Before Marriage Spouse

Question of the Week: "Why are Muslims Divorcing?"

Asalamu alaykum,

With divorce reaching an abnormally high rate amongst Muslims, let us take some time out to ask why? What are your thoughts? Why are Muslims divorcing and what can be done to stop the bleeding at an individual and community level?

Suhaib Webb

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

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.

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  • Wa alaykum asalaam wa rahmatullah

    I could list many reasons but they all point to one concept: the lack of understanding and also implementation of the Sunnah…

  • I am currently engaged and I can tell you that there is great pressure from everywhere… one is satisfied and everyone wants to be involved with everything…..I have a friend that divorced after a couple of months of marriage and he told me the main reason was his mother in law…..she interfered with everything……I think also that my generation was brought up not really valuing what it means to sit down and have a dinner with the family, too much pressure and too much expected from them.

    Marriage is very difficult to get into, difficult to live married and even difficult to get out of it. From a religious perspective we are not taught how to deal with out spouses and when we are all the classes and lectures are very rosy and peachy.

  • I think people need to be more frank about what their expectations are. Too often, men and women are not up front about what they envision as the spouses’ respective roles before they take the plunge. If a man wants his wife to be a dedicated wife and mother who will always sacrifice her career goals in favor of her family, then he should be clear about that at the outset. If a woman wants her husband to be fully understanding of her professional ambitions and allow her to arrange her family life around her career as she sees fit, then she should be clear about that at the outset. Too many people enter into relationships without arriving at an understanding on these fundamental questions and expect the course of the marriage to be dictated by assumptions that their spouse may not share.

    I think part of the problem stems from the fact that Muslims in America have yet to initiate any form of internal dialog or discourse on what differences exist between Western and traditional Muslim notions of gender roles and relations and how we should resolve these differences from a practical perspective. The only contexts in which Muslims discuss such issues are da’wah (where Muslims often respond to legitimate gender-related questions from non-Muslims with evasive non-sequiturs) and academia (where the discussions are often theoretical and esoteric). The result is that people operate exclusively on the basis of their own assumptions. If we can’t be honest with ourselves about questions that will inevitably impact our lives in this country (e.g., Should we really regard patriarchy as un-Islamic? Should we really regard feminism as un-Islamic? What should 2:228 mean for us as Muslims in America?), then we shouldn’t be surprised when problems like divorce become endemic.

  • i dont know if theres a straight forward answer, but it would be interesting to know how the statistics pan out in terms of cultural background/education etc

  • Thank you for asking this important question. I think its a HUGE lack of patience, will power, forgiveness and plain hard work. people are looking for a spouse that will solve all their problems without them realizing that it takes time and effort on both parts. there will be bad times, horrible times and frustration beyond belief, but if you call it quits there, then pretty much everyone would get divorced.
    I also know some converts who married into muslim families and that a whole other issue. but give your wife or husband some time, it may all seem great in theory but when you are raised a certain way, its hard to get used to seeing things done a whole different way.
    Never, NEVER allow in-laws to interfere in the first few YEARS. They can cry and complain and claim you stole their son (for some reasons it seems to be mothers of sons who do this), but that is simply not true. Keep interactions to a polite minimum. Its sad to say, but too many Mother-in-laws have a very big part in breaking up marriages and most will not admit to it or show remorse.
    Commit to staying married whether you feel like it or not. Otherwise you will land in a cycle of discontent never being comfortable in any marriage because the same habits will be brought along, as will a tossed aside marriage and spouse that will haunt you.
    Strong families start with couples who stay together and work at it, and strong communities come from strong families.

  • Another HUGE issue that I hope Imam Suhaib will address are the children of this current generation. We are simply not having children.
    And there are many children with a single parent due to divorce or because the father decided he should follow the sunnah of polygamy. These children are not being given the best opportunities or role models to become great individuals.
    Then there are women who can’t find husbands, this becomes multiplied dramatically in difficulty for women who are divorced. I know women who were divorced and now 8 to 10 years later they are still seeking someone to marry.
    The problem is that as these women reach their late 30’s to mid 40s they may not be able to have children.

    • And I will add, that these women are rejected bec of the stigma of being a divorcee whereas the man gets remarried almost immediately and everyone watches out to help him. It has happened to me and a few of my girl friends from childhood – so I knew they were decent girls from decent families – none of us wanted divorce. My ex inlaws pressurised me from the wedding night to get pregnant and when I did not conceive in 6 months, he was asked to divorce me (and if he did nit do as they said, they would disinherit him from their wealth!!) and he was remarried within 3 months. I have now been single for 12 years, and all the guys around my age -even with the ‘baggage’ of kids and what not must have happened in their marriages, refuse me to marry girls almost 1/2 their age. These men dont relaise that “younger” woman maybe better sexually is NO guarantee! and for her to tolerate someone’s kids is even harder bec she is most likely marrying him for security that “an older husband takes better care if the girl is much younger” (atleast the saying goes in my culture). And then the younger one ends up sometimes cheating on him with a younger man just bec she married him for the wrong reasons.

  • I feel like there are 3 different levels that we can look at this question on. We can make an analogy that there are 3 different clouds…

    1. Individual
    2. Family
    3. Community/Culture

    …and that all of these clouds are below the shining bright sun that should be Islam. However, sometimes the clouds get too big, and ‘Islam’ is covered up, thus halting it’s brilliant rays from shining through.

    1. Individual

    As someone who has seen many friends and relatives go through divorce, and also being someone who just went through a little over a 2 year engagement and just had my nikkah done 2 weeks ago, I have developed a little phrased-philosophy that serves a reminder to possibly the biggest problem that leads to divorce, regardless of culture. The phrase is, “Low expectation, high appreciation.” Having low expectations doesn’t mean that they should be unrealistically though, but that a man or woman’s expectations of their wife or husband should reflect the general and balanced expectation that Islam promotes us to have as humane beings. For example, if the wife was busy working or taking care of 3 kids all day, don’t expect to come home to a 5 course meal and a foot massage brothers! And sisters, if you notice that general living expenses (gas, electricity) are going up, don’t request or spend money like it grows on trees. While these are common examples, albeit playing to common stereotypes, they teach the invaluable lesson of having modestly low expectations of your spouse.

    The second part of the phrase is that we should highly appreciate even the most menial of things our spouses do for us. Don’t expect to have a hot dinner 7 nights a week, 365 days a year. When dinner is particularly good, thank your wife or husband for making it! When you get a gift, don’t brush it off as something that “spouses just do for each other” and give a common “thanks” – REALLY show that person that you appreciate what they do for you and how much they mean to you. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever take your spouse for granted. Do you like feeling that you’re taken for granted, easily replaceable? No, you don’t, and no one else does either. The Prophet [saw] showed appreciation for his wives, notably with Ayesha. He would clean the house and help out with chores, among other things, to show his appreciation.

    If a spouse comes into a relationship jaded about expectations of marriage, catastrophic things can occur. Just like how clouds overlap in the sky, the individual cloud can be affected by the family and/or community/cultural cloud.

    2. Family

    There is a delicate balance between “we want our families to get along and not have a language barrier” and “preventing multi-cultural marriages is HARAM!!!” Take your parents into account – they are a part of your marriage too! If you force things without explaining and giving them time to understand and accept the situation, the pot of emotions can boil over and scald the relationship between the two objects of each other’s affection. Alhamdulilah I, a half Irish and half Egyptian, just married a sister who traces her roots back to Bangladesh. Her grandma doesn’t speak a lick of English and her parents have the all-too-common “uncle and aunty” accents. It took a while to get everything settled in terms of cultural barriers, maybe a couple weeks, but now alhamdulilah it’s as if there are none at all. Give your families time to adjust, don’t just rush through.

    Another aspect of the many aspects of family contributions to divorce is the mindset of the parents being brainwashed into the kids. Whenever a problem may occur, parents may get ultra-defensive and be quick to blame the spouse, or compete with the spouse for their child’s affection. These are ways of ignorance, and they need to be settled and phased out of Islam.

    3. Community/Cultural

    The way a community perceives a relationship can have greenhouse-effect-like symptoms on said relationship; affecting the couple while the community causing the problem doesn’t feel any consequences.

