Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.
From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.
Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.
Walaykumassalam Sidi Suhaib,
You probably don’t remember but we met briefly a few weeks back in the courtyard of the Masjid of our Beloved Rasul Salallahualaihiwasalam near Baqi.
Your latest post is something a number of us up north have been racking our brains over for some time now… and the one thing we’ve come up with is something akin to premarital counseling. A program where the soon to be married people meet with Scholars/counselors and go over the Fiqh as well as social/interpersonal relationship issues surrounding marriage. It seems like alot of people commit to this ‘contract’ without really even knowing what it entails…
Khair, may Allah Azawajal extend His Infinite Mercy upon us all, ameen.
Wa ‘alaykum salam
I am currently single, but looking to get married, inshallah (that is not a personal plug, btw!). and the high divorce rate scares me. It’s hard enough finding a decent guy (or reverse for the bros), but even when you inshallah ‘bag’ him, the problems only get worse, with the ‘D’-word forever looming over your heads. Or is that just me being paranoid??
It’s difficult to speak from a position of inexperience, but i think one of the lessons that has to be really driven home, when it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship is PATIENCE. I think that is something really lacking in us all (i put my hand up first, to that), but especially when it comes to marriage, where it is needed the most. I think we are groomed on this idea of ‘happily ever after’, but when the reality of marriage hits, we don’t know how to handle it. We think we’ve been sold a faulty product that can be exchanged, rather than trying to stick it out.
The truth is, there is no happily ever after – in this life. Hollywood, Bollywood and Lollywood have lied to us all. There can be marital bliss, but there can also be marital strife. We have to be educated on the REALITY of marriage, before marriage, so we don’t get disappointed when Prince Charming starts showing his more froggy roots, and when Cinderalla, starts showing her more Ugly Sister side.
Fiqh training is a good start, but sometimes it is hard to translate into action, as it is a set of ideals. A couple could memorise it parrot fashion, pass the ‘test’, but still mess up, because the wisdom has not sunk into their hearts. I think one of the best methods of teaching people, is from example and personal experience. So brothers and sisters who are already married, and inshallah, are somewhat content, should school us singletons, and newly weds, on the realities of marriage, and offer counseling when (not ‘if’, WHEN) things go wrong. I have learnt a lot from witnessing the marriages of close friends, in terms of what to do, and what not to do, though we have to wait and see if i remember the lessons! Inshallah.
So, in summary, we have to get our heads out of the clouds, and realize that though marriage is great, it comes with many, many, MANY challenges, so we shouldn’t expect a bed of roses, past the wedding night (and maybe on the odd occasion, if your spouse is all romantical, mashallah). 🙂
Disclaimer: The author is not married nor has he ever been married. Following his advice may lead to severe stomach and/or marital problems. These are just reflections and best guesses from watching the community and reading about the topic.
1. Unrealistic expectations of self-improvement or fulfillment
Many of the Muslim youth today, express: “Oh, It’ll be so awesome when I can pray Fajr when she wakes me up!”. “It’ll be so great when we can talk all night about Islam and life and…”
Ok bro. Hold it right there. First, if you aren’t praying Fajr now, her waking you up won’t magically change you. Maybe you’ll wake up the first few times because she is pretty and wakes you up gently and you don’t want to seem like you are a Fajr misser. Give it enough time to get comfortable and you will probably fall back into your old routine.
And that talking at night thing. Yeah – wait till college is over and you have work in the morning. Those conversations will probably be much shorter than that talking all night followed by Tahajjud scenario you imagined. Its not a college schedule anymore buddy. You have an 9 to 5 job and you need to stay awake after Fajr!
We must stop thinking that our spouses are going to somehow complete us. Yes, indeed, marrying them completes half our deen, and they have the ability to bring fulfillment and completion to many aspects of our lives – but do not be fooled. NO ONE wants to marry half a person. We must strive to reach our utmost potential, in Salah, in ‘ibaadaat, in earnings (or a path to it at least), in emotional stability, and in maturity, before we embark on the journey of taking on the responsibility of another human being. Be a full human being. You wife is not your crutch, she is your ally and your supporter.
