My Life As A Muslim Single Mother

I worry, a lot. I try not to, but nonetheless I cant seem to stop the endless tirade of thoughts that flow through my brain until my nerves are pulled taut and I think my head will explode.  Life is not easy for a Muslim woman, life for a single Muslim mother can be much worse.  I sometimes have no real support from my family (although sometimes they are great!), and I often feel like they don’t understand me too; they tell me they have their own lives to lead and can’t always help me so I feel like I’m a burden, although I’m sure that’s not their intention.  My brother said to his wife once that if he went away he was worried in case something would happen to her as she was all alone in a flat with her sons, it hurt me because I thought that this is my reality.

Every time I have to let a strange man in my house be it a plumber or an electrician I wonder momentarily what would happen if he tried to rob me, a Muslim woman should not be alone with a non-mehram man, my brothers should be here with me.  But they weren’t as they said they were busy and the effect it had on me was dire.  I actually wondered what kind of God would allow this to happen until I finally regained my senses and saw Islam wasn’t the problem, people were.  My family didn’t think I was ready to re-marry, so I tried to find a husband myself; and the men I have met, especially the ones who claim to follow Islam, have told me they could get any girl because of their knowledge but that a lot of men would not look twice at me, simply because of my situation.  I ended up thinking ‘to hell with men’ and have focused instead on my faith and Iman.

It is better for a woman’s own safety to not be out alone after dark in Islam, and every time I go and pick up my children from the Madrasah and it is dark I remember this and wish I too, had a husband willing to help me stick to this.  I worry about who will take my son to the men’s section of the Masjid when he is a bit older and imagine myself asking the first man I see to take pity on us and to take him inside, I wonder if anyone would help.  When I pass people by in the street I see the questioning look in their eyes as they wonder where my children’s father is, sometimes I look down ashamed and sometimes I look them straight in the eye and dare them to ask so I can let it all out.  I don’t feel I can relate to non-Muslim single mothers because when they are talking about birthdays and I say we don’t celebrate it I see the look of pity that comes into their eyes as they think Islam is too strict; when I go home I have no husband to console me and tell me he is proud of the way I am trying to raise our children.

I worry about my beautiful little girl growing up and getting into trouble like I did and I wonder if any boys ever harass her who will come to her rescue as her own father does not care.  I  mention these things so that if any sister out there who is feeling like  she is the only one who doesn’t always have support reads this, she will know she is not alone.  Single mothers in the Asian community are seen as damaged goods and are expected to quite happily be the 3rd wife of a 50-year-old man; people don’t realise that they are twice as picky because they have to be because of their children and their safety.

There are a few articles out there about single Muslim mothers but nothing about any support groups or how their mental health may be affected.  Try it yourself, Google “support for single Muslim mothers” and see how many unrelated articles come up, there is hardly anything.  If you are a single Muslim mother, and you have no support, no family to turn to when you are ill or sad, that will take your kids off your hands for you for a while and you see nothing wherever you look to make you think that you are not alone, you will most likely end up depressed.  We expect more of our own families because we know other people have their own lives and look after themselves first but because our families are meant to be a part of us we assume they will be selfless and help, that’s sadly not always true.  It is VERY isolating being alone every night when you can’t go out and no-one comes to see you and I think at times like this if us mothers had a group we could be a part of it may help us feel less alone, maybe watch a talk on the rewards of doing it alone or listen to some comforting words from scholars, but there doesn’t seem to be much out there.

We have role models from Islamic history of single mothers (or mothers who raised their children alone) whose children went on to become great men and prophets; Hajar, the mother of Prophet Ismail (pbuh), Maryam, the mother of Prophet Isa (pbuh), and Amina, the mother of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), all raised their sons alone.  Also, the mothers of Imam al-Shafi’, Imam Ahmed and Imam Bukhari raised their sons alone, all of whom later became renowned figures that left a major impact on the world.