    One example that comes to mind is the communal competition of having the most fancy, expensive, and biggest wedding known to mankind. Creating a financial strain on the families and causing the couple/family to fight over money is not a good foot to start on, and is an all-too-common cause of divorce within the Muslim community. Don’t have your wedding in a garbage dumpster, but let’s not rent out the White House for our engagement parties – balance and moderation is the key, and this is what Islam teaches us.

    I feel like I’ve written too much, but I also feel like I could write a lot more, so I think I’ll stop here.

    While the 3 clouds of our self, our family, and our community and culture need to and should exist, we need to remember that the most important part of our lives is to let the sun of Islam shine through.

    Sorry for the broke analogies, it’s late in Chicago :-P.

  • Assalamualaikum

    I guess the problem of divorce is wide spread and worldwide. Here in South Africa divorces are at an all time increase as well. To find solutions we have to first look at the problems.

    1. Many couples go out (forming a haram relationship) before getting married, thinking that we are going to get married any way. However forgetting that Allah’s displeasure is with them from the beginning of this relationship.
    2. When they do get married the wedding is totally against the Suunah of our Beloved Nabi (Salallahu alaihi wa salam). Mixed gatherings, women dress immodestly, following of un Islamic practices ( walking down the aisle. Mehndi nights etc). From the beginning of this auspicious union instead of taking the blessings and pleasure of the Almighty Allah we take his displeasure.
    3. After marriage one realizes that going out prior to marriage and living together are totally different. When going out couples will rarely fight will often give each other gifts and talk to each other using sweet and kind words. After marriage and the honeymoon when every day life sets in we find our expectations crushed. We can only truly know a person when we live with them.
    4. Interference of the in laws be it the husbands mother or the wives. Parents should leave their children to build their marriage without interfering. Remember when a husband and wife have an argument a third party should never get involved. Arguments happen in a marriage and can easily be solved without interference of anyone else. Do not try to rule your son in law by placing conditions on him that he will be unable to fulfill ( a certain house, car, visiting your home a certain no of times a week etc)
    5. Many a times divorces take place due to the pettiest of reasons. Having patience with each other is vital. Mistakes happen never be too proud to apologize.
    6. Arranged marriages have their ups and downs as well. Being forced to marry some one you don’t want to, adjusting to a total stranger etc. It is the duty of the parents to find suitable spouses for their children thoroughly researching the background of the prospective and taking advice from people who know them. Take into serious consideration the feeling of tour child and never force them if they are unhappy.
    7. Remember follow the Sunnah of our Beloved Nabi before the marriage, at the time of marriage (Nikah) and after the marriage. The best example has been set out for us follow it . Always make Dua turn to Allah in times of difficulty he will always be there to help you just ask and don’t forget to thank Him in times of ease.
    Just thought of these few points correct me on any of the above . The above posts are filled with great views and solutions on the issue Jazakallah. Sorry for the long post remember us in your Duas.

  • Many men never commit to the marriage. They keep flaunting their rights and not giving the rights of the spouse. Those who leave their wives to marry another wife only see the grass is greener on the other side. The internet leads many astray as marriage sites flaunt near naked women and all of this zina is justified in that they are seeking another spouse. The fear of Allah is lost and when you observe these individuals you see the most sincerest of ibadah. Only Allah can judge what is inside a person, but outwardly the men create an appearance of the most abiding in their deen. They do not see the damage they do to their spouses and their children. The best of the wife’s years she has given and let go many injustices done to her for the sake of the marriage. However in the end, she is tossed aside because the husband thinks he deserves better. They see the women, bosom’s exposed, in all manners of undress, green eyes, blond hair, slim and trim, exercise regularly and compared to the wife of many years, with stretch marks and all, the choice is enticing. The women sweet talk and all the zina from both sides is justified to themselves. No matter what the women do, it is really the men who succumb to this and amongst themselves they rally each other and it is justified. Yes, they are allowed this from Allah. Yes, no reason needed to validate. Yes, she can stay if she likes as a second wife. However, she has to contribute to the household. She has be divorced on paper so its all legal with the second wife. If she chooses to not be mistreated, then she is the one who opted for the divorce. He gave her a choice. Religion is used to justified all of this. What of the ex-wife’s future. If she has kids and she opts for the best of them then she abstains from a future spouse to take care of her kids and not let any more adversity fall on them. She is put in a vulnerable position in society and so are her kids. She is also deprived of all the marital rights and in addition all the responsibility of raising the kids falls on her. The husband moves on to form a new family – a perfect family that he feels he will find with someone else. Whatever justification is used, it feels wrong. Allah knows, it feels wrong to the wife and it feels wrong to the kids, no matter how many people pronounce it to all be for the better. It still feels wrong. The sad thing is the damage can never be undone. It can be forgiven, but the anguish all are put through. Its very painful. Allah is merciful.

  • Asalamu Alaikum,
    I believe it all comes down to lack of akhlaaq. We muslims have not raised our sons and daughters with the right behavior, manners or ways of dealing with people. If we could control our anger most of these marriages could be saved. Any situation or person can be turned better with more love, more understanding, more patience, more compassion and most of all dua.

  • asalamu alaykum,

    i was listening to your mothers of the believers set and you mentioned that a well-known counselor was saying that it was something like 89% of divorces occur because of negative extended family influence, a’oothubillah.

    in ISNAs new july/aug 2008 Islamic Horizon’s magazine, sister Salma Abugidieri and others have written some very beneneficial things insha’Allah on marriage, and she is an experienced counselor.

  • AA,
    I read through all the comments that were posted. they are beautiful thoughts and definitely should be kept in mind. I’ve been married for 12 years and got married right when i turned 21, i couldn’t wait 🙂

    This is what i have observed:
    Issues with Brothers:
    1- lack of knowledge of Islam – We act so humbly in masjid and outside, and inside the house we are cold blooded animals. we want everyone subservient to us. and like sister Aisha mentioned in her comments we totally disregard Islamic Values. Dude, you have to understand that this poor girl you have married, i don’t care if she loves you or knows you and couldn’t wait to marry you, is leaving her LIFE behind. her parents, her way of life, her existence!

    She needs time to adjust and help her adjusting to the new surroundings. How do you react to major changes in your life (school, home, or work)? i know i need at least a month or so to adjust to the smallest changes. whenever time for fajr changes in the masjid it always takes me a long time to get adjusted to the new time and i miss those days of fajr in masjid. Hence, the Hadith, “Women are made from a man’s rib, and the most curved part. Be gentle, if you apply too much pressure the brittle rib will break!”

    2- Married life is different from single life. we need to sit down and find some common grounds with our spouses. if it is arranged marriage then we should set some goals and objectives for marriage on the first day of married life. If not an arranged marriage then we need to sit and select spouses based on our conversations with them (In totally Halaal fashion) and come up with goals and objectives for the marriage and for children in the future!

    3- The worst thing you can do is sit on a family dinner table and let anyone and yourself pass small comments, taunts, or sarcastic jokes on your wife, no matter how innocent and small they are. She is your Honor and preserve her honor.

    4- Be Practical. I have known brothers who set Mahr as “Oh, i’ll memorize this much Qur’an for you!”…ok, but what does it have to do with Mahr? “Oh the companions did that!” Yeah well, firstly, do you have the character of the Companions? They did a lot more, why are you stuck only on this point? Secondly, under what circumstances was this allowed? the poor companion was the poorest person in the whole Islamic State at that time! Are you that poor? not really! Like sister Aisha Mentioned our priorities are so messed up that i cant even laugh at it anymore. We would memorize the Quran to give as Mahr, but will have all unislamic things done at the wedding; have a DJ, hinduistic rituals that are prevelant in Pakistani marriages guised as “Culture”, and etc. Stop making a mocker of this deen.

    Finally, Fear Allah. Deal with your new wife as you would like Allah to deal with you. Be calm, understanding, be supportive, give her the space she needs to adjust to the new environment, be her friend, protect her, and make her feel safe with you. don’t let her feel lonely and alienated. Be a man of principle, what is right Should be right all the times and you should succumb your nafs to it and let your ego die.