As one of our beloved brothers put it: “How can you be the Imam of your family, if you cannot be the Imam of your own soul!?”
We must stop thinking marriage is NOTHING MORE than an avenue to protect ourselves from our own weaknesses. This is the problem with some young marriages. They marry in accordance with the principles of Islam in trying to protect themselves from Haraam, but forget that marriage comes with responsibilities. There must be a delicate balance in seeing marriage as both a protector from evil acts and thoughts as WELL as a responsibility that must be taken with maturity and dedication. EVERYthing you do now on, will affect another human being. Even the prayers that you miss will affect the blessing of your household. Are you ready for this?
These expectations are dangerous to make of yourself as you will eventually feel the same emptiness inside, even after you are married and may even feel that the marriage has not helped you at all, since spiritually you are in the same place or have even regressed. You may even start to place blame in the wrong places or take your frustration out on your spouse.
I am NOT saying become the perfect Muslim before you get married. This is IMPOSSIBLE. However, see marriage itself as part of a journey towards a better relationship with Allah (swt) and with your spouse, not a cure-all in and of itself. It is not a panacea. The sooner we realize this, the better. There is blessing in marriage and its blessing may also help you come closer to your Lord. Just remember to keep things in context.
If you are not ready – PREPARE YOURSELF. Put on the garment of Salah, don the armor of tilaawah, arm yourself with dhikr, fix your helmet with knowledge and understanding of your responsibilities, prepare your boots with the intention to walk straight for the rest of your life, and surround yourself with the brothers in arms who will stand with you and support you in your journey towards Allah with true brotherhood.
Try to complete YOURSELF (at least to the minimums Allah asks)….AND THEN…you can complete HER, inshAllah.
2. Unrealistic Expectations of One’s Spouse
You know that feeling you get when your mother or father tells you for the 20th time, to pick your clothes off the floor. They do it in that high pitched voice that hurts your ears and makes you wish you could be out of the house right now?
Yeah, that voice, THE CALL to RESPONSIBILITY, is not that different from the wonderful voice which will be with you all the days of your long and happy life, inshAllah. It is up to you not to be annoyed with it like a fifteen year old child, and rather approach it like a man, and appreciate the blessings Allah has placed into your life
Young brothers and sisters, who have joined the Brethren of the Bollywood Beholders (BBB) have been bamboozled into thinking that they and their spouses will be living comfortably in a nice house, with a spouse who always looks ready for a photo shoot, and that they won’t really have to pay bills. I say the same for the Sit-Com versions of marriage that are floating around on broadcast television, where all problems are solved in a half-hour, in between commercials.
Also, according to the BBB, their spouse is always happy, randomly bursts into song and dance after being teleported by some karaama to the Swiss Alps, and the only thing to ruin the couple’s happiness are the evil Indian underworld who want the girl’s family’s money. Since that is not a problem here, it is assumed everything will be perfect.
-Your spouse has spiritual struggles of their own and may even have trouble with their Salah. Do not lose patience with them just as you would not want to have them lose patience with you.
-Your spouse might have certain pet peeves that absolutely set them OFF. Learn them. Carefully!
-Your spouse has professional/academic goals which you must understand and place into a proper context of how you will raise your family in between schools, jobs, and Islamic work
-Your spouse has some things that he/she is absolutely not willing to compromise in life. You must understand what they are before you walk into this
-Every single problem you face in life, uncertainty, self-esteem, spiritual struggles, academic or professional worries, worry about one’s role in the community, worry about one’s performance as a parent, spouse, sibling, and child, trouble with Salaah, etc, your spouse also faces.
Having the ability to step out of your own eyes and seeing the world through someone else eyes, whether it be a spouse, parent, enemy, or demographic – is a sign of maturity and part of the beginning of wisdom. True objectivity is almost always impossible, but you must aim high here in order to be able to truly understand this other person in your life.
