Tag Archives: Divorce

Polygamy Unpicked – But I Just Can’t Accept Polygamy

Post taken from Polygamy Unpicked – Original linked here

Why is it so hard to accept polygamy? Why is so excruciating to share my husband? When will I be able to feel OK about my husband having another wife?

One reply to these sorts of questions I came across really struck me: you first have to accept you don’t own your husband.

 

‘But of course I don’t own him!’

Well, we ideally don’t want to admit this, but there is often a sense of ownership there – ‘He’s my husband’, ‘He’s my other half’. ‘He’d never take a second wife, he wouldn’t dare!’

When we feel we own something, we have power over what happens to it. But no one owns anyone – Islam promotes abolishing slavery – and we are only owned by Allah (SWT), we are His slaves.

Our husband is not our possession, our children are not even so; they are a trust to take care of from Allah

What we do possess is a relationship between us and our husband – and no one can take that away, bithnillah, even another wife entering the family. What may spoil this relationship is the resentment a husband might possess from feeling owned.

It’s understandable to feel threatened by another wife, by the imaginings of what your husband thinks of you because of his polygamous desires, but if he makes the effort to show you he still loves you as much as before, that your relationship has not changed. He deserves to be respected and not treated in a controlling way that pushes him away. ‘If you marry another wife, I’m leaving,’ or ‘If you want polygamy, I want a divorce.’ These threats will be seen as controlling and manipulative, and if there is no other valid reason to end the relationship, they are best avoided.

When we recognize that only Allah (SWT) has the power to allow your husband to get into polygam,y and whatever we say or do will not change the outcome, there can be a sense of peace, especially for those whose husband seems to be pursuing a subsequent wife on a regular basis. Of course, we can communicate our feelings and hurt about the situation – maybe there is something a husband can say or do to ease the pain.

When we relinquish ownership of our husband, we also gain the freedom ourselves to accept polygamy. We then realize our husband chooses to come back to us, not because he is chained in a relationship, but because he wants to and he wants you.

I know being in this situation is hard, and can feel painful to your core – you just want it to go away. I hope some of the perspectives I am writing about ease that pain a tiny bit. Do let me know if this is the case, or any other comments you may have down in the comments section, or join the discussions on our Facebook page and follow Polygamy Unpicked on Twitter

 

Islam Q&A – Does a husband have to be patient with his wife all the time and not divorce her?

We know that the wife of Nuh (as), and the wife of Lut (as) went to jahannam, may Allah protect us from his displeasure, amin. Is this evidence that brothers should patient with their wives all the time, and not divorce them? I have heard that the Messenger of Allah, (pbuh), divorced women. What is the difference between keeping a woman with bad behavior and counseling her, and getting rid of a woman with bad behavior?

Published Date: 2000-10-03 – IslamQ&A – https://islamqa.info/en/10613

Praise be to Allaah.

Undoubtedly the wives of Nooh and Loot (peace be upon them) will enter Hell with those who will enter it, but they did not commit any obvious sin that would imply kufr, otherwise it would not have been permissible for these Prophets to have remained married to kaafir women, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… Likewise hold not the disbelieving women as wives” [al-Mumtahanah 60:10]

Perhaps the wife of Nooh was concealing kufr, or perhaps, despite the fact that Nooh had been calling people to Allaah for so long, she was influenced by the call of her people when she saw that all of her people were following kufr, so she became doubtful and wondered how he alone could be a believer when all of these people were disbelievers, and they formed the majority of their nation. So her kufr may have been secret. The same applies to the wife of Loot, of whom they said that her only sin was that she told her people about his guests, i.e., she called them to come and commit obscene actions with them. This was her sin, but it is possible that she was also a kaafir in secret. Hence Allaah said (interpretation of the meaning):

“… except his wife, she will be of those who remain behind” [al-‘Ankaboot 29:32]

This is a summary of the response given by Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Jibreen, may Allaah preserve him.

It is permissible for a husband to divorce his wife so long as there is a shar’i reason for doing so, such as a lack of religious commitment, a bad attitude, lack of chastity, negligence, etc., even if she is not a kaafir. But if she is a righteous believer, let him keep her, even if he dislikes some of her characteristics, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Let not a believing man hate a believing woman. If he dislikes one of her attributes, he will be pleased with another.” (Narrated by Muslim from Abu Hurayrah, 1469).

