Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Creating Perspective: On Love, Faith and Sacrifice.

I wrote recently about my experience of being without my husband as he is in India doing dawah work.  I suppose I vented a bit and let it all out.  I might have been quite negative.  But it really helped, I felt peaceful in the days afterwards and quite content – until I saw the comments under the post – I didn’t quite expect those.

I think people who have read my blog for a long time will have got a sense of two things – how lovely and supportive my husband is and how important faith and dawah work is to us.  I suspect that my vent-y blog post gave a skewed picture of what that means for us.  It has made me think I need to be more careful about what I share even if I do write anonymously.  I write with the purpose of sharing honestly to give an account of Muslim family life, to show we are just like everyone else, to connect with others and to learn from them.

My husband is one of the best people I know, both privately in the way he treats me and publicly in the way he serves his community, family, neighbours and faith community.  People often remark to me what a good man he is when they realise he is my husband – telling me how he has helped them at some point.  If I have given a different picture of him, then I have been unfair to him.

My husband goes for dawah work because we believe that someone has to do this work.  Everyone has excuses – lack of job or leave from work, elderly parents, financial responsibilities, young children.  We have most of those excuses, but for us these are not sufficient excuses. If he left for six weeks for a job elsewhere that is understandable, but to spread the word of Allah (SWT) in a time when there is a dire need, people see this as a waste of time and unnecessary.

So I support and encourage him, knowing he wouldn’t be able to go without my support.  He goes with certain unshakeable beliefs: that Allah (SWT) will provide all of our needs, that He will safeguard us against harm in my husband’s absence, that every test from him is a mercy to us and saves us from a bigger difficulty.  I believe that while he is away Allah SWT takes care of our affairs and that my dua’s (supplications) are accepted - so I see it as an opportunity to get all of my needs and desires met by the One who provides for and sustains us.

It seems hard for me, but in reality, it is harder for him.  His life has always revolved around my happiness, whether supporting me to work, or putting my happiness first in some other way.  Someone commented to suggest that he takes abuses and takes advantage of my insecurity. I wish that person could spend a day with me to see how insecure I am - when I am running my household, managing guests, rocking it in the workplace, throwing a party or standing up in my community.  My husband’s support has been the strength behind much of this – whether doing the school run every day for the last twelve years, picking and dropping me to work for ten years solid (in previous years), taking my mum everywhere with us, taxi-ing me and my sisters wherever we need to go, providing a man-free space when my niqabi friends come round or simply taking over the cooking and cleaning when I am tired.  I have yet to meet another man that is so willing to do his share so humbly – especially a Pakistani man at that 😊

More than anything it is hard to feel insecure when he has always made me feel like the most beautiful and adored woman in the world – through the years of rearing little ones and looking a mess and the years of gaining weight and getting older. He seems to see beyond every imperfection and only see the best in me, and make sure I know it.

And then there is the sweetness of finding each other new every time you are apart.  I spend the six weeks that he is away taking care of myself, doing what I want, and generally catching up on movies and books.  This stint in particular has been a time of growth for me – from finding my feet in the community, to learning to manage my in-laws expectations better (read not give a damn), to facing down my older kids, to reflecting on what the dream for life after 40 will look like (less than two months to go until that milestone), to losing lots of weight.  Did I mention not giving a damn? Gosh that feels good - like someone’s taken the shackles and the blinkers off at the same time.

Finally there are the days after he comes back. The nervousness in the days leading up to his return, his parent’s happiness.  He is sweeter than ever in those days, listening to my complaints, helping me as much as he can, trying to encourage me to take a break and generally agreeing to my every demand. He knows he can do what he does, because I do what I do.  That the hardship is our route to making an akhirah (afterlife) for ourselves - something neither of us take lightly. We believe that anything good requires some sacrifice. We believe that everything of this life is temporary and will be lost to us except that which we sacrifice for Allah (SWT). What we sacrifice to Allah (SWT) is what is most precious and beloved to us, that we want to find again in the next life, kept safe for us.  For both my husband and I that is each other – the foundation of each of our world is the other – he is the rock that makes me feel safe and loved, and I am the strength that encourages him do this work when many vilify him and make him doubt if he is doing the right thing.