3. Forgetting the Realities of Life and the Basic Arguments
-Forgetting the reality of the eight-nine hour work day, and the fact that you have about five waking hours and eight sleeping hours each weekday to make your marriage strong, especially if you are newly married. Between chores and other tasks, it may not even be five.
If you are involved in Islamic work, perhaps, those five may get even lower on some days.
-Forgetting that paying bills, and being completely responsible for one’s finances because someone else is so affected by them, is a change that some find it difficult to adjust to.
-Getting the fundamentals out of the way is important: Do you believe in having kids? How important is community involvement? Do you have absolutely opposing views about women in the workplace? What about parenting-working arrangements for the wife?
Although many questions are supposed to be left for later, answering some of these FUNDAMENTAL questions early on will save a marriage headed for divorce from becoming a marriage at all so that they may find other people more suited to their goals in life.
Sounds like a good idea, but what exactly do you mean by:
” A course could be given over a two weekend period that covers the fiqh and social aspects of marriage. If one passes, I would marry him/her. If not, then let them try again. “
/* PROBLEMS */
I think the problems we have are due to a few factors.
-The radical individualization of the Western Muslim, in which the ability to adapt to a new situation for the sake of even one’s own happiness (let alone for the sake of one’s family, community, or nation) is seriously curtailed in favor of being “oneself” – whatever that means. Even spiritual paths which advocate absolute selfishness in one’s tazkiyyah and 100% inward-looking methodologies can contribute to this problem.
Spirituality aside, the pride of the individual over superficial aspects of “independence” causes him/her to completely disregard the need to adapt and compromise with his/her new spouse.
-The lack of a solid religious understanding of marriage amongst both the couples, but also many a time the de facto counselors – the parents and families – whose materialistic, sometimes, tribalistic views of marriage, can sometimes only offer advice that contradicts the Sunnah and the spirit of Islam.
-The lack of asking/caring about critical questions about worldview and life-goals. Many may point to the fact that this was not done in the past, nor was it neccessary, so why is it neccesary now, when so many arranged marriages are “sucessful”?
First, because a marriage stays together does not mean it is successful or that the rights of those involved are being fulfilled in the eyes of Allah (swt).
Second, the western-raised muslim, whether raised religiously or not, still has a greater autonomic, indpendent view of oneself than those raised in more communal, traditional, societies. This leads to a lesser tendency to change one’s personality as so much emphasis has been placed by the society on individuality. In addition, the western-raised women, have much greater financial independence than women in traditional societies, which removes from the equation the idea of financial dependence and interconnection, making it much easier to simply, seperate. The CORNERSTONE OF COMPROMISE, is effectively, much harder to place into its foundation.
Third, the fact that the “religious” Western muslim has been fast-forwarded to the ability of repeating the arguments of the ‘ulama, dealing with issues of Aqeedah, Fiqh, and Manhaj – repeating statements and quotes, without the ability to prove or understand the foundations and wisdoms that underlie these arguments, we are much quicker to rule out other views and ways of looking at the Deen and other worldviews. The Western Muslim often takes strong sides on issues without understanding the issues.
All of this NECCESSITATES, asking the tough questions about life-goals, worldviews, and how each spouse sees their lifestyle – before taking the plunge.
-Lack of Accessible Scholarly Guidance
From my personal observations, I have seen scholarly advice, which smack of ignorance of the most basic issues concerning social relations in Islam. I have seen advice given by scholars in my community, that when a child runs away from home, or a couple is having marital problems, the best thing to do is to recite Wazifa such-and-such or recite “Ya Wadud” or “Ya Qadir” over the family’s food every night a certain number of times.
One would think maybe this is just the beginning of the answer and there is more wisdom to come, but many times, it stops there.
Alhamdulillah Allah (swt) has blessed us with many socially aware scholars and imams to guide us, but unless we get more, we will be faced with similar problems.
-The General Non-Observance of Deen Amongst Youth
In addition to these problems, which face religiously/community-connected young couples, we also find the issue of general non-observance of Deen amongst Muslim youth. This non-observance strips the young couple of the protective measures, procedures, ettiquittes, encouraged gestures, and basic principles which in theory, make a Muslim marriage so strong.
