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Verily, Along With Every Hardship Is Relief

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By: Umm Zakariyya

Reflecting on my marriage, my mind settles on two things: A diamond ring and a couplet from the Holy Qurʾān.

94:5

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So verilyalong with every hardship is relief. [Al-Sharḥ  5]

94:6

 

Verilyalong with every hardship is relief[Al-Sharḥ  6]

On my fourth wedding anniversary, two days before our first child was due, my marriage crumbled.  My husband abandoned us without warning, like a thunderstorm that suddenly shifts the winds and darkens the skies on an otherwise clear day and passes just as quickly, leaving in his wake the debris of debt, women, and lies.  The next night, I went into labor alone desperately reciting hasbunallahu wa ni`mal wakil, pleading Allāhsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to save my family, the physical pains of labor engulfed by the sharper, more seething pain of a broken heart.  On Friday afternoon, immediately after Jumu‘ah alāh, my son silently entered the world; not a breath, cry or squirm announcing his arrival, prompting a controlled frenzy of doctors and nurses.  Although my son survived, my heart died.  I sold my house, I resigned from teaching, I struggled to pray.  I refused to leave the house for 10 months.

Such is the unexpected nature of divorce, splitting asunder the very foundation of a woman’s existence, destroying her confidence, stifling her capacity to love, and paralyzing her faith.  It is in this condition that I found myself facing a tremendous test from Allāhsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) – the responsibility of single motherhood.

A human being’s instinctual response in the face of tragedy is survival, the struggle to fulfill basic human needs – cleanliness, warmth, sustenance, and sleep.  For a new mother, the needs of her newborn child supersede her own, as she responds to his cries, nursing, changing, and soothing him tirelessly, forcing her into an unfamiliar solitude and causing bouts of anxiety and depression. For a divorced new mother in ‘iddah, the solitude is tenfold, requiring tremendous love, concern, and support from others.  Yet, tragedy repels people from the one who suffers.  Too numb from my own pain and fatigued from attending to my son, I welcomed the solitude, reflecting on my relationship with Allāhsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), repenting for my sins, weeping and begging for His mercy.  I found solace in the du‘ā’ of Umm Salamah (rayAllāhu anha), which she recited after the death of her husband, Abu Salamah, and before her marriage to the Prophetṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him):

Oh, Allāh, recompense me for my affliction and replace it with something better.

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In quiet dhikr and reflection, my days ebbed and flowed testing my abr and building my resilience.

Alamdulillāh, with time, the fight for survival subsides, the body recovers and grows stronger, as surviving gives way to living.  Similarly, a newborn’s dependence advances towards independence – a first smile, the first full night of sleep, first steps, first words.  In response, the mother experiences a catharsis – a flood of emotion that purges her of frustration and fear – and begins to kindle within her genuine love and compassion for the little person emerging before her.  It was amongst my son’s firsts that the dam suppressing my sorrow often burst, and the tears gushed forth uncontrollably.  In gratitude and humility, the khushū‘ returned in my alāh and I began making du‘ā’ with conviction, not yet for myself, but for my son.

Just as the surface of a seawall erodes from the ceaseless pounding of salty, ocean waves, so does raising a child soften the hardened edges of a mother’s heart, allowing a peaceful quietude to take root.  After returning to teaching, my students and I were discussing Arthur Miller’s ‘Tragedy and the Common Man’.  He argues that “[tragedy] is the indestructible will of man to achieve his humanity… the tragic right is a condition of life, a condition in which the human personality is able to flower and realize itself.”  This forced me to reflect more deeply on the profound beauty and ikmah of our blessed Qurʾān.

With Allāh’ssubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) guidance and mercy, I now understand that motherhood is my tragic right, my son is the promised relief from my hardship, and our bond as mother and son is the transformative result of our condition – like a diamond.

SubānAllāh, the formation of a diamond requires very specific environmental conditions -the exposure to extremely high pressure juxtaposed with extremely low temperatures – and is brought to the Earth’s surface by magma released from volcanic eruptions.  As a result, the diamond is the hardest natural material, known for its toughness and purity, which sparkles more brilliantly than any gem when cut, faceted, and polished by time and experience.

May Allāhsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) preserve the purity of our sons like diamonds and strengthen the virtues of honesty, humility, and modesty in their character as exemplified by our beloved Prophetṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). May He harden them against the evils and temptations of this society and enable them to accept their roles as amīrs, husbands, and fathers who honor their responsibility to their wives and children, treating them with compassion and integrity.  And may He guide them to find Jannah at the feet of the mothers who raised them and to make du‘ā’ for the magfirah of the fathers who abandoned them.  Ameen.


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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Gikianb18

    March 7, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Masha’ALLAH! Awesome! Very nice read… May Allah Almighty bless you, your son, and the whole Ummah!

