My Father’s Abuse and How I Endured it…

My Father’s Abuse and how I Endured it…
(Date of Interview: 14/12/2009)

Brief Intro: This interview was conducted between myself and a Muslim sister. She had been through years of physical abuse; throughout her teenage years and even part of her adult life and  has decided to share her experiences for the benefit of others Inshaa Allah. May Allah(swt) bless her for this outstanding courage and selfless charity…Ameen. She has also chosen to keep her identity confidential, but if you would like to send her a message, you can send it to my e-mail and I will forward it to her for you Inshaa Allah.

Azizah: “Assalamu Alaikum sister”

The Sister: “Wa alaikumussalaam wa rahmatullah”

Azizah: “The title of this interview is ‘My father’s abuse & how I endured it'”

The Sister: “Yes”

Azizah: “Now, were you always Muslim or were you a revert to Islam?”

The Sister: “Revert to Islam Masha Allah, I was a Hindu before Astaghfirullah”

Azizah:“What do you understand by the term ‘abuse’?”

The Sister: “Hmmmm…. I would say it is any form of taunting and trespassing a person’s personal boundaries which harm them.”

Azizah: “Would you say that the abuse you experienced was physical, verbal or mental?”

The Sister: “It was only physical. The verbal abuse was more directed to my mother Astaghfirullah.”

Azizah: “How old were you when you first became a victim of abuse? And in what way?”

The Sister: “Well my dad used to beat me a bit since I could remember, for watching TV too late at night. At that time I used to sleep with his mother who lived in our basement. Then the abuse just escalated as I grew older…”

Azizah: “Was he ever reported to the authorities?”

The Sister: “Not when in my adolescent years, only when I was over eighteen I myself reported him.”

Azizah: “Was you father a Muslim at this time?”

The Sister: “My father never was nor is he Muslim.”

Azizah: “Can you describe to me some of the more traumatic scenarios that you remember? And what role did your mother play in these scenarios?”

The Sister: “Ok I will try InshaAllah. Well I remember when I was thirteen years old and my best friend and I would exchange notes in class. I was stupid, I didn’t throw the notes and one night at 11:00 pm my father literally got up from sleep and went rummaging through my book-bag and folder and found the notes. I honestly can’t remember what was written; obviously they were about boys we liked and he woke me up and beat me so badly. My mother… tried to defend me but he told her to shut up or she would get licks too. So she shut up. I remember that I had so many bruises, blue-black and couldn’t cover them up to go to school the next day. He would aim for my head when hitting, but my mom begged him not to hit my head. It was the most she could say. Alhamdulillah he didn’t hit my face or head more than once. But when he would beat, it was with a belt and the side with the buckle. There are two more incidents I remember, one when I was eighteen and one at twenty-one years old. Let me know when you would like to hear those InshaAllah.

Azizah:  “You can continue Inshaa Allah….”

The Sister: “Ok InshaAllah… when I was eighteen years old, I wanted to put my mother’s maiden name as part of my own surname. So my mother and I went and got an affidavit and put it in. We knew my father didn’t want it but we saw no harm. However that night she showed it to him and he flipped out! He started yelling and I told him not to hit me, that I’m eighteen now and he has no right to. He ran up to me and slapped me three times on my face. He is soooo quick. Anyway, I just threatened him after that and he stopped. Then when I was twenty-one, I started wearing al-hijaab. I remember it was the Easter Monday of 2004 and I was getting prepared to leave for Quran classes. I wore an abaaya and was going down the stairs. At that time I was living with my grandparents just so that I could be away from him. We hardly spoke anyway. So as it was a holiday he came there with mom but I wanted to go to class also to be away from him. As I was leaving my mom didn’t want me to go and I told her no, that I was going. I thought they were interfering with my Islam since they didn’t like the idea that I wore hijaab, far more black clothing and was attending masjid. My dad heard me say no, he was at the foot of the stairs, I was at the top and the next thing I knew he was grabbing my hijaab and hitting me!!! SubhaanAllah…He pulled the hijab off and then I was fighting back but then next thing I knew I was on the ground, he was kicking me and my mom was grabbing my hair and pulling it, shouting at ME to stop fighting back!!! (the sister seemed angry at that point) Anyway, so that fight lasted a while  and I was kicking back at him to no avail. He was punching me, my neck was being grabbed and I was still on the floor. My grandmother tried to stop them but he pushed her so hard he sprained her finger. And my grandfather couldn’t do anything, he was an ill person. I don’t know how they stopped, I can’t remember. When it was over, I went to my room and was combing my hair and crying. My mom pulled out so much of my hair. (the sister started crying at this point and was really reminiscing about what had happened in her past)

I kept combing, my scalp was sore and I was hurting all over. The hair didn’t stop coming out in the brush for a long while, it was so knotted as well. I then looked at my neck and it was red and blue in some places, so I took pics with my phone to show to the police. I knew I wore hijaab but they had to see so that I could make a report. I wanted to report him just so that if something happened to me in the future he would be the number one suspect. I thought the worst of him!

I put my clothing on but I can’t remember if I went to the masjid after. I didn’t speak to my mother after that until she was so regretful she informed a local imaam so that he could come speak to me!!!! When he came about 4-5 days later my grandmother and I told him everything that happened. He was shocked and he just didn’t know what to say. So he left with things unsolved. But he did inform me that as a Muslim child I have to be kind and humble to my parents even though they are kaafir or non-practicers of Islam. He said I should not fight back which is ultimately right. However, I defended myself and I didn’t hit my mom in the process, so I’m not ashamed of what I did. I forgot to mention that the following day after the fight I went to the police station and reported him. I didn’t press any charges, I guess that’s my way of respecting him a little. And Allah knows best…”

Azizah: “Did you father ever show any softness or genuine kindness towards you? If so, would you care to share any of these ‘good’ memories?”

