Bountiis Charity Initiative, a Muslim women-focused Islamic nongovernmental organisation has restored the hope of Widows, Divorcees and Single Mothers (WDS) with the assurance of continuous support to uplift their situation by connecting them to networking and empowerment opportunities.
The Bountiis Executive Director, Dr. Engr. Mrs Falilat Jimoh gave the assurance at the just concluded Bountiis WDS Forum held on 27th of June, 2021 at LASUBEB Auditorium, Maryland, Lagos.
According to her, the WDS FORUM is one of the Bountiis series of Women in Trauma programmes to provide support for these categories of Muslim women in the society.
She said the event echoed the cry of WDS on various issues affecting them which the society is silent about.
Dr. Jimoh noted that Bountiis’ continuous efforts at showing concerns to issues affecting Muslim women and taking actions at addressing them informed the decision to host the WDS forum with the goal of creating a platform for interaction between Muslim widows, divorcees and matured singles, to share ideas and knowledge on common
One of the speakers at the event, Ms Monsurat Bello, State Counsel, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Directorate of Public Prosecution, while addressing the issue of divorce according to Islamic rulings said a woman is expected to observe 4 months, 10 days of waiting period after which she’s free for any suitor to remarry.
Bello explained that during this period, the woman is not to marry another man, but free to choose any suitor she likes after that period.
According to her, “the widow is required to avoid doing anything that focuses on her appearance during this period. She is prohibited from marrying or making any arrangements for marriage but permitted to go out for means of livelihood.
“The widow can still be dressing in sober mood. Still on necessity to feed, the person can be going out to trade, work and coming back home on time, she added.” Bello went further to say that in the Islamic Law (Sharee’ah), a widow is entitled to a share of the inheritance from the property which belonged to her deceased husband.
She said, “The wife’s share is one-fourth if her husband leaves no child, but if he leaves a child she gets one-eighth share of the property.
Another speaker who is also a legal practitioner, Mrs. Mutiat Orolu-Balogun, Partner Nimble Solicitors, Ikoyi Lagos, enjoined widows and divorcees to make use of the Office of Public Defenders (OPD) when the need arises, if there’s no family lawyer.
She enlightened participants on their rights, she said “You have the power to dispose one-third of your Will under the Shari’ah. Seek out Islamic Faith-Based NGOs.”
Barrister Orolu-Balogun listed locations where Muslim widows, divorcees or single mothers can access Shari’ah panels in Lagos state to include 1004 and Abesan estates.
She also gave hints to guide against divorce such as a no-holds-barred conversation before marriage, go into marriage with your eyes open, be wise, smart, having contractual agreement. If you give money for housing project for instance, see it as sadaqah (charity) and not feel bad if he marries another wife.”
“Seek mediation and help. Make clearly written document on who owns what so that there won’t be bad feelings in case of another wife or death. Always get a lawyer. You may approach Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria, MULAN, and seek legal advice.”
On the issue of children’s custody, she said it is the right of every woman to have access to her children.
In her contribution on Islamic boundaries relating to satisfying sexual needs with imaginary spouse, Hajia Mutiat Olaniyan, CEO May9, Canada, who became widowed at 34 urged widows and divorcees to divert their energy to something else that is more engaging, interesting and fulfilling.
Olaniyan cautioned that engaging in illicit sexual act isn’t an option for Muslim women, hence, the need for young widows, divorcees or single mothers to remarry while remaining in WDS status could be possible and convenient for some women. She said it’s difficult to remain single because one is still very sexually-active. However, she advised that women should not accept just anybody because they want to remarry.
Olaniyan said, “Engaging in zina is never the way. You can fast and pray over it. Do not mingle with men unnecessarily, whether online or offline. Seek pleasure in Spa, Massage therapies, super-engage yourself with children, the less-privileged, impacting positively on the society, living a life of value. Make yourself very valuable to the society. You can be chaste, celibate and channel that energy to more positive activities.”
Organisations like Muslim Women for Development and Sustainability (AMW4DS), Al-Muminaat (The believing Women Organisation), Duty to Orphans and Widows Foundation (WIDOF), Muslim Mercy Aid and Relief Foundation (MMARIF), Siddiqah Foundation, Al-Hurriyah Foundation, and other organisations that have dedicated programs for widows and divorcees were also at the Bountiis WDS forum to admonish participants.
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