  2. Avatar

    Guest

    March 7, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Muphry’s strike was intentional.*

  3. Avatar

    Madiha Abbas

    March 7, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    My heart broke as I read this. May Allah indeed recompense you for your affliction and replace it with something better. My He shower His blessings on you and your son.

  4. Avatar

    maryam

    March 7, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    subhan Allah, may Allah bless you a gazillion times and even more and bless your son and bless you both with living Jannah on earth in your hearts and in your relationship your entire lives and bless you with better and bless you with Firdose al `alaa bi ghayri hisaab!!! ameeen ameen ameeeeeeennnn 

    • Avatar

      Saifa

      March 8, 2012 at 10:44 PM

      Ameen, Ameen, Ameen!!

  5. Avatar

    Anon

    March 7, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Can we maybe have a follow up/preface article on why her husband up and left?

    • Avatar

      Bint Hussain

      March 8, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      That is not necessary information for us to know. There is no need to defame somebody in a whole article just because we would like to know why he left. What he did is between him and Allah.  

    • Avatar

      Umaymah

      April 1, 2012 at 7:06 PM

      Iblis has his throne in the sea, and he sends out his dispatchments of shaytan to aggravate people. The dearest of them to him is the one who causes the most fitna (tribulation).
      One of his workers comes and tells him “I did not leave (my victim) until I brought about separation between him and his wife.” Iblis draws him near and says to him, “Yes, You (are the best).”
      Muslim

  6. Avatar

    Salman Muhamamd

    March 7, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Being “philosophical” about the tragedy and putting your faith in Allah appear to be tivhe saving grace.  You pass the test and come out stronger, sister, Alhamdulillah.  May Allah bless you, and the rest of us.

  7. Avatar

    Sumaiyya

    March 7, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Broke my heart to read this sister :( May Allah give you the strength and patience to overcome this difficult time. Allah has a reason for everything and remember ‘la yukallifullahu nafsan illa wus’aha’ – Allah does not burden anyone with more than he is well able to bear. May Allah recompense you and your son with the best in this world and the Hereafter Ameen!

    • Avatar

      Saifa

      March 8, 2012 at 10:45 PM

      Ameen, Ameen!!!

  8. Avatar

    Sohail

    March 7, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    may ALLAH SWT bless you and make you happy in this world and in the hereafter, ameen. 

  9. Avatar

    Mezba

    March 7, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    May Allah give you lots of strength, sister. I can personally attest to having faith in Allah when the chips are down. Indeed, with every difficulty, there is relief. mashallah we have with us the Holy Quran, indeed the best of guidance.

  10. Avatar

    Guest

    March 7, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    MashaAllah sister this is a great story..well written i must add. I am happy you came out stronger from your adversity, for indeed Allah said “hal jaza’ul ihsan illal ihsaan”. is there any reward for good other than good.

  11. Avatar

    salmah lee

    March 7, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Subhanallah…so profound…s/how i cn relate as i was in the same situation once.

  12. Avatar

    Diana

    March 7, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    but I’m missing the closing quotes after ‘anniversary’ above. lol…

  13. Avatar

    Khadeejah Islam

    March 7, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    A poignant and soothing read! I really like articles based on real life stories which exemplify the teachings of Islam.

  14. Avatar

    Dreamlife

    March 8, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Masha-Allah – jazakAllah for sharing this, and may Allah
    reward you with the very, very best in this life and the Hereafter for what you
    have borne, and are still bearing. Life experiences like these are truly
    amazing, and bring to life the theoretical concepts we know about – but can’t necessarily
    connect to until tragedy strikes.

  15. Avatar

    Hannah

    March 8, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    I think it took a lot of strength in and of itself to share something so personal and traumatic with the world. Your emotions gushed forth and were alive on the page. Beautiful prose and an even more beautiful message. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. Insha’Allah all who read it will benefit from it.

  16. Avatar

    Samar

    March 8, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    @Guest and @Anon: Can we please NOT advise or point out mistakes with such blunt harshness?  Lighten up and give such advice in a nicer way next time.

    • Avatar

      Samar

      March 8, 2012 at 3:26 AM

      sorry, not @Anon.

  17. Avatar

    shahidah

    March 8, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    Subhanallah sister what a beautiful heart you have may Allah SWT recompense you with  something better. ameen ya Rabbul Alamin

  18. Avatar

    anony

    March 8, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    SubhanAllah sister may Allah SWT reward you and bless both you and your son.  I expect with you as his mother that he will grow up to be a great man iA. 

  19. Avatar

    Lovisa Karlsson

    March 8, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Assalam alekom

    -hugs- I’m sorry that you had to go through so much pain but as you said yourself it only made you stronger. “Someone said: If it won’t kill you it will make you stronger” As bitter as true. 

    At least we have Allah <3 The most merciful and with Him I know that we can do anything. 

    Hardship is a test and if all the pain we suffer from now will save us from the hell fire then I will smile through my trials. 