A Few Solutions I thought of:
1. Getting young potential spouses to ask/answer some basic tough questions with the guidance of the Imam, mentor, counselor which will be able to determine whether or not their fundamental principles on children, careers, and lifestyles…jive. The Imam/counselor can help to encourage honest compromise so initial scary answers don’t shut off what could have been a perfectly good marriage.
2. As Imam Suhaib said, providing them with understanding of the social/personal context of marriage, and its fiqh.
3. Encouraging further involvement in the activities, programs, lectures, and sessions available at the masjid
4. Classes at the masjid, specifically for married couples, where qualified scholars, counselors and leaders, can address specific issues weekly, and help to provide PREVENTIVE guidance where possible.
5. The removal of the taboo of seeking marital help. Traditional cultures have placed a serious taboo on a couple’s taking their problems to a mediator, even though the Book of Allah (swt) encourages this. Education on these matters for the general community.
6. Addressing of the fundamental issue of non-observance and community-distancing
Connecting people’s hearts to Allah and the idea of the family, the community, the Ummah. Helping them understand that their marriage is a great and powerful blessing of Allah, which he refers to in Surah Rum as HIS SIGN. How great must something be if Allah (swt) calls it HIS SIGN. Connecting their hearts to the desire to have a strong good marriage, which fulfills their needs, serves Allah (swt), enriches the community, and makes up the building block of the Ummah, the family.
I think he means “marry” as in “to perform a ceremony in which two people get married”. Like marry them off.
Those are amazing ideas. I think you need to go online with the course. Have a live broadcast. Get the word out to the youth ahead of time and let as many people as possible hear your message.
As far as your question of the week, here’s my 2¢. Every human downfall stems from one or more of the diseases of the heart (al-Amrad al-Qulub). Everyone knows that. For the most part, these divorces that we constantly hear about seem to stem from displeasure with the Divine Decree. We all need to be more happy with what we have been given. It’s always easier to break apart than it is to unite and maintain. I think spouses should set higher aspirations in their marriage. They should stop and ask each other, why do believers get married anyway? Somewhere along their conversation they need to arrive at this conclusion: We get married to please Allah and His Messenger, who will take pride in the number of his Ummah on the Day of Reckoning, period. So easy, but made difficult because we’re so consumed in self-gratification and discontentment with our Lord’s decree. Instead of living for Allah we live for ourselves. Shouldn’t we learn from what Allah ta’ala taught his beloved and noble Prophet Sayyiduna Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و آله و سلم) to say: My prayer and my devotion, my life and my death, are for God, Lord of all worlds…[Qur’an, 6:162].
May Allah ta’ala continue to bless and preserve you Ustadh Suhaib.
she treats me no less than a “reservoir dog”
I think there is alot of pressure and misunderstandings about marriage. There is still alot of cultural baggage that at least if not dropped needs to weighed in our modern context esp that is causes alot of stress for the couple and their families, wrong ideas about marriage in both West and East, lack of understanind the reality of marriage going in, and unrealistic expectations (as a man I can say alot of the brothers want the perfect woman in terms of piety beauty and wisdom but they never bother thinking what about you dude? you are not mr hot shot yourself)
Youth know their marriage must be “Islamic” but little material on the subject is available besides books and lectures that discuss it as an area of fiqh. Marriage is a human enterprise and Islam serves as a framework for two fallible people to live and love together. Being able to list the rights and duties of each spouse is necessary but insufficient preparation for marriage.
I think the problem is that we have failed to implement many of the solutions that Islam has put in place to solve the social problems present in Western countries… and as a result, those same problems have appeared in the muslim communities.
I would say that many young American Muslims approach marriage just like their non-Muslim countrymen (I think the divorce rate amongst muslim americans is correlated to the divorce rate among americans in general).