When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted to divorce Hafsah, Allaah revealed to him: Go back to Hafsah, for she fasts a lot and prays a lot at night, and she will be your wife in Paradise. Al-Mundhiri said: this was narrated by al-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah. ‘Awn al-Ma’bood Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood, hadeeth no. 2283.

The husband has to strive to reform his wife and pray to Allaah to reform her. Allaah will reform a wife in whom there is some crookedness, if He wills, as He said concerning His slave Zakariya (interpretation of the meaning):

“… and [We] cured his wife for him…” [al-Anbiya’ 21:90]

Some of the mufassireen (commentators) said that she used to have a sharp tongue, i.e., her speech towards her husband was offensive, so Allaah reformed her.

A man may put up with the difficulty of keeping his wife in order to ward off a greater difficulty, which is that of separating the children and dividing the family. But if the harm caused by staying with one’s wife is greater than the harm caused by separating from her, there is nothing wrong with him divorcing her. And Allaah is the Source of strength.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Zainab bint Younis – 10 Things I Learned from my Ex

10-things-i-learned-from-my-ex

Taken from aboutislam.net website – http://aboutislam.net/family-society/husbands-wives/10-things-learned-ex/

Whether it’s sprung on you suddenly, or it’s been creeping up on you for a while; whether it’s something you needed for yourself or something you never wanted… divorce is a difficult experience to go through. It is a painful process with a deep emotional toll, and for many, it can (understandably) be the source of a great deal of anger and bitterness towards one’s ex-spouse.

However, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us that there’s always a silver lining to even the darkest of clouds in our lives.

“How amazing is the affair of the believer! Verily, all his affairs are good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good befalls him, he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him.” (Saheeh Muslim #2999)

In the months after my divorce, both celebrating and mourning the end of a chapter of my life, I realized that my marriage and divorce alike were a learning experience. To that end, I offer the following ten things I learned from my ex-husband.

1) I am beautiful. When I first got married, I was both incredibly young and crippling insecure about myself. For the longest time, I had been a tomboy and a late bloomer; by the time I hit my mid-teens, I was already insecure about how I looked.

It took quite a bit of convincing from my then-husband for me to eventually believe that I was, in fact, pretty – and more than that, beautiful. Marriage gave me the freedom to explore aspects of beautification that I had avoided out of awkwardness, and to develop positive self-image. I will always appreciate and be grateful for the fact that my ex was the one who coaxed me out of my shell and made me comfortable with myself.

2) Being flawed doesn’t make you evil. By the time I recognized that my marriage was toxic, I had come to resent my then-husband. Often, I conflated his flaws and faults with him as a person, and had some very unpleasant things to say about him. It was a struggle to realize and remember that he wasn’t evil; he had his own inner demons and baggage that he was wrestling with, and while it didn’t excuse his behavior, it didn’t mean that he was all bad. It just made him painfully human… like me.

3) Just because it isn’t true love, doesn’t mean it isn’t love. I spent a great deal of time conflicted over the nature of my feelings for him. As his wife, wasn’t I supposed to be truly in love with him? How could I think that I loved him, when I knew that I wasn’t going to be spending the rest of my life with him?

While we grow up hearing about how we’ll meet our one true love, nobody really tells you that sometimes, you’ll find yourself loving someone who isn’t your one true love… and that’s okay. Allah has put you in that situation for a reason, and it is very often a blessing. There are many more types and shades of love than we are taught, and it is a blessing to experience them.

4) Unrequited love is painful even for the one who doesn’t love you back. Perhaps one of the worst feelings I ever experienced was knowing that he loved me more than I loved him in return. It was brutal, it was harsh, and it made me feel like the worst person on earth. It’s the unrequited lover who usually gains everyone’s sympathy – the story of Barirah and Mughith is quite apt – but to know that you aren’t the right person for the one who loves you with all his (or her) heart, is an incredibly painful feeling, especially when you do care about them deeply.

5) Remember the good, not just the bad. There’s an infamous hadith that mentions women who become so upset that they forget the good that has happened to them. Having been in a situation where it was tempting – and easy – to overlook the bright spots in favor of brooding on the dark times, I can say that gratefulness to Allah goes a long way in healing painful hurts.

Even in deeply unhappy situations, there can still be moments of small happiness, little joys and pleasant memories; things to think back to and smile about (even if that smile is a little sad). Don’t let the bitterness completely overcome the traces of sweetness left.

