A woman has spoken of her secret marriage to a holy man and said the actions of some of these men are being swept under the carpet within the British Asian community.
The woman has said she was the fourth wife of the man who used the Islamic marriage only to satiate his physical appetite.
She has made allegations that she would meet him in a car park and when she looked to expose his actions she was threatened by some of his followers.
He later divorced her via a WhatsApp message after a ten-month Islamic marriage.
Spiritual guides or ‘peers’ are highly revered in some communities and can attract hundreds if not thousands of disciples.
The vast majority do not take any payment and help to guide communities in the righteous Islamic faith. They make a valuable contribution to the communities and followers they serve. They are sincere and pious and provide spiritual and moral guidance on a daily basis.
The woman, who still fears for her safety, did not wish to be named but wanted to raise the issue in the hope it would help other women trapped in such situations to come forward.
She said she was, alongside her parents, an ardent murid (a follower, also translated as committed one) of this peer for many years.
She claims she had been in contact with him on WhatsApp to ask for advice and duas (prayers).
On one occasion she asked for advice following her divorce and said this was the catalyst for a change in tone of the peer’s messages to her.
The Asian Image reported she said: “He told me that he had three wives, one of whom was known publicly, the other two were a secret.
“In his next message he sent me pictures of several random women that he had taken off the internet in their bikinis and asked me to send him pictures of myself like that to him.
“I was really shocked and asked him if this was permissible in Islam.
“He then sent me a reference from the Quran where I now realise he had manipulated the text and the translation for his own purpose. He said that particular verse implied it was permissible for him to see me naked.
“I blindly followed what he said. I thought he is such a holy man. He must be right.
“So I sent him several compromising pictures of myself.”
In one text message he asked her, both in Urdu and English, if she has a hairy body.
Following further messages, she said the peer declared his love for her and said he wanted to marry her.
She said: “I just kept thinking I really like him, he’s such a special person, he’s a peer and he’ll make me a better person.
“In Islam you are allowed four wives. I kind of fell for the whole peer thing.”
The peer made it clear he would not be able to devote much time to her after the marriage and at most, he would meet her twice a month. She agreed to his terms.
However, following a meeting in Birmingham, she said the man made no contact with for two months after that.
“I was devastated. I was sending him messages, I could see the two blue ticks so I know he had read them, but he didn’t reply.
“I panicked because I thought he has my nude pictures now. What if they appear on the internet?”
She said the two months of no communication from the peer induced depression and that she turned to self-harm.
“I heard that he was back in Birmingham. I decided to write him a letter and deliver it by hand to him at the mosque where he preaches.
“In the letter I said clearly that you have my naked pictures, you said you loved me and you promised to marry me.
“I gave him an ultimatum-either delete my pictures in front of me otherwise I’ll tell your first wife and I’ll go public.”
After reading her letter, she said the peer subjected her to a torrent of verbal abuse in a multitude of text messages claiming she was blackmailing him.
In one voice message he can be heard threatening to send her naked pictures to many people if she doesn’t stop ‘harassing’ him.
She decided to confront the peer’s wife.
“I turned up at the mosque where I knew his wife was going to be. This is his first wife, the one who is known as his public wife who was also pregnant at the time.
“I just went up to her, showed her a topless selfie of her husband and said ‘we need to talk about this.’
“Naturally she was shocked. She quickly asked me to come back to her house. In the meantime she rang her husband and told him to meet us there.
“He denied everything and said I was lying.
“But his wife believed me as I showed her the messages and pictures from him in my phone.
“His wife told him that he may as well marry me as long as I am kept as a secret.”
She said that for the sake of her own honour it would be better to marry him.
The marriage subsequently took place in March 2016 in Birmingham in the presence of the peer’s driver and one of his followers.
“I couldn’t tell my family as he insisted that this all be carried out in secret.
“On the day of the nikah he said he had two conditions, that the marriage should remain a secret and that he would only see me once or twice a month. I agreed to his conditions.
“He then read the nikah himself. This worried me as I have never heard of this before.
“His murid asked him if he accepted me as his wife. The peer himself asked me if I accepted him to be my husband.
“After the nikah was read, he simply got up and left.
“I was shocked that something so profound had just occurred yet he walked away so casually.”