    May Allah bless you and your wonderful son :) 
    Fi amanillah 

  20. Avatar

    zahira

    March 8, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Salaams, Sis, I don’t know what to say….my heart was bleeding as I read this….and my prayers are with you….Alhamdhulilllaah, that you were able to overcome this terrible tragedy. May Allah bring into your life good, righteous people reward you exponentially for the Sabr you exercised. Aameen. 

  21. Avatar

    Umabdullah

    March 9, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    So touching. I hope Allah grants you a husband whom you truly deserve and who deserves you.

    I remember the days after my marriage had ended. It was only a few months long and there were no children so it was different and even though alhamdulillah it was a blessing that it ended there was still pain. No one likes to see a sacred union end. There is pain in the ending. So i can only imagine what you must have gone through.

    Allah tests those whom He loves. Hardships have a way of making our strength come out, our resilience..to make us shine.

  22. Avatar

    SamZ

    March 9, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    Assalamualaikum,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Inshallah, hope it helps those whose marriages ended suddenly. Allah will have something much much better for the patient, Inshallah. A very heart breaking story…

  23. Avatar

    Lady_S

    March 10, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Assalamualaikum.

    Your story is very touching. I have been through an ordeal that has broken me down as well, and those very same verses from Surah Sharh have kept me going. As well as the last verse of Surah Baqarah, the first part which states that Allah does not burden someone beyond which they can bear. 
    Every challenge that we go through is meant to teach us something, make us stronger; wiser; tougher; and humble us. 
    Masha Allah, you have come thus far, and Insha Allah, you will always survive. With iman. 
    May Allah grant you and your son all the happiness in this world and the hereafter. Insha Allah.
    Take care. 

  24. Avatar

    Guest

    March 10, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Ameen.
    May Allah SWT reward you with further strength.

  25. Avatar

    anum

    March 11, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Assalam o alaykum wa rehmatullah wa barakatuhu dearest sister,
    Insha’Allah my Rabb will not grant you anything less than Jannah. I love you and your son for the sake of Allah subhana wa taAla.And in Akhirah when my Rabb rewards you according to His grace you will then know the worth of this trial.

  26. Avatar

    Uzma

    March 11, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Thank you for sharing this story of strength and His Mercy. The story and dua of Umm Salamah(radyAllahu ‘anha) is amazing. 

  27. Avatar

    BarakaYasseen

    March 14, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    SubhanAllah, this actually made me cry. May Allah taa’la make it easy upon you sister. 

  28. Avatar

    akmatalib

    March 15, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    SubhanAllah..may Allah give you strength to face the situation, sister. and may Allah bestow you and your children with His mercy and His Blessings.ameen.

  29. Avatar

    Wael - IslamicSunrays.com

    March 16, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Ameen to your dua, sister. I’ve been in a similar situation and I can say that I was saved and transformed by my love for my daughter. I have been able to weep before Allah for my daughter, when I could not weep for myself. Caring for her has made me a more patient and better man.

  30. Avatar

    Umaymah

    April 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Iblis has his throne in the sea, and he sends out his dispatchments of shaytan to aggravate people. The dearest of them to him is the one who causes the most fitna (tribulation).
    One of his workers comes and tells him “I did not leave (my victim) until I brought about separation between him and his wife.” Iblis draws him near and says to him, “Yes, You (are the best).”
    Muslim

    • Avatar

      HAUWA UMAR

      April 3, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      My heart bleeds for you, but I take solace from the fact that your iman is strong and firm. Verily, with every hardship, there is relief.
       May ALLAH AZZA WA JAL Send to you a man from HIS GLORIOUS PRESENCE who will be your friend, husband, lover, and a good father to your son. ALLAHUMMA Amin. ALHAMDULILLAHI RABBIL alamin. ALLAHUMMA sali ala Muhammadin wa’ ala ali Muhammadin wa Salim.

  31. Avatar

    Sana_ashraf_86

    April 18, 2012 at 4:57 AM

    May Allah bless you sis. you are so strong mashallah and u took the heartache and pain and blossomed into a beautiful muslumah who can inspire me in my life. u hav definately proven that with every hardship comes ease. By reading your struggle helps me to relate to a few things and just makes my emaan stronger knowing that Allah can take us out of any situation.

  32. Avatar

    Quran learning

    April 30, 2012 at 3:34 AM

     An excellent. You shared a fruitful information with us. Children are great blessings of Allah Almighty for their parents. May Allah give them long life with prosperity.

  33. Avatar

    Adeeb

    October 9, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    This was so sad, it almost reduced me to tears as I read this at work, even though Im a brother.

    I pray your pain has eased sister and Allah swt blesses you with a husband with whom you can find love and peace.

  34. Avatar

    Maryam

    December 29, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu sister,
    It strengthened me to read your account. I have been through trouble for quite some time now and like you say tragedy repels people. :'(

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