The Truth about being a single Muslim mother

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By Pure Matrimony -

Source :
By Misbah Akhtar

The issue of single Muslim mothers is fast becoming a prevalent one; with divorce on the rise it seems only logical that some of these statistics would also apply to Muslim households. Why then are they not revered as they deserve to be and instead looked down upon and scorned by many communities?

Is it really seen as so contagious that girls from ‘respectable’ families should stay away from these women in case they too, catch it?  Why are these women made to feel humiliated and isolated from their community as if they chose this path for themselves?  Being left with no option but to walk is not the same as breaking up a perfectly happy marriage for selfish reasons; only Allah knows the whole truth and what is in someone’s heart so why then do people assume?

No-one asks to be a single mother, it’s a relentless job; work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; no pay; and no training is given.  You cannot quit and are expected to play the role of both mother and father.  The pressure that you face from society is massive, you feel that everyone is waiting for you to make a wrong move which, if you make, will lead to them pouncing on you saying that your child has turned out faulty because of a lack of mothering skills that you possess – which is why you are a single mum.  It is due to this reason that many single mothers feel isolated from their community; they are not encouraged to speak up about their struggles in an attempt to console other women, rather they are warned to keep quiet and suffer alone so as not to bring shame on their families.  There is no organisation in place for them where they can go to for help or just to meet other single Muslim mothers.  There are organisations for revert sisters, people wanting to know about Islam, dawah giving charities for Muslims, even organisations for people suffering from drug abuse but ironically nothing for sisters born into a Muslim household who are single mothers.  Society just assumes that if you are a single Muslim mother that your family automatically assume their responsibility and help out; that you have a baby-sitter for when you are forced into work and that you live at home with your parents and that your father assumes your financial burden as he is meant to in Islam.  This is not always the case, some women are not allowed to live back at home with their parents, they are told to lie in the bed they made because they could have stayed with their husband’s even if it meant tolerating domestic violence and having their mental health suffer.  These women are not just defined by their role as mothers; they are human beings too and people tend to forget this.

Being a single Muslim mother is so different to being a non-Muslim single mother, the latter will do anything to make sure their child fits in as they do not want their child to be singled out any further; a Muslim mother has to remain within her boundaries set by Allah at all times.  There is no united front from a husband and therefore no ‘good cop, bad cop’; there is only her.  Children may rebel against this and then a mother has to be both firm like a father but soft and loving like a mother; it must get confusing for a child, they may wonder why their mother is all of a sudden behaving like ‘daddy’ too.  It is a father’s role to protect his family but now a mother has to adopt that role and try and provide physical safety and security; she cannot show fear in front of her children.  In Islam a woman should not be out after dark for the sake of her own safety, but this now, cannot be helped if children need picking up from madrasah or other activities.  A Muslim woman is not allowed to be alone with a non-mahram man as is clearly stated in the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari (1729) and Muslim (2391) from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No woman should travel except with a mahram, and no man should enter upon her unless a mahram of hers is present.”  If her landlord is a man and wants to come round, or a builder or plumber etc. she has to let him in; if she has no support she won’t have a brother to be there with her.  Women are not allowed to travel alone which means no holidays for the family, the kuffar do not adopt this rule.  In school, a single Muslim mother has no husband to defend her to the head teacher when she exercises her right to have her child taken out of any religious activities like Christmas assemblies and parties etc. in the West.  Muslims suffer a lot in the West and single Muslim mothers who are known to have no support can be seen as easy targets. They may have no walli to help them find a new husband and sadly not all masjid’s are dedicated to helping find spouses for women; besides which, single Muslim mothers are seen too often as ‘damaged goods’.  A vulnerable woman attempting to find her own husband therefore may be preyed upon by evil men or and may not be above the whisperings of shaytaan.  Whilst there are a lot of good brothers out there willing to accept the responsibility of a ready-made family, a lot of them honestly admit that their mothers would not be happy with this because as one brother put it “which mother would want her son to marry a divorcee when he could marry a virgin and have his own children with her?”