6) You don’t stop caring just because you’re divorced. My marriage ended slowly and agonizingly, and my divorce was painful… to be horribly honest, it was probably worse for him than it was for me. Yet although I was elated and relieved to be divorced, I wasn’t able to stop caring for him entirely.

After years of being together, of a relationship that was unique despite its turbulence, it’s impossible to just throw out the feelings of tenderness and compassion and to feel apathetic. Even though we are Islamically non-mahram to each other and will have minimal contact for the rest of our lives, there will always be a part of me that worries about him and hopes that he will be really, truly happy. The heart doesn’t have an on/off switch, so don’t expect it to.

7) Don’t be tempted. Some nights, when you wake up suddenly in the middle of the night and roll over in search of a warm, comforting body, you’ll realize with a lurch that they aren’t there anymore.

Some days, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about what if… what if you went back and things would change? What if you want to stay in touch with him/her and you’ll find that s/he’s not so bad, after all? Don’t go there. In many cases (I would venture to say most), the person you divorced is going to be the same person they were when you were married. Unless you both actively choose and commit to try again, with marriage counseling and a firm decision to resolve the issues that caused your marriage to end in the first place, don’t be tempted to fantasize about Happily Ever After, with the same person. Instead, trust in Allah that He will give you both what you actually need.

8) Toxic relationships are real. Unfortunately, few of us learn about – or how to identify – toxic relationships in the many lectures and books we’ll devour prior to marriage. However, it is something necessary to learn about, in order to be aware of unhealthy behavioral patterns that may emerge in your marriage, whether it’s coming from you or from your spouse. It doesn’t matter what cultural background you’re from, toxic relationships are real and can become worse – even abusive – if not recognized and dealt with as soon as possible.

Some people conflate sabr (patience) with enduring an unhealthy marriage without striving for resolution or positive change, but the Qur’an describes the marital bond as being one of love, mercy, and compassion. A marriage that lacks these qualities can be detrimental to one’s Imaan (faith), and should not be left to fester.

divorce-heart9) It won’t always end well. Sometimes, even if we really want to have the kind of amicable divorce where everyone conducts themselves with politeness and respect and maybe even friendly cooperation… it’s not so easy for the other party to share that vision – and sometimes, it’s just impossible.

Whether you’re the one who initiated the divorce or the one who received the news of it, the pain and inner torment of it all can be too much to shelve away neatly and go on as though none of it matters. Some of us are able to acknowledge our emotions and move on, and some of us aren’t. It can get nasty, it can get even more painful, but at the end of the day, we have to realize that as much as it would be much more convenient for things to go smoothly between you and your former spouse… it just might never reach the point of being an amicable divorce.

Once again, this is a time to turn to Allah and make du’a for the other person (even if we really, really don’t like them right now) that He ease their pain and yours.

10) Divorce can make you a better person. The struggles – and the good times – that you shared with your ex-spouse all took place for a reason. Allah tests those whom He loves, and divorce is just one of those trials and tribulations in life that we can emerge from as stronger Muslims and better people.

Not only are we given the opportunity to turn to Allah with a broken heart and find healing in the Words of al-Shaafi, the Healer, but we are now equipped with life skills that will help us recognize our own faults and shortcomings. We are also, inshaAllah, better able to understand and empathize with the ex-spouse, which is an excellent reminder of the importance of humbleness and forgiveness (and how hard they both are to truly embody).

Divorce is undoubtedly a difficult, unpleasant life experience and there’s no way to really put a positive spin on it… but there are ways to recognize the blessings that accompany every fitnah in life and to benefit from them, knowing them to be a part of the journey to Jannah, inshaAllah.

{Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you?} (Qur’an 2:214)

A Muslim Guy’s Take On The Muslim Marriage Crisis

An interesting and thoughtful take on the Muslim marriage crisis affecting the Muslims of the west, especially those who pursue their career over other aspects of their life.

Gingerbeardman

From middle-path.come blog –  https://middle-path.com/2016/09/13/a-muslim-guys-take-on-the-muslim-marriage-crisis/

So recently I was surfing through the net and came across various articles on what many have termed as the “Muslim Marriage crisis”, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a growing phenomenon of marriageable age Muslims in the West who are increasingly finding it difficult to search for compatible marriage partners in what many perceive to be a lack thereof.

