Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I’m a 31-year-old female with schizophrenia and my three brothers and father all abuse me. They prevent me from sleeping at night, purposely trigger my symptoms, and sexually harass me.
My mother is aware of it but is financially dependent on my father, so she won’t help me. I would like to get a job in a nearby city and live on my own in the near future, but I fear I won’t be successful because wearing a hijab gives me anxiety. Would I be exempt from wearing it for the sake of survival?
I fear my dad and brothers may rape me in the future. They hate me because I became strong and empowered after college. I’ve tried staying at a women’s shelter in the past but it’s only temporary, I need to escape permanently.
Thank you for your question. I am terribly sorry for the suffering and pain that you are being caused by your family. May Allah protect you and aid you in escaping this abuse.
In terms of using these-worldly resources for your problem, I strongly encourage you to consult a professional for your mental health. You should be seeing a doctor or psychiatrist, regularly, and follow what they tell you to do. They are best equipped to help you with your schizophrenia and teach you how to manage it. You can try alternative medicine on the side, which has proved beneficial for mental illness, and take other measures such as exercising and eating healthy, as well.
Wearing a hijab may be causing you anxiety, but I guarantee you that it is one of the secrets to your survival. Hijab is a protection, and if you were to move out, which is permissible, you should hold on to your Islamic identity tightly, in order to help you navigate the world out there and fetter Allah’s blessings. Hijab will aid you in every aspect, reminding yourself of who you are, and reminding others of what you stand for. Only good comes of it.
I pray that you can find some solution to prevent this abuse. You should move out as soon as you are able, and you should not hesitate to call the police if you are assaulted. Consult relatives, friends, or a local imam to see your best options, and do something that is manageable with your illness. Get support throughout this whole process.
Turn to Allah
Supplicate to Allah as the value of the dua of victims of abuse is apparent in this prophetic hadith, “There are three whose supplication is not rejected: The fasting person when he breaks his fast, the just leader, and the supplication of the oppressed person; Allah raises it up above the clouds and opens the gates of heaven to it. And the Lord says: ‘By My might, I shall surely aid you, even if it should be after a while.’” [Tirmidhi]
Turn to Allah wholeheartedly with your impoverishment during this difficult time. He is listening and loves to be asked! Please say the supplications linked below, pray on time, pray the Prayer of Need, read some Quran daily with the meaning, make Allah and His Messenger your refuge. Remember that you don’t deserve to be treated this way and that Allah loves you.
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.