Being single or divorced in the Muslim community can be very hard. Imagine being a single mother with children. It is a stigma that the Muslim community is not talking about, so I asked single mothers in the Muslim community how they felt and what’s it’s like being a single mother in the Muslim community.
Myree ( @lulu_luvzherbabyz ) is an American Afro-Latina, she says, being a single mother is “like wearing a scarlet letter ...you are looked down upon and pitied...I was a divorcee and most people in the ummah attach negativity to this even though the prophet PBUH married widows and women with children rarely then men of our ummah follow this sunnah”
Iqra M Azhar ( @iqramehrin ) founder of slay collective in Chicago says, “being a single Muslim mom has been like surviving a crashing plane in the wilderness. Lonely, trying, physically and mentally testing. Traumatic. Anxiety-inducing. Faith resetting. A disconnection from the rest of the world where even those closest need time to find you & reach you and don’t always initially know what you need. Life-changing, too, but also the reason why I am as strong as I am today.”
Umm Jennah ( @crownsofmodesty) , a Mexican American from Chicago says, “Being a single mom is a blessing and a challenge altogether. It's a blessing in the sense that it makes you feel stronger and capable of more. You discover strengths and abilities you thought you never had in you. It also helps in building strong tawakkul in Allah and good patience. It becomes a challenge when you have so much piled on you like, bills, stress, work, and finding the time to manage it all without losing your head. As a revert, being a newly single mom was a terrible experience. I would get asked if I was married since I had a newborn baby. Naive at that time, I would tell them that I wasn't with the father of my child or was ever married, that I had recently become Muslim. Right away, the news spread like wildfire in my community to the point I was no longer welcomed to sister’s homes because I had committed such an evil act. And to be honest, I wasn't a popular or well-known sister, so I was shocked to see how strangers came to find out my business and judged me. They didn't know I had just gained the knowledge of what I had done and now was truly making a change for the better and most importantly repented to Allah.”
Umm Jennah continues by sharing a time she faced hate from a fellow sister, “One sister would host halaqas and I would attend regularly eager to learn more about my new religion. She would always bring up the topic of Zina and boast about being married at a young age, since we both happened to be the same age, and had our first child only 1 month apart. It was as if she would indirectly tell the sisters in the group to follow her example as her life was perfect and to avoid following mine since I was stuck raising a child on my own.”
Lastly, Umm Jennah says, “fast forward to today I am divorced from a 4-year marriage that began when my daughter was just 1. I didn't have any children in that marriage. My daughter is now 6 and I am back to the single mom life. I still feel like many sisters judge me for having a child from a non-muslim man and look down upon me for being a single mom. In fact, many sisters open up to me at times and tell me the only reason why they stay in their miserable or at times abusive marriages is that they fear to have the image of being a "single mom". That is enough to show how the community views us. It's even harder for us single moms to find suitable spouses. I've been on the quest for marriage and I am either rejected for having a child or viewed as "single desperate mom" who would accept any proposal that comes her way. It is not easy but Alhamdullilah there are a few kind souls in the community who genuinely look out for me and help me when I need it.”
As these women have pointed out, being single or divorced in the Muslim community can be very hard, but these woman show true strength. They are super women. They have the weight of being single mothers on their shoulders, all while dealing with a often judgemental community. Our community should learn from what these women have said. We need to treat single mothers better and elevate them.
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