Monday, July 26, 2010

My Identity as a Muslim

I had a lot of drama going on this weekend and it left me in an identity crisis.

Can I really be both Muslim and who I was before? I have been Muslim for 1 year now (anniversary of my shahada was actually this weekend, go figure!) and I felt I'd made some changes in myself as I learned more about Islam and that I had improved myself, but that I was still ME! My parents never got this "Where's my daughter?" feeling from my conversion because I was still the same girl, only gradually being more modest in clothing and a few little things they noticed but that didn't change me.

I pretty much only have one Muslim friend that I see in real life, and she is one of the most patient women I know with lots of experience with marriage problems. She really does her best to follow Islam.

A situation that came up was that I disobey my husband. My position on that was that the reason a man has a certain right over his wife is because he is 100% financially responsible (as stated in the Qur'an). So the conclusion was that I had no obligation to obey him since I am the one who financially supports him. As far as how much rights he has over me when he does become the financial supporter, I just wasn't there yet.

But my friend's response was that no, it didn't change anything that he didn't support me financially and that he was still my husband and I had to obey him. That in the end, I would be rewarded for everything I did that was more than my responsibility and he would get what he deserves as well and that we had rights to divorce our husbands if they didn't fulfill their requirements and that if I did everything the right way, at least no sin would be on me. I had to admit that it's quite convincing to view it this way because, as she said, it means that there's no sin on me. But is the part about it still being obligatory to obey my husband right? I'm very much struggling with this because even if he fulfilled his reponsability of providing financially, how much do husbands really have over their wives?!

The way I have been feeling this weekend is a bit like an abused wife. Stuck, but in the honeymoon phase after the breakdown. The thing that made me feel this way (a bit iffy, as opposed to *really* being in the honeymoon phase where you feel great) is that my husband has set up some rules about my daughter never seeing my best friend, and not seeing my parents for 1 week. To obey him would be to accept this, but I'd feel so ashamed to admit to anyone that I am allowing my husband to keep my daughter away from her grand-parents. If it was the right thing to just obey him (shut up and let it happen), would I really feel this badly?

It has made me feel like if I want to accept being Muslim fully, I'll lose who I am and lose my self-respect!

I know I am just going nuts. As I wrote, I'm having a bit of an identity crisis. I know very well this must be some middle-ground to this... I had talked and thought about the issue of obeying our husbands, but it seemed like it didn't apply to be that much, and that if it did, my husband let's me do what I want normally anyway so it was not an issue.

He actually has calmed down and decided my parents can see our daughter today which is good and makes me feel like I can put off this awful feeling... I decided I'd bring it back up to myself during Ramadan when I am at a better place spiritually (insha'Allah).

Sorry for the unorganized post.

15 Comentários:

Anonymous said...

it a great point you've brought up. But as this muslim friend of yours says, actually, by Islam, you have grounds for divorce.... The fact he isn't being a true husband in that sense.
As for the thing with your parents seeing your daughter.... well maybe you could point out that heaven is at your mothers feet, just as it is for him... It might also be good to say that at least your parents support you identity and marriage and that grandparents are also a big part of your daughters life, just as his parents are.

as for your ID crisis. this one is a toughy.... Its difficult because most of Islam can be lived happily in a western culture, however, sometimes culture gets involved, and that is where my I.D crisis started.... the culture i became a part of wasnt me.

wantowearhijab said...

Salam Liz,
I was just wondering if you still have a blog and could u add me? Thnx!

sara said...

I trully don't understand why you are supporting your husband.He could take any job at least make an effort.
Love is blind and stupid ,if you are doing this for love,this man is not worth it.He is not even a good example of a muslim husband.

My arab husband has told me that in his culture it's a grave insult to tell a man that he is living of his wife's gold.I wonder doesn't your husband have any pride at all??

Gardens of Sand said...

Hi Candice, why would your husband forbid your daughter for visiting with your friend and parents? If his reasons are not proper or Islamic, then you do not follow him for you follow no one that orders you to disobey Allah. Besides, your parents have rights and obligations that you have to fulfill married or not. And your husband can't take that away from you. He is sinning if he does. Also Allah ordered us to keep the ties of the womb (blood ties) and not cut them, even when our parents do not follow God's path. Respect and patience is the key. You could remind him that they way your parents are treated now will likely be the way your daughter treats you both when you are all older.

Does he worry about their religious influence on her? My MIL is a diehard JW and I worry about her religious influence on my future son! I know her enough to know she will try her best to plant the seed of her faith in my son, regardless of hubs and I's wishes. Even so, we have to keep ties and just do our best to show our son our path.

Stephanie said...

Well it's a difficult situation you're in because your husband is being Islamically incorrect in not letting your daughter see your parents bc in Islam kinship ties especially with our parents are of the utmost importance. This is also true for our non-Muslim parents. It sounds as if you have deeper problems in your marriage and maybe should seek out counselling from an unbiased sheik or imam. Forgive me if I've overstepped my bounds by suggesting that. My marriage isn't perfect either. I don't believe that a husband should be dictating what a wife does or doesn't do unless she is clearly engaging in the haram and then it is more wise on his part to make suggestions in a kind way rather than setting limits as if we are mere children.

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

I totally agree with your idea that men have CERTAIN rights over women IF they are 100% financially responsible. That was how it was back then. Nowadays there are many cases where both spouses contribute or where the woman is the sole earner. In those cases I say he does not have final say on anything. Even if he is the only wage earner, I still think he does not have final say on everything, especially not something like the kids not seeing your parents.