Thirteen more days Alhamdulillah, before he gets back. That is thirteen more days that to feel safe and protected by Allah (SWT’s) promise. Thirteen days to have my dua’s accepted and all of my needs met.  Then thirteen more days before I can plan a fun summer with my better half insh’Allah.

Let there be a group of people among you who invite to goodness, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.  ~ Quran 3:104

Who is better in speech than the one who invites to God. ~ Quran 41:33

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)  said to ‘Ali (radhiallahu‘anh): “If Allah guides a person through you, it is better for you than all that is on the earth.” (Bukhari No. 2783 & Muslim No. 2406)


12 comments:

  1. Aa,I have been a regular reader of your blog, I think the comments were tough(reality is)but based on truth.firstly household chores are basic life skills and not gender roles so if your husband occssionally helps when you are
    , bearing and rearing his kids, taking care of his family, his sudden guests then it does not make him a hero.Secondly you said every one has excuses, these are not excuses but genuine reasons, in Islam you need to fulfill your ibligatory duties before doing dawah work and leaving your wife with your elderly parents and 5 kids, while she is working does not make him the one who is mutawakal, no one knows Islam better than our beloved prophet who forbade a sahabi to go for hajj because he had elderly parets.you often wonder why your kids did not turn out the way you raised them , the answer is staring at your face, it made me laugh to read, my husband always supoorted me to work, hell yes why won't he. Your husband's isea about Islam makes me wonder if he needs to have Islamic education himself fiest before he goes out and preach, its not a woman's responsibility to run a household which you are doing as removing business can't cater for such a large family. You are working because you have to and he is just wearing jubba and preaching, I wonder what?
    Ofcourse if you are happy in this delusion of him being loving and caring ( listening so you get all the anger out and he does not have to change his ways, typocal desi husband tactic, let the woman vent) then ofcourse your life your choice, but really wish you well

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  2. But I have to admire your husband's EQ, what does it matter to help with a few chores, listen to wife's whining ocassionaly and telling ger she is beautiful, just the right combo and reap all benefits

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    2. I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree. I am amazed at the assessment of my husbands character you have made which is in contrast to everyone that has met him. He didn't just leave, he made arrangements for us, we had unexpected expenses, everyone faces hard time and better times. His parents would have annoyed me even if he was here. The kids would behave like teens even if he was here. I am grateful for it all. I am grateful that Allah SWT has chosen us for this work and given us this opportunity over all of the people who belittle it and do not see the value of it. I will always be grateful for it, because Allah SWT and his deen do not need us, we need Him and His deen and the day we are ungrateful it might pass to someone else that does appreciate it. You cannot imagine the sweetness of something until you have tasted it and all the judgement I have had poured down on my head has never once been from the people who have engaged in this work even for one day, but always from those who have never done it and have no concept of the blessing, benefit or beauty of it.

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  3. I've read your blog for years. Your situation at home has sounded worse and worse every time your husband goes away. Is this sustainable for you? At some point doesn't charity begin at home? You're so angry with your in-laws for their comments and the difficulties involved in caring for them but how come your husband gets a free pass? He may be a perfect gem when he's around but you are floundering badly when he's away. Is there no other viable option? No dawah work he can do nearby?

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  4. Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barrakatuhu my lovely Sr umm saalihah,
    I've also been reading your blog for years (I think I googled happy Muslim mum when I was pregnant with my oldest 6 years ago). I'm a revert and I often look to your blog and other Muslim sister blogs as a form of inspiration, friendship and reminders. You are like a big sister for me I've never met and I love you for Allah's sake.
    I'm sad that other Muslims see it fit to comment (after your explanation as well) trying to find fault in your marriage and situation. We are readers of a blog and causing division between husband and wife and suspicion is not helpful or necessary.
    I actually found a lot of benefit in your post. We are not in jannah, Allah SWT is testing us and the more patient we can be in tests and the harder it is, in shaa Allah the more we can lean on Him to help us- there is no might or power except for Allah.
    Sometimes I like to read about the make and female companions and the seerah and remind myself that this dunya is full of tests, especially for those close to Allah SWT.
    May He SWT help us to remember Him and love each other and speak kindly to other Muslims.
    Jazaki Allahu khairan 💕

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    1. I'm not Muslim. Not even close. I've been reading this blog to get an understanding of how an orthodox Muslim family in the UK lives. This kind of martyrdom I find very hard to understand, considering the author has repeatedly posted how difficult her home situation has been.

