Friday, 6 February 2015

Deep conversation with a neighbour

Deep conversation with anon-muslim neighbour
Salam everyone,
I just wanted to share a conversation I shared with one of my lovely neighbours recently. She’s simply adorable old little lady that posted me a welcome to the area card when I first moved to the area, and she’s always putting my bins back after collection, a true lady with English values.
She was just having a little chat with me when she randomly asked, I hope you don’t mind but I wanted to ask you something. I was like oh sure go ahead, thinking it’s probably a ‘islam/muslim’ question. Then she went on: “It’s  quite sometime now that you have moved here, and you seem such a lovely persons, and your girls are such a delight, I was wondering if you don’t feel lonely sometimes,” she carries on, “ don’t get me wrong please, it’s just I remember when I separated from my daughter’s dad, a long long time ago, I wanted to find someone else, and I did eventually find the right one after a while, although later on he turned out to be the wrong one as well.” She laughs. “It’s just I was thinking, I never see any man coming around, except for your brother and I was wondering, I know what I feels like, I just thought maybe I could give you some advice.”
I was actually really touched by what she said; it was nice of her to think about me even though we don’t have a deep and meaningful relationship. It was definitely a sweet thought from her.
I started to think how am I supposed to answer this, so I started: “Oh thank you that’s very sweet of you. We muslims don’t date you see, we don’t mingle with men other than family members and we avoid mixing with the other sex.”
She listened carefully, then said, “oh! I understand. But how do you meet your husband then?”
“Very good question! We normally rely on family, friends or acquaintances who would set up a meeting between potentials. For example, a relative may know of so and so who wants to get married, and bring a marriage proposal to a potential, who then consider to pursue or not.”
“oh that’s interesting, it used to be like that in the old days, but not anymore, but it’s nice to see some people still living by their values. So do you just get married after you receive the proposal?”
“Well not really, normally the two parties will talk (including the bride, groom and families) and if they think it’s a good match, then islamically as they are not allowed to date then they get married.”
“Oh it must be hard though. You are basically marrying a stranger. And, what if you two can’t get on?”
“Marriage is risky anyway isn’t it? What guarantee do you have when you date someone that they always gonna be right for you? I mean many people date for quite a while before getting married and it stills doesn’t work out. It’s all about destiny.”
“True. At least in my case,” she says. She carries on, “so are your family and friends trying to look for someone for you then?”

An innocent question from an innocent lady. Yet, it was harder to answer this question.

Be proactive when it comes to abuse

Salam everyone!
I recently found something I didn’t even think I had anymore. A few years back, my latop broke, and I got a new one, then I decided to get it repaired and even got it back months ago, but never really bothered to check what’s on it as I thought it must all have been erased, but to my surprise everything was still on it.
If you have even the slightest or faintest idea that something Is not right in your relationship/marriage, you should document it and save the proofs. You never know, in the future those can be very handy. I found some pictures that I took the first time my ex-husband assaulted me. I do remember taking those photos, I took those photos after he had given me my phone back, it was not a very good camera but it was clear enough. When I took those photos, he had already sked me to forgive him and I had answered positive, but for some reason I decided to take some pics of myself that day. I had never even look at those pics, I think I transferred them quickly on a hidden folder on my laptop so he wouldn’t have any doubts.
I never even look at the pics properly, I think I was too scared that I would find something not right, something strange about the way I looked, and I was afraid to face it, I was afraid to face myself, to acknowledge what had happened. I wanted to move on and be positive. I didn’t even bother checking my face in the mirror, I was happy to be oblivious. Oh I could feel the pain, may jaw did hurt, I remember struggling to swallow food for  a day or two, but I didn’t want to look, looking meant going through it again, and I didn’t have the courage to do it back then.
Anyway, while going through the laptop, I stumbled on those pics I took that day and for the very first time, I realised what it looked like, what it looked like to be an abused woman, and more importantly what I looked like. This person on the picture looked nothing like, nothing of what I remember being before or what I think I am now. It was a completely different person, alien to me. I was not really much about the bruises, I am dark-skinned, so those don’t show very well, but it was just the face, the look on the face, the cracks on the lips, the blank expression, the sore lips; no none of it looked like a younger version of me or an older version, I fail to recognise this as myself. I look horrible, my eyes were numb, and my lips cracked in a few places, my face was completely drained of any colour and emotion. I looked lost in my own world, and soulless. I realised I looked like a total mess, a complete horror, and maybe had I look at that picture before, I would have realised earlier on in the relationship that I had to let go and get away from it.

My point is it’s crucial to document everything, photos where possible, text messages where you can, audio/video recordings and snapshots. Anything you really can even if you think it’s not important. Save it somewhere safe, maybe a friend you trust or even on a pendrive that you can hide. Make sure you have got enough, so if ever you need to prove anything then you can. Do not let your abuser know you are holding any proofs, do not threaten them with it, if you do then you are digging your own grave.

Clare's law- A way to escape domestic abuse?

Clare’s law- A way to escape domestic abuse?
A scheme allowing people to find out if their partner has a history of domestic violence has been used by more than 5 people a day attesting the violent past of partners or future partners.
Clare's Law - named after Clare Wood, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009 - came into force across England and Wales in March 2014.
This is subhanallah an amazing scheme. It can help save so many brothers and sisters from a turbulent and violent relationship. Although so far only women have been using it, men also can use it. It works like a CRB or DBS check, where the police gives you information about whether your partner or potential partner has had a violent past. This type of information is not only available if your partner or potential has been convicted but even when no charges were pressed.  If the police feel you might be at risk, they would disclose such information to you. Furthermore, it gets even better as they can actually tell you if you are in or getting into a relationship with a violent partner without you asking for it (though I personally believe this only happens in extreme cases).
Subhanallah, like it’s often said, you do not really know someone until you live with them.  And many men and women will vow this is true. For Muslims, who are seeking to get married, this is indeed a godsend. A lot of people cannot find partners and check that the information given to them is right, sometimes families and friends do not know it all, just because someone belong to a good and respectable family, doesn’t automatically mean they are too. And, a lot of people are now turning to matrimonials or aunties who try to find ‘the one’ for you, how can you verify that all the information about the one is right. Well, Clare’s law is the answer. People like to hide their dirty past, some will say it’s between me and Allah, which is true, but withholding information is not right either especially if it concerns somebody’s future. People should have the right to make sensible and measured decisions based on the information. Some may choose to go ahead even if information of abuse is disclosed (some people do change with Allah’s help), others may not feel so comfortable with it. But, I think this is great way of making informed decision and knowing the risk you may be taking.
Can you use it, when the proposal has been brought through someone you trust (family/friends) why not? You are not undermining your friend/families intention by looking out for potential danger, even those people may not be aware of the full story. And if someone is not comfortable with the idea with you checking things up then I guess something must not be quite right. We are expected to trust complete strangers and devote the rest of our lives to them, but that’s what they are until we are married to them: strangers!

Feel free to let all your friends and family know, Allah knows best, you might be helping in saving a life.