It's easy to ignore your conscience when you hear super conservative interpretations of the Qur'an - but don't. If something feels wrong then explore it further. Like you said, many Muslims seem to be okay with losing their self-respect instead of questioning many of the interpretations we have today.

Sarah said...

It makes sense to me that if a man is the sole earner, he should make all the decisions on how that money is spent (taking his wife's views into consideration of course) - after all, it's his money. Beyond that, I see no logical connection between provision and obedience. Marriage can be seen partly as an agreement whereby both parties fulfill certain roles and duties. Authority does not derive logically from any of those duties, and certainly not from being a wage-earner.

Susanne said...

I disagree that even if men make all the money, they should be the one making all the decisions regarding that money. I'd argue that caring for the little ones is work and if the woman wasn't home doing that she could be making her own money. Each is doing a role, each is providing for the household (idealistically!) and each should have a say. I don't agree with the men laying down the rules. I don't know the situation in full, but it seems your husband is taking advantage of you. Living off your resources PLUS lording over the house setting down rules about your child.

Zuhura said...

100% in agreement with Sarah.

Ati said...

Salam Candice,

I am sure it is difficult to be in your position right now, where you have to learn, understand and practice a lifestyle that is totally opposite with how you've been raised since you're small. But no matter what happened, it is important for you (and me too) not to quickly judge people on the surface and make any decision without consulting someone who has more knowledge, who could explain to you why such and such action is being taken. Really, a one year old convert would need a lot of patient to learn more, because there is too many things you need to understand. For example, your husband might be a dependent person, but that does not put him a level lower than yourself. He still has rights on you. As a matter of fact, you still must obey him at all times. As for him, he should know his responsibility as the leader of the family. He must not misuse his rights for personal benefits. In Islam, obeying husband is no. 1 priority of a wife and respecting a wife is a priority of a husband.

Be strong, sis. You can listen to many advices from friends, but refer only to Allah as guidance. Insya-Allah, all your questions will be answered and you'll feel peaceful. I am only a simple person brought up as a moderate muslimah but Insya-Allah, if you feel you want to share your problem with me, please do so. I am more than willing to share back with you all my knowledge on Islamic teachings. May Allah show us the right path to His Jannatul Firdous.

Candice said...

Elizabeth: Yes, the culture issue is a HUGE one! As converts, we know everything we live is not Islam but in a Muslim-dominated culture, they get really confused... At first as a non-Muslim married to a Muslim I was going on the principle that what he did because of Islam was nothing I could change or even try to change, but in my mind, I had a right to demand him to change in everything that was cultural and not directly Islamic. With time, I realized that this was crazy and I had the wrong approach... That I should embrace Arab culture that was not against Islam as much as I could because it was part of my family. I sucked at it though. I never learned how to cook Egyptian meals and never "let go" for him sleeping at all hours of the day and never got the point where I accepted that him saying he'd be ready in 15 minutes meant 1 hour or more. But at least I learned the lesson itself!

This has become off-topic! To conclude... Some cultural things are just not right, and for me the crisis came from wondering if obeying a husband was Islamic or cultural.

Candice said...

sara: I don't know why you continue posting on my blog. Without directly saying that you are not welcome, I will say that this particular comment was not welcome. And not helpful.

If you can't just respond to my post, then don't bother to comment. I might have mentionned that my husband is not working but I did not bash him beyond that like you tried to do.

I would ask that you work on posting helpful comments and once you really find something to say that can actually help, you try again. Refrain until then.

Candice said...

Gardens of Sand: He was just upset with them, but no, is not worried about their influence on her right now I think. He knows they just play at this point! She's just 3 and adores her grand-parents and uncle (my brother who lives with my parents). It was a punishment for me who loves to be there and for my parents who love to see my daughter.

Stephanie: Thanks! We have deep problems, yes. Will see where it goes!

CLA: It seems an obvious conclusion now that he had no right to prevent me and my daughter from visiting my parents, even if it was just for that one week he said it was. But fear and fatigue will make a person re-think things!

Sarah: It definitely makes sense what you say. There is no link between provision and obedience... Can.

Susanne: I think it's part of a marriage that there be respect between both partners, and that respect would make the husband take his wife's opinions into consideration on how to spend the money. I think that it would be his obligation to provide for her, and so that part of the money he doesn't necessarily decide, it's just an obligation.

I think a woman has her power in the household as well. I think she has the right to decide what food is made and how the home is decorated but without respect for what the husband wants, he'd simply not buy the food or decor and they'd be left unable to function together.

Basically, respect is 100% necessary and each has their own rights and obligations.

Candice said...

Zuhura: Thanks for visiting and commenting!

Ati: Thanks for your comment. Some of what you say is definitely true. Patience is necessary! But I came to a conclusion a bit different than "You must obey him at all times." and "obeying a husband is no. 1 priority". I can honestly say that it is not my priority and that in fact, I won't support this idea of obedience. Accepting that a husband spends his money on what he wants after every basic need is taken care of, I can accept. In such a case, I'd be patient and pray and find guidance on how to make him be less selfish in giving me a bit of "extra" because he'd be within his rights to spend on himself, even if not 100% right.

Ati said...

Candice dearie,

You know the situation best because it was you who experienced it. We'll never be able to give you accurate opinion and advice on that. I am sorry if I gave you the wrong advice.But whatever it is, I pray you'll be strong and patient to face the tests from Allah. Make a wise decision. You can do it, girl! You are brave and clever. I believe in you. May Allah bless you always.

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