True Story: Life As A Single Mom
It is certainly not easy when a woman faces the situation of being both a mother and a father having to raise children without her partner. Challenges like having to overcome family problems alone, to decide where the children will attend their next schools, and to teach the children strong faith so that they are able to solve problems that occur in life are even more difficult when having to resolve the issues without a spouse. This can be especially hard to bear if the woman is not a single mom by choice but rather because of divorce or death.
Siti (48), a housewife who lives in Saudi Arabia, lost her husband when she was 38. As an Indonesian citizen who married a Yemeni husband, it was not easy for her to go through the painful days following her husband’s passing, especially as a single mom to a 4 year old daughter. Her late husband was in the army and even though he was a non-Saudi national, because of his devotion to the country, he was treated as a Saudi. Siti’s husband turned to his Creator when prostate cancer was gnawing at him and even when doctors in London were telling him to return to Saudi Arabia because the hospital in London had given up. Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi rojiun.
Siti initially only thought about returning to her homeland and raising her little daughter there but the journey was not as easy as it seemed. Her husband’s family did not want their niece taken away to Indonesia so despite Siti being exhausted after losing her husband she was forced to face court proceedings for maintaining custody of her daughter. The grueling court process took two years before it was decided that she could care for her daughter but they were ordered to stay in Saudi Arabia until her daughter reaches the age of 18, the ruling made to avoid all of her daughter’s inheritance from being spent before her daughter comes of age.
Without relatives other than the family of her late husband, living abroad and away from her own family, and being a single mom is certainly hard. Because she does not work, she lives with her husband’s assets while the country keeps her daughter’s inheritance and it will be the right of her daughter when she has matured.
“It’s a safe country here Alhamdulillah, until now I have [had] no problem[s] just small problems,” Siti told aMuslima when asked how her life is after her husband’s death. Without any complaints or lamentations of her fate, this strong woman, born in Makasar, persevered through her days alone with only her daughter who is now 14 years old.
The process, however, to become an independent woman is not easy. “After the court process [was] completed, that’s when I finally could start [out] on my own, and never [be] afraid to go out alone again, I just trust in Allah (SWT), and I feel strong. Especially [when] my own country’s embassy protects me, the embassy of Indonesia, “(meaning consulate general of Jeddah) Siti continued.
When this was told to aMuslima, she had to admit that it was not easy to forget the good times with her late husband, because he was so good to his family – this was especially hard day by day when she looked at her only daughter. The plan when her daughter turns 18 years old and they are no longer required to stay in Arabia, Siti plans to move to Indonesia. She will later allow her daughter to choose the college of her choice but not in Arabia because she will no longer have Ikama (residence permit in Arabia). As non-citizens living in Saudi Arabia she must have a kafil (sponsor) such as a working office, a husband, a father, or a Saudi citizen. When there are no individuals who can act as the kafil then a person cannot legally live and settle in the country.
Upon ending the conversation with aMuslima, Siti states that she hopes to accompany her daughter to college wherever her daughter gets in, this because she cannot bear for her daughter to take off alone. We pray for her daughter’s success and that she achieve her goals, and that Siti, as a mother who is patiently raising her child, can remain a strong single mom.
Citing advice from singlemuslimmums, a portal for single parents, a single mom should seek to surround herself with family: a brother, an uncle, or grandfather of the child to fill the void of a father figure when the children’s father has died or where their father is no longer around.
There is no harm if the single mom wants to join special groups for Muslim single moms or single parents, even if only in a virtual world. Single moms can share stories with other single parents in such groups and they can discover that they are not alone. And if they distance themselves from unlawful acts and decide to remarry, this could be a way of meeting people.
Furthermore, leave all to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala as the Creator, Director, Almighty to every creation. When we surrender our fate and fortune only to Him, our lives will undoubtedly be calm and peaceful with a happy afterlife. Aamiin yaa Robbal alamiin.
And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah] (Surah Al-Baqarah: 45).
Editor: Janette Grant