If you belong to a Muslim family, you know that our community is super hush-hush about divorce. We don’t talk about it. Neither before the marriage nor after it. There is such a stigma around the word divorce that we even that if we say it, the dreadful reality of it will strike down upon us as a curse.
But what we don’t realize is that divorce can be the pleasant reality that can take us away from the dreadful life we are forced to live in due to the stigma surrounding it.
Sometimes marriages can be that dreadful reality we are so desperately running from, not divorce!
Although divorce is both men and women’ right in Islam, our society obstructs women to leave an unhappy marriage. Islam gives women the right to divorce, but it is our society that has become the hurdle. Muslim women can, if they want to, add a divorce clause in their marriage contract. This means that the husband will be obligated to divorce the wife whenever the condition is fulfilled.
And despite this bit of knowledge, we are often made unaware of this right – or even worse, we are expected to forfeit the right to it. Why?
Because most people think that it damages the very basis of the marriage – trust. That we might offend the husband and his family. They think we might enter a marriage with a mindset of ending the marriage whenever we want instead of making the marriage work.
And although these reasonings could end up being true, acknowledging this right has way more pros than cons.
Women can use this to get out of a physically abusive marriage.
Physical abuse in relationships, after all, is not unheard of. Every day women become the victim of physical abuse, and we are somehow expected to stay in the abusive relationship. And although it isn’t something anyone should compromise on, our own mothers send us, their daughters, back to their abusive husbands. We are expected to forgive and forget in order to keep the honor of our marriages intact in the eyes of our society.
Why? Why is it so hard for our mothers, also women, to understand an abusive marriage? It isn’t. In fact, there is a possibility that they’ve gone through the same abuse. It is possible when they asked for help, they were given the same advice. And so, it seems the right thing for them to do.
But does it?
When we complain about constant threats, criticism, or intimidation by our partners, our society actually asks us to be thankful that at least we aren’t beaten by our husbands. Does that somehow make it better? Why do we have to choose the less evil between the two? Why should we have to settle?
People in our society doesn’t recognize emotional abuse as a cruelty when in fact it is very real and very suffocating. Not only they don’t recognize it, they make it impossible to talk about it because they don’t believe us. They think we are crazy and making things up.
They think we are lying and trying to get attention.
And so we don’t talk about the emotional abuse, and it ends up eating us from the inside.
Even sometimes, everything is perfect in our marriage. Our husbands are perfect and so are our in-laws. He has an amazing job. He loves us. He respects us. He cares for us. He gets us everything we want. But sometimes, that’s not enough to make us happy. And even then, we should have the right to leave!
And that is what I am scared of. What if I am not happy in an otherwise happy marriage? What will I do? Will I be able to leave the marriage because I’m unhappy?
I don’t want to be imprisoned for the rest of my life because we can’t talk about divorce.
Divorce is a taboo in our society and it’s destroying countless lives. We should be able to talk about it, and we should be able to get divorced when we feel it’s necessary without us – and our families – being shunned for it.