We have role models from Islamic history of single mothers (or mothers who raised their children alone) whose children went on to become great men and prophets; Hajar, the mother of Prophet Ismail (pbuh), Maryam, the mother of Prophet Isa (pbuh), and Amina, the mother of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), all raised their sons alone.  Also, the mothers of Imam al-Shafi’, Imam Ahmed and Imam Bukhari raised their sons alone, all of whom later became renowned figures that left a major impact on the world.  Many single mothers are lonely and in need of support; it is the Ummah’s responsibility to help them, they are still our sisters in Islam, but if everyone shirks away from this responsibility then who is left to help these women? They have been left alone to do the job of two people and deserve double the praise. Organisations and charities need to be introduced where help can be administered or maybe a key worker can come round and sit with the mother and offer advice. Support groups are a good start; one such group is single Muslim mums – a group dedicated to providing support to mothers globally who feel depressed and isolated and alone.  We need your help in promoting awareness for the struggles that many single Muslim mothers face globally, let’s make a change and be the change we want to see.
Source :
About the Author : I am a 31 year old single mother of 2 cheeky monkeys who make me both cry and laugh at the same time! Parenting is not something I took too easily; I had to find my feet but alhamdulillah I’m getting there now. I am currently on a mission to promote awareness for single Muslim mothers who have no support, a problem I know all too well. I love writing: stories, poems, angry letters; anything! I also love learning about new things, although you’ll probably catch me playing Super Mario Galaxy more than anything else! I would love to further my knowledge of Islam insha’Allah one day, and for my children to be prominent members of the Islamic community. The one thing I have learnt more than anything else from having a difficult life is how to fight and stand up for what I believe in; we have to be the change we want to see. Never stop having faith in Allah swt, you never know when your turn to shine is. If you are interested in reading more of my work then please follow me at Jazakhallahkul khair for your time and please make dua for me and my kids!

42 Comments to The Truth about being a single Muslim mother

  1. amy griffin

    Jazak Allah Khair habebti, you are amazing mother…we both are and work so hard to teach our children alone the lessons and respect. Being muslim you are so right that we live in those boundaries and yet have to slightly step out of them to be like a man and protect and possibly work and deal with people of both sexes. Ya rabbi this is so hard…but alhamdulillah i am strong and will carry all burden and guide and nurture my five babies to be amazing and giving and loving. salaam alaykum sis.

  2. MamaFabulous

    Jazakallahukhair sister for sharing this with us. I’m a soon to be single mom, although I’ve been acting in that capacity for nearly 2 yrs now. Your article has inspired me to strive on. Also, knowing that there are others who are in a similar makes me feel less as the odd one out. I pray to Allah that we are all blessed with eeman, taqwa, strength, patience, perserverence and all else required so that we are able to become good Muslims ourselves and we are able to raise our babies to become successful Muslims here on earth & in the hereafter. Ameen.

  3. From experience it is very difficult to live as a single parent,without family members,so called friends, strangers making hurtful comments, slandering u, judging u, laughing at you, taking advantage of you and your situation etc..even the children are not left alone they are bullied, taunted, whats more hurtful is when the absent parent keeps harassing you, use the contact with the children as a bait to hurt you to prevent you from moving u, not helping u financially towards essentials for the children. Some people congratulate men who despite being several times divorced, father to different children from several mariages and relationships go abroad to marry girls that are the same age as his children.
    For a single mother she is either young to live as a single parent or too old to remarry with children. Alhamdulilaah when no one was there for me and my children Allah was he gave me good husband who was not worth to others because he was not wealthy but to us he is worth more then gold.

