A Convert Sister Left an Abusive Relationship and Has Had False Rumours Spread About Her. What Can I Do to Help?
Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: A convert sister left an abusive relationship. Some people have mentioned very negative rumours about her. As a result, people now look down on her and some of the sisters are no longer talking to her. She feels unwelcome and unsafe at the mosque. What can I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking help in this difficult tribulation.
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Whoever relieves a Muslim of a burden from the burdens of the world, Allah will relieve him of a burden from the burdens on the Day of Judgement. And whoever helps ease a difficulty in the world, Allah will grant him ease from a difficulty in the world and in the Hereafter. And whoever covers (the faults of) a Muslim, Allah will cover (his faults) for him in the world and the Hereafter. And Allah is engaged in helping the worshipper as long as the worshipper is engaged in helping his brother.” [Tirmidhi]
Please continue being a friend to this sister. Treat her with respect, compassion and acceptance. I pray that your kindness towards her will count heavily on your scale, on the Last Day. Offer to go with her to the mosque until she is ready to return on her own.
When she feels dispirited, remind her of Maryam (may Allah be pleased with her), who was slandered most severely. Truly, Allah tests those whom He loves. Remind her that her worth does not lie in what creation thinks of her, especially when they are mistaken. Reassure her that when Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) was also slandered, Allah was well aware of the truth.
Encourage her to increase in her acts of worship as a means of soothing her heart e.g. giving in charity, praying Tahajjud, reading Qur’an, and so on. What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life? is an excellent resource.
Jarir bin Abdullah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “Whoever does not show mercy to the people, Allah will not show mercy to him.” [Tirmidhi]
Are you able to speak in private to these women, to clarify matters? At the very minimum, please explain to them that spreading rumours is impermissible. Remind them that ours is a religion of mercy, and not wrongful condemnation.
Ask your friend how she wants to move forward. Does she want to rekindle these friendships? If she does, and if you are able to, please offer to mediate a reconciliation between these women and your friend. In the heat of anger, people say things they later regret. That being said, calamities are an excellent way of sifting out true and lasting friendships.
Do what is within your power, and leave the rest to Allah. I strongly encourage you and this sister to perform The Prayer of Need and ask Allah to for help.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.”
Carrying false tales about people and hurting Muslims are both classified as a major sins [ref: Reliance of The Traveller, p. 45 and p. 50]. These are serious matters, especially when they involve the reputation of a chaste woman.
As there is no resident imam or shaykh in your mosque, please speak to the mosque coordinator and let him know what has happened. Let him know that the men in the mosque have harmed her, and need to make amends. Ask him to directly address the impermissibility of backbiting, talebearing and slander. The Reliance of The Traveller is an excellent resource for this.
In an ideal scenario, oppressors would ask for forgiveness and seek amends. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
I pray that when enough time passes, your friend will be able to let go and forgive those who have wronged her, even if they fail to do their part. There is wisdom behind everything that happens to us, even if we cannot see it immediately.
I pray that the women and men of your community step up and put knowledge into action. Whatever we learn and do not practise will be held against us on The Last Day. May Allah protect us all from that fate.
Please refer to the following links:
What To Do When You Hear Slander and Backbiting
Slander, Backbiting and Talebearing
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani