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

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  1. Saadi says:

    After reading all this, I am glad I am still single.

  2. Raghib says:

    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.

  3. AJR says:

    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.

  4. siahus says:

    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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