Answered by Ustadha Rukayat Yakub
Question: Selam Alaykum,
I wanted to ask your advice. I am a recent convert. I have had many difficulties with family so far and I don’t know how to move forward.
I married someone from another country last year. We never lived together and did not get a civil marriage in the US, and due to the difficulties my parents presented us, he deserted the relationship.
I was also quite ignorant and in a desperate situation in terms of finances, really at the mercy of other people, which is a very vulnerable place to be in. My family is and has attempted, by any means necessary, to try and get me to leave Islam from emotional abuse to economic abuse to abandonment, and threats.
I just feel tired, lonely and lost. I’m trying to stay positive and lean on Allah ta ala.
I have stumbled so much in these early years of my faith, because I don’t really have anyone to help me. I’m in graduate school right now trying to get the schooling to get a job where I can effectively support myself.
I’m not really plugged into any communities in my state, as most communities I have become familiar with have strict cultural norms and make it extraordinarily hard for an outsider to enter into.
I don’t know where to try and look for a spouse. I just don’t know what to do. Thank you kindly for taking the time to read this.
Answer: Assalaamu alaikum Dear Sister,
May Allah ta’ala bless you and strengthen you, it is hard when one tries to make a change for the better and our own parents place obstructions in from of us, think of the story of Musab in Umayr and Sa’ad Ibn Ibn Waqas.
If you do not remember the details, read their stories again, people can be eerily the same, even though they maybe from different times and places, you know your parents and it sounds like they want what they feel is best for you, they just do not realize that you being Muslim is what you need. They might not know much about Islam or Muslims, pray for them and pray for your relationship with them and know that you are not alone in this.
Community and Friends
Does you university have an MSA? Does the university community host local events at your university or any of the other colleges in your area? It is difficult to enter communities with ‘strict cultural norms’ but try to visit the different mosques in your area, Try to have a good opinion of the people you meet bearing in mind that most people are trying to do the best with what they know, just do not internalize what they might say or do, As you know, you need some good friends and they might be at these mosque but you will never know if you do not try. You could also look at events that happen in your town where out-of -town guests are invited, hopeful in addition to benefiting from the scholar you can met some like-minded people.
It is really important to prepare for marriage, one of the ways of doing this is to get to know yourself. If we do not fully understand ourselves, our likes and dislikes and hope, dreams and fears, we are going to confuse our spouses and not get the kind of haven we are looking for because we do not really know what we actually want. The advice I give to any sister about marriage is to prepare one’s self spiritually and emotionally for marriage. So if you do not already know what you want in life then start to think about it, and act on it. You want to marry someone who respects you and you him, you understanding yourself will help you with identifying what you really want in a husband and in a marriage.
So many people get married without thinking these things through. Divorce in our community is so high, partly because we aren’t ready to work on our marriages and partly because we didn’t prepare for marriage in the first place. You could think or it as a garden, you prepare the soil, you plant the seeds, you care for the seedlings, water the crops, protect them from bugs, enrich the soil, etc or you could just make a hole in the ground and place some seeds, and hope for the best.
When you are ready for marriage you will find a man who is ready for you, my advice is not to focus too much on finding him, but to strengthen yourself, spiritually through learning about the life of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his companions may Allah be pleased with them all. Learning the supplications he Allah bless him and grant him peace would recite and reciting them through the day, when you wake up, when you go out, when you finish your obligatory prayer. Immerse yourself in the Quran, if you aren’t already doing regular physical exercise then incorporate this into your schedule. If time permits you might also want to add some kind of community work in an area that you enjoy.
My final piece of advice is financial, is it possible for you to get some work on campus so that you do not have to solely rely on your parents? Or is it possible to take a hobby you have and turn this into some kind of business?
May Allah ta’ala open your parents hearts to the beauty of Islam.
May Allah ta’ala give you good friends a supportive community.
May Allah ta’ala strengthen you and bless you for everything you go through for your love of Him
And may Allah ta’ala bless you with a wonderful spouse.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani