Returning to the Source
And just like that, as if someone flipped a switch, my obsession with M ceased. Alhamdulilah . I think there was a tipping point of how much rubbish I was willing to take, and the scale finally tipped. I have seen too many insufferable character traits from him. Erratic in his moods. Hypersensitive. Not a good listener, frequently completely misunderstanding what I say. Judgmental. Condescending and dismissive towards scholars I respect and hold in esteem. Has made gross assumptions about others. Lashes out at me rudely when he is angry. I know with certainty that I would not want to have a child with such a man. I am fatigued of the emotional rollercoaster. Enough. I have stopped checking my WhatsApp a thousand times a day, to see when he was last on. I have stopped checking if there are messages from him, and if I happen to wake up in the middle of the night, I try to say a few words of dhikr instead. This is major progress. Due to my obsession with this man, I was filled with dread/ anxiety/ excitement when night would come, wondering if we would speak. No more. I don’t have much to say to him, and he has nothing much to say to me. I have also been listening to many relationship talks on YouTube recently, which has facilitated my becoming more cognisant of my own needs and limits. “Be aware of how peaceful you feel around this person.” “Don’t let him gaslight you.” On many occasions I have not felt peaceful with him, and he has gaslighted me occasionally too. He shares traits with a toxic, narcissistic family member of mine: judgmental, gets angry, then becomes rude and offensive. If I would bring up later that I was hurt and offended by what was said, this family member would make it seem as if I am the one with issues and would take absolutely no responsibility for his/her hurtful and rude words. Totally gaslighting. He does the exact same thing, albeit to a lesser degree. I’m not down for taking this from a man. No sirree. There is no way I would walk into a relationship similar to the one I wanted to escape from for much of my young adult life. One thing I need is kindness. A kind and gentle-hearted man. Someone with whom I may feel emotionally safe. I would rather be alone than enter a situation that would ultimately be toxic. All this has led to me turning back to Allah. I feel utterly ashamed for having become enamoured by a man, overwhelmed by feeling desired after many years of drought, flirting shamelessly with him and certainly crossing the boundaries of what is permissible. Desire indeed is an inextinguishable fire. Once it lights you it is all-consuming, and all rationality and religious sensibility disappears in a moment. The hijab of formality was removed between us. We spoke to each other in a way that was not befitting of two Muslims, who claimed to be devout, seeking a spouse. Although religious, both of us have a similar weakness, and when one thief sniffed out the other thief, the combination spiralled us into jahiliyyah territory. Now that the fire has dimmed, no actually completely extinguished, I am soberly aware that my intense yearning for love, admiration and intimacy, in no way justifies entering into haram dialogue with an ultimately strange man. Furthermore, it’s not that Allah is back with me, but rather I am back with Him. He was always close to begin with, and it was me who distanced myself by sin, placing a barrier between Him and me. Thankfully, my spiritual learning has taught me that He loves the ones who turn back to Him, and that the ones who turn back to Him are like the ones who didn’t commit a sin at all. In the Poem of the Cloak Imam al Busayri says “Do not despair in a sin that seems severe. Indeed, even major sins are like mere lapses by His immense forgiveness.” What do I really need to do now? Don’t look for a husband right now. Focus on myself. Heal any remnant wounds from my divorce. Find meaningful work. Carve a life for myself that is my own effort and work, by the facilitation of God. Let go of the fantasy that some man is going to come along and make all my wrongs right. My character weaknesses that my ex husband complained about are still there. I still have much work to do on myself, before entering a second marriage. I pray that Allah will shower His merciful rain upon us, and grant us the strength we need to thrive and flourish.