This phenomenon has specifically affected our Muslim sisters the most as there is an ever increasing number of highly educated and successful Muslim women in their late 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s who are intelligent, beautiful, and financially independent, holding down professional careers on their own; all qualities which should make them attractive prospects for Muslim men, yet they make up the great majority of the demographic affected by the Muslim Marriage crisis.

Why is that the case? Many have suggested that it’s due to a lack of equally qualified Muslim men, or that Muslim men are intimidated by outspoken and, what they view as “overly qualified” Muslim women who were raised to think independently in a society that espouses individualism, and thus avoid proposing to them all together and instead go abroad to their home countries where they marry “submissive” women who are still in their youthful prime. Many also believe that Muslim men marrying outside their faith (which Islamically is allowed as long as it’s with a chaste Christian or Jewish woman) is only exacerbating the crisis by depriving single Muslim women of potential spouses and decreasing the already small pool of available Muslim men.

As a Muslim guy, I do believe it’s unfair to pin the entire blame for this marriage crisis on to us men as we Muslims must avoid generalizing one another if we are going to get anywhere in terms of finding a solution.

However that does not mean I am absolving Muslim men of the consequences of their actions which have contributed to the marriage crisis and thus I will address that which applies and I will rebuke that which is generalisation at best.

It is true that in the West significant numbers of Muslim men are marrying outside their faith. And I say “significant” because even though it might not seem like it to some, however in comparison to the crisis at hand it is a game changer as the disparity between the number of available single Muslim women and single Muslim men is very large and increasing. For every one Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman, there is one more Muslimah who loses a chance of finding a Muslim husband.

Of course, many brothers will view this as an attack on their right to marry women of the Book and in response will say “oh, but Islam permits Muslim men to marry women of the book”. And I’m not suggesting that marrying chaste women of the book is haram because obviously what Allah (SWT) made permissable none can declare haram. However Muslim men must understand the repercussions of their individual choice to marry outside their religion and how this puts Muslim women at a disadvantage since Islam does not permit a Muslimah to marry outside her faith, thus leaving these sisters struggling to find a spouse.

Another point that ties into the above is that today’s “women of the book” are not the same as the women of the book from the time of RasulAllah (SAW) who dressed and conducted themselves no differently from Muslim women, like guarding their chastity and wearing hijab like loose garments. But since the sexual “revolution” and the three waves of Feminism in the West, where Christians are the majority, a chaste woman is now looked upon as being “sexually repressed” and pre-marital sex and sexual promiscuity is widely encouraged for both genders in every Western country. A single Muslim woman of any age group is still far more likely to be chaste and God fearing compared to today’s “women of the book” whom so many Muslim men marry (or get into illicit relationships with). And since we Muslim men make a big fuss about virginity to our Muslim sisters I think it’s very hypocritical that we then run to tie the knot with non-Muslim women who are more likely to have a promiscuous past.

Also, since the advent of Feminism in the West, men are no longer the sole heads of household with women now holding an equal or greater sway over family affairs such as the religion (or lack thereof) of their children. So in the present context where these factors now come into play, interfaith marriages between Muslim men and today’s “women of the book” are strongly discouraged even by some Muslim scholars due to the greater likelihood of the offspring not having a strong Islamic identity. Thus it is safe to conclude that from the perspective of the Muslim community’s long term interest it is better for Muslim men to marry women from within their own community.

Brothers need to understand that there is nothing wrong with marrying an older Muslimah as long as she is pious, practicing, and God fearing. It’s not fair to our 25 and older sisters that they should be condemned to a life of lonliness due to their age  but these sisters must also be more open to marrying someone younger than them because there are brothers out there who are willing to marry older and much more mature Muslimahs but often get turned down because of their age as well. So it is a two way street which will require compromise from both sides.

Coming to the other point regarding Muslim men being “intimidated” by professional Muslim women and thus avoid proposing to them, I believe this is a nonsensical claim. This might be true for some men, but overall this notion is completely false and I’ll explain why in the following:

Saying that Muslim men are somehow “intimidated” is to imply that they are inherently weak or too cowardly to take up the challenge of marrying a “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” (in the Western sense) Muslim woman which again is completely untrue.