Why then are Muslim single mothers judged so harshly and denied compassion? Why is it that no-one wants to be the one to make a change?  Who will be the voice for these defenceless women?  Everyone is so preoccupied with  helping the majority with more well-known issues like support for reverts that they forget the minority.  We need and deserve your help too.

Isn’t it time we made a change?

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9 thoughts on “My Life As A Muslim Single Mother

  1. Asalam alaikum sister.

    Having read about your situation i really feel for you. May Allah swt ease your difficulties and give you the strength to get through them ameen.

    I too am a single Muslim mother and understand just how hard it is. Alhamdalillah i have a very supportive family and reading your story made me aware of just how supportive they are and appreciate them even more so for it.

    Insha Allah i will make dua for you sister.

    Asalam alaikum

    lillah i have a very supportive family and reading your story not only made me

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  2. Assalamu alaykum Sister,

    JazakAllahu khayran,

    Thank you for this – which we as the Muslim Ummah need as a reminder of what life is like for Muslim Single Mums.

    I can understand some of the problems and I do know brothers who seem to be very strict with themselves but do not seem to care very much who their Sisters marry or if they get divorced about helping them re-marry.

    Although I am not in your situation, I find it a bit negative and perhaps an exaggeration to state:

    Single mothers in the Asian community are seen as damaged goods and are expected to quite happily be the 3rd wife of a 50-year-old man;

    Realistically, a single brother is unlikely to choose to marry a sister with children.

    As you mentioned- normally they would prefer to marry a virgin. Even if such a brother married a sister with children, his lack of experience and too much pressure early on may well lead to the marriage failing.

    Alhamdulillah, in Islam sisters should not be left unmarried and this is why it is not necessary for the man to be single.

    Realistically, I believe single Muslim sisters should think seriously about polygamy(plural nikah). There are many advantages of marrying an experienced man who has a proven track record of being a husband and father.

    Obviously, in the West this is looked down upon even by “practising Muslims” – and families would prefer to let their daughters and sisters stay unmarried for the rest of their lives than for them to practice plural nikah.

    In this sense married Muslim men are also seen as “damaged goods” by many Muslim sisters.

    Some Muslims even think like the non-Muslims that this is just a way for men to use women, whereas anyone who knows Islam can see that this is the safety net that Allah(SWT) has given society to ensure that women, especially widows, divorced women and single mums can have their needs met.

    Ultimately it is up to every sister to make the choice of whether she wants to take a chance and move on in life or simply follow what the crowd expects(or wants) her to do. Surely half a husband is better than none?

    Islam does not leave problems without solutions, we just have to be brave enough to implement them.