  • Asslamu Alikum,
    many people gave great answers and the ones that really grabbed my attention are from AbdelRahman Murphy & Wasif, jazakum Allah Khairan. I want to say that I have been married for 4 years now alhamdullilah but it has been a really rough time. My mother-in-law is a single woman who is not a practicing muslim. She saw this as a competition. She caused our 1st divorce and is still going on with that. it is tough when you have a husband who was raised by a mother that cares less about Islam and Akhlaq and a father too busy with his new life. I feel like I am constantly fixing my husbands defects. I wish there was an emphasis on how the daughter-in-law is not just someone to please the mother-in-law. Also, how the mother-in-law does not have the right to control her sons life as far as where he lives, how he spends his money, who he visits, how many times to visit and so forth. it’s a struggle and I hope somehow our young guys can realize that there is a difference between obeying the mother and ruining your life for her sake. also I think the youth should take prep classes before you get into marriage, as a matter of fact the way a person interacts with his wife will make her either love him more or resent him and this all depends on his good character. I’m just talking from a woman’s point of view and I’m sure there are guys out there that can explain what wives do wrong

  • Salaamz Brothers and Sisters,

    i agree with a lot of people that have posted there thoughts in regards to divorce rate being extremely high,

    being around a diverse community and diverse friends i have seen and realized certain things and have also seen why marriages fail to work out.

    first and foremost is arrange marriages, i am not against arrange marriages but not every one thinks the same way.
    Individuals in this world today lean more for love marriages, when that is forcefully broken by parents or family into the light of arrange marriage that individual weather be a man or a woman is not happy with that particular decision hence resulting in a divorce. secondly marriages based upon money, fame and power end up in divorces due to the fact that it was based on greed and wrong intentions to begin with.

    Men & Women are both to be blamed for this, this pattern is formed by both sexes not just one, marriage needs understanding PATIENCE, HONESTY, SACRIFICE from both sides and requires you to be there for one another to make it work and not quit like its a game, it is a serious issue our Muslim community is having and inshallah our brothers and sisters can work together on this issue which is really painful to observe and watch and also leaving a bad impression on our future and current generations.

  • Assalaamu Alaikum,

    So many reasons. One never talked about:

    Internet porn. This is a hidden scourge of families. Men are replacing natural relationship with their wives with self-pleasuring from the sick filth.

    It is happening in view of children. “Why does daddy have all those girlfriends?” A sister I know has to take herself and the kids out to another room when he is ready to do his “business” in the living room.

    It is an incredibly strong and destructive addiction. It is 24/7 access, unlimited, no cost, no social sanction, wife cannot dare to say anything.

    “Relationship” with countless women, who men can shut up with just a click of the mouse. This is what it is reduced to.

    The Internet can take addicts through gates to the sickest perversions never seen on the face of the earth before. Live video and audio.

    Complain to imam? Wear more perfume for your husband, sister.

    This kind of response displays a complete ignorance of the evils of what is going on to DESTROY the family.

    I ask Allah SWT with the strongest request to reform and guide the brothers to prevent and censure this behavior in themselves and others.

    I feel this is “preaching to the choir” of good muslim brothers who are doing no such thing. But may this serve as a word of utmost caution and sincere advice.

    • ASA, Sister, Wow that’s a powerful statement, indeed I agree with your statements tremendously, May Allah(SWT) reward you with your efforts and May He guide the brothers out of this sickness and disease with there nafs.

  • Popular culture infilitrates psyche’s and takes on roles different for each gender- those roles are incompatible to the roles expected by the comm. and implimented by the sunnah, i.e. a braham who says he is Muslim, prays, fasts, gives zakah etc. yet adheres to a complete opposite internal longing such as fast cars, not feeling obligated to let his or her spouce know where they are going and at what time. “I dont have to tell you crap” “I dont want to go to your in laws-” this type of individual/s are and is manipulating an alternative mentality brought on by their sub-cultures bar none and far reaching- i.e. no compatibility- unreckognizable by parents, friends and more so by his or her spouce- In laymen’s terms when the “Shit hits the fan” they take off running and cant hold down the fort- bieng the home- i.e. Another interesting phenomenon includes that of the western influenced idea of feministe or feminism to the extent that practicing Muslm sisters are influenced by their peers to non-conform and reject traditional gender roles inlcuding hanging tough for the fam-damaly, chores around the house including the ever so sensitive bathroom duty which has caused more death marriages than colonel Colts equalizer. Other factors include
    1. High comm. expectations
    2. lack of relationship with Quran and the basic tenets of Islam
    3. Popular culture
    4. Angelina Jolie
    5. Brad Pitt whanabees
    6. SFW’ “Sexually Frustrated Desi’s” i.e. entering marriage in a perverted state: p.s. Ask Allah to clean our minds and hearts.
    7. Forced marriages
    8. culture clash
    9. X-Box, game boys
    10. comparing

    “She is not perfect. You are not perfect. The question is whether or not you are perfect for each other. ” Good Will Hunting

  • Assalam Alaikum,

    I believe there is a rise in divorces because no longer do women have to be patient “for the sake and “honor” of her kids and family.” Most women today are able to go back to school or get a job sufficient to support herself and the law here in the states is in favor of the female. It is not like back in the days when only men were able to work and women would stay at home. Society is also much more accepting of a women leaving a negative situation and she is not as shunned by society as she may have been say 30 years ago. I do agree that people need to be more understanding and patient. But the men behaving badly need to shape up and stop pushing women to the edge. Polygamy is not allowed in the States. If they want to practice this they need to wait till it is legalized or go some where it is recognized. If you have to follow all the other laws, then follow this one toooo. Islam has allowed for divorce, but people need to go to scholars for guidance before going to the lawyers. I am not at all for getting divorced. I have been married for over a decade. More power to all the ladies getting out of marriages that are violent, and get cheated on including cyber cheating. If the ladies were browsing the web and checking out dudes we would be calledXXXXXXXX! Zina is zina even with the eyes, so do we want these guys as our childrens fathers. Not a good role model and do we want our sons seeing or hearing about there dads abusing there moms. They to may become abusers. Our children learn from there parents.

  • Salaam,

    I think we are asking a question that needs to be asked with another question in unison otherwise we are not really solving the problem but trying to avoid it.

    How many of those married are truly happy marriages, raising pious children for the ummah and how many of those marriages are two people stuck with each other where the children and spouses dislike each other?

    Why we need to ask this question as well?

    The issue is not how many are divorced? We are looking at one narrow view of the problem. The issue is are marriages today amongst Muslims based on Qur’an and Sunnah? Are they producing pious children? Are they producing compassionate loving people in society? Are they producing good leaders or tyrants? Some have decided to stay miserable, some have decided to stay but complain nonstop about their spouse backbiting them and slandering them every day, while others decided to divorce for various reasons.

    Divorce is happening for various reasons. Some lack of patience, others following an image of someone who will do everything to make me happy, etc., Some feel this is the only humane solution.

    But many divorces are failing because there is – a failure in various areas in our ummah:

    1 Untrained Imams counseling marriages, leading to breakdown of marriages

    2 Sermons in masjids denigrating Women – nurturing male arrogance and
    male selfishness

    3 Exploitation of women by Muslim men seeking the green card and a failure of the community to protect these women. Marriages are encouraged to converts and even divorced women raised in the west to brothers – who later dump the sister and goes to find a sister from his village back home.


    4 Beyond sermons, sisters are not protected in our community in cases of violence and abuse. Domestic violence is seen as petty fighting, and not taken seriously.

    5) How many of those Imams who counsel marriages have a deepseated prejudices toward women? How many of those Imams make excuses for emotional blackmail or abuse and mental abuse failing to understand its impact on the marriage and children, regardless whether the person stays or leaves? There are cases where women are the abusers, but they seldom take their cases to Imams, they go straight to the courts.

    6) Some people were very frank on every detail, but the other partner was deceptive – and there was a failure to deal with the issue of treachery. No support group, no support. Patience confused with apathy in Muslim community. Hence we have apathy in the Muslim ummah to dealing with issues, as we learned this from our home. Mother was compelled to embrace apathy.

    7) Love is confused with possesiveness. So people are looking for someone who will hoover them with empty declarations of love – and they find themselves trapped. This exists with both genders which can be traced to sons not getting love from their moms or aunts and they are searching for that loss and find themselves married to a needy person who trapped them with false love signals. Likewise for women who never had a real relationship with the father and search for Romeo to find themselves married to an abusive brother.

    we need to counsel child abuse and child neglect and nurture parents on how to raise their children. A child raised in an unhealthy environment cannot be a suitable marriage partner. There was a failure to stand up to abuse by parents who leanned to understand that the can dominate their child and their spouse. So you see alot of the parent abuse spilling into marraiges and destroying them. We keep hearing – obey the parent, obey the parent, but we failed to teach people how to be good parents and how to deal and communicate with domineering parents who want to control their child as though the child is an extension of themselves or their slave.

    8) Brothers do not support women nor protect them in the hope. We keep hearing sermons on how women are fragile and women are emotionally weak, yet the expectation is women to shoulder 9/10 of the responsibilities and for them to always try to appease and please their husbands and try to understand them when they are stressed, and be on good behavior when they come back from work. How many brothers are nurtured to be kind and caring to a spouse who is carrying their child and raising that child?


    Training, training and training in all directions for those who sincerely want to solve the problem. We cannot just give Fiqhi answers and we need to demand some accountability from those who want to counsel marriages.

    Imams should demand people seeking marriage to take a course on marriage rights and responsibilities. They should be frank on what Islamic Law expects and what each can demand from the other in writing.

    A prenuptial agreement should be made on those expectations so not one is conned.

    Please read:

    Imams conducting marriages and counseling marriages should protect sisters that are exploited for immigration, and demand some protection clause in the marriage contract.

    They need to understand communication issues, power issues, etc.,

    For example, my aunt recently passed away. One of her daughters wanted to visit her in her dying days. Her husband refused citing some story that a woman refused to visit her father who was dying because of a promise or order by her husband not to leave the house. For 12 days, the mother wished to see her daughter, and the husband swore he will divorce her if She goes to visit her. The woman listened to her husband fearing how She will take care of herself financially if She is divorced. The mother died and never saw her daughter. My question – is why do sermons miseducate men to assume that they can resort to abuse of power? Is this what God meant when he said obey your husbands? Are we confusing the concept of obedience and enslavement/subjugation? Is this marriage which is not a divorce – a good marriage? Should we encourage men to be tyrants in their home? Should women be encouraged to stay married out of fear of divorce and a feeling of being cowed down and lack of any other opportunity?

    Maybe God wants us to understand – that those marriages were not really healthy marriages. And when these women were given opportunities to leave with dignity and support themselves, many left and did just that.

    We should not be seeking to lower divorce rates, but rather to promote healthy marriages and healthy human relationships.

    Jazak Allahu Khairan for your humility in reaching out and seeking to discuss this question with the community. May Allah increase you in knowledge to lead the community in a healthy discussion on this situation.

    I would encourage you to engage and work with ISSA on coming out with solutions to heal our communities.

    See below


    Islamic Social Services Association INC
    ‘Is there any reward for Good , other than Good’

    Helping Muslims Resolve Their Family Issues
    November 21 to 23 2008
    Winnipeg Canada
    A 3 day training designed specifically for Muslim leaders, community activist and Imams
    Training is comprehensive and intense. Please register early to avoid disappointment. We encourage communities to sponsor their imams and community workers and absorb the cost of their travel and registration. An investment that is required and much needed.
    The crisis of growing social issues and the lack of appropriate services in Muslim communities in North America is creating an environment of fear and panic. ISSA has the expertise and the know-how to help communities meet these needs professionally, consistently and proactively .
    The burden of preventing further escalation of family breakdown and to initiate intervention towards an amicable resolution in the spirit of Islamic justice and the Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms must be addressed . ISSA is responding to this need by bringing Muslim and non Muslim experts from across North America to teach front line respondents within the Muslim Community. “He who alleviates the suffering of a brother ( in this) world , Allah will alleviate (his suffering on) the Day of Judgement” Prophet Muhammad)”
    Training program will deal with 4 critical areas:
    Marriage breakdown – prevention and intervention
    Domestic Violence- wife abuse, child abuse, husband abuse, elderly abuse, sibling abuse
    Addictions: alcohol, drugs, pornography
    Parent youth conflict: schools, social scene, value clash
    Cost: $ 400 includes:
    Course Registration and material
    3 nights ( Nov 20, 21, 22 ) accommodations ( 2 per suite)
    Friday: breakfast and Lunch. Saturday breakfast and lunch. Sunday breakfast and lunch
    ***(Dinner for the 3 nights will be hosted by community sponsors)
    Deadline for registration: October 31st. Very limited space Only 25 participants will be accepted.
    Participants must have a postsecondary degree. Kindly attach 2 recommendation letters from your community organization, mosques or Islamic Centres.
    For More information and registration please contact ISSA Canada at 204 944 1560 OR Toll Free: 1866 239 ISSA
    OR email
    Trainers: Experts in the field both Muslim and non Muslims who have years of experience and practice. For more details visit ISSA website

  • Salam Aliekom,

    The following are reasons why people divorce:

    — divorce may have nothing to do with a specific ‘bad’ quality in a marriage partner, rather divorce is a disappointment with each other. According to Cameron-Bandler (1985), divorce happens when couples are disillusioned with each other. (The stages of love relationships are: attraction/infatuation, appreciation, habituation, expectation, disappointment/disillusionment, threshold/perceptual reorientation, verification, termination)

    — romantic love does not develop into Rational Love. Young people are mistaken to think that marriage is continual romance, resolves all problems, sexually exciting, full of adventure and as great as the courtship

    — reasons may be due to environment: alcoholism, economic strife/financial problems, incompatibility of interests, jealousy, verbal and/or physical abuse, and interference in marriage by relatives/friends

    — another reason is because some men are unwilling to accept the changing status of women- men still prefer a ‘traditional marriage’ where the guy is dominant in providing and the wife is the supportive/submissive role as child-rearer, housekeeper, and emotional supporter of husband. More women are demanding egalitarian relationships

    — divorce rate is increasing because there is growing acceptance in society

    — lastly, the reason for divorce increase is the rise of increase individuality. More and more individuals are taking precedence over the interests of the family/relationship

    For Muslims, I can imagine that all aforementioned points are at play in some way or another.

  • “To destory a society, destroy the women.”

    The Western system of life pretty much destroys the natural role of the woman, which in turn destroys the family. If enough women do this, it destroys the entire society.

    Unfortunately, us raised here in the West are also a product of this society and it takes a lifetime of learning for us to undo all of the false conditioning and go back to the sunnah.

    Hence, lots of divorce cases.

  • Salaams Suhaib,

    I think your question is too vague as muslims comes from many different economy and cultural backgrounds. And the term high is relative to the what standard? I would like to see the source of the study and the methodology of that statement.

    My other question if we’re studying just the muslim group, is it because we are looking at main religious points that triggers the divorce? i.e. a Sunni marrying a Syiah or marrying a converted muslim?

    Now, THAT would be an interesting study indeed.

  • Assalam Alaykum

    In my opinion, a main cause for divorce is incompatibility. Just because two people are Muslim, unfortunately, this does not mean that they compatible.

    Difficulties’ occur because of different interpretations and cultural baggage. I have seen very practising Muslims having great difficulties because of different views in relation to the expectations which they have for each other.

    One way to try and avoid this situation is for prospective spouses to discuss fundamental issues before proceeding with a marriage. These includes, the views of each other on key issues such as the role of the husband and wife and the expectations of each person.

    Another important issue is the advisors people take. If you are to take counsel from someone ensure it is someone with a good Islamic grounding. Wrong advisors can often cause the must conflict between spouses.

    I dont think thatmore blame can be attributed to one sex or the other.

  • Salaam.
    Ive been divorced twice.

    I firmly believe both cases were largely due to the fact that I got married for the wrong reasons.

    I saw the warning signs before each marriage and I still took the plunge.

    And early on in the marriage my worst fears were realized.