  4. That last paragraph really had an effect on me! May Allah make it easy for our single muslimahs out there.

  5. Dearest Sister in Islam

    I have read your thought provoking article. I admire what you have said as it does give truth how women who are single, are scorned and frowned upon. I empathise with you as I have been in a situation as your whereby you have to juggle between being a mother and father. It is difficult. May Allah grant us the sabr to endure these struggles and reward us in the hererafter. Ameen Do you perhaps know of any support groups

  6. Jazakallah for writing and aharing this sister i am married now but for 6 years i was a single muslim mother. Everything you have wrote rings so true. Really agree more attention needs to be focused on helping rather than ostrasizing single muslim mothers. Thankyou again x

  7. Hamida Ali

    assalamaleikum my dear sisters,am a single muslim woman,and i believe in Allah,this isnt a joke its tough job but with Allah Subhanna uttallah we shouldnt give up its our reponsibilities,am struggling to my fulliest to see my kids are ok,although i was been snatched my kids from me but Allah is with me always.Thanks ansd Jazallahukhair sister for sharing with us.pls keep on giving us support and advice. thx

  8. The other side

    Salam sisters. It’s not just single mums who face prejudice. I married a wonderful man hamdulillah who is divorced and has a beautiful girl from his previous marriage. Unfortunately, his ex has twisted the very fabric of our religion and doesn’t allow much contact with his girl. He lost everything to her just to speak to his baby once a week n see her once every two weeks. It’s even worse when she gets sick. All she wanted was the money. Got a house, new car while we struggle to every month. I have asked to speak to her so many times, just say Salam. But she rejects every offer of friendship. So it’s not just mums who suffer. There are sisters out there who bring shame to Muslim sisters.
    I hope I have not offended any one. I ask for forgiveness if I have. Salam

    • Sure, there are sisters out there that are behavin badly. But, the way our world and communities are set up, men don’t face the same prejudices that women do. They are not victimized by people who see them as second class citizens. There is a huge difference. A man will not experience this in our society. While the situation is hard, it is not the same.

  9. Nazima Sp

    Jazakallah for writing this article. Single mum of 3 kids age 16 and 14 and 7. To all the single mums out there I take my hat of to u ladies. We are proud parents. Its a hard job playing mum and dad. May Allah make it easy for all of us.

  10. Asalmu Alkum Sisters & Fellow Muslim Brothers,

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for opening my eyes!
    Like u said in your article i always assumed that single mulim mums could turn to their family however i realise that is DEFINITELY NOT ALWAYS THE CASE! I will always pray for them and may Allah grant them paradise inshallah! I always say to people that you shouldn’t complain about your job as the hardest job in the world is being a mum even more so when you’re a single mother playing both roles. I Congratulate and applaud all single mothers in the world! I could write a 1000 word essay on how you have helped me understand & emphatise what its like to be a single Muslim mother! I can only help by raising the awareness further in my local mosque and spread the message onto to other Muslims.I feel this topic is a taboo in certain communities. I pray and inshallah there will hopefully be a charity or some gathering that can place in mosque’s or events where single Muslim mums come together share their worries,problems and issues with each other. I hope and pray one day that you all find a decent,respecting,TLC muslim husband who will care for both yourself and your children! Lastly, I cannot thankyou enough for opening my eyes!

  11. AslamAlekhum
    I am a single mum and dad to 4 very handsome, but cheeky boys, Alhumdulillah. I know exactly what it feels like to have no family of my own to help and to be on my own. We have been on our own for a long time, but now with my eldest being 17, MashAllah, things have become easier. We had our first holiday last year and InshAllah are planning to do Umrah very soon if Allah wishes it.
    Things always seem harder when your on your own and we should help each other as much as possible.

    I pray that Allah makes us all stronger muslim mothers, Inshallah

  12. Janan Umm Yahya

    This is a wonderful post, alhamdulillah. I was innocently divorced at 22 years old and left to raise our son alone whom just turned 1 years old at the time. I tell you it was a very difficult time, and with so limited means of support it was has been very difficult. However, Allah has always provided, alhamdulillah. This is really nice to see a support group forming. Alhamdulillah, I have remarried, and I do have support now, but i wish there was something like this back in that time. It has been 7 years now, and a tough time. Alhamdulillah, Allah has been gracious unto us. May Allah place comfort to those sisters who must endure this time.

    insha’Allah, Allah will continue to help us become stronger and better. Ameen!



