Tuesday 26 December 2017

Yasmin Mogahed on divorce and step-children

It’s ironic. Over the years, our community has absorbed a lot of cultural toxicity and called it Islam. One example of this poison is in how we define the value of a woman. We’ve, of course, absorbed the notion that a woman’s value is defined by her appearance; but we’ve also absorbed another toxic notion that has no basis in Islam. That is the notion that when a woman has been previously married, her value decreases. This notion has come due to a combination of many un-Islamic views:

1. Un-Islamic Myth: ‘Divorce is a sin or curse.’ This is an un-Islamic belief from other religions that hold divorce to be forbidden or sinful. Some pagan rituals even expected widows to burn themselves to death after their husbands died. The underlying belief being that a woman is defined by her husband. Therefore, becoming single after marriage is akin to dying. Sadly, we see some by-products of this barbaric belief in our own communities such as looking down on divorced women and even considering widows to be “cursed” or “bad luck” to have around.
Islamic stance: Divorce is not a sin or curse. The majority of the women our Prophet (pbuh) married, including Khadijah (RA), were divorced or widowed. These are the mothers of the believers and the best of women. For example, Umm Salamah declined a proposal from both Omar (RA) and Abu Bakr (RA) as soon as her waiting period was over. In our Deen, the value of a woman is no way diminished by being previously married. This poisonous notion came from un-Islamic and Pagan cultures. Not Islam.
2. Un-Islamic Myth: ‘Those are another man’s children.’
Islamic stance: When our Prophet (pbuh) proposed to Umm Salamah (RA), she said: “O Messenger of Allah! It is not because I do not want you, but I am very jealous, and I fear that you might experience some wrong mannerism from me for which Allah would punish me. I am old and have children.” The Prophet (pbuh) replied in the authentic narration:
«أمَّا مَا ذَكَرْتِ مِنَ الْغَيْرَةِ فَسَوْفَ يُذْهِبُهَا اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ عَنْكِ، وَأَمَّا مَا ذَكَرْتِ مِنَ السِّنِّ فَقَدْ أَصَابَنِي مِثْلُ الَّذِي أَصَابَكِ، وَأَمَّا مَا ذَكَرْتِ مِنَ الْعِيَالِ فَإِنَّمَا عِيَالُكِ عِيَالِي»
“As for the jealousy that you mentioned, Allah the Exalted will remove it from you. As for your being old as you mentioned, I have suffered what you have suffered. And as for your having children, they are my children too.”

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