“You hate me, don’t you?” I said it while clenching my teeth. I was huddled in the darkness…I was almost growling. I was beyond angry. Some days were like that. Others, I was sobbing and nearly begging…why me?
I felt a boulder wearing my body down, my chest tightening. My daughter was asleep on the floor. Other than cursing and crying, I felt lifeless. I was angry at Allah. I was angry because I felt cursed to live the miserable existence of a single mother. Just months earlier I was traveling in Tunisia, kissing aunties and in-laws feeling incredibly loved and accepted by my then-husband’s family.
I felt for once our marriage got an injection of good vibes that would carry us down the road into old age. But then, old problems reemerged, and within a few weeks he declared the divorce. It wasn’t nearly as heartbreaking as what came after. I remember his words to be like gun shots in my chest.
“Go find another place to live.”
“But what about her, what am I supposed to do? I don’t even have a job!”
“That’s not my problem.”
I never cried so much in my life. I never questioned love so much. I believed that God hated me, that He wanted to let me know that I particularly didn’t deserve the things I saw in so many other peoples’ lives.
I spent 19 years in an abusive home growing up. When I eventually attended university I reached such a sense of peace and clarity because I finally felt free to fashion my own destiny. Back then, Allah’s name was always on my lips. Then I met him. I checked a few boxes and married him “nobly.” I trusted in Allah to allow the rest to happen.
After the divorce, I hit rock bottom and the idea of death sometimes filled me with a longing for release from this life.
For months I struggled with homelessness with my daughter who was then 1 years old. I slept on my best friend’s apartment floor and called shelters. I wrote my other friends and complained, thinking they would offer me refuge. I went through bouts of misery and desperation. I sometimes called him, thinking that my tears, the Quran, the sheikhs’ recommendations, the promises he made me when we got married, our daughter….something would turn his cruelty into mercy. I just never expected that he would do that to us. I understand why some women want to leave Islam when their Muslim husbands turn into demons. It’s hard to put your trust, energy, love, and dedication to someone….believing your souls would meet in heaven one day…only to find that they would treat you worse than a despised stranger without question or regret.
Somehow though, I never doubted God’s existence. But, I did doubt His Love.
I can’t describe what happened between those dark days and the slow path to healing. It was like climbing a jagged mountain, and taking breaks to let the cuts heal every day. But I climbed, even when it got harder. I blogged and sometimes forced myself to thank God for the minute things. I journaled daily. I began to tinker and create things. I had dreams and thoughts that drove me to a pen and paper, as well as hours on my sister’s computer.
Eventually, the concept of The Sultaness was born. It started off as a hobby to keep me going. I did this in between getting denied for jobs and trying to stretch the small money I had left. My best friend and I lost her apartment when she experienced a divorce of her own. Soon I was sharing a couch with my daughter for several months in her parent’s basement. In my isolation, for the first time, I began ask Allah for my test to end.
I told the Almighty in prayer, “THIS is enough. Give me better. I want it.”
During that Ramadan, I whispered my desires with every cell in my body. The room around me seemed to disappear when I did. All that existed was my need to be answered, heard, and loved.
I thanked Him for the happy child who knew nothing, for the safe place we were sleeping, and for the kind family that embraced us. I asked for even more, and I even asked for peace. Instead of seeking relief from the creation, I gave all of it to the Creator.
Almost overnight, I began to see the pieces falling slowly back into place. I started to smile, laugh and believe in good. I got a lawyer. As a result, my sister and I were able to find a home by the beach in a beautiful neighborhood. Despite a few set- backs, my hobby, which started shortly after my divorce, grew into a viable business. I reluctantly embraced this change in my life. I didn’t imagine I could actually utilize all my passions and talents to create something beautiful in the world that would gather so much support. Sometimes, the level of happiness and joy I feel in my life today is immeasurable. My best friend is now coming on as Vice President. We also secured an investor.
Allah put me at rock bottom so I could have more blessings on my way up.
I have always been told in my life not to despair. That Allah gave me my experiences, the abuse, the lack of a family support system, a bad marriage, the divorce, and homelessness for a reason. I know now it was not out of cruelty, but His overwhelming Love. He created my soul to withstand faith-shaking pain and suffering because He knew I would come looking for Him. And even when I didn’t ask for it, it was as if he whispered back to me “More and more will come to you.”