The day he took my love away

Published: May 31, 2015

“My son, my son, my son. I want my son”. PHOTO: AFP

She never expected her marriage to come to an end. No woman ever does. She distinctly remembers the day she was betrothed and how excited she was. Her mother kept telling her not to smile for she had to make it look like she was genuinely sad about leaving her father’s home, but secretly she was over the moon.

He was perfect; good looking, professionally accomplished, lived abroad and came from a good family background, and to top it off, he loved her wholeheartedly. What a beautiful union it was. Everyone was smiling and everything was going to be completely perfect.

And yet, here she was standing outside his family home in Islamabad, in broad daylight, screaming at the top of her lungs and banging her hands against the wrought iron gates

“Where is he? Where is he? Where is my son? Answer me now.”

Until a scrawny looking housemaid tentatively approached the gate and told her in broken Urdu,

“Madam, he is not here, everyone has left.”

She started shaking and could feel the ground turn to water underneath her feet.

“No, no, no!” she cried as she slowly collapsed to the ground.

“My son! My son! My son! I want my son!”

Soon a crowd of curious spectators had gathered and her anxious mother, who was standing nearby, managed to get her to stand,

“Get up, get in the car and stop making a scene; we will deal with them later.”

She could not move. Her legs were like jelly and all she could remember was seeing her son waving at her as his father took him for ‘a little drive to McDonalds’. His little hands and smiling face kept floating in front of her eyes and all she wanted to do was hold him close to her like she did at night while he slept. She felt her body was falling apart into little pieces, only to dissipate with the wind.

“I am not moving mother. My son needs his nappy to be changed and I will wait for him to come back,” she said looking at her mother with her slightly crazed eyes.

“Get in the car right now,” her mother said pulling her up with more force than before.

She managed to get up with her mother’s assistance and sat in the car. Her driver, flummoxed at first, began to drive the car through the growing crowd. She lay lifeless in the back seat, chanting under her breath, “my son, my son, my son” as tears rolled down her cheeks.

He was a beautiful baby boy, two years of age and ever the master of his own domain. His cheeks were plump and red like a ripe tomato, his hair wispy and peppered with blonde streaks falling around his big, bulbous honey-coloured eyes. He was perfection itself, but then to every mother in this world, her child could never be imperfect. As she looked outside her car window, she saw young children riding pillion on motorcycles clinging for their dear life to their fathers or their mothers and she started to cry.

Her marriage had its ups and downs but she never expected things to take such a drastic turn. They had been living apart for some time in order to try and mend the cracks, but it seemed the gap had been widened with time. This act was surely going to seal the fate of the marriage.

When she got home, she dashed to call her husband to find out his whereabouts, but as soon as she got a ringtone, it would go dead and she would be left fearing the worst.

How could she have been so stupid? She looked around her room and all she could see were her baby’s paraphernalia; his clothes, his toys and his shoes. Her father came into her room to find out what was wrong and she let out this guttural cry from the base of her stomach,

“He’s gone Abba, he’s gone!”

She proceeded to explain the story to him in detail and her father remained calm and composed as he always did in emergencies.

“Relax; he can’t have left the country with him since we have his passport, so calm down. We will go over to his uncle’s house and see if he has taken the child over there.”

She quietly acquiesced and they decided to go to his uncle’s house. Upon reaching his house, they were told that the child had been taken to America on the basis that his father was an American citizen.

She sat there perplexed and felt her heart explode into a thousand pieces. Whilst trying to maintain her composure she asked,

“How can they apply for his American passport without the mother’s signature or knowledge?”

“I don’t know. Islamically the child belongs to the father, not the mother.”

He said without looking her in the face. This is when she erupted in a frightful rage.

“Islamically? Islamically? What about beating your wife viciously? Is that allowed Islamically? What about not providing any money for food or clothes? Is that allowed Islamically? Don’t twist Islam to fulfil your own needs. Give me my son,” she screamed hysterically.

They were obviously going to be evicted from his uncle’s house and they returned home with heavy hearts and wet eyes.

Time was of the essence and they decided to register an FIR against her husband and his family for child abduction. She would not rest until she found her child. It was a tense moment but after some investigations, they were able to locate the child in Dubai about to board a plane to America.

The Dubai police had been alerted and the plane was prevented from flying in the nick of time. It transpired that her husband had applied for his son’s visa but entered the mother as ‘deceased’ and used a fake death certificate to prove this. Not only had he lied on a visa application but he had committed child abduction. How could a living person be declared dead with no body in sight? She found this outrageously hilarious.

She was over the moon that her son was found safe and well. All she wanted to do was hug her son, her life, her joy.

She could not care less as to what happened to her husband or his family. He was a complete non-entity to her. She flew over to Dubai to bring her son home and move on with her life. As she reached the police station with her family, she saw her son and smiled widely as tears fell down her cheeks.

