Last week, we started to treat divorce cases based on interfaith marriages and we will do so this week. First, read the story of Idrisu and Ramat and then we can discuss the story.
Hello Ross T, I appreciate the advice you give your readers here. I’m divorced and I would love to share my divorce story here. My name is Ramat and here is how my marriage packed up.
My husband Idrisu and I broke up based on religious differences after my conversion to Christianity.
I was born into a Muslim home although my mother was originally Catholic. My mother was the second of my father’s wives. Even though from a Catholic home, she converted to Islam as soon as she married my father. She hadn’t been brought up a Muslim and hence wasn’t too strict on us. She still owned a bible and once in a while, she would bring it out even though she faithfully went to the mosque with the family.
Father, on the other hand, was rather devout and very strict. I was taught Arabic from the age of five and I used the hijab compulsorily from secondary school. Even though father was strict, I did have a happy childhood as Dad managed to Keep all his wives and us ten children in order. We lacked nothing and Dad ensured that all ten of his children received education up to tertiary level.
I met Idrisu when I was in the polytechnic. He was one of the radical student union members and Muslim student’s representative. He was very handsome and from a good family. I was flattered when he noticed me and started talking to me a lot. Our friendship grew and he made his intention known.
I was so happy and made this known to my mother. She supported me especially as I was going to be his first wife (two older sisters had married as second wives years before me). My father was impressed with my choice as well. We had our Nikkai after two years of dating. I couldn’t wait to start a family with him. Idrisu secured a good job thereafter with the government and I also got a teaching job in a secondary school.
I began to have children as soon as I settled in and I had five in total; two girls and three boys. They kept me busy along with my teaching job. We lived in relative peace for fifteen years until I began to sense a presence with me. It felt like a cloud and I began to wonder about it. It was not an evil presence but more like calmness.
My Divorce Journey
I had a dream one night and saw a man dressed in white calling me, I jumped up and began to say my prayers in Arabic. Idrisu began to notice my abnormal behaviour and asked me several times what the matter was. I told him about the man in white and we tried to figure it out but couldn’t. One day after such a dream, I told my mother and she simply said it was Jesus calling me. I was shocked that my mother would say that after years of practising Islam and I rejected her words in fear.
This is where my journey to conversion started. I went about my business and tried to push them away until one day in school when a colleague came to my class. He asked me if I had a dream and narrated every single detail of the dream. I shouted and he calmed me down. He said the Holy Spirit had spoken to him and directed him to me. He was one of the most dedicated staff and was happily married with children. To cut a long story short, he led me to Christ. I got filled with the Holy Spirit and sudden newness filled me.
The trouble began when my husband noticed the changes in me. Idrisu raised his hands on me for the first time in our marriage. My father disowned me and Idrisu sued and got a divorce. I guess it was the price I had to pay for my conversion. I moved in temporarily with my mother’s relatives and even then, I was getting random threats from people I didn’t know. It was like hell but I continued to pray to God and expect his help.
Its been over seven years since I went through all that. I’m currently living in another town. My children that I wasn’t allowed to see have reconnected with me via social media. I keep praying for their conversion as well. As for Idrisu, he remarried and hasn’t spoken a word to me since then. I pray that one day we shall all be united in faith. That’s my divorce story as briefly as I can tell it.
Last week we shared the story of Rashidat and her conversion experience which you can read by clicking here. Growing up in Lagos, I had several friends from interfaith marriages but only amongst my friends from the South Western parts of Nigeria. I can’t quite point to any of my friends from the South Eastern part or the Northern part of Nigeria that came from interfaith marriages.
Sometimes, it is easy to attribute problems with interfaith marriages to lack of education that breeds ignorance and intolerance but that isn’t always the case. In the story of Rashidat which we took last week, the husband wasn’t well educated but not so with Ramat’s husband or her Father.
The study I quoted from last week which you can also see by clicking here is a study conducted in the USA amongst well-educated professionals as well. So we are looking at both a seemingly more enlightened society and a different set of people and yet we see that interfaith marriages have more issues than single faith marriages.
Why is this so? We need to understand the fact that it is because of one’s faith. You can say that faith is subjective. What one person sees as enlightenment can be perceived by another as imprisonment and oppression. You may argue as much as you want but the perceptions of that individual are very alive to them.
Faith is what gets us through the day. It is what makes a person wake up in the morning and go to the office expecting to get wages at the end of 30 days or 14days as the case might be. It is what makes one person sign up to be the life partner of another trusting that they made the right decision. As men, we don’t have all the answers. There is just how far we can see in the future so we use our faith to guide us. It is a believe we cannot explain.
In the next Divorce story, we would look at the conflict points in interfaith marriages. can they be avoided and skirted around?
I would love to have your thoughts on this. Please drop a comment and let’s have this conversation. If you have a divorce story you would love to share, please send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I assure you of complete anonymity. If you have a question you would love to get some counsel on, also send to me. We don’t publish withiut your permision and we also edit to preserve your anonymity.