She was worn down. Tired. Life after shahaadah had felt more like a death sentence lately. She was doing something wrong, and all this was her fault – she knew it was, because that’s what the voices in her head had been telling her; the voices that resounded in her head every day, with every step… she could barely distinguish between them and her own anymore.
Had her decision to become a Muslim been a mistake? She was almost too mentally drained to remember what had even brought her to Islaam, to Allaah – it was too painful to go back and revisit that past. It seemed like a memory that belonged to a different person;
, a person who had hope, who had conviction, who believed in something strongly. That twenty-year old who had taken her shahaadah – She was strong ,. She knew who she was. She had heart. She had friends.
Then the tests started, rolling in like a cold, grey fog, suffocating dreams and hopes in their silent and incessant creeping. Some of them she was prepared for – coming from a Sikh background, she was prepared, she thought, for the fallout of her decision to become Muslim; she was prepared for the anger and disappointment of her parents and the questioning by her husband. She was prepared for their tears and even their anger. But it was the violence that shocked her.
She was locked up in her own home and beaten not by strangers or criminals, but by the very people who had sheltered her, by the very people who she thought were her protection and sanctuary, the same people who she loved and trusted: her brothers, her dad, her husband. She could barely recognize them in their spitting rage as they shouted, cursed, punched and abused her relentlessly, even as she begged them with her eyes and her words to stop. All this for saying “I believe in Allaah and in His Messenger Muhammad” (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam). It seemed archaic – something you read about in the books of history that befell those poor unfortunate people of the past, who didn’t live in a civilized society, not something that happens in the twenty-first century to modern, independent women like her.
She had learned to get used to the violence after that… she had to. After her parents saw that she wouldn’t relent and give up her new found faith, they disowned her, stopped taking her calls and forbade any of her brothers and sisters from having any contact with her. That was heartbreaking – she had always beenclose to her siblings, particularly her sister, Gul – the two of them were like twins, being so close in age and looks. And now even she had turned her back on her. What kept her going, was the thought that this was just temporary. They would see sense after a while, and realise that she wasn’t doing this to hurt them. Then they would welcome her back, then they would apologise for the hurt they caused. Then they would all go back to how it was before…
But they persisted, and even recruited her husband to “beat it out of her.” He had always had a violent streak, buthad somehow kept it in check. Now it had been unleashed, however, it was like the tiger that could never go back into the cage. He would beat her for anything, telling her how worthless and dumb she was;
, what an excuse for a woman she was; , what a failure of a mother, daughter and wife she was – even in front of their two children. In fact, he seemed to relish the opportunity of turning her doting children against her and of giving her the added pain of not just taking them away from her, but hurting them in the process too.
Somehow, with the help of Allaah, she escaped that situation. She had freed herself from the physical torture but the emotional pain of having no family, of being away from her two beautiful and innocent children remained and festered. She was pretty much penniless and powerless, though, and when she went to the masjid, they ushered her into a new marriage with the Abdullah of her dreams.
Somehow her dreams and nightmares became entwined over the next few years, as Abdullah re-enacted the horrors of the violence of her first marriage. Now what had she done to deserve this? It was incomprehensible, it made no sense; so, she stayed, praying and hoping that she could find a way to make this marriage work, all the while thinking of the two children she had left behind. Her heart was torn in two
She wanted to ask for help, but didn’t have any real friends of her own and she didn’t want to talk to anyone who already knew Abdullah, they probably wouldn’t believe her anyway – who was she but a young revert who didn’t know much? She could see what they thought of her, with their averted eyes and their hushed whispers every time she entered the room. It was tortuous to be shunned and misunderstood by those she had expected help from – “Isn’t this the ummah that is supposed to help me?” she would cry out in her moments of anguish. Maybe this was all a mistake
. Maybe I don’t belong here. Maybe Allaah doesn’t love me…
Then she came across Solace through a chance visit to the masjid, where the orange flyer with the image of a sister with her arm around another sister caught her eye. She didn’t know what to expect, but when she heard the voice of her support worker on the phone, the flood gates of pain were released finally to a place where they would be safe. After her shahaadah, it was the most important turning point of her life.
Many sisters who come to Solace are victims of domestic violence. They are not only abandoned and shunned, but are beaten, tortured and abused.
They need your help. We need your help to help them.
This Ramadan, we’re asking you to give them solace, through the following ways:
- Be a Monthly Donor
- Make a Single Donation
- Help Build Services
- Donate your Zakat
- Sponsor a Mum and Her Children
- Sponsor a Revert Sister
- Sponsor a Will
- Give an Eid Gift
Sisters like Nirali need your help.
Support revert sisters in difficulty this Ramadan: givesolace.uk/behersolace
The Revert Stories are in aid of Solace UK’s “Be Her Solace” campaign, which are 8 simple ways you can give our revert sisters solace in Ramadan. Follow along at https://staging.solaceuk.org/revertstories
Disclaimer: These stories are derived from multiple real stories to depict real-life events and circumstances experienced by revert sisters. While the stories are based on real-life events, none of the stories belong or refer to one particular person. Full anonymity and confidentiality has been upheld in the writing of Revert Stories. Solace takes the privacy of its service users seriously. All names, characters, locations and events have been changed.
This Revert Story was written by Romina.