He was busy playing with some toys and keeping the staff amused, but as soon as he saw her he laughed and squealed “mama!” They both hugged each other and she felt whole again, putting an end to her nightmare.

Faiza Iqbal

Faiza Iqbal

A law graduate from King's College, London Nottingham Law School. Having worked at Mandviwalla & Zafar as an Associate, she now writes freelance articles and is trying to qualify as a barrister in Canada.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • a guy

    Tell this story to the clerics who impose half-shariah. Islamic shariah enforces benefits such as free health care, free education (in every course or institute) and much much more. Only then if you steal something, would it be justified that he had the opportunity to educate himself and get a job, but he stole something, that is why his hand was cut off. Similarly, if you can’t legally enforce women’s rights, then the sham Islamic rights enforced for men are a disgrace (were a woman’s shariah rights enforced legally, she’d be happy and satisfied) and need to be chucked into the bin.Recommend

  • Brar

    15000 Girls of Panjab on this side of the border who married NRIs are waiting for their husbands to return but their wait is futile some of them are having a child also. I will request every one to watch a TV episode by Amir Khan titled Satyamev Jayate NRI marriages which is available on youtube.Recommend

  • nedian

    Happy ending for the mom.. And the nightmare starts for the father…Recommend

  • Adi Pranoto

    “Islamically the child belongs to the father, not the mother”.

    Islamically?. That’s culturally. According to the Compilation of Islamic Law, if divorce happens, then the child custody belong to the mother because mother is the person who pregnant and give birth the child.Recommend

  • Striver

    Thank you for bring this real-life story to us. Tearful as it is it also highlights the fact how a mother and wife is treated by her in-laws in a country that is an called Islamic.

    I have often urged people to read Haqooq-ul-Ebaad in the Qur’an (often my comments have been “removed” or kept “pending” at the mention these very important Haqooq I hope they won’t do it again).

    I wonder, had the child been his daughter, would he have taken her with him?

    Let’s bring humanity back into the way we practice Islam. The way Islam is. Islam is secular because Islam is a way of life (think about it before you reject my comment)Recommend

  • Sundas Akram

    At first i thought u wrote my story.. ‘What about beating your wife viciously’
    My daughter is 6 months old and those animals snatched her away from me. I want the world to know who these people are behind long beards.. Allah will do justice.. Bt not until i take a step.. Recommend

  • Any body care about father love? The world is filled with sympathies for females and yet they cry for their rights!Recommend

  • Zaki

    Thanks sooooo much for the happy ending for the child and mother….. May all who suffer this trauma, never have to go through it…. AmeenRecommend

  • Fizza Rizvi

    That’s untrue. Father is the only guardian. Only in very exceptional cases a mother can be guardian. The father is responsible for all monetary burden of a child even during mother’s custodial period. Once a male child is 7 years of age, his custody automatically shifts to father.Recommend

  • seismann

    Becuase there are people with your Attitude,females will need to cry for their rights.Recommend

  • Commemtator

    Nice ending!Recommend

  • seismann

    It never ends for the mom,and nightmare still will be hers.Recommend

  • seismann

    Isn’t it time to go beyond cliches.Recommend

  • seismann

    Sharia,as is,is incompatible with modern life and present circumstances.Recommend

  • Reader

    Enjoyed reading it.Recommend

  • Striver

    I bet you didn’t understand a word of what i wrote that is quite obvious.Recommend

  • bilbobaggins

    excuse me?Recommend

  • Custard_Pie_In_Your_Face

    Well doesn’t that just warm your heart?

    Unfortunately, and this goes for women as much as the men, when a marriage breaks up the blame game takes precedence over the childs welfare. Rather than accepting that the child needs both parents and discussing how best to accommodate the child when both parents are living separate lives, they resort to using the child as a stick to beat each other up with.

    When a marriage breaks up, the man is usually painted as a lazy wife-beating overbearing brute and the woman usually portrayed as a flirtatious credit card charging adultress who can’t cook a meal without setting the house on fire.

    There’s usually 10% truth and 90% hype on the side of both parties.

    Whichever parent wins, the child ultimately loses.Recommend

  • Custard_Pie_In_Your_Face

    **Double Post**Recommend

  • Blade Johnson

    u deserve to b beaten up if u act all weak and spineless in front of men. wake up! if u let the pathetic society decide your role in your own life, then there u go: u got your reward. the life is not about getting married, having children and serving men all your life. u r so stupidRecommend

  • Blade Johnson

    the woman totally deserved it. why didn’t she even try to defend herself when she was being beaten up? pakistani society expects women to live like they used to in stone age: being spineless floor mats, servants of men and letting the heinous gender roles define themselves.Recommend