Grappling the stigma of divorce

By Marwa Mehboob.

“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed off but stigma and bias shame us all” Bill Clinton.

Stigma is something which erodes human confidence. Regrettably we have allowed stigma to erect barriers around effective treatment and recovery. It is time to take those barriers down. Today, the stigma of being a divorced woman is nothing like it was in the 60s or 70s, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking the stigma has disappeared. It is still there in fact with the advancement and flash like increase in technology more humanity is decreasing, and the worst is yet to come.

The society we are living in is acting as a catalyst where a divorced woman is viewed as a failure, a kind of Alien who is not meant for this world. Living in this kind of stigmatized society you’ve got wounds to heal and possibly things to prove.

In a kind of situation where deciding to ask for a divorce is painful, getting it granted is agonising and a woman particularly in our society who initiates a divorce is considered a sinner. So, which way to go? This question is detrimental and carries more weight in the life of a woman rather than a man. Divorce is a great loss and a crisis which has a huge impact in the lives of everyone involved. But again in the society we breathe in is more brutish towards a divorced woman. I am bound to mention this term OUR SOCIETY again and again because it is a moment of sheer mortification for a society like us, who claim to be a Muslim Society.

The sense of rejection being witnessed by a divorced woman in her surroundings causes a feeling of alienation and sometimes anger but there is no rescue for her as she is accused of committing a sin which is unforgivable. Would there be any “Massiah” who will take her out through the state of anger and resentment? I hope not. In the end it’s your own fight to get yourself out of this quagmire. I really do believe that anger helps you in improving your level of motivation thus resulting in the furtherance of your life but don’t forget it can also cause you to fall into the trap of bitterness if not controlled well in time.

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Getting control of your emotions can help you to take charge of the driving seat once again. And women not doing so will remain confused and puzzled by exposing themselves to those questions which will add certain misery to their life. Great effect on self-esteem, to top everything off, you feel cut off from people because friendships change when a marriage breaks up. You lose some of your friends. You feel left out and isolated. You feel depressed because of the divorce and the depression makes you want to isolate yourself. There can be employment and financial difficulties and what not.

Now, under such circumstances what a strong woman does is that she starts making choices which keeps her going and growing in the right direction. Right choices are the foundations which will keep her working through the grief to get on with life after divorce.

I am not saying that this is something which a divorced woman can swallow easily but when Allah Pak tests you with a trial He also gives you strength, patience and faith.

With strong and determined will to fight against all the odds and then dealing with various issues here which majorly includes the rejection and betrayal, a broken life and dreams. THIS IS HUGE, THIS IS HARD. But, let me stop to say that this crisis is one by which you can get through to the other side. This is kind of a loss in which Allah Pak can bring hope and you can become strong even in the state of brokenness.

As I’ve already said that for a divorced woman there will be no such angel who would guide her to work through the pain of this stigma quickly. Yes, the determination to build herself again can only bring her back to life without a shoulder to look upon. She will witness the fact how Allah Pak answers her prayers each day and the way hope and strength will grow slowly back into her life. INSHALLAH.

If i speak about the Great religion of Islam, it brings a complete package of life. It has awarded honor and respect to the woman in an Islamic Society. We all are Muslims, living in an independent Islamic State. Islam freely allows a woman the right of second marriage after stipulated time of divorce.  But another devastating element which is practiced as a taboo in our society both by the elite and lower class is to stamp the divorced woman by calling her, “YEH TO TALAK YAFTA HAI ZAROOR IS MAIN KOI KHARABI HO GI”. I’ve seen very rich and educated ladies who bear this fact. AGHHHHH, VERY UNFORTUNATE! !!

I request to the people of such a society to remember the Original Muslim society in which divorce and second marriage were a conventional practice. How much selfish and hypocrite are we. What we need to do is to follow the direction being set by our religion. We need to treat them like a human, not like an isolated part of society. It’s not about any specific gender that can bring a positive change in this sick minded custom. Rather both can be of significant help to eradicate this social evil.

My purpose was not to just write an article but to strongly convey the message to those divorced women with children, that you are more fortunate than women who may never get married, at least you have your children to live for, and consider those as a reason to keep yourselves going and continuing your life as a normal human being and also by becoming a productive part of the society.

In my conclusion, I would say that if you have experienced, or are experiencing divorce, my heart goes out to you but let me tell you divorce is not the end of the road.  It isn’t easy, and it often is not what we would have chosen, but there are still choices you can make as you deal with this new situation and would finally find out the light at the end of the tunnel.

To all the ladies out there, remember one thing, you can always discover and get exposed to new blessings, new treasures, and even a new you, if you determine to make an effort each day. Allah be with you.

Marwah Mehboob writes on social issues and is a media analyst. She can be reached at Twitter; @marwahmehboob


One thought on “Grappling the stigma of divorce

  • April 23, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    An extremly well written and heart touching piece. Divorce is always unfortunate and one must always remember that each person, be it male of female, get divorce as the last resort. Problem arises when people try to be judgmental, and most of the times they will make bad judgments while evaluating our personalities without even knowing the real events. Most of em would always love to tease others. It might hurt us for a while, but it gives us a great idea about our real friends and foes. The only thing that matters is to be spiritually satisfied. Everything is fine as long as our conscience does not condemn the decision we have taken or we are gonna take in future


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