In the Shadows of Men: In the Midst of All


In the midst of all those mysterious things I still do not understand, I gathered myself. Was fear my motivation? Perhaps I was controlled by fear, but it gave me a mysterious strength I could not describe.

In that moment, I saw God. I saw myself as a human worthy of life. In that moment, I felt God taking me by the hand and leading me to a higher spiritual plane.

I have no idea where I gained that power. It was as if a supernatural woman had been living inside me, storing up strength for all those years. That strength suddenly erupted inside me and created a protective fortress around me. How thick would its walls need to be in order to confront the coming decade? How long would God’s hand continue to hold me up? My burdens in that decade became so overwhelming, even God could not keep His hands away.

I went lower than rock bottom. I rose from the lowest point in my life and could hardly realize that I was doing so. To even get back to bottom became my highest dream. The darkness of the world had thrown me into a massive, hollow bottom where everything felt unjust.

I fully believed God’s hand was more powerful and righteous than that of human beings. How many times had I heard the saying, “And they were plotting and Allah was plotting and Allah is the best of those who plot” ? However, I also believed human beings have the capacity to commit injustices so cruel even the gods cannot comprehend and endure them. The evil that resides in the human soul can be invincible and oppressive in the name of God, as if men have signed a contract to preserve masculinity no matter how brutal it becomes, no matter how unjust it may be. So long as the man is superior.

How do you say no? How do you leave a life filled with glory and money? How do you rebel against a life that most women dream of? What do you want? Do you think you are the only woman who was ever insulted in her home? He hit you? You must have been deserving of that… You used to hit him, too. He betrayed you? You must be the root of the problem. If you were able to satisfy him, he wouldn’t have looked outside the marriage. He yelled at you? He dragged your dignity across the floor? You are difficult to handle and you never put your head down. You never do your house chores. You don’t respect the rights of your husband. You are deficient as a mother. You sleep excessively. You leave the tables dusty. You don’t even know how to cook. May Allah guide you. Go pray, and put down these books that have influenced what is left of your brain.

I used to pray, and my prayer mat bore witness to my tears and my pleas to God. I used to jump up and hide the prayer mat when I heard the sound of my husband’s or his mother’s footsteps approaching. I didn’t want them to say I was deficient in my house chores and responsibilities, or that I amused myself with stupid things like reading, or even praying.

I was torn apart being what they wanted me to be—obedient and in control, a servant and a master, a submissive housekeeper, a prostitute, and a saint.

Yes, you take the kids to school and bring them back. You take them to all of their swimming, piano, and tennis lessons. You follow up on all of their needs with amazing detail. You follow up with school staff and trainers and doctors. You clean the house whenever the housekeeper, who your husband hired so you can better serve him, is not around. You manage your husband’s business, which you built with him step by step. Yes, you are the one who took his hand and helped him earn money and status. And yes, he had never in his life tasted vine leaves, stuffed zucchini, and stuffed lamb like yours, served at dinners where he proudly boasted to family and friends about your cooking talents.

But you are also a deficient, miserable rebel, because you broke the bond of holy marriage.


Leave a Reply