Men, on the contrary, don’t view any such woman who gives priority to her professional life as a potential wife/mother because there is no way such a woman will be able to juggle between full time work as a professional and fulfilling her obligations as a wife and mother (if/when she has children). Either she will have to give up her professional life as a career woman to make time for having and raising children (which will require all of her time and effort) or she will have to forgoe marriage. No practicing Muslim man wants his children raised by nannies and daycares. In Islam, the purpose of getting married and building a family is to bond with one another and to help each other become better Muslims and raise a whole new generation of Muslim children instilled with Taqwa, NOT replace one another with complete strangers nor to be part time parents. Today many of our sisters have been duped into believing that they can live the single life of a career woman while also being a wife and mother. This is in fact out of touch with reality. The traditional role of a father and husband has always been that of the protector and maintainer of the family, which is even clearly stated in the Quran (4:34). And Muslim men are still expected to fulfill this role, but Muslim women no longer feel obligated to fulfill their role as devoted mothers and wives but would rather chase the life of a career woman in order to compete with men in the job market under the false notion of “gender equality”, even to the detriment of their own offspring should they have any. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a Muslimah holding down a professional career, but if it’s getting in the way of raising her children to be practicing Muslims of good character, then from the point of view of Islam’s long term interests as well as her individual well being both in this Dunya as well as the Akhira it is better for her to reduce her work days (if possible) or quit her job all together if necessary, because the children are the priority and as their mother only she is biologically well tuned to raising them and indoctrinating them with the Islamic way of life. No one else, not even the father can fulfill the role of the mother, which is why the father must do his part as the breadwinner of the family (Quran, 4:34).

Coming to the notion that there is a “lack” of “qualified” Muslim men, here too I strongly disagree. But before I explain my reason for disagreeing I believe it is very important to define what “qualified” means from the perspective of the sisters pushing this notion: their definition of “qualified” resembles something out of a Hollywood romantic comedy (or Bollywood if you’re Desi), except its the Muslim version; wherein their Prince charming is young and handsome yet he’s somehow managed to achieve so much success and wealth in his young life but also has all the free time on his hands to give her his undivided attention and make her laugh every second of her life, not to mention he’s religious, faithful, God fearing and extremely pious and has a beard yet he’s liberal enough to allow his wife the freedom to do as she pleases; the so called perfect balance between “Deen and Dunya” as they call it. And if any brother proposing falls short of any of these requirements then he’s considered “under-qualified” or “lacking”. If the brother is religious and God fearing then he’s “too strict” and not “liberal enough”. If he’s liberal then the complaint is that he doesn’t lower his gaze and is “too loose” around other women. If he’s young and still working on building his career then “he’s not making enough” and thus “not financially ready”(after all, someone’s gotta pay for the extravagant wedding so she can impress her friends and relatives, and that’s besides the exorbitant dowry). And if he’s old and accomplished then the complaint is that he’s “too old” and “too consumed” with work to give his wife the quality time she desires. All of this is excluding the separate demands of the parents of these sisters.

So, is there really a lack of “qualified Muslim men”?? Or rather, it’s more likely that these “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” single Muslimah’s turned down every decent proposal that came their way either because the brother wasn’t “good enough” or because these sisters wanted to continue to pursue their degrees in order to obtain a professional career, and thus postponed marriage. And after having achieved their professional goals these sisters then will not settle for what they consider “less”. Often times their professional qualifications bring about a superiority complex within them wherein they believe they now deserve Mr Perfect, but become dumbfounded when they realize no Muslim man is proposing to them.

This mountain of demands makes it difficult for the vast majority of young Muslim men who are of working class background to propose to these single sisters because more often than not their proposals are turned down due to failure to meet one or more of the impossible demands made by either the sisters themselves or their family. This leads to a pattern of Muslim men avoiding proposing to these sisters which then contributes to the notion that there is a “lack” of “qualified” Muslim men.

Having surfed through enough articles on this marriage crisis I have noticed a common trend in all of them where the brothers are shamed for marrying younger wives from back home and those doing the shaming will use the example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s marriage with Khadija (RA) as a weapon against these brothers, yet how many people will shame these “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” Muslim women for refusing to marry younger brothers from a lower social class  due to their weak financial status or lack of certain educational qualifications? After all, Khadija (RA) married the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was illiterate and only earned enough to support himself. Or do the proponents of shaming the brothers conveniently neglect to mention this? if so then why the double standards?