She said the first time she met her new husband following the marriage ceremony was in a road behind the mosque in Birmingham.
She drove from her home in Greater Manchester to meet him and said she was excited to be meeting her husband.
“I was really happy to be meeting him. I drove all the way from home to see him. When we met, he told me to get into the back seat of my car as I have tinted windows.
“His driver was present outside the car, keeping a lookout.
“He consummated the marriage in a 10-minute encounter in the back seat of my car in broad daylight. After he had finished, he got off me and left.
“I was so upset and felt so used.”
She says that this type of meeting and physical interaction became the norm with the driver always being present to ensure they weren’t interrupted.
“On another occasion he drove me back to his driver’s house. The driver and his wife and children were downstairs and my husband sent me upstairs to the main bedroom.
“It was so humiliating knowing that the driver and his wife knew what we were doing- in their own bedroom as well.
“As soon as he had finished, he told me to leave.
“That disgusted me. He might as well have just paid a woman for this kind of service.”
She addressed her concerns with her husband on several occasions. However, he maintained that he had informed her of his terms and conditions for marriage before the ceremony took place thus rendering her complaints futile.
She said she had to ring the driver in order to get through to her husband, often leaving her with no choice but to pass personal and explicit messages to the driver which she said left her feeling embarrassed and dejected.
Feeling increasingly depressed and left with no-one to turn to, she decided to speak to her husband’s nephew in Pakistan who she felt may be able to empathise with her situation.
His nephew reiterated her concerns claiming his uncle had manifested this behaviour on several occasions saying she wasn’t the first to fall victim to him and certainly wouldn’t be the last.
“I became an emotional wreck after hearing his words.
“Things escalated after my husband rang me and said he wanted to meet me in Birmingham in October last year.
“I drove, as usual from my home to Birmingham, to meet him at the designated spot.
“This time he asked to meet in the empty carpark of an industrial park.
“I could see there were cameras on all the buildings and I told him, but he didn’t care and continued as he always did when we met.
“That was the turning point for me. I was furious. He made me feel so dirty and cheap.
“I started shouting so angrily that the driver had to come into the car to calm the situation.
“The driver brought me back to his house so I could calm down as he could see I was in no condition to drive.”
It was then her husband arrived at the driver’s house along with his first wife.
“I got really nervous. His wife started shouting at me and blaming me saying I was making her husband ill.
“My husband pushed me aggressively onto the sofa.
“I shouted for the driver to help and seeing an opportunity I quickly rang the police.”
She says police intervention resulted in a resolution and an apology from her husband so no further action was taken.
Police have confirmed they were called to an address in Birmingham to a report of an assault.
A spokesperson said, “A thorough investigation was conducted, however no arrests were made and no charges were brought against anyone.”
Two days later her husband is believed to have left for Pakistan.
She said her husband did not contact her again following his departure.
She said she felt humiliated that this man had only married her to make it legal to have sex with her and she felt she needed to reveal the truth about her circumstances.
At this stage she informed her family about the marriage as they could see her physical demise.
When she spoke openly about her traumatic marriage to the peer women contacted her claiming they knew women who had endured the same treatment from the peer.
When her husband discovered she had shared this information he sent his followers to her home to coerce her to not talk any further.
“His murid’s came to my house and said that if I didn’t stay quiet they would expose me and tell people I am a characterless woman, and that I paid other men for sex and that I was using my husband for sex.
“They even brought a contract with them that they wanted me to sign saying that if I spoke out against their peer, I would have to give them £100,000.
“I didn’t sign anything. I am not in the wrong so I have nothing to hide.”
She decided she needed to divorce her husband and following two months of persistent messages to him requesting a divorce, her husband eventually conceded and sent her a voice message saying talaq three times.
“If he can do this with me, he could be asking other young women for naked pictures and grooming them too. He is manipulating women.
“We blindly follow the peer’s and trust them, yet they abuse our trust.
“My whole marriage remains questionable as many scholars have said it is not a valid nikah.
“My entire marriage was purely a physical relationship. He did not fulfil any of my rights as a wife. He never once provided for me.
“I don’t want other women to suffer in silence. I want them to be aware and speak up about issues like this.”
Source- The Asian Image