Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Maryam and her lost love

For those of you who was ever in love, you'd already know that the source of your love and happiness could be the very person to bring you misery, sadness and disappointment. Perhaps that is why some, especially those who loved and was hurt before, refuse to let themselves fall in love again. Because giving someone your love and your heart is giving them a power, the power could be good because it may bring you happiness, but at the same time it can hurt you. Hurt so much that you'd think nothing can heal your broken heart.

I have hesitated to blog about this, but Maryam's story has been at the back of my mind. I cannot carry this burden with me anymore because it brings me terrible sadness. But here's Maryam's story as it is told to me.

Maryam was introduced to her husband by her brothers. Her husband was doing business with her brothers, and they thought marrying Maryam off to him makes both good business sense, keeping J as family rather than just business partner.

So Maryam followed her husband here because he was establishing his business here. At the beginning of the marriage he treats her well, and she in turn produces three children for him, one daughter and two sons. They were happy and she believed that he loved her and she loves him too.

She was very dedicated to her children, and because they lived in a small apartment sometimes she forgot her duties as a wife to her husband. But did the husband chooses to help her with the children or the chores, lighten her load a little so she'd have more time to spend with him? No, he chose the easy way out for him, he married a second wife. And worst still, he brought the second wife to stay with them in that tiny apartment. Imagine 2 women, 1 grown man and three children. From then on, Maryam's woes begun, full blast.

Maryam asked her husband for divorce and he refused, because he felt that he was entitled to have four wives, so two is only half of his quota, so why let her go when he can keep both. But aside from providing the roof over their head (he pays the rent) Maryam had to fork out her own money for everything else. Including the food that her husband and his second wife eats. So she had to go out to work because her children were growing and they needed money for school, clothes, books and she needed some neccessities for herself. She found herself a good job with a princess and was fairly well paid. Her heart was broken but she comforted herself that at least she still has a husband and children.

Her husband stopped giving her all forms of Nafkah. She sleeps with her daughter and him with his new wife. Her sons sleep in the living room. And sometimes she, her daughter and sons can hear their father going at it. But what can she do? She tried becoming the good obedient wife, she told herself its all predestined for her. She tried to accept it as Allah's will, and live with the fact that her husband has the right to do whatever he is doing. It hurts her but she tried to swallow it all down.

Now living as a family sometimes it hard enough in a small space, but living with another wife is another story altogether. And no matter how sensible a man is, he is only human, and its impossible to be fair. The children could see how their father's new wife was controlling their lives, taking his love away from them. So they began to act out a little bit. They became more disobedient. They no longer respected their father. Maryam didn't teach her children to be disrespectful of her husband, she never told them to be rude to him or to the other wife, but the children are growing into teenagers, they had their own eyes to see how their mom was sidestepped, and how resentful the second wife was to them.

So one day Maryam's eldest daughter got in trouble with her father. The resentful daughter was a little rude to the father, she referred to his second wife as "That other woman." That remarked upset her husband causing him to hit on her with a stick. And so Maryam intervined to stop him and she was hit instead. She gathered her children and they all ran to her room and they locked the door.

She could not take it any longer. She was at breaking point. It is one thing that he no longer respects or show affection to her, but to treat their own children like that, telling them that his second wife was the apple of his eye, while the rest of them are not, was too much for her. She hung on as long as she could because she thought her children needed a father, as a role model and someone who can protect and love them. But to beat them up with a stick, it was as if they were stray dogs in their own home.

And so she decided to leave. If he was not going to let her go, she would find a way out for herself. One morning, her husband had to bring his second wife out to the clinic as she was feeling unwell. She grabbed hers and her children's passport, called a friend to give her moral support, and together they all jumped into a taxi and went to her Embassy. She told the officers at her Embassy the whole story and asked them to help her bring her and her children out of the country. She was at breaking point. She felt that she has suffered enough and she wants out. It was one thing to hurt and torture her mentally all this time, but to start it on her children as well, she had to think of their future.

The Embassy tried to negotiate on her behalf to her husband. They called him and asked him to come for couple's counselling. But he refused. His wife and children are his, they belonged to him and should be returned to him. As far as he is concerned, there is no need to negotiate anything.

So Maryam waited for 3 days and finally, when all avenues were tried and failed, she was given the ticket to fly back home to her family.

She decided that life as a single mother was better than being a wife who was humiliated, mentally tortured.

I haven't heard from Maryam since. But I hope her new life is better for her.

