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At the end of my rope

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janeausten View Drop Down
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Joined: 18 October 2012
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    Posted: 18 October 2012 at 9:17pm
I really need some Islamic-influenced guidance and advice.

I was born in the UAE but lived most of my life in North America. I agreed to marry a Bangla deshi man who was born and raised in Bangla desh. Our marriage took place there. It was understood that I would live there in his joint family set up after marriage. The house contains my parents-in-law, my husband, his younger brother and younger bro's wife.

Alhamdulillah, we have a 3 year old daughter (we have been married 4 years).

Life in this particular joint family setup has been increasingly difficult for me to adjust to. I am not allowed to go outside, not even to the backyard (which is encircled by a 10 ft brick fence topped with barbed wire), as my husband and parents-in-law say that it's not safe and I don't speak the language, and perverts might be staring at me from nearby apt buildings. I have nothing to do at home, and I get bored all day sitting, waiting for husband to return. I am not allowed to go outside alone AT ALL, not even to the next door grocery store. My husband is at his office all day. I told him I can atleast go to the grocery store with my father-in-law and a servant (as an additional 'bodyguard'), but my husband said No, it's not safe. Due to his work load, he's able to take my daughter and me outside to restaurants or grocery stores around twice a month. And it's always a VERY rushed trip, because his parents are constantly calling him, asking him when he's returning (as they are getting 'bored' at home, they say). So I end up going out of the house around twice a month. This is driving me crazy.

I am currently in Canada, as we came here to get my daughter up to date on her vaccinations. I told my husband I didn't want to return to BD, so we rented a small apt in a Canadian city (where my family is living), and my daughter and I have been here for 1 year, while my husband returned to BD and his parents and work. He's visited twice in 1 year, and this is the way things have been going on between us. It's always great when he visits; we get along fabulously and I totally devote myself to taking care of him, cooking, cleaning etc.

My lease is going to expire on this apt in 2 months, and my husband is asking me if I'm ready to return to BD. After much haranguing on my part, he's spoken with a potential pre-school for our daughter, so that atleast SHE can get some outside air and not be bored at home. But that comes with its own problems (the school is 1.5 hrs away from my inlaws' place, she doesn't have her own bed to sleep on as we have no space for an addl bed in our room, and lots of other logistical problems). Husband won't move to a different neighbourhood in the same city as his parents, bc he says his elderly parents need him. He's supporting the entire household financially, including the younger married brother.

So even if our daughter does go to preschool over there, it's only a 2 hr program, and the rest of the day we're stuck at home, bored out of our minds.

Am I being unreasonable in any of the above? am I placing too much undue pressure on my husband? Am I being ungrateful? Or am I justified in feeling trapped and stifled in that household set up? Do I HAVE to return to BD, or am I within my rights to continue living here in the Canadian city we are in, while my husband financially supports my daughter and me?
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Ghazzali View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ghazzali Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 October 2012 at 10:45am
May peace be on the guided ones. Sister, you need to tell a bit more about yourself. Are you an arab muslim raised in the US, or a North American Christian born in UAE (there are lots of foreigners in UAE, that's why i ask). If you are an arab, it shouldn't be a problem walking in the streets of Dhaka. But if you are a white-skinned North American, then yes, you should stay at home.

I dont understand why you agreed to live in Bangladesh, when you were raised in North America. It was always going to be very difficult.  You were mad in love with this Bangladeshi guy, i guess.

I guess there are two solutions to this. You can sacrifice your whole life and live in BD, or if you want more freedom, then convince your husband to migrate to Canada.

By the way, I dont understand how can a women be bored at home. There's just so much to do. Looking after your children, cooking, washing clothes, cleaning the house, washing dishes.....whoof! How does a women get bored? Moreover, as a muslim women, there's not much to do outside your home. You can't flirt with men, you can't go to a bar, you can't go to a night club. So life as a whole is boring for a muslim. As Prophet Muhammad  (pbuh) said, “The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever.”

[Sahih Muslim, Book 42, Number 7058]

The world is a dangerous place to live in, not because of the bad people, but because of the good people who does not do anything about it.
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Caringheart View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caringheart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 October 2012 at 2:38pm
If younger brother and younger brother's wife are living with parents, I don't see why you can't move to a place of your own, and closer to the school for your child as well. 

But I also know nothing of life in Bangladesh.  I think I would not have chosen this man for a husband, this for my life, but I believe in commitment once commitment is made.  Not very helpful I suppose. 

I guess I have to quote Ghazzali:

As Prophet Muhammad  (pbuh) said, “The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the unbeliever.”

[Sahih Muslim, Book 42, Number 7058]

Hard to imagine why God would create this wonderful earth for us only for it to be a prison though.  Stern%20Smile

Sorry I guess I'm not very helpful.  If your husband is a reasonable man I would talk to him about the whole brother and wife being at home with his parents, and taking some of the burden off him.  Shouldn't he get to be with his wife more than two times a year?  Shouldn't you be able to live together and not half a world away?
It obviously serves no benefit to the two of you for you to live with his parents.  It ought to help you to be able to get out of the house, but doesn't even do that.  Unhappy

Oh well... my two cents don't seem to be worth much but I thought I'd cast them into the pot anyway. Big%20smile  Hope you find a satisfactory solution.
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Edited by Caringheart - 19 October 2012 at 2:40pm
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janeausten View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote janeausten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 October 2012 at 7:42pm
Brother Ghazzali,

To answer your first question: it wouldn't be a problem for me to blend in the streets of Dhaka.  I would not stand out.  Husband is only concerned because I don't speak the language; if I'm just going to the grocery store, though, one doesn't have to sing the national anthem, right? I would just cover my head and blend right in. And he says the security situation is not safe.