  14. Asalaamualikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakhatahu,
    Jazakhallahkul khair all for reading my article and for your lovely comments mashallah. Please keep spreading the word and talking about this issue so that one day insha’Allah we can change the way people see single Muslim mums. To all of my sisters doing it on your own, you have my love and support and if you need a place to chat or let it all out then please join my group: Above all, never stop believing in Allah swt even when you stumble across hard times because nothing lasts forever!!

  15. Al Salam Alykoom ..
    i read some of ur article through my tiny phone, a couple of days ago, but the subject has been in my mind eversince that i finally got to my laptop to read the whole thing… just like one of the sisters said “Thank You for Opening my Eyes!” i truely thank u!! i never knew all what a single muslim mother can go through until i read ur article… yes i would assume it would be hard, but never imagined it to be that way.. I am a married woman alhamdolilah, but did get acquainted recently with a single muslim friend.. my dear friend usually tells me about her struggles that she goes through.. she is a new convert by the way… and all i can do is give her little lessons about islam, answer some of her questions and just admire how brave and strong she is for facing all the crazy stuff she goes through! I pray that Allah makes it easier for all of u out there… and i am so into this subject and supporting this group… with anything i can!! other than spreading awareness, what can i really do?? i am sorry i might be off a little… as i am not single..

  16. Asalaamualikum sisters,

    I really appreciate your comments jazakhallahkul khair.

    I just wanted to invite any sisters who need help or want to help others to contact me at There are many ways we can help sisters insha’Allah and if you are interested then perhaps we can discuss this via email. Any suggestions are of course welcomed and encouraged.

    Jazakhallahkul khair for your time, please keep checking both and my blog for new articles and posts.


  17. salam alaikum, Thank You for this article as I was reading this it brought tears to my eyes as a 22year old single Muslim mother with so little faith and knowledge in Islam I felt like nobody understood me. I’ve tried to find comfort from my sisters, didn’t get the comfort I needed so I became depressed at time I found myself even thinking about suicide as a way out. I’m thankful for this article again think you. Salam alaikum.

  18. God bless U with excellent health & wealth. May u prosper with your family with the blessings of God. Your articles gives value for womans especially single mothers around the world. I personally like your message that has motivational value. Proud to have a single Mum that can prove to the world that we too have values within us & will shine one day with the blessings of Allah. Hope to see more of your articles that can lead womans for betterment. Thank you. Take care.

  19. Sonia de Oliveira M

    Isso é uma realidade que não só o muçulmano, mas a sociedade mundial deveria dar uma definição.A partir das leis, as mulheres sobrecarregam responsabilidades inúmeras, equanto que o homem não sofre em uma separação, dificilmente ouço casos em uma mulher abandonou o marido, mas sim ouço ao contrário , por isso a penalidade e sofrimentos, a maior parte ficam com as mulheres em uma separação.

  20. Hello,

    Thankyou for your article. I am not a muslim, but was looking for information on how to help my Muslim next door neighbour. She is a single mother with 3 beautiful children. I have offered to help her by driving her whenever she needs to go or babysitting her children for her. She has thanked me for the offer but has never taken me up on it.
    I’m not sure about what happened in her marriage or if her family are helping her, that is none of my business. I just want to make her day to day life a little easier. I have two children of my own and am very grateful for the support that my husband gives me in raising our children.
    This article has made me see that there are obvious religious reasons for her not being able to accept my help. I just have a few questions. Can my husband accompany her if she needs to go out? Or is it only another Muslim man? Can I offer to help her in the garden or is this seen as an insult or a job for a man?
    I would just like to help. I hope I haven’t offended anybody with my ignorance of the Muslim faith. I would very much like to know more and work within these boundries to help my lovely neighbour. I’m from Australia if this makes any difference.