    My advice to sisters/brothers out there: if you are engaged to someone, don’t let attraction overpower you into making a decision that should really be for life. Attraction is important but if it’s not accompanied by other essential ingredients walk away. Better a broken engagement than a broken marriage.


  • I think one of the main reasons is the “fantasy” expectations that people have of marriage, that once a person gets married all of their problems are solved – they won’t be tempted by anyone else, lowering the gaze will be easy, married life will be full of love and happiness without any problems, etc. Ever notice how nearly all of the brothers talking about marrying more than one wife are unmarried? Sisters talk about marriage like some romance novel/movie, where the guy is always buying flowers and catering to her every whim.

    People do not understand that marriage is hard work that takes time, patience, and effort to do successfully. Both men and women think that marriage is like a fairy tale, until reality sets in a few days/weeks/months after the wedding.

    There needs to be mandatory pre-marital counseling that both the man and woman go through to prepare for married life, so that their expectations are set correctly, and that they learn some techniques on how to deal with marital problems that will inevitably come up.

    And Allah (swt) knows best.

  • I think that many Muslims get married too quickly with little preparation. And there is not much talk about compatibility. When you start “talking” to someone, everyone is already asking “so when are you two getting married?” I also think that many Muslims treat marriage like its dating. So you see sisters who have be married multiple times. I know a sister who has been married five times. The fifth time she only knew the person for a week. This is not realistic. We have to spend time getting to know a person in a lawful environment.

  • The reason why more couples in general (non-Muslims and Muslims) are getting divorced nowadays is primarily due to the women being more educated and having better jobs – the fact that in the past, most women were unable support themselves apart from their husband is a major reason couples remained together, despite all the problems within their relationships. By no means is this a bad thing – women nowadays should have the education/skills to take care of themselves and their kids anyways (in case God forbid something happens to the husband,etc.) But thats just a statistical fact worth clarifying.

    As far as why Muslims in particular are divorcing at such high rates:

    1. People getting married too early without being mature enough. Some young Muslims are just looking to fill their emotional/physical/carnal needs – and instead of being ready for all that comes with a marriage – in essence are just after a halal girlfriend/boyfriend.

    2. Incompatible expectations. Many young muslims have grown up in households where the mother filled roles in the household that most ‘western raised’ girls are not looking to partake in their own families. Have mothers spoiled their kids and failed to prepare them for their own future relationships – or are girls raised here in general not prepared to take on the traditional role of the wife that many Muslim men in particular desire. Both sides are to blame.

    3. We are all spiritually corrupted by the false ideals of marriage/romance we see on tv/movies. The real world is nothing like that.


    Real premarital counseling – and discussing long term goals, expectations, etc. without any biases, before getting emotionally attached. This requires muslim men in particular to be real and honest with themselves and to their potential spouses – and unfortunately, nowadays most Muslim men can barely be considered men at all. (For a further explanation on this I recommend Imam Suhaib’s article: Pulp Machismo & The Neoteric Males Pop Culture Dilemma – which was formerly on the Translators website – but can be found here:

  • I heard of a hadith that says the prophet SAW was asked about Islam when it was very strong and He mentioned that said there will come a time when it is going to be weakest and when asked how is that going to happen. The answer was The Muslims would not be practicing the deen as they should.

    2 months ago in my comm class we where asked to each give a presentation from any topic and each one of us had to go to the front and talk for 10 minutes. I kept thinking “what on earth am I going to talk about for 10 minutes”. Me being that person who never talks in class in the first place anyways. However, the presentation was half the class grades so that meant no passing without presenting something.

    After going through different topics I decided why not talk about my deen. knowing that its one of the religions that is mostly misunderstood. I decided my topic would be misconception about Islam But after giving It much thought I realize that would be a broad topic and 10 minutes was not enough and so finally I decided to narrow my topic and go for ‘Women in Islam”. While doing my preparation a thought came to my mind and I told myself “you know what? Let Islam speak for itself”. Therefore, I picked up the Quran, and went through the index picking verses that talked about women in Islam. In addition, I decided to add hadiths which helped to prove my points and finally with a little explanation for each verse that I picked Alhamdullilah I ended up with few slides about Muslim women.

    During the presentation, all I did was read those verses. After my presentation, most of my classmates came to me some on the very same day and others on the days that followed. One thing I notice was; most of them would tell me. “I guess not all Muslim follow the teachings of their book”. Their was also another one of them who told me “ I now know better, It is the people (some people ) not the religion that is to blame.

    (2:255) There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.
    (285) On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It gets every good that it earns and it suffers every ill that it earns. (Pray): “Our Lord! condemn us not if we forget or fall into error; our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which Thou didst lay on those before us; Our Lord! lay not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Blot out our sins and grant us forgiveness. Have mercy on us. Thou art our Protector; help us against those who stand against faith.”

    Surat nas is a short surah easy to memorize. Take a look, read it and see what a powerful dua it is and how much we all need it at all times.
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

    Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, (1) The King of mankind, (2) The God of mankind, (3) From the evil of the sneaking whisperer, (4) Who whispereth in the hearts of mankind, (5) Of the jinn and of mankind. (6)

    Shaytan (devil) is Al-waswas. He blows into the hearts of the son of Adam when his is sad/ happy. But when he (man) remembers Allah,Shaytan withdraws. Divorce is high cause we let shaytan (the devil)win.


    Best solution is to attain closeness to Allah .By doing all the obligatory duties (waajib) appropriately and by abstaining from that which is haraam and prohitted.

  • I am single.

    Now am I very scared.

    May Allah protect me and my Muslim brethren from a disastrous marriage, ameen.

    Please imam Webb… can we have some HAPPY STORIES ON HERE?

    I mean, Allah mentions the Hellfire an awful lot in the Qur’an, but he always backs it up with mention of Paradise. He doesn’t want His slaves to be trapped in a pit of fear!

    So please balance this thread out with a request for happy stories about people who have been married for more than ten years, AND LOVE IT! Even with the trials.

    Jazakallah khair.

  • Bismillah..

    Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah

    I haven’t been on this site often (in fact I rarely come to the blogosphere) so it’s nice to see discourse al hamdulilah.

    I remember once Ni’matullah (Abu Eesa) – sallamhullah, put up a very poignant reminder on thisvery topic..not so much on divorce as on unhappy marriages. The (short) article was mainly related to an athar (saying) of ‘Umar radiAllahu ‘anhu. A point that was raised in the post, was that while love is indeed a very important and valuable, aspect of marriage – something even made mention of in the Quran (cf. Sr. Room) – it is still nonetheless bot to be thought of as the only defining characteristic and purpose of marriage. Indeed the very athar of Umar radiAllahu ‘anhu was him telling a woman never say to a husband that she hates him – even if it be the case, and as occured in the narration even when he swears to her by Allah that she tell him she hates him, but rather work towrads rectification together withoiut saying such a thing(! )

    “It takes a lot more than just love to let a person: be able to swallow all the bitter pills that need swallowing as part of a marriage; keep a marriage going for years; to wash their spouses underwear; to rear kids with all the difficulties often entailed. ” <–Something along those lines, were the words of Ni’matullah – and from my experience in local communities it is true.

    Rather, as he said -quoting a singer from his days in jaahiliyah “love is just a second emotion”

    We as an ummah need to work to engender greater mahabbah and mawaddah in the marrital relationships in our communities (in fact in all our relationships) – but we, at the same time, definitely need to get passed the false concepts and lies about life fed to us by all these unreal Holllywood images seen day-in and day-out.

    Instead it should be understood in light of the words of Al Farooq, Umar: “few indeed are the houses that are built upon love, but rather the majority will be built upon Islam/love of Allah and ihsan (excellence).” (<–paraphrased). In fact were that to really be actualised then all would (hollywood included) would be able to look to us muslims to take the lead and to be the examples that we were meant to be.

    As I said, through the both the good and the bad examples of marriages that I’ve come across with/through my teachers – may Allah preserve them, it is exactly as has been said: a blessed marriage written with acceptance from Allah or a corrupted marriage depreived of barakah from Allah, can be the difference between one having either a Paradise or a Hell in this world!