Example: Islam emphasizes the role of families in facilitating the marriage process leading to a more pragmatic approach to finding spouses (investigating the spouse and their family, looking hard at all aspects of compatibility). In the west, because of so much intermixing, there is a lot of emotion and ‘romance’ that play a part in many of the marriages, and when that fades, the young couples have nothing to stand on. I think the best solution is to establish good institutions that will help young people get married (matching, etc) and to encourage parents to start looking before their child does (and not expecting them to wait until they are 30 years old).
I think the solution lies to focusing on how islam solves the social problems presented in the west (encouraging early marriage, separation of the sexes) and then finding creative ways to facilitate them in our muslim communities
Allow me to give my opinion on the subject. I am a very happily married woman. I’ve been married for 9 years and have 3 children, alhamdulillah. Why have my husband and I been successful? One reason is because we discussed what we wanted out of life and how we would raise our children (insha Allah) before we ever had our children. I was very specific in stating to my husband that I would not raise children alone…and my husband vowed that he would help me 100% in raising our children, if Allah was to bless us with any. And by Allah, my husband has been true to his word. He is a very hands-on parent and takes very good care of our children.
So my advice to anyone who is thinking of getting married….discuss your desires/goals, etc. with your betrothed. And discuss everything….will the woman work….who will take care of the children…..will the in-laws live with you……know beforehand what you are getting in to. It is better to know beforehand if you are compatible, than to find out after you have children together.
The solution? I don’t know if I have the solution, but after being a convert for 11 years, I have seen it ALL and have a couple of ideas.
#1 Put an end to “drive thru” marraiges at ALL American Masjids. Meaning that you can’t just show up any given night, grab the Imam and two “akh’s” and your outta there in no time flat, nikah in hand.
#2 Pre-marital counseling being COMPULSORY. Bringing in mother in laws, dads in laws also. You have to make sure the families are compatible, not just the spouses.
#3 Last but not least….REQUIRE that the couple be married by the civil courts as well…as a form of protection for the sisters.
thats my 2cents
Hey, I think Abdul Sattar said it all…
I think the question deserves some kind of study (as you suggested about the problems of the youth) although it should be done in a respectful, anonymous way. I do not think there is one answer to the high rate of divorce. On a side note, I would not consider many marriages of my parents’ generation to be successful marriages (no love, no communication, depression, sometimes violence). If those couples had grown up in the American culture v. Desi culture, they probably would have gotten divorced or at least felt divorce was more of an option. Maybe these youth experiencing high rates of divorce do have high expectations, but maybe they have never even seen a successful and practical marriage and so have never learned how to deal with marital problems.
Counseling should be available definitely pre-marriage and throughout.
Salaam alaichum akhi,
First of all the divorce rate is high because we live in a society that is designed to make it so young couples fail, or couples in general. It is so expensive that both people in the marriage must work so that then the children have to be put in a pre-school program which allows the children from a young age to be indoctrinated by these outside influences. Also people find divorce so easy and expendable, they do not take the deen serious. If they followed the deen they wouldnt have these problems but they are influenced by the society which makes it so easy. In the land of soap operas, people look at relationships as a come and go thing. I agree with making people take the classes, but it is much more than that. People need to follow the examples set for us and we will be fine. Have patience for their spouse. Also in this society it is a danger to make someone marry a stranger, people need to get to know each other. Married couples need to show attention to each other and gave each other their marital rights inshallah.
Assalaam alaikum Brother Suhaib,
Thank you so much for putting out these important questions and letting us tell you what you think!! I love it!
I think pre-marital counselor must be made compulsory. Not just as a 1hour course but an extended 2week course or something to that effect. As someone else mentioned it must include the families to make sure everyone is on the same pace.
Also the idea on giving a live lecture with alot of advertisement is a great idea. If you can have categories:
May Allah bless you and make it easy for us to find such knowleagde.
1: Divorce rate is high
2: Not all but when you look at the married ones you barely see them smiling at each other.
3: singles are struggling to figure out what exactly they should look for “In trying to find the right person… (Scary!)
However, when you look around and listen carefully. You hear all kinds of stories.
Is there a perfect human being? Shouldn’t we keep up or accept some of these things?