    • Misbah Akhtar

      Hi TM,
      I would like to start off by commending you on being a kind and loving humanitarian, something that is sadly all too rare in today’s society. There is actually no religious reason why this sister cannot accept your help, perhaps she just feels shy or doesn’t want to draw attention to herself, or maybe she doesn’t feel in any actual need of help. If, however, you DO think she is struggling then you can do several things: let her know you are there for you if she needs it (sometimes just knowing someone cares, helps a lot), remind her gently to have patience and that Allah does not burden any soul more than they can handle; and maybe also mention the single Muslim mums group:
      /groups/singlemuslimmums/ where we have lovely sisters who offer both support and advice.

      Neither your husband or any Muslim man can accompany her out unless he is her: husband, son, foster/adoptive son/ step-son, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, nephew, father-in-law or son-in-law. These men are known as mahrams and are men you cannot marry (in the case of a husband you are already married) so they may accompany a woman.

      An offer of help in any format is never an insult as your intentions are pure and yes helping with garening is fine and it isn’t seen as a job for a man.

      The point of knowledge is to pass it on so do not feel bad if you were ignorant to certain things because that’s how we all learn and at least you were not ignorant to the fact that there may be a woman who needs your help!

      Picking up the Qur’an and reading it may also be a good way to understand where this sister is coming from and if you would like me to send you a copy then just let me know.

      Finally, please feel free to contact me if you have any more queries or are stuck on ideas of how to help! x

  21. The truth about being single Muslim mother is that majority of them do not accept polygamy, and hence find themselves in difficult situation.
    Once the sunnah is accepted entirely and put in practice things will improve insha Allah, until then keep dreaming for a prince on a white horse but he isn’t coming. In fact he fell of the horse and died.

    • sister, it’s not so simple is it? not all me are able to provide for 2 or more families, my mother accepted it when my dad remarried, result? my half brothers and sisters always had more money from my dad, he was nicer to them and I’ve noticed they can call him anytime and demand his time, attention and money, we can’t do that! we always stand on ceremony with him so of course i will be afraid to be neglected if my husband suddenly decided ti get married again, thus making one of us dependent on the state, seriously? is that financial responsibility?

  22. Subhan Allah
    This was an eye-opening article maasha’Allah
    May As-Salaam give you and your children peace and happiness, may Al-Wahaab provide for you and my Al-Waliyy protect you and your children and may Al-Wakeel make all your affairs easy..may your children grow up to benefit the ummah

    Inaha’Allah you will have so much reward in the Hereafter for all your struggles

  23. Beautifully said. May Allah have mercy on our sisters, they are truly the backbone of our society, holding it together by a thread, but never letting go. May Allah protect you and make it easy on you. To the author: a thousand thank you’s for writing this. it realy opened my eyes.

  24. Asalam alaykum, I have been a single mother for four years and have no regrets. I feel over the years I am getting stronger and learning the world we live in is not kind! I have not experienced all that you have mentioned in this article, as alhamdullah I have a supportive family and I am not Asian. It seems my Asian sisters have it worse . Also remembering back It was my Asian best friend who was against my divorce and our friendship ended on that note. Culture seems to play a role in how you are treated, its time for people to move with the times!

  25. Asalam alaykum , i am a revert and i thought i had things hard when i reverted , family cutting me off etc. but reading here i see that sisters who are single mothers have a harder time , Its a shame theres not more help for the sisters who are single mothers to find good brothers to make good husbands ,
    Insha `Alla you will be rewarded.

  26. hi sisters assalamualaikum. After so many comments i have nothing more to tell . i agree with u all. Lots of love for all single muslim mom.. I am also in a tough situation. My husband does not take any responsibilities of me and my baby and he has many bad habits. We dont live together. I am not secured with him. I want to live my own life with baby. Can i delete part of my husband’s name from my son’s name? And how should i keep my son’s name in a muslim
    way? I cant tolerate anything of my husband. I live with my parents and my son. He is 4 yr old. Pls suggest me.