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  3. Asalaam O Alayikum,

    I can really relate to you story sister, I too am a single muslim mother, i have been for 3 years now since the age of 21.
    While I was married my partner, after i fell pregnant wouldn’t give any financial help towards me or the house and wouldn’t even let me work to support myself. He listened to everything his family said and would constantly argue with me, but I wasn’t allowed to talk to my family. Throughout my pregnancy i was very ill and weak due to excess vomitting. I was exhausted towards the middle of my pregnancy and he began to take advantage of his and physically abuse me and be violent. I tried to be patient believing once the child was here be would change, i left my house and went to live with my parent for a while to give him space. I stopped asking him for anything, most times there was no food in the house, but this was fine jus as long as he wouldn’t shout/ argue/ hurt me. With every namaz time i would pray Allah Tallah would put love and sabar in him. But when I reached my 7 month he attacked me so violently I ended up in hospital. I then decided I couldn’t live with him. I had him and his belongings sent back to him.
    I went to live with my parents but my sister in law dislikes any of us sisters and constantly argued with my brother about me being there. The house is my parents and they paid for everything. One day my brother tipped over the edge and told me to get out. And due to our pathetic culture because he was the son my parents didn’t speak even though being a son he doesn’t take any responsibility nor emotion or financial.
    And so i began to live alone back in my own house and have been since. My child has a life long disability and I struggle with a simple day to day life. But alhamdulilah Allah Tallah has giving me so much strength, patience and flexibility that I independantly at the age of 24 live alone with my 3 year old. And in my eyes sister alone is the best way to be, because that is how allah wants yoy to br for this part if your life. With a paak neyat fulfil your duties to whom ever you may and raise your child/ten as fine outstanding Muslims. If Allah wills a suitor will come in your life and you will remarry inshallah. Allah does everything for the best inshallah.
    Abu ibraheem your comments are very harsh and only seen from one angle.
    My parents are very old and ill but are still try to find a suitable proposal, by suitable I mean a Muslim man who will accept my daughter and me, has a job and isn’t marrying me just for a visa. We don’t care abou looks, zaat, wether or not he has lots of money or just getting by, married divorced, widowed, has or hasnt got children etc all this to use is completely irrelevant. the only rishteh we get is 37+ with 3+ children. I am 24 with 1 I’ll child. And we still consider the rishteh. MOST not all Asian men ( i would not like to say muslim because if people had real knowledge everyone wouldn’t be so pea mind and judgemental) see them selves as a better catch than women. If a man has a divorce is not really seen an will marry a unmarried women but a divorced women will most probably marry a divorced man with a child. If you get a divorced man with one child he will usually ask for a single/divorced women without a child but a divorced women with a child will have to accept a divorced man with 2+ children. I say this from real life experiences.
    Regarding plural wives: Most men struggle to please and maintain one wife and set of kids in this day and age. And men who have achieved this would never marry again because they are happy and content, and wouldnt want extra pressure. We have even looked at men who are married but I am afraid to say all these rishteh simply wanted to get a second wife because there first relationship had ended but didn’t want to be stigmatised with the word divorce (this being due to many reason I.e married in the family and parents wont allow a divorced, one wife abroad but didn’t want to call her here so needed a wife here, one had an ill wife who requested to her husband let me die then remarry but he insisted on looking).
    I am not saying men don’t have a right to be happy. But Allah Tallah made it very clear that multiple wives are for those men who’s first wife is happy, well looked after financially and emotionally, is loved by her husband and is consenting to her husband to remarry. If not and he husband is not happy with his wife they should go through the stages of reconcilliation and if any side refuses to change what is islamically wrong for one another, then regardless of the stigma everyone is entitled to divorce.
    Sorry for going on but I feel angry to how ignorant most people actually really are. Another example: other than my ex husband I have never had any relations with anyone alhamdulilah. But yet guys who arent married have slept with 3+ women and have children out of wedlock wouldnt marry be because I am divorced. It’s outright ignorance, lack of knowledge and a sense of superiority, which are all seen as unmuslim traits.
    Sorry if I have offended anyone with any comment but I am jus telling my life experience.
    I pray allah brings us all on the right path, gives you bharkat

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  4. firstly i feel sad after reading this then sick now angry…..i’m so sorry on behalf of the brothers like me who are in simalar situations…my wife does not pray she swears in front of my daughter and she is at the age of learning to speak…i cant even be in the house from moring to night as i know she will start a fight just to make me angry for no reson, thus i miss out on spending quality time with my daughter….i tried to stay for her sake yet her mother is relentless in her verbal abuse and direspect of mine and her father and families whishes to return to Allah. Truly looking for a single parent sister who does nt want more children jus a man to respect her and her him.

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  5. I’m in exactly the same predicament. Please please contact me on jewelwoman@ googlemail.com as I don’t feel I’m coping like u are mashallah
    Jazakallah Kher un

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  6. ive been reading and honestly it brings tears in my eyes. I just request that as a woman you need to be so strong the contentment from your children should suffice everything else. Ive had my situation and i have a son who is 4 yrs so innocent and just waits for his father everyday at the door thinking one day he will surely turn up and hug him …
    It makes me cry every day and i pray to allah to please divert his mind and make him a strong boy
    Sometimes i wish and pray that please grow him up soon so he will be the shoulder to cry on…..
    Children do make us weak at times but we need to be strong so they become our future and good muslims .
    I salute all single muslim women . Please start loving yourself and pat your backs. You must love yourself and you just deserve the best.

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