The Sister: “Yes he did at other times. He Alhamdulillah isn’t a total beast when it comes to spending money on me I guess and whenever I was ill. Ever since I was little and I would become ill, virus, cold, whatever…. whether it was 1:00am he would take me to the doctor. Alhamdulillah at that time, and where we lived, the people were generous and there was a doctor who was our neighbour and first friend when we moved to that part of the country. I was five years old when we moved into our own home, before that we lived at my grandparents. My dad would go knocking on the doctor’s door and Alhamdulillah that man is a great man and doctor. He still is and would still attend to me when I go to him now. May Allah grant him guidance and forgive him his sins Ameen. (she seemed happy as she reminisced about this doctor)

And when I was seventeen, before I ever got my licence, my dad bought me a car. I didn’t fully get to drive it until I was eighteen but Alhamdulillah it’s better than nothing. Then on other occasions when my dad travelled he would bring me whatever I told him to buy; CD’s, perfumes, clothing… At that time I would write a lot and listen to a lot of music because my life was so lonely…”

Azizah: “When you discipline your own children, do you ever lose your temper with them? What discipline methods do you use?”

The Sister: “Yes… and this is a very important question. Part of me was hoping you would ask, another hoping you wouldn’t. I do lose my temper and I do shout. And sometimes I lose my cool and hit them. All with regret. I force myself to think that I’m behaving like my father and I would go repent InshaAllah and ask my children for forgiveness. Alhamdulillah it’s becoming better and I’m much more loving with them rather than hard-hearted… I remember my mom being the loving one. Even though we never had an open relationship, she always showed me unconditional love and a lot of kisses and hugging Masha Allah. I know my dad is abusive because his dad was physically abusive toward him and so was his mother. So it’s I guess 50% of his fault…Now I just send them(her kids) to their room, or I take away a privilege. When I do hit, it’s just a tap. But my face becomes scary enough that they obey unwillingly. (She smiled & laughed here!)

I speak to them lovingly and I give them a lot of leeway, they are still children and need to play and become independent. Not to be looking over their shoulder if I’m looking at them and angry at what they’re doing. Alhamdulillah they are playful and loving children.”

Azizah: “Does your husband remind you of your father in any way?”

The Sister: “No  (she laughed) my husband is the total opposite of my father Alhamdulillah! Thank Allah for this mercy of my husband. He is soft spoken, and kind and never hits. I am like my father unfortunately so it’s quite a struggle with myself.”

Azizah: “Do you have a relationship with your parents today? When was the last time you saw or spoke to them?”

The Sister: “Yes I maintain my relationship with them even though at times my mom shows me no care. I have to because I am more concerned with myself when it’s time to face my Lord. My parents are not worth me being thrown into the Hell-fire or Allah cutting His ties with me. That is the greatest loss for any soul. I call them every week since we don’t live in the same country. I visited them on two occasions since I got married (plane tickets are costly with so many children). And my dad was the first to visit me since I got married. He came on three occasions to see his grandchildren. My mom also came on many occasions for my walimah here as well as for each of her grandchildren’s birth. I must add though that in the beginning after I got married it was a struggle to respect my parents. I didn’t begin to fully respect them until only two years ago Alhamdulillah. They don’t believe I am respectful but I know I am and I show it and Allah knows I am InshaAllah. The reason they don’t believe it, is because my father being kaafir has his own ideas about respect. He believes obedience is respect. And this we know applies only to the unmarried child in accordance with obedience to Allah. A Married woman on the other hand has to respect her parents in speech, it’s tone and actions InshaAllah.”

Azizah:  “If there is anything you could say to your father and mother right now, without any risk or consequences, what would you say if you could say it freely?”
The Sister: “Well, with all due respect to my parents, I would say to my mother, “Mom, you weren’t there for me when I needed a friend to talk to, you ignored me and sacrificed time with me for working for your husband. I love you but I hate your parenting and wish I never had to live eighteen years of my life. To my father I would say, “I forgive you for all that you did to Mom and I. I love you because Allah in His infinite mercy made you my father and that means something to Allah so it means something to me. But I will never forget what you did and the person you made me into which I’m still struggling to change. That affects my children and I hate that part of myself because of you…”

Azizah: “What advice do you have for other young Muslim girls out there who are currently going through what you went through?”

The Sister: (The sister was crying at this point) “I can only say something to the ones going through similar to what I went thorough because I know there are others going through worse. I would say, “For the time being, while you are young and unable to get married, go to school, get your education and pray to Allah to save you from this torment. Pray to Allah to give you a righteous and loving husband. Pray to Allah to make you forget…Defend yourself as best as you can against the abuse but do not disrespect at other times InshaAllah. It is for your benefit InshaAllah. And talk to an older person so that they may counsel you through it all, a professional adult who is also a friend or family member InshaAllah. Even an imaan InshaAllah. And keep praying to Allah. it is only a test And He will take you through it InshaAllah. I want to say one more thing…I was suicidal in teenage years. The physical abuse was only part of the torment. I was over-protected and couldn’t even speak to my friends on the phone, further more go out with them for pizza. A life of loneliness leads to one of two things, either death or God. Alhamdulillah I was too afraid of the pain of death, so Allah made it easy for me and brought me closer to Him Alhamdulillah. Then suicide was never a thought. Alhamdulillah… I was blessed in many other ways…”

Azizah: “Jaza Kallah Khair sister for this great contribution! May Allah(swt) bless you for sharing your very deep experiences and May it be of substantial benefit to others who are going through this….Ameen!”

The Sister: Ameen (The sister & I spoke off-the-record thereafter)

Yours Truly,
Azizah…

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