So how do we try to resolve the problems? What can one keep up with or accept or avoid??
Personally I attended “I few events/conference” the last couple of weeks and “wallahi I gained so much, plus I attended with few other friends some singles and married ones also and they loved it.
Therefore, I agree, “A course could be given over a two-weekend period that covers the fiqh and social aspects of marriage”.
Asalam aleikum warahmatullahi wabarakatu.
Note: I somehow noticed, “The ones who follow the deen more, seem happier than the others and so based on that I think we need to learn what Islam teaches about marriage and implement them inshallah.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem:
Assalaamu Alaikum Shk. Webb:
Yes, Almaghrib has a two weekend course “Fiqh of Love”…I know when we had the concised 1 weekend-version of this course come to Bay area (called “Love Notes”), many brothers/sisters who were married and those who were aiming to get married benefitted from the class…we should probably see if the full 2 weekend course can be organized here as well….it is a good start in the right direction, insha’Allah….
This is for everyone (who may benefir from this, insha’Allah):
As far as why young people are getting Divorced in US….there are no silver bullets…but hey I have been divorced and re-married again so here are my $.02:
1- Start your marriage on the correct foot – minimum time & “interactions” in “getting to know” the other person. Dont keep dating and/or chatting till you think you “know” the person before committing….Yes Marriage is actually a leap of faith in expecting and hoping the best from your spouse as s/he expects the same from you…do not strive to understand the other person psychic before committing…so take that leap of faith, based on what is reasonable and comforting.
2- This is for Brothers: After marriage, Be the Man of the household….Remember, your wife did not enter in this relationship to be the “MAN” of the house….but it happens, and I dont blame the sisters for this, because when the husband is not up to par (or ready to step up to plate in all sense), sisters in our western culture are more knowledgable and resourceful and more demanding perhaps, which actually leads to disrespect towards the Husband and ultimately it could lead to issues that cannot be ovwercome.
So what should a Husband be towards his wife: He should be magnanimous, supportive, loving (in all sense), and respectful….but be the MAN as Allah has made you to be, and she will respect you love you and cherish you, insha’Allah.
3- This is for Sisters: If you want to have a stable family with a nice loving husband who is supportive and respectful of you, then do the following:
a- Be the wife in the family….he is not looking for another man to “compete” within his home.
b- Dont act as if you have a “chip on your shoulder”…meaning that you have to prove your worth that you are either smarter, more knowledgable than him.
c- You are the most important person (the nucleus) of the family…everthing will fall apart if you quit….that means you have the upper hand and God given ability to hold a marriage together….so make sure you start your journey with someone who you are willing to put your all in for the long term for your chidren’s sake.
I really dont appreciate long comments…and this is getting to be one.
I’m not sure whether divorce is really a bad thing. Sure, it’s disliked, but it’s permissible.
So, is it really a problem? Many young muslims are not brought up according to the ideal Islam anyway, why do we expect their marriage to be ideal?
There are various extremes here.
One, the idealists who look for the solehah and dream about tarbiya, halaqah, usrah, amal jamaiyy, and envision that the spouse will be with him/her all the way. These people need to wake up and smell the coffee. Successful marriages don’t come from the shuyookh or books. It comes from you and your spouse and how badly you want your marriage to work. These people also have to live in the present and apply what they “read”. 🙂
Secondly those young muslims who don’t even care about how they live. But to appease their parents who are immigrants and grounded with culture, they have to go through the whole shebang. They don’t care about how islamic their household is going to be and don’t have any idea how to bring up their children. They were born in this country but inherit the ignorance of their forefathers who secularized Islam.
Thirdly, those young muslims who see marriage as a way out to fulfill their natural desires. They don’t have a clue what marriage is all about. All they know that it is a sunnah. But, they beat their wives, treat them as second class citizens, and sadly this idea is being passed on to their children.