    Allah knows best

    Wassalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah

  • Asalam Aleikum All
    I think we should all get together each an every community. Register ourselves and decide to come up with a plan where each community contributes some amount of money every single month (depending on what they can afford).but make it fixed meaning everyone should pay their share every month inshallah. Then use this money to Hire an Imam/qualified scholars (more than 1 for communities that are bigger ) and have this Imam be available to help the whole community.

    In the sense, that if a couple is having marital problems. They can go (privately) to the Imam(s) and ask for advice. Or even anyone planning to get married but not sure, if they are making the right choice can also schedule to see the imam and talk to them.

    I mean all kind of help.
    Example: ever attended a seminar about zakah and the sheikh says “please lets stick to the subject when it comes to question ” But still the sheikh end up with questions about fasting or how do I deal with such and such a case facing my child.
    Why does this happen? because these people have no one else to ask this questions.

    See during the time of the prophet SAW you hear so and so went to the Prophet SAW and asked this or that. And even after the prophet SAW we still read narrations that so and so went to Omar RA or Abubakar RA or Aisha RA and asked if this and that was right or how to do this or that…or deal with a situation…

    When it comes to some matter it’s very important to consult someone knowledgeable. Its always good to get a neutral answer and who would be better than that one qualified scholar/Imam ?

    Take an example:
    I work with couple of muslimas, we where having lunch and one of the sisters asked us for some advice on how she can help a family that needed her assistant (something to do with one of their children getting married) we all had different suggestion but then again. None of us was qualified enough to help this sister and so we advised her to go look for an Imam /sheikh to assist her and shed some light on the matter(which is not that easy to find). The truth of the matter is if we have someone out there already in place to assist the community then that family would not have come to ask the sister (who dint know how to assist or resolve the matter in the first place). This small small matters taken very lightly may turn into bigger issues later when its way tooooo late to resolve them especially when we are turning to the wrong places for help.

    Hire that Scholar, rent an office for them, pay them salaries (WITH MEDICAL AND DENTAL BENEFITS at least ).
    Everyone needs one and if you don’t need one you would be helping someone else. Think of the reward!!!

    Personally, I will be more than happy to volunteer to sign up names and pass the message around if needed. (santa clara ) and pay the monthly copay.

    Think about it: Inshallah

  • I think just because a woman is educated and earning, sometimes it makes it easier for the men to leave. They don’t want to feel guilty and they say, she can support herself. They don’t want to admit that the same education and earnings helped the husband get himself on his feet. When all is said and done, she helped him and supported him through all the trials and hardships. And when it is her turn to rest, the husband has finally established himself that he wishes to share it with someone else. Its not fair or nice. And she never gets her turn to be taken care of. That she is robbed of this security is a long term effect. More than either of them realize at the time. Sad to say but we all grow old and that youth of beauty is for the youth. Those who are themselves not of good heart fail to recognize the good heart of their spouse and that is an inner beauty only those with deen can see. Many also have used their spouses for green cards, citizenships, and other profits. Once accomplished, all the faults of the spouse are highlighted. Funny those did not come up all the time they were in an insecure position. la qadr allah. The thing is we are in the best of Hands and Allah is the one in power and to all we belong and to Allah is our return. And whatever the outcome, that outcome is the will of Allah and Allah is just. He will never let go the hand of the servant.

  • One more thing is the shaikhs are also human and each muslim / muslima should also take responsibilities for their own learning and duties and responsibilities and rights to their spouses and themselves. That is they should be educated themselves and not rely only on the shaikhs because they sheikhs are fallible and all too often, it is like a judge, on who makes the best case. So one should empower themselves and know the good people around them and associate with the righteous. Not just the righteous in words but those whose actions match the words. All too often though, what is shown outside the home is not reflected in the home. The prophet (saw) said, that Those who are best are best to their families and I am the best to my family. And really if you want to ask the character of a person, ask the spouse. There is a fine line between being the cover for the spouse, backbiting the spouse, versus giving an honest opinion when needed for a matter of character. We all really need to know our deen and ourselves and our Lord should be our main goal. We serve our Lord, then we ourselves are serving humanity.

  • Bismillah

    Assalamu Alaykum wr wb bros and sis,

    maybe some people do not take enough time to learn who they are going to marry. When they had enough time to know more about the partner, maybe they have chosen the wrong criteria- like beauty, youth, wealth…Or they just took a person who is a believing muslim(a) but has a bad character (Nafs is not educated enough and commands them, e.g. being angry easily, or dunya-factors like parents or job disturb the love between them)- we know that eeman gets up and down…such happens- and divorce is something what Allah s.t. dislikes. It is not impossible to divorce for a muslim, but it is actually the case when an individual differs from the other so much that they cannot live together anylonger in the same house. Marriage is a struggle too! A divorce can turn someone to a better human being (like any loss-it takes of course time) – repent and do it better the next time- insha allah. May Allah bless you all with a successful marriage. Sunna does not function without the regular implementation of the quran in our hearts! Salam bros and sis

  • Asssalaamu alaikum,

    I also agree with one of the above posts that divorce is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it is the halal solution that needs to happen.

    In my own experience, the divorce process itself became much worse when the entire community self-righteously mobilized to “save” our failed marriage – creating a circus atmosphere that made everything much, much worse.

    Paradoxically, our divorce and subsequent handling of custody went a lot better when we took it to the lawyers and a very good judge (who are PROFESSIONALS) rather than “friends”, imams and lots of community folks who may have “good” intentions but become quite hysterical when the dissolution of the marriage occurs – they don’t know what to do about divorce; their only reaction was to keep trying to trick us to get back together through any means necessary – primarily through trying to assess whose “fault” it was, which only poisoned our relationship even further – or totally diss one or both of us. There was no Plan B. You want to divorce, we wash our hands of you.

    If anyone cares about the children – then please, try to keep the parents’ psyche, honor, dignity, etc. intact, without forcing people who can no longer live together through humiliating public scrutiny of the community to keep them together “for the sake of the children”.

    Allah allows marriage, and shariah certainly allows for multiple divorce and remarriage. I wonder how any couple could get remarried after a first divorce, when the community browbeats, goes on witchhunts to ascertain whose “fault” it is, spreads rumors and destroys reputations, etc. all in the quest to reunite the couple!!! The first divorce is so horrible, it makes a reunion almost impossible!

    I think we should worry about the divorce rate, yes. But we should worry about the quality of divorce more. Make it a dignified, honorable, confidential process, that is about communication not courtroom. Then maybe the divorced couple could actually maybe reconcile and start on a better footing at a later date. Now, it is the scorched earth method of divorce. If you want divorce, then you will get destroyed. Almost to teach a lesson to people about how horrible divorce is? Self-fulfilling prophecy.

    We should also worry more about fornication and adultery, which is haram. I would rather to divorce twice than slip once into fornication. That will be the much bigger challenge in our society if young muslims become so frightened of marriage, divorce, etc. that they might do like their non-muslim counterparts and skip marriage altogether! May Allah protect us from that!

    Marriage is beautiful, and quite frankly divorce can be very needed, good, gives a fresh start, as well.

    Like it or not, divorce is halal! Allah describes exactly how to do divorce in the quran!! We are in surat al baqarah and we start learning about it! It is part of the sunnah.

    Just one example, Zaid and Zaynab (raa) were matched together by Prophet Muhammad (saws) himself – and they still divorced. Clearly, some people’s fate are not with certain people. They both remarried and had blessed marriages by the Decree of Allah SWT. Zaynab was married to Prophet Muhammad in the Heavens by Allah Himself subhanahu wa ta’alaa after her divorce!

    Another example of a woman who was divorced for the 3rd time by her husband. She was immediately taken to the Prophet saws to help her get remarried. She had some offers, but the Prophet saws recommended against those men because they were not good enough (I remember one always had his stick up to beat his wife)! She was not considered “bottom of the barrel” because she was divorced! Prophet saws highly recommended she marry Usama (ra) one of the best companions!

    If the stigma of divorce and divorced people were not so absolutely bent out of proportion nowadays, I think we would be more rational and mature in going into marriage in the first place.

