Losing Your Husband to Prison

The Politics section welcomes 2018 with a focus this year on mass incarceration, police brutality and surveillance, in addition to the many other events and activities that may happen in our community that require our response. Being Black and Muslim intersects these issues in a variety of ways.

We start with selections from an article by Rachel Turk that explores the challenges of love and loss with incarceration. She openly shares that, against the advice of her wali (marriage helper), she married a man who was involved in criminal activity, fell quickly in love and bore him two children. The long arm of the law was not far behind and he goes to jail. Many will read this and shake their head as just another case of “you’ve made your bed, now you have to lie in it,” which is true. But, the author is now part of a growing segment of our community: the families of the mass incarcerated. Although it may be easy to blame and shame, the harder task is to provide the support they need to make the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years just a little easier to bear, insha’Allah. That is the responsibility of our ummah.

Losing Your Husband to the Prison System

I wanted to tell my story for any who has ever wondered about the reality of a family who had a husband and father who is then suddenly stripped away to the prison system. It’s such a taboo topic. I am here to shed light on it.

IRachel and Hassan start by saying that it is probably one of the most painful and traumatic experiences for a family to endure aside from death. But it is so similar to death (dare I say), that I compare the two often. I knew he was doing the crime before I married him. But I fell in love quickly and was tired of working full time (as a single mother with two children prior to marriage). So in my mind I thought, “I can work with him and help him to build a legit business. He won’t do this forever.”

So fast forward almost five years.

Hopefully when he comes home in three more years, he will use his creativity and intelligence in ways that can be profitable legally. But back to my point. The point of this article is that when you’re married to someone in prison, it feels like everyone judges you. I won’t say everyone. I’ll say 97.3% of people. I’m a very transparent person so I don’t hold back the location of my husband when I deem it best for someone I’m talking to, to know.

I know of a person who had everyone thinking her husband had gone overseas for educational purposes instead of telling people that he was in prison. I would never dare. And I’m asking all of you who read this to take in the knowledge of someone’s loved one in prison with no judgment. Because you don’t know their circumstances. You don’t know their life. And like I say often, there may be someone sitting right next to you [who is] involved in criminal activity and just hasn’t been caught.

So treat people as you would want to be treated. It has been 14 months so far for us. 32 more months to go. My husband is almost dead if you asked me. Understand that. We now have a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter who cannot even see their father because the feds moved him to a facility 10 hours away from our home.

Rachel and Hassan 2After he was first arrested, our son used to run to the door screaming “Daddy!” if he ever heard movement near the knob. Imagine that. Take note that I am very clear on the fact that my husband did something illegal. But just like I told the judge at his sentencing, removing him from his family for the past nine months that we’ve been waiting for this hearing has been pure torture.

So I walk this path pretty much alone. I’ve met other prison wives via social media. None that I’ve met in person yet. But I still have 32 months left of being a prison wife. Then, I’ll have six months of being a halfway house wife. Then, I’ll have a few years of being the wife of the man [who is] on probation. Then, maybe we can finally have our dream of living in a secret bubble away from all of those who don’t understand.

To read the entire article visit Losing Your Husband to the Prison System

Rachel and Hussain 3Rachel Turk is a 36-year-old mother of four. Her husband is in prison. She works dead-end temporary jobs that do not interest her and she loves to write. “Just trying to survive out here in this crazy, crazy world we live in and make it to Paradise.”

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  • The woman knew her husband was involved in criminal activity before she married him. She married him against her own father’s advice. Her husband continued to be involved in criminal activity after they were married. Years later, he was arrested and now is incarcerated. While her husband was “working” the woman lived a nice life as a stay at home mother, with vacations. The woman even describes herself as someone who “was tired of working full time ” got married to a known criminal and because of that now “works dead-end temporary jobs that do not interest her.” Really? Are we supposed to feel sorry for her?

    There is a big difference in being a victim of questionable policing and legal practices and being someone who knowingly and actively is involved in criminal activity and being punished for it.

    If you had been a victim of the crimes committed you might not consider the convicted man a victim. If you work an honest living every day for little more than minimal wage you will not consider the convicted man a victim. If you are struggling to pay rent, utilities, car payments, care for your children, you will find it hard to have sympathy for someone involved in criminal activity who knew he was endangering his own children’s livelihood. If you are a sincere Muslim, you may have sympathy for this man who made the wrong choices. But you will not consider him a victim. Let’s be clear. There is no shaming here. Muslims should be accountable for serious criminal activity they are involved in.

  • This article is a good lesson for those who believe that black Muslim marriages without the approval of a wali are okay.

  • I find it sad how little compassion people have for people like us. MashaAllah. None of you are our judge. Only Al Adl, Allah. We will all be held accountable…for each and every thing.

  • Rachel thank you for your honesty. First you already must know that there are so many others, millions of other women who are waiting for their beloved to come home.
    I too met my husband and knew he was involved in criminal activity, at the time I was involved in drugs and had lost all hope of ever being happy again. He was the first person in ten years to look at me and make me feel as if I was being seen for who I was, a blessed child of Allah who had forgotten herself.
    My husband is not just ‘a criminal’ he is a survivor of a tragically difficult childhood, a loving son and brother, he is one of the smartest people I have ever met and one of the kindest. Yet he is demanding of others that they must be willing to lift themselves up, that they push themselves as he pushes himself. He has been diagnosed with severe depression and PTSD.
    What I am getting at is, these men and women never stop having value in the eyes of Allah, they are humans and deserving of all the compassion we can find.
    My son was born while my husband was in jail and they have only met once, he is now 15mo old. Every time I see him learn something new my heart breaks all over again.
    You have done nothing wrong, life is messy and who is to say that the ‘perfect match’ guy would have treated you right or loved you well? Allah has determined that you and I walk the path of a prison wife for a time, I am grieving everyday for my husbands loss but I have used the struggle to draw deeper into my faith. So has he.
    I am proud of you.

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