Officers responded to a call Monday, June 18, about a suspected gunman at a condo in Chicago. The suspect was 36-year-old Raheel Ahmad, who had been reported missing by his family from the Atlanta suburb where he lived.
As officers knocked on the door around 4:30 p.m. they heard a single gunshot and a verbal groan, according to the report. As they entered the condo, officers found 29-year-old Sania Khan unresponsive near the door, and Ahmad was found in a bedroom– both had gunshot wounds to the head, and a suicide note was found with Ahmad.
Khan was pronounced dead at the scene, and Ahmad was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he later died.
According to reports, police believed that Ahmad, was depressed and traveled to Khan’s to salvage the marriage. However, two of Khan’s friends revealed that they had been divorced since May.
The medical examiner’s office ruled her death homicide and his as a suicide.
The story has taken social media by storm as women are calling out divorce shaming, especially in the South Asian community. Khan, originally from Chattanooga, had moved to Chicago after divorcing her ex-husband. She had expressed online that she had been shamed by her community after getting a divorce and she didn’t receive emotional support.
Those following Khan’s story are questioning if things might have turned out differently if she had had support from her community. The blurred line of culture vs religion is also being talked about. In many cultures around the world, divorce is taboo, but it is permissible in Islam.
A verse in the Quran highlighting some of the rulings of divorce states,
“When you divorce women and they have ˹almost˺ reached the end of their waiting period, either retain them honourably or let them go honourably. But do not retain them ˹only˺ to harm them ˹or˺ to take advantage ˹of them˺. Whoever does that surely wrongs his own soul. Do not take Allah’s revelations lightly. Remember Allah’s favours upon you as well as the Book and wisdom He has sent down for your guidance. Be mindful of Allah, and know that Allah has ˹perfect˺ knowledge of all things. Quran 2:231
On TikTok Khan wrote, “going through a divorce as a South Asian woman feels like you failed at life sometimes. The way the community labels you, the lack of emotional support you receive, and the pressure to stay with someone because “what will people say” is isolating. It makes it harder for women to leave marriages they shouldn’t have been in, to begin with.
Khan was a photographer specializing in shots of weddings and happy couples. Her Instagram biography said, “I help people fall in love with themselves and each other in front of the camera!”
On her website, she wrote that she had moved to Chicago in June of 2021 after growing up in Tennessee.
“I used to love travel so much that I was a flight attendant,” she wrote. “My favorite layover was always Chicago, and who would have known 2 years later I would have moved there?”
Domestic violence is a major issue, not just in the United States, but around the world. More than 10 million men and women in the U.S. are subjected to domestic violence. Other alarming statistics include 1 in 4 women experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner and on average, more than 3 women are murdered by their intimate partners in the US daily.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text “START” to 88788 if you are located in the US. For Canadians, text “HOME” to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.