was following Sunnah he would of ironed his own shirt.”

    December 14, 2010 - at 1:12 pm
  • Nancy Shehata

    Salaam Alaikum. A heartbreaking story, one that is unfortunately repeated again and again across the country, across the world. I’ve witnessed the pain of this type of situation, helped a sister pick up the pieces after a marriage full of pain and deceit. I wish I could rescue everyone one of these women, and I have the uncharitable desire to give the men double of what they’ve inflicted on others. La hawla wa la quwatta ila billah. May Allah help us not to turn away, Ameen.

    December 14, 2010 - at 1:38 pm
  • Kolchuma Begum

    i can’t believe this…well i can bcz it’s true and ive seen things to
    but how can a man think he’s pious when his wife is distraught.. has he not read about how a wife should be treated as a queen….and how can it not make hiis heart bleed when he makes his wife suffer…..may Allah grant women like this woman, the highest of jannah and give them their freedom and awaited peace.

    December 14, 2010 - at 2:39 pm
  • Qurratulain Faheem

    i ws soooo speechless n blank after this fr a while dat i had to gather myslf n had to concertre to feel sumthin…..i wnt numb thinkin does this happen in Muslim house holdz ppl readin Qur’an n Hadith follwin Sunnah…. tho itz true …situationz like this r the stories of many homes today…but subconciously on the back of mind a voice ws sayin does this happnz??? hw can 1 do nethin of this sort n still hv the face to stand upto Allah SWT….i mean whrz his heart dont he trust he @ all :'( dnt he hv TAWAKKUL n IMAAN ???

    December 14, 2010 - at 5:36 pm
  • Huda

    ^ Agree with Qurratulain Faheem. This just scared me stiff. Cannot believe how this sort of stuff goes on in so many Muslim households and with people’s full knowledge…yet no one steps in to save these battered women. Men like this deserve to burn in the pits of hell and nothing less.

    December 14, 2010 - at 7:24 pm
  • Revert

    Walahi I have been thru a very bad marriage as a new revert. My husband abused me very much, (threw me down stairs and I broke my knee…spit in my face…) all bcz I went outside without his “permission”, which I was unaware what that meant? I havent told many people because they already think Islam is so violent against women but the few I told everything to, they didnt believe me bcz they said it sounds like a movie? Yet, this is what happened to me? I wake up many nites feeling him doing these things to me and then he has sworn before Allah that he loves me more than anything? I pray that my voice can be heard and make a difference to any woman that may have gone thru somethng hard like this…I know God loves women and inshallah we can all find and marry loving men that respect their wives.

    December 14, 2010 - at 8:33 pm
  • sumaira

    You can only understand this fully if you have lived it. Its true a white shirt is all it takes. May Allah give all the oppressed men/ women the strength and courage to look their oppressor in the eye n feel victorious nt afraid!!!! Ameen

    December 14, 2010 - at 11:20 pm
  • Tia Begum

    This article reminds me of the painful past i managed to leave behind. The hardest part was the lack of support of from family because I had children they expected me to leave with the abuse the way my mother did. After 8 years alone I got remarried to a man who was broadminded good character, kind and full of wisdom but unfortunately society still treat us as if it was wrong for women to take back her life.

    December 14, 2010 - at 11:33 pm
  • millie

    you might find this useful, though this only applies in certain cases.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf6lVgW6RkA
    i know some people who will stick with this situation as they dont know what they should do islamically nor where to go for help. if there is info out there please pass it around.
    I can understand that a women might stay in this type of situation if its just her and him, but when there are children being affected i really think its time to get out. i know easier said than done.
    Unfortunately i think men and women have forgotton what it is to be a man and a woman.

    December 15, 2010 - at 7:37 am
  • meena pervez

    The beatings will never stop because it’s never his fault, always her fault. This is why he can continue to think of himself as pious. She makes him do it! Eventually the women comes to believe it is her fault, because he tells her she is such a bad wife.

    December 15, 2010 - at 2:49 pm
  • Mohammed Yaseen

    An age old problem within the Muslim communty that should be dealt with head on rather than brushed under the carpet as it has been for decades.

    December 16, 2010 - at 12:21 am
  • nabila

    Dear sister/brothers this is an age old problem….these type of men lead double lives being pious muslims on one side and vicious ogres on the other. We do not have enough support from the muslim community because unfortunately these women cannot go out and many mosques or brothers that would give advice just will not listen to the woman making her feel even more of a let-down muslim. We need more womens support and men to TRULY follow our beloved prophet (PBUH) who was the best example of a husband….

    December 16, 2010 - at 10:06 pm
  • Nelema Ali

    This summarises everything so amazingly, masha’Allah done so very well.

    December 22, 2010 - at 3:26 pm
  • Nadira

    the story is good but i don’t like how it is showing a practising brother although it may be true it doesnt show islam in a good light it shows a believer using islam to abuse hs wofe when in reality ilam prohibits men from beating their wives, it is recorded that the best of men are the ones who are the best to their wives, and theirs alot more. the story is sad but that is not the reality of proper practicing muslims.

    January 10, 2011 - at 3:34 am
  • Rumi Begum

    I know of a story (real one) where one preaches islam and yet doesn’t apply it to the extent he should in his own life…that is when i realised that the man i hold in high regard-is but JUST a man…prone to human mistakes…even though he chooses to preach, just like us he will make mistakes…but remember, before we pass judgement, look in the mirror…

    January 24, 2011 - at 11:02 pm
  • Roughboy

    Why does any sensible, intelligent person need someone else to tell them it is wrong to beat your wife, or anybody else?  I don’t think religion has got anything to do with it, men are obviously just using that as an excuse to be in control.  This is not love, it is slavery, and has no place in any humane, modern society.

    July 17, 2011 - at 9:00 am
  • a2zStuff

    The Aww Story <3

    April 5, 2012 - at 10:37 am
  • Sazy110

    The very core issue is always related back to ones knowledge and faith in Allah but the one who loves Allah, will know to treat her with kindness and respect, with trust and the ability to forgive and forget. One who is just to himself, will be just to others. One who is sincere and pious, will be respectful and caring, honest and wise!
    Actions do speak louder than words but that’s not to say that words are not itself, action! What we need to do to defend ourselves from abuse, is to recognise that it is not an act of patience to remain silence! This act only is an act of acceptance. Allah expects that we live with dignity and to live for truth, justice and peace! This is our goal purpose, it’s not easy but but it’s not easy living in fear of the one who is meant to protect and love you. So fear nothing but Allah and hold hope in Him that surely after and with difficulty, comes ease!PEACE!!!

    June 22, 2012 - at 12:35 am

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