Monday, June 18, 2018
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Mending a Broken Heart: Overcoming a Divorce

Divorce…

The daunting and awkward topic that no one seems to want to discuss in public because of the stigma attached to it. Yes, divorces can be messy due to a number of factors; and when children are involved, it’s twice as complicated. You feel a whole array of mixed emotions that are difficult to internalize or accept. To be honest, this is perfectly normal because the reality is, the person you were so certain you would spend the rest of your life with, is no longer your life partner. A number of thoughts bombard you at once; how will I manage as a single parent, will I ever forgive my former spouse, how will society view me? How will I heal my broken heart?

The hardship of divorce
People often don’t realise how agonizing a divorce can be. On the surface, it may seem like two people are being unreasonable or irresponsible, but the truth is, most people do not realise the transgressions that have taken place behind closed doors which have caused a couple to decide to divorce. The reasons can be so vast; it could be an abusive partner, whether that is physical, mental, verbal or emotional abuse. At this point, I should mention that it’s important to realise the severity of any form of abuse. It could lead to psychological damage being embedded in an individual which in turn makes positive change difficult.

It could be that your partner is cheating on you, or that your spouse has left Islam, or just the simple fact that you both do not get along anymore. Whatever the reason behind the divorce, never forget that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) never leaves you and it is He who will bring you ease after hardship.

I personally find that in all situations that we perceive as a calamity, there is always wisdom behind it. Throughout this difficult period, it is absolutely vital for you to always be conscious of the fact that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) tests those whom He loves, and that you should never lose hope in His Mercy.

Divorcing can be painful but it is one of many tests we may face in this life. During my experience, I have learnt a few things that I want to share with you to overcome this trial.

1. Hold on to your salah
Salah is the primary step to healing one’s self. I am a mother so I completely sympathise with mothers who are unable to pray their salah on time, but during this time of difficulty, you need your sujood! During a divorce, not only do you become consumed by all of your responsibilities, especially when there are children, but your emotions can paralyse you.

This is the time to reconnect with Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) in solitude and to release stress by speaking to Allah and asking Him for help. Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) commands us:

“O you who believe seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with those who are patient.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 153]

2. Look for happiness in the mundane
During a divorce, it is very easy to let all the negatives be at the forefront of your mind rather than all of the blessings that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) has given you. This is a dangerous mentality to have that can depress you. So whenever the hardships in life consume you, remember this ayah that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) revealed to the people of Musa ‘alayhi’l-salām (peace be upon him) when they were being persecuted:

“If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor].” [Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 7]

Take a moment to reflect on what you have to be thankful for. This could be a supportive family, children who smile, or even something as basic as having a hot coffee in the morning, or the fact that you get to wake up in the mornings and have functioning limbs…

We forget that even the simple things in life are blessings. Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) reminds us 33 times in Surat ArRahman:

“So which of your Lords favours will you deny?” [Qur’an: Chapter 55, Verse 13]

3. Take up a hobby
Find a way to occupy your time so that you do not become consumed by your emotions.

For me, a friend encouraged and pushed me to take up memorizing the Qur’an. This honestly helped me in more ways than I could imagine. Not only did it help me develop my relationship with Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He), but it also pushed me to take the steps in learning Qur’anic Arabic.

SubhanAllah, words alone can not describe the beauty of learning the Qur’an and the sense of tranquility that encompasses you. The way Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) words can humble you in seconds and put you at ease, or how some verses correct your affairs through obedience to Him.

Alongside my memorization, I also started to take steps towards a healthcare profession, alhamdulillah, and I am still currently pursuing it. Give yourself something to strive for, and give your time a purpose with an achievable goal. Even if it just for an hour or two a day, if you take your mind away from the stresses of divorce, it will really benefit you spiritually and mentally.

4. Control your tongue
Divorcing with children is not the easiest of things to deal with while remaining patient. It is so important to control your tongue and not let shaytan allow you lose your composure, not only as a mother or father, but also as a person who fears Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He). There may be times when you are angry, but in this situation, your words can be like a sword and such words uttered in this state may not be forgivable or forgotten. The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.” [Sahih Muslim].

Sometimes you are angry, you don’t want to forgive. You are hurt, and you feel violated. Divorce is hard. Especially when it drags on back and forth and there is animosity between the spouses, but it is for this reason that you need to be extra cautious of the words you utter. This is a time where shaytan knows you can accumulate sins by letting your emotions take control. So, don’t let him win.

5. Seek help
Talk to someone, a friend or a therapist and seek emotional support for internalizing your emotions. I was fortunate enough to have a very supportive family with me, however if you are a victim of abuse, then it is important to seek professional help.

Isolation may be okay for a short period of time when you are internalizing what has happened, but for long periods of time this could be detrimental to your deen and this is what shaytan loves. Surround yourself with people who remind you of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He), and encourage you to seek knowledge so that your relationship with Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) strengthens.

6. Know that it gets better
This brings me to my final, and possibly, my most important point. Who can honestly say alhamdulillah and sincerely mean it when Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) has decreed a hardship for them? The majority of us struggle with accepting the last pillar of faith: qadar.

How many times do we ask: “why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? If I could go back, I would have done things differently!”

In this situation, we need to put our trust in Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) and with no doubt in our hearts know that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) has decreed what is best, and whether we see the wisdom behind it in this dunya or in the akhirah is up to Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He). Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) only tests those He loves and these tests are designed to strengthen you and prepare you for what’s ahead.

One of the mothers of the believers, Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan (Umm Habiba), upon emigrating to Abyssinia, her husband had left Islam and became Christian. When faced between remaining with him or choosing Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He), she chose Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He). Her husband died shortly after from consuming too much alcohol. Being in a foreign country without family meant that she wasn’t left with many options, and so she decided to put her complete trust in Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) and live her life for His sake. SubhanAllah, Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) then replaced her husband with the greatest man to walk this earth. She married the beloved Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

Divorce is not the end, nor is it something that tarnishes a person or diminishes their worth. Sometimes relationships do not work out and it is important to remember that when you die, you die alone. When you meet Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He), you meet Him alone. It can be heartbreaking to lose the person you thought you would spend the rest of your life with, but no matter what happens, you will never lose Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He). He will always be there for you. Don’t let a divorce have permanent negative effects on you, use this calamity as a catalyst to get closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) and I promise, just like I did, you will come out a stronger person.

What other things helped you get through a divorce? Comment and share your thoughts with us below.

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