  27. Jazakallah for this article. Newly single mom (although have been the mom, dad, man, cook, butler etc for whole marriage) and this article really gave me strength.

  28. i was the one who initiated the divorce ,my ex was serial liar and i had huge doubt he cheated on me,when he left our baby was 1 month,i am ltrying everyday to be the best i can but its hard to be alone in non muslim country,still inside my heart i know i made the right decision as my ex after few months is living with a non muslim girl in haram??!!

  29. What a fab article. I am not a mother but I can empathise with the outcast mentality that goes with it. Please take comfort that the attitudes you describe are gradually becoming outdated with the next generation and people are more open minded. I hope life gets better for you i’A. Peace x

  30. I have been separated from my children’s father for 1 year, he was molesting the children thus the need for the separation, I can relate to a lot of what has been said here, family support is non existent.
    “According to a lot of families, the women should do whatever it takes to make that marriage work. So if part of it is putting up with the abuse, she should because the family structure is the main priority and so when a woman leaves everybody feels its their duty to make her feel she shouldnt have done it.
    You will be seen as a bad woman for leaving your abusive husband, people wont come to your house, kids cant go to parties, you will not have that social network of people coming around, you lose that connection with own community.”
    “Two very pertinent social and cultural contructs Izzat (honour) and Sharam (shame) are factors affecting family behaviour, the public image of the family is more important than individual safety”

    “The way to tackle this notion of ‘honour’ and ‘shame’ is to ask which individual is bringing the shame on the family. its about trying to transfer the shame to the actions of the perpetrator”.

    “Re examine the Quran… by leaving your husband you continue to be a good muslim…its about transferring the shame to him. He is the one that has breached the ideologies of the faith and the book”.

    We can only bring about change around us ourselves.

  31. Jihaan Mus'ab

    Salam alaykum my muslim sisters and brothers,
    I am very pleased to see your efforts in raising awareness of this issue as I feel it is long over due. I found out, in this day and age that there are people ignorant enough that would attribute such atrocities to single mums(said to me personally, which I cannot repeat) just because they are single and living on their own without a man. I am also disgusted with the notion that just because I have been divorced I have reached my “expiration date” and I should settle for anything that comes my way “if anything comes my way”, whilst the man continues to be seen as something special although in most cases it was due to his negligence the marriage failed, but nevertheless it should not be that way even if they departed mutually.. Anyway I have ranted enough, although it comes from frustration I do not mean it to be any disrespect or malice towards my muslim community as I love them dearly. I want to thank Allah for giving us the strength and Eaman to cope with this very difficult task of bringing our children up on our own in a kufar land, and I would like to thank you for your role in raising awareness because knowledge eradicates ignorance and only in that way can a community move forward, which will lead to a nation following suit. May Allah reward you for you efforts and please tell us what role we can play to contribute as well inshallah.
    Wa Salaamu Alaykum

  32. Being a single parent to 3 children for many moons I know a lot of the cultural issues we single muslim mothers face. There is no family support but if support is required then you are the first one to approached as you don’t have a husbund to defend you.

    When my children were younger I was told you can’t marry as your children are too young and now I’m 40 it’s too late! So they say… This year my eldest daughter got married and didn’t even give the slightest thought the hurt her actions would cause. My world was and is I guess vey child centred I don’t know how else to live. But I have to change because I am immensely lonely and I really want to move on. I have tried matrimonial sites but they seem to full of preditors or guys who think they will be doing you a vast favour.

    Every dua I ask Allah swt for a husbund… All the males in my life have failed me dad, brother, ex husband and I keep no expectations from my son I am only there to meet his basic needs.. He tells be that he will be off to his dads when he is 16!

    I have no hope:((((

  33. Mrs AFROZ Pasha

    I am 28 and mother of 3 boys and a girl I know it is difficult to be a single mom in this world my husband was a good and great person I want my children’s to follow his foot prints and do good deeds like their father make day for my children’s miss you honey

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