The Pleading Woman

“Certainly has Allaah heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allaah. And Allaah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allaah is Hearing and Seeing.”

Alone. Hurt. Black & Blue.

The door is there but I can’t bring myself to walk through it. The telephone is there but I fear picking it up.

He shouts “Why do you keep forcing my hand?!”

It’s my fault and no one else’s. That’s why everyone keeps silent right? I need to have Sabr.

When the dust finally settles, and he leaves to go to work the next morning, she limps to the bathroom, dreading every step towards looking in the mirror. Once she lays eyes upon her reflection, she does her best to hide her tears and cover her marks with makeup. She fumbles looking for her concealer, noticing that she has none left and will be forced to ask her husband for more money, it is likely that he will get angry at her spending his money on makeup, but does she have a choice?

The abuse came in all forms; verbal; emotional; psychological; physical; even spiritual. You can tell she felt trodden on, that she had no value, yet whenever she had an inkling of wanting to break free, she remembers her children. You may ask yourself why doesn’t anyone do anything about it? What happens to these ‘elders’ when they’re needed the most? How is it that people know when terrible things are happening, they just stand around twiddling their thumbs? Why is it that the most they can do is say “we’ll make du’aa for you”, and repeatedly tell her to “just have Sabr”?

Yes, of course, she should have Sabr, she should have Sabr on the way to the police station or her local authority. Sabr doesn’t mean bear it and keep quiet, means to restrain from doing wrong thus, as a consequence, actively doing the right thing at a difficult time. It is easy for the third person to advise in this situation, but what can you do when you do not have the strength or the will to walk to the police station?

For people who are really having a tough time, the best thing for you to do is stand with them and support them in whatever way you can. Standing idly when bad things are happening is contradictory to the Qur’an and Sunnah. Have we seriously created a society where many people are afraid to seek help because of ‘what will people say?!’. We have indeed strayed far from the ways and practises of Islam taught to us by the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ).

The Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) said: “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.”[1]

Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allaah be pleased with him, said, “Verily, we were a disgraceful people and Allaah honored us with Islam. If we seek honor from anything besides that with which Allaah has honored us, then Allaah will disgrace us.”[2]

The reality for many women who experience domestic abuse is that they feel completely alone and that it becomes too much for them. It is not wrong for one to want to move away from a toxic environment. It is not wrong for you to ask for help when your back is against the wall and you can’t see a way out. Put yourself in her shoes, look at the world from her perspective, maybe you will understand that there is no easy answer.

There was a time when a companion called Khawlah bint Tha’labah came to the Prophet (), in an emotional and vulnerable state, she complains, “O Messenger of Allaah, () he (my husband) has consumed my youth and I split my belly for him (i.e., bore him many children), but when I grew old and could no longer bear children he declared *Zihaar upon me; O Allaah, I complain to You.” [3]

This woman stood before the best of mankind, she let out her worries and yet, realised that nothing in creation could truly understand her pain, not the mothers of the believers, not the angels by her shoulders, and perhaps not even the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ). Soon afterwards Allaah reveals the following verse:

“Certainly has Allaah heard the speech of the one who argues with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allaah . And Allaah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allaah is Hearing and Seeing.”[4]

Very few times have statements caused Allaah to send down verses, let alone name a chapter of the Qur’aan after her. In the darkest of moments, when she felt truly alone and no person could understand her, she calls out. There was such power, emotion, and sincere desperation in her words. Clearly she had bore an enormous amount of abuse with patience and prayer, Allaah recognises this and reassures her, and everyone else who complains to Allaah, that He hears and responds.

“…Indeed, your Lord is swift in Punishment and indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.” [5]

To all those reading this, do not despair in the Mercy of Allaah. Do not think that you are alone. He hears you and has heard you. Prayers are often most powerful when you feel isolated and in a dark place; just like Yunus (AS) in the belly of the fish; like Musa (AS) on top of mount Sinai; like Maryam (AS) under the date palm tree; like Muhammad (ﷺ) in the cave; and like the Pleading Woman who knew only Allaah can do right by her.

“…Do not be afraid, Indeed, Allaah is with us…”[6]

Written by Sultan Hatab
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Footnotes & References:

* Zihaar = A pre-Islamic practice where one divorces their spouse by likening them to their mother/sister.

[1]  Narrated by al-Tirmidhi; Ibn Maajah; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

[2] Al-Mustadrak; Saheeh according to Al-Albani

[3] Sunan Ibn Maajah

[4] The Qur’aan Surah Mujaadilah Verse 1

[5] The Qur’aan Surah Al-A’raaf Verse 167

[6] The Qur’aan Surah At-Tawbah Verse 40