Finally, I would like to address the role of the parents in contributing to this marriage crisis. Many parents raise their children to pursue superficial goals in life and often times postpone their marriages more than necessary until they obtain a certain degree or get a specific job and make a specific salary, wasting their child’s valuable years of vitality and fertility. And when it comes time for marriage, here too the parents will encourage their children to have a long list of superficial demands of what they should seek in potential suitors, leading to the turning down of many decent proposals that come their way.

Unfortunately many Muslims have swallowed the Western Liberal concept of “individualism” hook, line, and sinker wherein they give their individual desires priority over the well being of the Muslim community and its future and no longer feel obligated towards the strengthening and preservation of the Muslim community. And thus today the Muslim Ummah is faced with a barrage of growing problems including the marriage crisis, something that was completely unheard of in the history of Islam.

SH. HAITHAM IN DEFENCE OF SHARIA COUNCILS

sharia-council-hh-2

In the name of Allāh, all praise is for Allāh, and may His peace and blessings be upon His final Messenger Muhammad sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

Over the last century Muslims have become an indispensible part of the landscape of the United Kingdom. The successful integration of Muslims in the UK whilst being faithful to their religion and identity has been exemplary. This integration has involved the creation of important institutions for the preservation of their identity and īmān, as well as to serve the wider society. Among such social institution are Sharia councils, which have been serving the community for decades. Sharia councils in the UK are in fact envied across Europe where extreme xenophobia and racism prevents the integration and flourishing of Muslims and their social institutions, particularly due to the plethora of problems they solve daily.

However, it is unfortunate that the flourishing of well-integrated Muslim communities has been met with increasing hostility over the last few decades by some non-Muslims. Sharia councils have been one of the many targets of the Islamic identity in the UK by this vocal few. The perennial attacks on Islamic Sharia councils in the UK and Europe are a prime example of the unfortunate combination of the hatred of a small number of ideologues with power and influence, and the remarkably shallow intellects of those who swallow their Islamophobic propaganda. Sadly the former have unique, unchallenged access to the tabloid-style media primarily consumed by the latter.

Had there been a fair and accurate representation of these councils, such attacks would only be carried out by the most ignorant or hateful of Islamophobes, as I believe the general public would not that easily be duped. This article therefore aims to clarify some of the misconceptions deliberately propagated about Islamic Sharia councils. It is also intended to help Muslims themselves appreciate the importance of such public bodies to protect Islamic identity in the western world for generations to come.

What are Islamic Sharia councils?

Islamic Sharia councils are also referred to as fatwa councils or Muslim arbitration services. Despite popular right-wing rhetoric and conspiracy theories, they are not courts. They are organisations established by a number of Muslim scholars and Imams to deal largely with matrimonial issues presented to them voluntarily by Muslims.

Some of them are registered charities; some of them are not-for-profit companies. The decisions they make are not binding under English law. This is a key fact often deliberately overlooked by those seeking to create fear and anxiety about some kind of “parallel legal system” lurking in the shadows, “creeping sharia” or the “Islamisation of Europe” conspiracies. From an English law perspective, they are a purely voluntary medium for people to resolve disputes, catered for in the Arbitration Act 1996.

It should be noted that the Arbitration Act 1996 does not cover family law, only civil law. This means that the decisions Sharia councils make are not even binding in family matters such as custody of children. The criticism of these councils for decisions that are purely voluntary and perfectly legal is thus desperate, bordering on absurd. What are the antagonists of Sharia councils really afraid of?

Why do Muslims need Sharia councils?

Muslims by their nature are attached to Islām and loyal to it. Therefore Sharia councils receive legitimacy through the acceptance of their judgements by the Muslim masses, because they judge between disputes according to Islām. Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’ālā):

“But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.”[1]

“And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.”[2]

This is indeed why authoritarian regimes and colonising powers throughout history have struggled with and prioritised the destruction of Sharia systems in the Muslim world and beyond. Whilst they give ultimate sovereignty to Allāh, authority remains with the people in highly devolved social and judicial systems empowered by their widespread acceptance—an obvious obstacle to colonisation and other forms of totalitarianism. This may be one reason for the opposition to Sharia councils today by those seeking to get rid of any obstacles to today’s hierarchical power structures; but this is a tangent that cannot be given justice here.

