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After Hardship Comes Ease - Rehana Khan

After Hardship Comes Ease - Rehana Khan

Issue 85 October 2011

Rehana Khan fell in love with the man who inspired her to embrace Islam. Soon, she became victim to domestic abuse — suffering in silence until the fear in her son’s eyes moved her to get out.

 

After completing my undergraduate studies in Poland, I decided to move to the UK before embarking on an MA. My landlord was a pleasant man, who seemed deeply spiritual and we would often have discussions on similarities between the Bible and the Qur’an. I began researching Islam and the core principles, spending hours online until gradually, I began to realise that my research was answering all my unanswered questions. Twelve months after having first met my landlord, I took the shahada and became a practicing Muslim.


We obviously shared a profound, spiritual connection, and after discussing what the other felt, he announced our engagement to his family. Not long after, we were married in a small ceremony in the UK. The first six months of our marriage were wonderful; like most newlyweds, we were completely in love and I had been getting to know the Muslim sisters in our area, as well as learning about his culture and family.


I soon began to realise that both my husband and in-laws had been leading very different lifestyles. His family gave more significance to their culture than religion, and maintained an unsettling prejudice against me – often saying horrible things about me in his presence, and referring to me as ‘the white girl’. My husband began to buy into the ideals his family would project; that I had to dress in traditional Pakistani clothes, cook chapattis for him and watch meaningless Indian dramas on TV to understand the culture better. Slowly, he began to avoid leading prayers in our home and refused to read the Qur’an with me. Then he became aggressive, swearing incessantly at me .


Gradually, he became more and more distant. Anytime I would attempt to question or ask to discuss what was going on, he would spout abuse at me. I soon discovered that he was casually dating several other women, and was making no effort to conceal it. Not long after, I discovered I was pregnant. I confronted him and communicated my desire to end our relationship; I was not prepared to bring another life into this world and raise him or her in such a horrible, unstable environment. I thought my husband’s heart may have softened at hearing that he was soon to be a father, as he asked for forgiveness and pleaded that I stay for the sake of our child.


After Adam was born, the abuse intensified. The insults, threats and daily verbal abuse transformed into physical abuse. In the year since I had decided to stay for the sake of our child, I had been beaten regularly, thrown down the stairs and stamped on. I was terrified not only of my husband, but of the harm he could cause to Adam. Finally, the day came when after another fight, I was punched to the ground only to look up and see the fear in the eyes of my six-month old baby. I told him I no longer wanted to be married. He turned us out onto the street, without anything at all and that was the last I saw of him.


Feeling worthless, with no self-esteem, I ended up at a refuge. As a European citizen, though I had the freedom to travel and live anywhere, I was told I was not eligible to any benefits. With only my savings to hand, I began to grow more and more depressed. Things were difficult in the refuge; accommodation was limited and it meant sharing basic amenities like access to a bathroom and kitchen with many others. My food would go missing on regular occasions; access to washing machines would be limited and cause great arguments amongst the residents. There were racist tensions between people and the atmosphere was rarely pleasant. It was an incredibly lonely place to be stuck in.
I prayed to God for His mercy and guidance. I wanted nothing more than the opportunity to take care of my son and get my life back in order. As with any sincere prayer from the heart, one does not have to wait long before God uncovers a path for you. I began to study the basics of European law, looking in particular at the rights to public security benefits in the UK. I challenged the authorities, and when Adam was 10 months old, I won my right to child tax credit and housing benefits.


Realising I had the opportunity to make a career out of my learning, I began to provide advice to those who had been in similar situations. I began assisting clients in their meetings with various institutions, and became involved in outreach services for the Polish community. Eventually, my clientele grew until I had the means to open a small office in the centre of Birmingham. Meanwhile, I volunteered at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, increasing my skills and knowledge all the while. I have now assisted over 200 people.


I feel truly blessed by God to have been given the opportunity to help others. I strongly believe that what I went through was a journey that was predestined; an experience I had to endure, so that I could help others and raise awareness of these very significant issues in our community. We need more women to come forward and share their stories, in order to compel those suffocating in silence and fear to break free.


nationalzakatfoundation.com




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Comments

4 Comments

1

Building For The Future

30 Oct 11, 22:53

Very moving article. It is good to see that there are such strong willed, determined sisters in the Muslim community. I hope that the NZF goes from strength to strength.

Some of these issues are touched on in a review of Philip Lewis' book "Young, British and Muslim" which can be found at http://bftfblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/book-review-young-briti sh-and-muslim.html

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Building For The Future

30 Oct 11, 22:52

Very moving article. It is good to see that there are such strong willed, determined sisters in the Muslim community. I hope that the NZF goes from strength to strength.

Some of these issues are touched on in a review of Philip Lewis' book "Young, British and Muslim" which can be found at http://bftfblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/book-review-young-briti sh-and-muslim.html

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3

Building For The Future

30 Oct 11, 22:52

Very moving article. It is good to see that there are such strong willed, determined sisters in the Muslim community. I hope that the NZF goes from strength to strength.

Some of these issues are touched on in a review of Philip Lewis' book "Young, British and Muslim" which can be found at http://bftfblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/book-review-young-briti sh-and-muslim.html

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4

Butterfly

25 Oct 11, 11:25

that's good to start again. the bad thing is to find Muslims who don't apply what the religion says. i was married from a man for 2 years and half, there was a lot of problems. i wished to leave him but there wasn't a chance. suddenly, the chance came to leave him, he made me choose to stay with him or to leave after i discovered that he stole money from his company and i choose to leave and get divorced. he agreed but to get divorced i should give up all my rights that Islam gave it to me. i refused and went to court but i am still waiting for 2 years court ruling and he went away for where i don't know. i cant begin my life again. Why the men don't apply what God said"Constipation reasonable terms or release kindness". u r lucky to get your freedom from this man. i think he isn't really Muslim as my husband, he isn't too. God bless you.

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