Mark decided to move back in with Mum, and that was my cue to leave, although it was with a heavy heart and much concern. I worried that Mark would nag Mum to death! My emotions were like a see-saw as I tried to write in my journal. A part of me wanted to stay with Mum, but I also longed to be with my new found family.
Mark had started drinking, and each day in the house was becoming more unbearable. Mum bore his tirades with patience, but they were becoming more frequent and were wearing her down.
For Mum, it wasn’t Mark who was the problem but rather how he treated me. There was the constant name-calling – terrorist mainly, although he would get creative at times.
Muallimah’s husband, the local Imam, offered to assist in getting Mark help, but that turned into a screaming match. Each time we tried to reach out to Mark, he would become loud and aggressive.
I sat watching the fat cat outside my window, feeling defeated and alone. Last night, in a drunken rage, Mark punched me in the face, leaving me with a bruised eye and Mum in a state of frenzy. It was the last straw for me, but my loyalty to Mum and in a twisted way, I felt I was letting my brother down if I left without trying one last time. Mum begged me not to report the incident, and I gave in.
How ironic this situation was – a Muslim woman beaten up by her non-Muslim brother! But the assumption was that Muslim women were the oppressed victims of their fathers, brothers and husbands!
Sadly, I understood that Mark was hurting; he too missed Dad, and I’m sure he felt guilt and pain for his past and recent behaviour. Dad had spoilt Mark, even when he turned to liquor and drugs to fuel addictions.
I returned to my sanctuary with Fatima, and no amount of convincing made my mother change her mind about leaving Mark to come to live with me.
Doubt crept into my mind as I questioned my eemaan and strength to hold on to the rope of Allah. My interactions with other new Muslims had previously left me feeling blessed that I had a Muslim family. Most were alone, with no family or friends and in several cases, hardly ever accepted into the community they had assumed would welcome them with open arms.
I had my mother, Fatima and Umme. The tests were challenging, but I would persevere in sha Allah.
Allah says: “Does man think we’re not going to test him? We will definitely test him just like we tested those before him to distinguish who has passed the test, who was truthful, and who was not truthful.” (29:2)
In an amazing, motivational and inspiring verse in the Qur’an, Allah says: Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. (Quran 2:286)
Allah is Al Qud-Doosu, and only He can help me navigate my way closer to Him. Only Allah knows the trials I will have to endure, but I will remain positive.