Quote I dont understand why you agreed to live in Bangladesh, when you were raised in North America. It was always going to be very difficult.  You were mad in love with this Bangladeshi guy, i guess.

No, actually it was a very formal arranged marriage.

He will never agree to move to Canada, due to his parents.

There's an army of domestic maids who do all the cooking and washing and my mother-in-law doesn't want it any other way; she hates it when I  prepare my own dishes, or cook for my husband (he doesn't eat what I cook when I am in BD, as he says his mother will get angry that 'her' food hasn't been eaten). I don't rock the boat in BD, so when i am there, I just let these issues pass. I only cook in Canada. My MIL doesn't like me going into 'her' kitchen. I don't get any space in there, as the kitchen is cramped already with servants + younger brother's wife. Isn't it my Islamic right as a wife to atleast have my own separate kitchen?

Are you suggesting that the only reason a woman might want to go outside is to flirt with men or go to bars???  What about seeing sunlight once in a while??? What about going outside to listen to a bird or something?? Fresh air?? A walk, to stay fit??? I mean, do these even count, or are Muslim women just supposed to be tied to the ovens with their apron strings? My goodness. At any rate, I don't even get to utilize the kitchen as I described above.


Edited by janeausten - 19 October 2012 at 7:44pm
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janeausten View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote janeausten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 October 2012 at 7:46pm
Originally posted by Caringheart Caringheart wrote:

If your husband is a reasonable man I would talk to him about the whole brother and wife being at home with his parents, and taking some of the burden off him.  Shouldn't he get to be with his wife more than two times a year?  Shouldn't you be able to live together and not half a world away?
It obviously serves no benefit to the two of you for you to live with his parents.  It ought to help you to be able to get out of the house, but doesn't even do that.  Unhappy


Thank you, CH for your kind reply. :) I appreciate it.

My husband says that his younger brother is very irresponsible, and will not take proper care of their parents in my husband's absence.

I just wanted to know if others can see any injustice in my situation, or, am I being ungrateful for no reason. Thank you for your reply. It helps.
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Ghazzali View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ghazzali Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 October 2012 at 4:12am
Aassalamualaikum sister.

Originally posted by janeausten janeausten wrote:

  What about seeing sunlight once in a while??? What about going outside to listen to a bird or something?? Fresh air?? A walk, to stay fit??? I mean, do these even count, or are Muslim women just supposed to be tied to the ovens with their apron strings? My goodness. At any rate, I don't even get to utilize the kitchen as I described above.


Sister, it's the same sun that rises everyday, it's the same bird that sings everyday, it's the same path that leads to your house everyday. I guess it's pretty boring as well. As I said before, the real problem here is culture shock more than anything else. You were raised in a free society, where women can do whatever they like, and you were taught that men and women have equal rights. But Islam teaches that as human beings, men and women are equal, but they have different types of rights, based on their responsibilities. The husband's primary duty is to earn money, and the wife's primary duty is to look after the children and house. Obviously, you'll have to spend most of your time at home, if you want to follow Sharia.

If you were raised in a muslim country, you would have understood these things, and you probably would have been more accepting of staying at home. But since you were raised in North America, it is much more difficult for you to accept that a women would spend most of her time at home.

It's a clash of cultures. The only solution is that one party has to sacrifice their "comfort" zone, and get adjusted to a different culture. Either it's you, or your husband.

May Allah help you.

The world is a dangerous place to live in, not because of the bad people, but because of the good people who does not do anything about it.
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abuayisha View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote abuayisha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 October 2012 at 9:04am
While I certainly agree that Janeausten may not have allowed sufficient time for cultural adjustment, I think a more nuanced approach, likely what her husband has already sought, in sending her to live in Canada.  If she is to follow "Sharia" and spend most of her time at home, what about having a brother-in-law in the same home?  Janeausten if your husband has allowed for you to live in Canada there is absolutely no problem and you aren't doing anything wrong.  I only caution that long distance relationships are extremely difficult to navigate as I'm sure you are aware. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ron Webb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 October 2012 at 9:05am

Jane, it's interesting that your husband says she is not allowed to go out because it is not safe, while Ghazzali seems to assume it is because of Islam and Sharia.  I can't help wondering if your husband is being honest about his feelings.

I'm assuming he is the eldest son, which would make him more inclined to traditional values and responsibilities; but even so, it sounds like he's being a bit of a "mama's boy".  He needs to learn to stand up to his parents.  He's a married man now, and he has at least equal responsibilities to his wife.

Twice a month you get to go out with him, and his parents are calling him to complain that they are "bored" being at home? And he takes those calls?? Ermm  He should tell his parents that if they continue to bother him with such nonsense he will simply turn off his cell phone.  If he won't do that, maybe you should start calling him at his office every other day of the month, telling him he needs to come home early because you're "bored".

Addeenul ‘Aql – Religion is intellect.
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