By Naila Ahmad, Casework Manager

I once spoke to one of our clients about her husband’s case. She had spent years fighting for his freedom and safety, only to find herself facing yet another test.

As we spoke, she shared stories of the times she had spent with her husband before the torture, before the pain and trauma they endured. Together. As she shared that memory, I could see for that fleeting moment that everything was okay again.

We frequently think about the men who are imprisoned and tortured and what that does to them, but we often forget the wives and families who are left behind, those who fight tirelessly without the support of the community, waiting and praying through times when they don’t hear from their husbands, as they are often held incommunicado. 

Trauma impacts each and every one of us to varying degrees. For the one who endured the torture and the one who had to hear about their loved one being tortured, Allah only knows what pain this entails, and how much healing work is required after it all.

As quickly as her reminiscing began, it left her again, then it was back to the case with a heavy sigh, and back to the endless list of tasks she had to get through.

I wanted to support her, so I asked her if I could email the lawyer what she had shared with me. At that point, she said something profound that stuck with me. 

She said “It’s okay, I will do it, inshaAllah, eventually. I don’t want to add to the mountain … no, the iceberg, of things that you have to deal with.” 

She went on to say that what we deal with at CAGE is an iceberg, because “ people can’t see the enormity of it, since most of it is beneath the surface”.

I thought it was beautiful that, despite all that she was facing, she was aware of and concerned about my workload, and that she was aware that often what we do cannot be seen in full.

It is true that much of the work that CAGE does is not visible to the people, it cannot be seen. It is not a huge mountain etched in the horizon, but rather like an iceberg with a tiny piece floating above the water, while the majority of its weight exists below the water.

Each client we assist doesn’t know the names or details of the multitude of other clients we assist. Even many people within our team don’t know the full details of our cases. 

The ones we share publicly only scratch the surface of the testimonies we have taken over the years,  for Allah to see.

The sister said at the end of the call that she had taken so much energy from our conversations, and she prayed that Allah would keep filling up my energy for the others I needed to help too. 

I am humbled when I speak to her as I feel her pain and I see her tests, and she worries deeply, but she is still always thinking of others.

The only thing that carries us through, will carry our iceberg through, will carry our hearts through – is trust in Allah.  

We trust that we are doing the right thing, trust that everything will be okay, trust that Allah will not leave His servants in their time of need. 

And we see so many times how, even after years of waiting, families are reunited and we can finally open up a file, and, with a smile, see at last that another case is closed.



Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)