The fact of the matter is that Muslims have personal religious commitments and contracts that legal courts cannot cater for without a body like Sharia councils. Muslims living in countries that do not have Sharia councils suffer greatly if they find themselves in need of their services. I often travel to such countries in Europe and every time I do so I receive a large number of cases mainly from women who want to come out of their Islamic marriages but there is no one there to help them. Imams in those countries are afraid to carry out this function due to the xenophobia and smears against Sharia councils we are familiar with; and the legal courts cannot help those women either in their Islamic marriages.

In fact, I have recently come across two cases in a European country wherein a judge presiding over a civil divorce case between Muslims, demanded the husband to utter “talāq” who refused to grant it to his wife. Although the legal marriage in that country was dissolved and no longer recognised, the judges admitted that they have no ability to dissolve the Islamic contract between them in the absence of an Islamic scholar. Where do such women go if there are no Sharia councils?

It is not just the thousands of women seeking Islamic divorces that require Sharia councils. Often there are issues where the wali (Islamic guardian) is absent or an evil person, or unjustly preventing the sister from getting married. Many people also attend Sharia councils to solve financial disputes pertaining to contracts, wills, businesses and so on. They find Sharia councils much more effective, easier and cheaper to solve such disputes, as well as more faithful to the higher moral principles of their religion. Incidentally, due to such easy access to just arbitration it is no surprise that even non-Muslims are increasingly making use of such services.[3][4] The overarching point is that these bodies play a crucial role in preserving the Muslims’ Islamic identity in the West. If Muslims living in western countries are to be treated as equal citizens then their needs should be looked after and not be subjected to the usual irrational, xenophobic smears.

Do Sharia councils oppress women?

In my experience the vast majority of people who benefit from Sharia councils are women, making up more than 80% of the people who use them. Since the vast majority that attend Sharia councils seeking resolutions are women, and since they do so voluntarily, it is foolish to smear Sharia councils generally with the accusation of being oppressive towards women. Such attacks also show the astonishingly patronising view of Muslim women that we have seen time and time again from those that criticise Islām or Muslims; our sisters have been more than capable in refuting such foolish stereotypes.[5][6]

If women were truly oppressed by Sharia councils then why would they insist on going to them, when there is no legal force for them to do so? Why would the thousands of women who seek their services claim they are benefiting from those bodies? This challenge has been put plainly to many of the ideologists and policy makers that are attempting to ban Sharia councils, and after all attempts at a rational response have been exhausted, their explanation boils down to one of two things: (i) those women who insist on coming to Sharia courts are somehow ignorant and foolish of what benefits and harms them (and by implication, the right-wing politicians know what is best for them); or (ii) women who attend Sharia councils are forced to do so because of family or peer pressure.

Whilst the first does not require a response, the fallacy of the second justification for opposition to Sharia councils may require some exposure. If someone is pressured or forced against their will to do something or attend a particular place, then it is absurd to close down the place as a result. People might be socially pressured into going to a variety of places they would not otherwise go; the answer is to attack the peer pressure and empower the individuals being pressured, not to close down every place a person may happen to be pressured into going to. Would these great part-time bastions of women’s rights suggest we close down any place that some people might be pressured into going into by their peers?

These people ignore the fact that the vast majority of people who do attend do so out of their own volition, which is often explicitly enquired as to by the Sharia councils themselves. We sometimes see some so-called “journalists” with a clear ideology attend Sharia councils for one or two afternoons and make generalised pronouncements about “women forced to stay in marriages against their will” or other such ludicrous headlines. To blow exceptions out of proportion and actively ignore statistical significance to suit ones ideology is the essence of bigotry.

Do they discriminate against women?

It would be unfair to paint all criticism of Sharia with the same brush. Some people who do not harbour an ideological hatred of Islām or Muslims may still find themselves criticising Islām because of the common problem of interpreting one worldview through the lens of another. This is one of the greatest challenges when articulating Islām in the 21st century western world.

In the western world, due to its long history of men’s oppression and hatred towards women, those who fail to exercise diligence may interpret any kind of distinction between the two sexes as oppressive towards women. Even when men and women are treated the same, such as where there are separate public places suggested for men and women,[7] such people will automatically presume it is discriminatory against women, rather than it being the other way around.

Islamic values, beliefs and practices should not be tainted with such historical baggage that does not belong to Islām. Islām acknowledges that there are substantive differences between the sexes and thus this is reflected in their rights and responsibilities. Thus the literal interpretation of “equality” in the mathematical sense, does not apply in Islamic notions of men and women. Men and women in Islām complement each other through their differences rather than compete with one another. Although this is not the purpose of this article, it should not be ignored.

