Question: When I was 23, I got an arranged marriage and divorced 3 months later. I was depressed, and my family was also suffering from all the children’s problems. I am living with my family at 29 years old and am now more stable. But, I don’t get along with my sister, who is 30, single, depressed, and blames my mother for her own mistakes. She abuses my mother, who is intolerable for me. My mother is a divorcee, and she is the strongest woman I know. I love her very much. I want to leave this house full of bad memories because I feel like a failure, and I want a new start for myself. But I don’t want to leave my mother, and I am Pakistani, and it’s taboo to live alone. I don’t pray as much as I should. I’m so confused as to what to do with my life. If I leave, will I be cursed forever and never marry for going against my mother? If I stay, I will be miserable but may get somewhere in life.
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you are going through so much trouble with your personal situation, and I empathize with your frustration.
Her marital status does not decide a woman’s worth. There are great women in our history who never married, but their legacy lives on until today. Take Rabi`a al `Adawiyyah and Maryam, the mother of `Isa, for example. Countless women among our ummah brought tremendous benefit and good to the ummah, including lady scholars, benefactresses, and physicians from our history. The Prophet said, “The best among you is the one brings the most benefit.“ See this link about great Muslim women of the past.
From your question, I can see that your feelings of failure and frustration are not coming at all from living with your mother. You only feel this way because you believe that you haven’t accomplished anything. It would help if you did something. Please consider going back to school to get certified in something you are interested in or get a job in your field. You will feel motivated to work hard in something and have the satisfaction of accomplishment every day. I guarantee that you that staying home at your age will drive you crazy. I know more than one person that chose a new career path in their late twenties and was successful and satisfied by their mid-thirties.
The side benefits are that you will be out of the house more and don’t have to deal with your sister. If you choose the path of education, you will bet setting yourself up financially to help your mother in the future, and the blessings in your rizq (sustenance) will increase from there. If you decide to work, you can contribute financially now as well.
Also, in your free time, do what is right for your mind and body. Get a beneficial hobby, exercise, learn a skill set that can help you in the future, take a class recreationally on something that you enjoy, see friends and family and make sure to get out in nature for fresh air. If staying home does not benefit you, don’t stay home too much.
Moving out to be in your home is harder than you think, especially if you want to pursue a study or a career. It will be much easier to do that from your mother’s home and not have the extra burden of handling all the cooking, cleaning, and bills. Please take advantage of being with her and use that time to your full potential.
Istikhara and praying
I can’t make this decision for you, and I may not know all the facts. But I know that if you don’t start praying the five prayers, you may not have the maturity to move out. The way I see it is that you want success and happiness from Allah, you must give him something at the very minimum, and that is the obligations that he is imposed on you. This includes fasting, praying five times daily, paying zakat on time, and performing hajj if you can. I guarantee that if you start putting Allah first on your list, you will find tremendous changes in your life.
Pray istikhara about what to do and the Prayer of Need before dawn to ask for Allah’s help and guidance. May Allah reward you for trying to change your life. Just remember that the change must start from within you, not necessarily from your outside circumstances. Consider taking this course on change:
And see these links:
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.