    We become so focused on “what if the marriage fails and this horrible divorce happens” that we create systemic fixes that start marriages off on a weak foundation, including:

    – depressingly low standards (so we don’t get our hearts broken in case the marriage fails). This reminds me of a line from a movie, to paraphrase: Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations to it.

    – huge dowries (for security in case marriage fails)

    – Unrealistic fantasy expectations of wife/husband (have to marry perfection and/or be perfect so we don’t divorce – can’t just be regular folks like everybody else)

    – girl has to have education and good career (in case her marriage fails)

    – delayed marriage (fear of divorce)

    – playing the field, testing the waters, dating!, extensive secret courtships (to really check out the prospective partner – so we don’t get divorced!)

    – overinvolvement, threats, etc. from parents and family (to pressure and guilt-trip the young couple never to shame them and the clan with the black spot of divorce!)

    On and on.

    Sometimes the more we work to prevent something, the more we focus on the problem, the more the problem surfaces for us to “fix”, the more we introduce non-islamic solutions to “fix” the problem, thereby getting away from the quran and sunnah, in a vicious circle. Sowing the seeds of the marriage’s demise.

    It really has to be more simple than we make it.

    I agree we need more positive, real life, stories and examples, and analsyis, giving the nitty gritty, on successful marriages – all kinds including first time, remarriage, polygynous, same age, age gap – that really work, how and why. Also, really practical scholarship on the different marriages of rasoolullah (saws) and the flexibility in the shariah in terms of marriage styles, mates, ages, etc. We are not all the Muslim equivalents of Barbie and Ken.

  • Does anybody think that romance movies, Bollywood movies, soap opearas, etc are part of the problem?

    In the Indian/Pakistani culture, many girls seem to love these ‘bollywood’ movies and these only taint their expectation of marriage. They imagine living such a bollywood movie and then are disappoinited that their husband doesnt meet their fantasy expectations.

    We forget that marriage isn’t a wordly deed, but rather an act of worship.

  • I will add though to my above comment, that I dont think thats the sole reason of course.

    The main reason probably, as many ulema have suggested, is that we go into marriage without having knowledge of, and being prepared to fulfill our responsibilities. This has nothing to do with age as somebody above suggested, rather getting married young is highly emphasized. Whether young or old, we still need to be aware of our Islamic responsiblities as Muslim husband/wife/father/mother. See this article, Is Marriage Sinful?

    Though I have also heard a scholar make a comment about bollywood similar to what i said above!!

  • I have never been in so great marriage than this , but i am afraid that it is falling apart. Please Dear Sis, Bros i am asking you to make du’a for my family which i am afraid is on the edge of divorce coz of me being away from her ,I am in aposition of being unable to come to her now possibly save my marriage and my family from the really distruction that Allah is talking about in the Quran .
    it is Du’a that might change the KADAR of Allah. please i am asking islamically to make Du’a for me and my family. I have come to where i have made decided of making Hijra. please make Du’a for me so that Allah may accept my hijrah.
    salaams to all .
    May Allah save all Halaah Marriages.

  • FrustratedBrother: I read your comment, and I definitely think soaps/Bollywood (or Hollywood) movies SOMETIMES add to the problem. Many girls go into marriage thinking it’ll be a fairy tale affair everyday, only to wake up to a somewhat different reality. Again, as people mentioned earlier, sometimes it just comes down to having way too many high expectations.

  • I think Muslims are now divorcing due to few factors. One being an arranged marriage to someone from a different culture with one spouse coming from “back home”. Some marriages like this work out in the olden days their mind set was some what similar or they are traditional thinking or trying to keep the honour of family and bear it especially if married to a relative. The younger generation won’t follow the same way.

    Woman are now working and are educated, so if she doesn’t like something she will not stick at the marriage if say her husband was cheating on her….she can support herself.

    Some marry just to please their parents choice of partner. They give it time and call it off as one of them really wanted to marry someone else but wasn’t allowed maybe “wrong caste or ethnic group”.

    Most are marrying their own choices, but even this is ending in split. The person they knew before marriage wasn’t what they want after marriage and try changing them and ends in conflict.

    Extended family can also be a result especially if you are still living with the in-laws. The couple don’t have privacy and the girl is expected to cook, clean for all and it’s something she doesn’t want to do.

    People have become too materialistic. They now marry a spouse chosen on their career. They start of falling for the charms but later it wears off as personality is differenent.

    Most people are cultured rather than religious. Some are now having multiple divorces. It is far easier and accpted now a days to go through a divorce than it was 10 years ago and has now become the norm.

    The community has to be more supportive and respect families privacy. The community are well known to gossip and shame others when they haven’t looked beyond their own front doors.
    When looking at potential spouses the community/ family think two single people- get married. They don’t look at compatibility at different levels

  • salams to all,

    i read all your comments and it’s all pretty much true. it boils down to not implementing islam and not having a marriage based on the guidelines of islam. our deen if perfect and if we would just follow it, we would be in a much better state.

    from experience, i can say that the woman’s career is a big deal. if she sacrifices family for career, then it’s pretty much a downward spiral. i made the mistake of expecting my husband to cook when i come home late. again, goes back to not clarifying expectations before marraige.
    another issue is children, one wanting children the other not being ready. and then how to raise them.
    husband not adhering to islamic laws- not lowering his gaze, intermingling with females (“oh, but they are my cousins” – as if they are mahram), watching movies with half naked women (bollywood, anyone?)

    really, if we just lay down everything before taking the plunge it would save us from a lot of distress. deen and akhlaq, most important.

  • I think that Muslims and well as non-Muslims can fall victim to shaytan and the dunya. We are vulnerable because it is difficult to maintain Islamic character. Many muslims believe that if they don't smoke, drink, or cheat on their wives then they have an excuse to treat their spouses any kind of way.

    Marriage is a job and some muslims do not want to work hard at perfecting it. We must pray and put in the effort as well to achieve a successful marriage.

  • as salamu’alaykum, im kinda re-opening this ever present discussion, but i think one of the main problems is that many a muslim, nowadays is caught between two cultures and juxtaposed in the middle is Islam.
    A prime example is holly and bollywood influences! U be romantic yet animalistic on the other side, with a fuzzy ill-learnt or ‘hard to learn’ islam in the middle of ones life.
    I think we need communities to help people, yes we need imams but were supposed to help each other and when one needs help you find the society, more so the so called community (which is probaly the family and close family friends) trying to ‘help’ you by becoming the father, mother, brother, sister, grandparants, scholar, teacher, backbiter all in one!

  • Like the sister was saying, before in the golden ages, people used to marry and even though divorce was disliked they used to divorce is things basically did not improve after trying.
    The sister gave some beautiful example of a sahaba and his wife. I mean its just nowadays we have so many expectations, perceptions, and a community based on understanding will alleviate some problems, i mean the treatment of woman, and education of parents to atleast get some fear in their hearts to do whats best for thier children and understanding from those who want to marry. But i know it is alot more complex that words.

  • Often times–the youth just get so caught up in the “fun” of it all. They want to get engaged because everyone else is doing it. They want to get married so they are not the only single ones. They dont take the time to learn about what they are getting into because they expect it to be all fun and games like in the movies…niether party is ready to compromise and they are all to busy looking at what their spouse hasnt given them…rather than what they have.

    Anywho…here is a poem I wrote after talking to multiple people who have gotten divorces because they didnt take the time to get know the person…rather they jumped into the marriage filled with the wrong expectations.

    It all started, one day in september
    and now Im thinking…will he remember?
    Will he remember the day that we met?
    or on this day, that we separate, will he forget.

    I walked into the living room and with a loud voice I said
    Assalamu Alaykum! Its time to be fed!
    The brother jumped back–not sure what to think
    is this the same sister who when I spoke turned pink?
    The times have changed, and so have I
    “No more mr. nice guy…or gal”, I sigh…

    He walked behind me, angrily, all the way to the kitchen
    Where are the eggs, he demanded…did I look like a hen?
    He wanted me to feed him and take his suggestions as well?
    Who did he think I was…ahh this marriage has been swell.

    Id rather be at work, than at home all the time
    I beg relentlessly, hoping a job will be mine
    Women stay at home, he snaps–that is his stance
    He never wants to discuss–never gives me a chance!

