Long ago I used to cry aimlessly. I didn’t know if anyone heard me or if anyone could hear me. All I knew is I had to cry to relieve the pain and agony I felt, I had to cry to ease the suffering of my broken heart, I had to cry to banish the loneliness I felt, I just had to cry to survive. As I have mentioned before, pre-Islam, I had no one. My life was dark. Those who claimed to love and care about me, only claimed to do so. No one knew how hurtful it was living in my family. No one knew how the wonderful picture perfect family was just an illusion. No one saw the cruel claws and broken strips of happiness.
When I was young I always thought myself as a black sheep. The term intrigued me and it seemed to fit the feeling I felt when it came to my family. I know teenagers can be overly dramatic, and granted I did have my moments, but it was actually quite bad. Bad enough to swear I would rather die and face my punishment than become someone who causes that much pain to my own flesh and blood.
My family was broken, is still broken. Alhamdulillah it’s better now but once something is broken, it can never really be completely fixed. I still hold the scars from before, scars which even my husband can’t kiss away. Scars which, insha’Allah only Allah (SWT) can help me move on from. Even relating to it now hurts and tears fill my eyes. It’s the one part of my past I can not discuss without breaking down.
Long ago, a father reminded a 10 year old girl how ugly and useless she was every single day. How she would never amount to anything and how no one would ever love her. The parents fought and fought and fought, so much so it became a normal thing. She would run to her little brother and hold him so that he would not cry hearing the screams. No one talked about it so it would get buried. Everyday she would cry to wash the pain away of feeling like she was nothing. Everyday she would wish she wasn’t where she was. Her mother tried to fix it with money, buy what ever you want she would say, like that would fix anything. Neglected and over looked, no one stood up for her for 5 years. 5 years of none stop ” you’re just useless”, ” who will marry you, your nothing”, “you can’t even pass a simple test, you’re stupid”, “you’ll die soon at this rate”. Every single day…
At gathering she would be bought in front of the whole crowd and he would begin to explain how ugly and how useless she was. She would look down at her feet, holding back the tears, while the horrified guests would awkwardly watch wondering what was wrong with him. If she got sick in school and he was called to take her home, he would make sure the teachers listened to his story of how useless this girl was, and how there was no need to take her home. He was completely and utterly horrible to her. There was no explanation for it. What ever she did, he would laugh, whether it was good or bad. It was like his life’s purpose was to make her feel like she was nothing.
At one point the only logical explanation she could think of was that perhaps she wasn’t his daughter, perhaps that’s why she was hated so much.
She tried very hard to please her father. She tried to like what he liked so they had more in common. She tried reaching out to him, trying to talk to him. But nothing worked, everything ended with hurtful words spewed in her face. She wasn’t worth anything. That’s what he would say everyday.
To make it worse the mother never left the marriage, she bore all the agony which came her way because she knew if she left, her children would be father-less. The mother silently suffered and did what she could but it never shielded her daughter. She would tell her “you’re the only hope, grow up, get a job so we can all be free”, so many times that it began to feel like a crushing load on her shoulders, impossible to bear simultaneously with the blows to her heart.
What was this life where everyone envied her and her family? This life where luxuries were abundant, but happiness was scarce. She never understood why people always said she was lucky. Was she? she would question. Given the pain she felt, it seemed better to live on the streets than to live through such verbal abuse each and everyday.
Years went by and her spirit was crushed, she begged her father not to make her younger brother suffer the same fate. Not to make him hate his own father, not to make him feel like he wasn’t good enough, not to make him feel as horrible as she did about herself. But why would he listen to her? So the pattern continued…
Until one day it was all too much to bare, so she took her pocket knife and pressed it on to her wrist, as it cut, she saw everyone who counted on her, her brother, who she had to protect, and her mother, who she had to save. So she stopped and crying she asked if there was a God, to please make everything better at least by the time she was 16, because she could bare no more. And if it hadn’t improved, then to give her permission to take her own life.
It was a silent prayer, never thought to be heard. It was the plea of a broken little girl. It was a prayer that, to her surprise, was answered.
People ask me why I reverted to Islam, what gave me the final push after all the research had been done. It was the fact that, as I turned 16, everything became better, I found Islam, I found myself, I found the strength to fight back, and my mother found the strength to fight back. And Alhamdulillah my father saw some of the error in his behavior. He pretends like it never happened, like he never did anything wrong, but we all know the truth. And I hope Allah forgives him for doing and saying the things he did. Given the things I went through with him, I do not forgive him because I love him, I forgive him because I’m Muslim. I do love him, he’s my father. I sometimes wish I didn’t. I wish I could cut myself off from him the way he used to do to me. It hurts too much to love someone who for years made you feel miserable. Either way, I forgive him because Allah (SWT) has made me better.
I reverted because I can cry to Allah, when ever I feel like its too much to bare, and he will hear it. I reverted because I know he was the only one who dared to do anything to help me. All those people who are concerned about my reversion to Islam, didn’t lift a finger, they saw me going into a shell, they looked the other way because to them my father’s money and status was greater. So I reverted because I know Allah loves me, and he will always be there for me. I reverted because Allah is the one who saved me.
How can you expect me to say no to a religion that has given me strength, courage, and honour? How can I turn away when it helped me mend my broken heart, spirit and self esteem? How can I ignore it’s love, kindness and forgiveness? How can I fault something that has taught me and given me the strength to forgive the one man who made my life hell in the first place? How can you ask me to turn my back to the one who listened to my silent pain? How on earth can anyone ask me not to be a Muslim?