Bottom line, there is not cookie cutter way to solve divorce or issues within the young muslim marriages. Hey, if you have the audacity to tie the knot, it’s your responsibility to make sure everything is worked out. There’ll be arguments, but deal with it especially when your marriage now involves a child. The question is really, again, “How badly do you want your marriage to work??”. This involves soul searching, reflections and a quick visit to why did you even get married in the first place.
Or, we can include the fiqh of marriage in Islamic schools for high schoolers so that they have a general idea what marriage is all about. In this case, all muslim kids need to be in islamic schools, which they aren’t.
Successful marriages go beyond religion. Obviously being muslim doesn’t guarantee a long lasting marriage. If it deed, then we won’t be discussing it here, would we? 😛
Assalamo’alaikom wa rahmatoALLAHi ta3ala wa barakatoh.
I pray that this finds you all in the best health and best iman, may ALLAH strenghthen our iman.
Referring to our sister in Islam ‘Takumi Nakashima’ A successful marrige go beyond religion? I.e. beyond ISLAM!!
With all due respect dear sister, i believe you’re wrong in this aspect. There is no way a marriage can be successful if islam is not present in that marriage, if ALLAH (swt) is not present in that marriage, if the Sunnah of our beloved and dear Prophet Mohammed ibn AbdiALLAH is not present.
If you happen see success in some muslim communities (may ALLAH grant them more), or if you see success (note:success can be defined in many ways) in some muslim brothers and sisters (may ALLAH grant them more), or if you see success in some muslim marriages (may ALLAH grant them more), know and be certain, be very certain deep inside your hart, that ALLAH alone gives Tawfiq, (success).
Our beloved Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) said :
‘Man a7ya sunnati faqad a7abbani, wa man a7abbani kana ma3aya fi ljannah’
He/she who practices My sunnah and impliments it (sunnah) in their lives, Loves Me, and he/she who Loves Me will be with Me in Jannah. ‘Tirmidi, Bukhari’
Hence how can a marrige or anything that we do in this dunya be successfull if we don’t fully believe that indeed Tawfiq only comes from our LORD, ALLAH (swt), and with implimentation of our deen, comes success, in ways we could never imagine.
Dear sister, no marriage is ideal,no life is ideal, but then lets struggle together, and strive together in order to reach our goal. And indeed our goal is to be worthy to see our beautiful Lord ALLAH (swt), and to meet our beloved Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him), and to drink from the fountains of Jannah.
May ALLAH give us understanding to practice of that we obtain in knowledge, may He forgive us all our sins, may He guide us, may He bless us, may He increase the love that we have for Him in our harts, may He cleanse our harts from any evil, any dirt, anything from iblis, and to put iman in it, to put taqwa in it and to put tawfiq in it.
Dear sister, please forgive me if i have said anything wrong, please forgive me if i have said anything to offend you. We are sisters in Islam, hence we should be there for eachother.
I did not read all the comments, but read most of it.
I live in U.S. I have lived in 4 different countries before, 3 of them being islamic countries. My observations of marriage:
1) No single couple in my extended family are happy (my aunts, uncles). My dad has passed away, but my mom does not really speak much of him/her dissatisfaction.
2) There is always so much gossip about how someone beats up his wife, or someone’s husband does not let her visit her parents, and how someone has a 2nd wife in another country.
3) Wife does not have much control over financial decisions.
4) The wife works so hard to raise children, but most important decisions are made by the father
5) I have more than 9 uncles, but after my dad passed away, not a single uncle of mine ever approached helping my mom or us (me and my two sisters). So, women are usually alone after the husband passes away.
6) My uncle is obssessed with religion, and his son went crazy and told other kids at school that he was gonna kill everyone there.