    Between tears I mumble– what did I do
    I should have asked you questions before I married you!
    You didnt know me, and I surely didnt know you
    But what possessed me that day–to say “I do”???

    I forgot istikhara—musta slipped my mind
    and ignored all the information that my friends did find
    “He isnt who you think he is–I promise you’ll regret”
    Now in this living room today, my friends are winning the bet!

    He thought I was calm–obedient–and serene
    But now he knows, Im the craziest thing he’s ever seen!
    I wanted someone hip–lenient and kind
    but today I sit with a man who is losing his mind!

    “Im trusting in Allah” I assured myself not so long ago
    But I forgot to tie my camel…although everyone told me so
    Now I sit with consequences of my decision made in haste
    these few months–have been nothing but waste!

    If I could turn back time, I would never do this again
    I was woman marrying a male who isnt of the men!

    Today I walk out the doors, all covered dust
    When he gets married again, clean she must!
    I wont come back, not for another day
    all this and its only been nine months…September to May.

  • Asa, I read comments very nicely every body is sharing their experience so I thought if some one wants to give me advice wot should i do . I am married with the person who born and raised in usa and I’m from pakistan v have been married for six years this person is very hard to handle his ego is very very high, very have two kids and I can tel through his actions he doesn’t like kids very very selfish if something happens so wrong he saves his life and leave me and kids behind,big actor, v have no understanding at all, i have tried soo many times to make him understand wot is wing with put marriage

  • So I talked to him million times with love anger cry and peace but nothing worked at all we started getting marriage counseling but finally this person doesn’t even change for an inch now i feel tired I cannot tell even my family abt this hell that’s y im here and tel me wot wot should I do. And I forgot to say that he is very very controlling and has no respect for me asks receipt all the time when I get groceries, since week I stop grocery shopping too, i feel like servant in this house who has no respect from barter wot I do. Plz need ur advice and yes he prays 5 times a day does complete all farz.

  • As Salaamu Alaykum, there could be a huge number of reasons of the divorce rate, but one thing is certain, we must be kind and respectful of each other and always depend on Allah(SWT) as well as rely on Him, Any concerns that a couple might face must always in my opinion refers back to the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet(PBUH) it has to be a team effort between the husband and wife as partners to make the marriage work successfully, the husband can not be a dictator, but he must be extremely kind, compassionate, respectful and considerate with his wife at all times,The Prophet (PBUH) was an excellent example on how a muslim husband should conduct himself with his wife.

  • Divorce rates are growing because there are not enough resources for muslims who are in the pre-marital stages. Two scenarios exist 1) revert muslim without a family to assist 2) born muslim with un-cooperative/meddlesome parents. I have recently gone through scenario 1 and therefore can speak more candidly here. This being said, let me touch briefly on what I have seen as regards scenario 2 from a sisters perspective. Sisters I know who are born muslim and speak of pre-marriage processes complain of parents who make choosing a spouse who truly fits them very difficult indeed. Among the difficulties that parents create in choosing a spouse include race/culture and income level. These are the two things that born muslim sisters talk about–they are literally the only things on their mind. Can they find someone who their parents and family will not reject based on racial and cultural biases and prejudices, and is the brother they are looking at rich enough? In my mind, it is obvious from here why there would be a high rate of divorce among muslims who marry based on the pressures they feel from their family to marry the richest most well bred man they can find despite if his deen/akhlaq is horrible, despite if the two are totally and completely different/not-compatable–most the time compatibility isn’t even taken into account if the two requirements of money and acceptable lineage are met. So is it any surprise that when young muslim women are pressured into marriages based on such superficial qualities that there are problems that lead to divorce? No it is not surprising. This brings me to the other scenario, my scenario–the revert sister without much help scenario. I am married alhamdullilah but honestly in the last 6 months I cannot even count on my fingers the number of times I both thought to myself and expressed aloud to my husband that I made a mistake in marrying him and that I think we should divorce. I feel this way a lot, and I have felt it since the second I got married. I didn’t have any support while I was in the process of choosing my spouse–not from my wali (the imam of my masjid), who was reluctant to say the least and very unavailable as I searched for more information, for words of wisdom, for advice, for real emotional support and back up as I stood on the cliff of what would be the rest of my life. My husband was VERY determined to gain my hand in marriage, I turned him down twice, and only on his third proposal did I reluctantly accept. I fold under pressure. I still think that if I had a proper wali, some muslim parents maybe, or even a very concerned and supportive friend, I would not have married my husband. There just wasn’t any help out there for me. The brothers and sisters I did receive advice from basically said either if he’s a good brother just go for it, if he makes lots of money just go for it, if he’s american just go for it. Yeah. Not very helpful. I understand the hadith about how we should marry for religion so I went for the fact that event hough my husband is not rich or American he is reputed to be a good muslim. I wish I would have spent more time in meetings getting to know him, asking more questions, making more istikhara, asking for more references, asking to meet his family, asking about his family and his family dynamic, about his childhood, asking and talking more, discussing values and wants and needs in a relationship, about our pasts, I wish so many more things could have happened while I was in the premarital phase–but they didn’t and alhamdullilah of course everything is a test. But seeing as I frequently have to talk myself down from calling the sheikh about divorce, I can pretty much attest to the fact that without community support, and increased support from local imams who ACTUALLY care about the future wellbeing of who they marry, without increased awareness of what makes people compatible, without more dialogue between the brother and sister about important issues including sex, then marriages will continue to end in divorce. I think that this is the only way to help both scenarios, both the revert muslim and the born muslim–both so desperately need increased community support. Through programs that can educate individuals as well as families, programs that offer assistance to brothers and sisters BEFORE they even get married–pre marital counseling, and Imams who actually care about the people they wed. I do not think it’s ok for Imams to perform nikah without going through extensive interview processes with each person to ensure that they feel right about the decision, to ensure that they are indeed a good match for the other person, to ensure that the marriage they are initiating is a success. Being a revert muslim I must say that the worst part of my new life is the utter failure of the so called ummah. We are supposed to be the most tight knit community on the face of the planet, but I have never felt more alone in my life. Muslim marriages will continue to fail if we cannot create systems of support for our brothers and sisters in the premarital stages as well as the marriage itself. Like now….why am I even typing here? It’s because I have no body to turn to, and that is so wrong, and I think it’s obvious why people are divorcing right and left and that’s because our ummah is so disunited–a marriage is just a cell of the larger societal organism–if our ummah has no unity then it’s very obvious to see that our marriages will end in disunion as well. May Allah SWT guide us all. Amin.

  • Muslims are just like other religious or ethnic groups and have the same issues, problems and hangups. So it is not fair to pint fingers at them, as if the “non muslims” are any better at their marriages. I recently ended a long distance relationship last week with a guy almost 12 years older than me (his wife dies from cancer 2 years ago), who I met online and he came three times to meet me and my guardian (my mother passed away in Feb) and my dad lives overseas. The guy had promised me all that I was looking for in a muslim marital relationship and then asked for a prenup and I agreed but the terms of his prenup though not bad, were giving me the bare minimum that I would have gotten if we had stuck to US laws. I was still OK with that, as he has 2 kids and I have none. However, when he brought up that I should consider giving all I have to them in my will when I die, it was just too much and in really bad tastse for me. It was as if he wanted a working wife who would support herself AND give her stuff to his kids, when Islamically they cannot inherit from me! MAYBE if we had married and the kids were good to me, I could have gifted them something. AND he also wanted me to give them the portion I would inherit from him if he died before me. Such greed was a huge turn off from someone who told me he wanted to marry me bec I was a good practicing muslimah! Hence I decided not to go thru with this arrangement and we broke up. his kids are adult and the older is a wealthy banker and his wife 15 yrs younger than me earns more than me! His younger son decided to drop out of college and hangs out at home. And I am 12 years younger and in better health – only Allah knows who will die first – but he was SO desperate to continue providing for them that he neglected that he had a duty towards providing me with somethings too. H wanted to live 2 weeks per month with his drop out son, who he was pampering with new sports cars and maxing out his credit cards and exotic vacations, bec he did not want the kid to feel “sad”. Alhumdolillah that I got saved from this marriage.

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