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  5. Assalam alaikum Umm Saliha..
    I've also been a reader for long and i love how your posts are about life's daily struggles (don't we all have them) not the seemingly perfect balance in most social media(which make you wonder why your life/kids are so different)..keep on supporting your man and enjoy those sweet moments as they come.and that new attitude (doesnt matter what any1 thinks) developed right on time,so it doesnt really matter what someone who doesnt get it thinks..keep on sharing ��

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  6. I did not in any way belittled dawah work in any way, deen is not just wearing jubba and traveling to give dawat to those living abroad. We also do dawah,won't it be a good example and dawah for your family and friends and collegues to see how your husband supports your career, helps you by sharing your burden, teaching and preaching nearby, helping you raise good citizens and muslims,I moght have jusged you and your husband but you have also judged every one else by saying every one has excuses, elderly parents, young kids, jobs. These are the prime duties of a Muslim
    Taking care of elderly parents comes before traveling to India.Hazoor(PBUH) did not belittle hajj when he forbade a sahabi to take care of his elderly parents and not perform hajj although it is obligatory.
    This is not the excuse that his wife is there to do it, I think you need to really do self analysis, we read your posts regularly and the anger and level of frustration that is there, certainly not the blissful time you are now expressing.
    I wish you all the happiness with your husband and the mediocre thinking that the above mentioned comment has expressed that I'm trying to create gap between husband and wife only amused me how we how our society catagorize women in good and bad women, a good woman is the one who lives happily after even in an abusive(can be emotionally, mentally or physical abuse, not talking about your marriage here)and tries to find her fault in herself that may be I jave not done enough and keep saying the mantra, Wo tou boht achay hain.
    Do you think it is good dawah for your kids to see you overburdened, over reacting when your husband is away?will they want to do it?iis it a good dawah for your family and collegues?
    In the end I would hust wish you all the best

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  7. Supporting the career means to make your life easier so tou can focus on your work, it doesn't mean just letting you work along with everything else.
    I' m not sure about his Islamic views about a man being responsible for earning the family's expenditure.
    Because you have often expressed that that you are working to patmy off house loan and once its done you do nit want to wirk any mire, but instead of preaching to others shouldn't your husband put a little more effort towards meeting family's need.

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  8. Anonymous15 July, 2019

    Dear Happy Muslimah.

    Please don't be hurt by people's reactions. This comes from experience. No doubt your husband is a good man. To help other people and to be by your side through thick ans thin is good but you are doing way too much and it's taking its toll. All these relatives and aunties that you speak of that critisize you are speaking from experience and can see how much liberties a man can take from a woman's much 'niceness'.
    I was the breadwinner and after having my 5th baby I left. It was only after I left that I reallised how much of a mug I had become. He could not continue run the house all on his own, well he could but he just didnt want to. He became so controlling over money and bullied me over every little thing that I started having panick attacks and eventually analysing our relationship. I realised that he became so used to me providing and him taking the back seat that he just could'nt cope. I started having anxiety attacks from his behaviour and suffered with depression. I'm not for one minute suggesting that your hubby is abusive or would the same might happen to you. But you are digging your own self destruction. You think your hubby and in-laws dropping and picking your kids up and babysitting a couple of hours are doing you are a favor so you have to recipricate by doing 100x more. I'm sorry, but as someone said above, you are martyring yourself. It was ok for your husband and you to live this life when you had less kids and no in-laws and you were healthier but you're nearly 40 now with 5 kids all different ages and different demands. It. Is. Draining. Our parents were grandparents at that age. Did they lead this kind of life?
    And why do you make your husband sound like a saint for putting up with you when you're past your 40? Dam well all husbands should be lucky to have a wife like you.
    I'm sorry but I would never advise my daughter to live like you and I do. To put up with so much for so little in return.
    I know you say that Allah will reward but if you're being resentful and your husband kinda leaves his dutiies to you then are you getting the most out of the rewards?

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  9. Anonymous17 July, 2019

    Wow. Your life is so interesting. Its not on this blog for us to judge. I think this blog is for us to get an insight into someones life.
    We all have the same 24 hours a day. Working or not, inlaws or not, Husband around or not, your still going to be busy if you have a large family. Which us a blessing.
    The reason you are getting so much done is because Allah is with you.

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