So, basically, I think the reason divorce rate is high in the United States is that here people have more choices. If you hate your spouse, you have a choice, you get divorced. Back home, you could not. If you wanted to divorce, especially if you are a woman, you know that you cannot go back to your parents’ house, they will send you back to your husband. You don’t have the financial independence to do so. You are scared to live alone in a male-dominated town . So why leave your husband? When my grandma tells my aunt why she is with her husband if he is so bad with her, my aunt replies “it is better to be with such husband than being like my two sisters”, sisters she is referring to are my mom and my other aunt (both widowed – from war). So, why a woman should divorce her husband? In U.S., women have more choices. I am sure it is the same situation for men. Back home, if you left your wife, everyone hates you, here, things are easier. Also, in western society, marriage is portrayed as something more romantic, so muslim people might be in search of something romantic also. So, search for someone romantic, and end up with someone who expects you to obey, rather than be a friend, and life partner, this is when you want to go to divorce, hoping that you might have a better chance in finding a better spouse later.
Sorry, I said too much. These are my observations.
There are fundamental flaws in the way marraige is approached by Muslims these days. Everyone seems to marry for the “heck – social pressure/age perhaps” of getting married. The accepted/agreed conditions are broken on the first night itself because the common conception is “marraige will change or saying yes to get married without meaning is ok and the person will change etc”. Marraige in Islam is a “contract”, and when agreed upon conditions between the two parties are violated then one has the right to leave. With this preamble, one of the common reason for ‘eventual’ divorce among migrant in this country and else where is, women (who specially come from Muslim countries) having the belief that” they are liberated and free to do whatever they please, thereby becoming destructive. A good aspect of this country i.e, ability to live the way you want is exploited without realizing that majority of born citizens (non muslims) behavior is way different and they have some sense left in them. After marraige one of the first thing the wifes seem to do is “break the husband’s relationship” with his parents and siblings. In US, first and second generation migrant don’t live in a “joint family”; it is matter of maintening relationship with the family and if “wife” doesn’t participate and does everything to break this then this “marraige” at some point ends. Any women folks listening? Allah has kept “divorce” between husband and wife and not between son and mother/father/brothers and sisters. I know at least 15 people who are on the path to break up for this reason and they delayed it for kids. Also, a good lawyer will tell you that women decides “divorce” and men dilly dally specially when kids are involved. Women are the ones in “majority of instances” decide whether there will be happiness at home or misery.
There are usually 3 types of acts/behaviors/values of all humans.
1. Values that are completely unacceptable to you – for example, breaking relation with parents/sublings etc, or leaving Islam or whatever that is “completely unacceptable”
2. Values that you don’t have a strong stance on and in some of these cases the person is willing to compromise
3. Values that you are open about and you can be swayed one way or other, you don’t really care
Before marraige – both parties should first figure out what things are “completely unacceptable to them”, it can be anything. These are personality traits that do not change. Even if someone suppresses they come back at some point and lead to eventual breakup. If these are presented upfront then both parties can make an informed decision of the compatibility, values and whether they can tolerate each other.
Lastly, sisters, Allah has made women more flexible then men in terms of adjustments. I am not saying in every aspect, I believe Allah has given them “flexibility” in nature to nurture good relationships specially within the family. Use it to mend fences in the family. Family is NOT just husband and wife, husband family is critical piece of it because even after marraige taking care of “husband family” is obligatory on the husband whereas women is NOT required to. Help him fullfill is obligations and your life will be happy and there will be lot of peace at home. I know of one “Muslimah” who converted to Islam just by seeing her neighbour family and how the “daughter-in-law” treated her mother-in-law as if her own mother. She said, after seeing the first thing that came to her mind was, I wanted to be treated like that when I get old!
I am sorry if I sound harsh but some one has to call spade a spade.
Not sure about non-desi Muslims, but I can tell you why the rate of divorce is so high amongst desis — because the only thing that plays into most marriages is money. Plain and simple. Most parents would prefer a doctor who drinks and has had many girlfriend to a government worker who is righteous. Also, since there is such limited interaction before marriage amongst many, the money becomes the *only* factor involved.
I divorced the same man twice.
In the end, I had to call it quits simply because we couldn’t be happy together. What he wanted from a marriage, I was incapable of giving. And he would have been absolutely miserable if he gave me what I wanted.
So we kept trying to force ourselves to give in and live in misery for the sake of making our marriage work, but like Asma and Zubair, some marriages aren’t meant to last.
I wish him every happiness though.