Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I am divorced at age 40, living with my father, with no children. I would like to know who is responsible for me, socially and financially. Am I expected to be responsible for myself? When my father drops me off at work, my siblings say he shouldn’t take me. My family cannot help me remarry, so I have met men with marital intentions in public places.
However, my family calls me Western and says it should be a family meet-up. I work and pay my way so as not to be a burden on anyone, but my siblings think I live a privileged life and live off my father. I feel like I live in jail, where my family judges every step I take. I also suffer from a long-term severe immunological condition requiring frequent treatment and monitoring. So I don’t need additional stress.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
Thank you for your question. Sister, the article at this link will give you an idea of the complete system of whom one is obliged to support in Islam:
Fiqh of Financially Supporting one’s Parents and Relatives
In short, no one is obliged to support you because you can pay your way. However, if you did not have the means to take care of yourself, your father would be obliged to take care of you; if unable, then your brothers.
The above is the black and white of the situation. In reality, you are serving your father excellently by living with him, helping him, and giving him company. I believe your lifestyle is more complex than that of your siblings because they have their own homes and independence while you do not. If your father doesn’t mind giving you a lift to work, there is no issue, and you should ignore your siblings.
Meeting Men for Re-Marriage
As a mature lady of 40 years old, you should continue looking for a spouse. Your family has not helped so far, so you should be proactive and rely on Allah to send you someone suitable. In sha Allah, be patient, persevere, and follow the shari’ah, and you will find success. You are correct to meet in public places and cover modestly. Choose a man for his religion, and you will be successful by the grace of Allah Most High. You can ignore what your family says about being Western. Once you choose someone, you can then introduce them to your family. It’s all halal.
Living at Home
I know that it is difficult living at home. But you are doing everything right, Masha Allah. You are working to pay for your way in life and actively looking for a spouse. In the meantime, you are taking care of your father and household needs. In your situation, you are acting perfectly; you are missing nothing, and I believe Allah is pleased with you. Ultimately, that is all that matters.
For your sanity, try being patient with everyone and busy your free time learning your religion. Several free courses on Seekers cover obligatory knowledge; do those first. Take care of your health by exercising, eating healthily, and staying on top of your condition. Spend time in nature, get some self-care, like a massage, attending a gathering of dhikr, or going out in the heart. Of course, pray on time, pay zakat on time, read Quran every day, lower your gaze and fear Allah Most High as much as you can in everything you say and do.
I pray that Allah Most High sends you the best and facilitates it for you.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.