What is the value's of a man's love when all he does is to hurt you and make you feel so small and so unwanted?


Nadia said...

Salam Sunflora,

I was bloghopping. :) Hope you don't mind my dropping in.

this story is so touching. From the moment you mentioned the husband not helping Maryam and marrying the second wife..a voice at the back of my mind said,"He's not behaving Islamically..right there..period."
and of course after that everything goes's sad really....we women..sometimes we're not aware of our rights nd we think it's piety to bear it all. We do have our rights as Muslim women..and we don't have to bear things that violate our rights as wives unnecessarily.

It's always been a pet peeve of mine that muslim men misuse that power to marry up to four. and that they're not actually behaving like a muslim husband..and then of course the women also are not fully aware of their rights or just choose to bear it all (it's commendable of course for ALlah is just and will reward her for her suffering insyaallah), but we should be aware and so the non muslims too should be aware that Islam is NOT like that. (that's my only concern..that islam is not being practised the way it's supposed to be, yet ppl think that THAT is Islam.)

I always think men like these poligami....they will face Allah one day and if they were ever unfair to their wives they would coe on the day of judgment men who wants to do this.should think deep and far..for they will be accountable for themselves....

nice piece of writing though :)

Lollies said...

Maryam has courage...and that takes guts. Loads of them.

atenah said...

may maryam be strong and may she find happiness in her life

atiza said...

i wept when i read this entry..sometimes i wonder, why muslim men like to use "i am allowed to have 4 wives" disclaimer. i'm glad that she managed to get out. most women don't.

Leen Ash Burn said...

I hope she's living a better life now.. but what about her kids ek?

Bunn said...

i'm glad that maryam had found the courage to leave. to a certain extent, i believe it is bearable for a woman whose husband marries another if he continues to love and care for her and their children. however, the moment the man forgets (whether on purpose or otherwise) his responsibility to his family, well, there is only so much a woman can tolerate.

divorce is such a dirty word but it is better than being treated like an old pair of shoes.

elisataufik said...

eeeee i cannot read these kinda stories.. it just burns me.

Sunflora said...

Hello Nadia, thanks for dropping by my blog. Yes I agree with you, unfortunately some Muslim men just like to use the "benefits" of being a Muslim man without realizing the responsibility of being one.

Thanks for the compliment I like your style better though. Looks like you've got a good portfolio there.

Lollies desperate situations requires desperate measures, unfortunately.

Atenah: Amin. Insyallah. I hope her Iman gets stronger.

Atizah, I agree, most women dont. I guess she just could not take it anymore and Allah did give her that window of oppurtunity as normally her husband and her madu(don't know an equivalent word in English) will watch her and her children like hawks.

Leen, her kids are with her. Luckily their births were registered at Maryam's home country, not her husbands, otherwise different laws might apply.

Bunn, that is true, there are many instances where the women are happy given their circumstances. But like you said, if the husband forgets his responsibilities as one, then its something else.

Sunflora said...

Elisa tu la kan. Patut Bobbitkan je guys like that.

MobileMom said...

Urrghhhh I hate men who thinks this way.

Reminds me of a true story I read about a girl name Nadia who was sold to her father's friend. Reading that book buat I geram. Reading this entry ni pun buat I geram also lor. Luckily the children are with her.

Kak Teh said...

sorry terlambat comment. and yes, I echo the sentiments of others before me...gerammmmmm!

Sunflora said...

Mobilemum whats the title of the book? Some one else mentioned a similar storyline.

Kak Teh good luck for your exams.

anasalwa said...

I applaud Maryam for her strength to remove her children from the man who has no ability to be a father and cannot respect the mother of his children.
I appalaud Maryam's farsighted not using her children as an excuse to stuck in a doom relationship.
I applaud Maryam for her courage. Wish her and her children all the best.
Thank you for sharing Maryam's story with us.

mobilemom said...


There's 2 books. Under bibliography. The title is WITHOUT MERCY and the other one is SOLD. When I read that book, I couldn't believe what she and her sister had to go through. Boleh buat you geram at men i tell you.

Black Pants said...

Sorry for jumping on the bandwagon late (been stuck with exams.. ni pun taking a break)

Just a quick question though. I thought part and parcel of poligamy was being able to provide separate residences for your wives? Or at least separate living areas?

Sunflora said...


Ideally yes but technically just a roof over their heads would be sufficient (keeping in mind that the bedouins used to live in tents so they just need to erect another tent for the new wife.