I remember a conversation I had with a male friend a few years back. He was looking for a wife but “despairing” at the women he was being introduced to. “Why? What’s wrong with them?” I asked, imagining a line-up of 3-headed mutants, “Most of them are divorced!” he exclaimed with a disgusted shudder.
So today, I just want to get it out there and talk about this issue because this really is becoming a widespread problem. And, no, I don’t mean divorce, I mean the narrow-minded, judgmental and just plain arrogant way our community treats its female divorcees.
It’s plain sickening.
I have spoken to sisters who have been told not to mention their divorced status to potential suitors (because lying is a great start to any marriage). I have also met countless sisters who have been rejected or just plain overlooked because they have been married before.
And let’s not forget our divorced sisters with children, they may as well be wearing a cow bell and a sign that says “untouchable”.
What is it our men — and their families — are so afraid of when it comes to marrying a divorcee?
Is it the time old assumption that she is somehow a “bad woman”, because she “allowed” her marriage to fail? (Let’s face it, it’s always assumed to be the woman’s fault). Is it the fear that she has had experience of marriage and is now more clued up and less likely to be coerced?
Is it the idea that she’s slept with another man already and this kills your pride? Or do you feel that your sperm, DNA and family bloodline are so precious that you cannot possibly have a hand in the upbringing of a child who is not your own?
The worst part is that we are allowing, and even perpetuating, this cruel notion that a divorced woman is a not desirable spouse. I have seen online matrimonial profiles (that have passed the website’s checks!) that clearly state “please no divorcees”. I even saw one once that said “ I’m not about to raise kids and keep a woman who someone else doesn’t want”.
Is your blood boiling yet?
It should be. If not then there’s more.
As a singles coach I regularly scout the marriage events scene looking for opportunities to help Muslim women meet marriage partners. However, I have come across so many organisers who are reluctant to admit divorcees.
One organizer even said that she only deals in “high class people” who fall under the category of doctors, lawyers and other professionals and that she does not deal with divorcees. Because you can’t possibly be a professional and a divorcee right? And yes I know that guys are divorced too but let’s not be naive here. We all know about the good old double standards. If he’s a guy with a good job, his own home and a car this overrides any possible prejudice faced over his divorced status. Add to this the fact that his children probably live with his ex wife, suddenly he’s a great catch.
The saddest part is that a lot of these guys who are rejecting divorcees purely on the basis of their divorced status are proud to say that they follow the sunnah of the Prophet (saw).
They will happily grow a beard, they will eat with their right hand, they will put their right shoe on first and all the other parts of the sunnah they feel comfortable to follow. But talk about them marrying a woman who has been married before and suddenly they are above the example of the Prophet (saw)!
The divorced woman is not naive or high maintenance, she knows what marriage is about and her expectations of it are real. She is not after your money or assets, she probably has her own. And she has had experience at dealing with conflict and has learnt many valuable lessons from her previous marriage.
A divorced sister is only divorced from her husband not from the entire ummah so let’s end this nonsense now!