“And do not wish for that by which Allah has made some of you exceed others. For men is a share of what they have earned, and for women is a share of what they have earned. And ask Allah of his bounty. Indeed Allah is ever, of all things, Knowing.”[8]

The crucial point to note is that regardless of the arrogance of those who believe they know what is better for Muslim women than they do themselves, the fact of the matter is countless Muslim women as well as men testify for the crucial need for Sharia councils.

What is the alternative?

Sharia councils are not perfect, by virtue of being part of human life. However, in their absence the burden of their vital work will fall on individual Imams and scholars. Great pains were taken by the architects of Islamic jurisprudence to reduce to near zero the potential for human desires and error to hamper the justice of the Sharia. This includes having a high degree of scrutiny and accountability between scholars.

If Sharia councils are banned under the pretext of protecting vulnerable women or preventing some kind of secret Islamic takeover, then individual Imams who are not part of public institutions that are transparent and accountable, will have to consider cases and disputes individually. This will increase the potential for human error and misuse. Furthermore, in European countries that effectively ban these vital services, we have even heard of vulnerable brothers and sisters having to go abroad in order to have their problems solved. What is better, that they refer to local scholars who understand their context or that they refer to scholars thousands of miles away in a completely different social setting and law?

Whatever arguments that those who wish to close down Sharia councils bring, one thing is certain. Regarding those countless men and women who continue to request the services of Sharia councils daily, as long as Allāh wills, we will never turn them away.

“He sends down from the sky, rain, and valleys flow according to their capacity, and the torrent carries a rising foam. And from that [ore] which they heat in the fire, desiring adornments and utensils, is a foam like it. Thus Allah presents [the example of] truth and falsehood. As for the foam, it vanishes, [being] cast off; but as for that which benefits the people, it remains on the earth. Thus does Allah present examples.”[9]

And Allāh knows best

Source: http://www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’ān 4:65
[2] Al-Qur’ān 5:48
[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/5876577/Non-Muslims-turning-to-sharia-courts-in-Britain-to-resolve-disputes-claim.html
[4] http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/mar/14/non-muslims-sharia-law-uk
[5] http://metro.co.uk/2016/01/25/david-cameron-totally-patronised-muslim-women-heres-how-they-responded-5642928/
[6] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lim-women-ridiculing-david-cameron-over-comments-about-traditional-submissiveness-a6832351.html
[7] http://www.islam21c.com/politics/segregation-and-the-useful-idiot-paradigm/
[8] Al-Qur’ān 4:32
[9] Al-Qur’an 13:17

DISCLAIMER: All material found on Islam21c.com is for free and is for information purposes only. All material may be freely copied & shared on condition that it is clearly attributed to Islam21c.com [hyperlinked] as the original source. The views expressed on this site or on any linked sites do not necessarily represent those of Islam21c.com

MENDING BROKEN HEARTS | MUHAMMAD TIM HUMBLE

Superb advice from Ustadh Muhammad Tim Humble, one of the few people of knowledge out there speaking in English who understands the psychological differences between men and women and how they affect marriage,

Rather than just dealing with marriage as a long list of do’s and don’ts based upon rights and responsibilities as many speakers unfortunately do.

ISLAM 21C – BEWARE THE MARRIAGE BANDITS

marriage

I am sick of hearing about those brothers who prey upon the susceptibility of our sisters, using deception as a tool for marriage, and marriage as a guise for the fulfillment of their evil desires. I fear that if something is not done to tackle these abuses, we will only see the number of such incidents increase. Therefore, I feel compelled to share some of the cases I have encountered in order to highlight the nature of the issues at hand, and that we as a community must take drastic action to stop or minimize this evil.

One of the incidents which I came across just recently involved a sister who was divorced and the custodian of her children. She was living alone, away from her parents, when she was approached for marriage by a brother who seemed to be a practising Muslim. She had described that her parents were unhappy with her re-marrying due to her situation. The brother managed to convince her she had a legitimate Islamic right to search for a walī other than her own father due to the fact he was forbidding marriage for her on the basis of what he deemed to be a non-Islamic pretext. She was apprehensive in having a walī appointed from the same cultural background as she feared she may have been exposed within the community. However the brother managed to comfort her, exhorting her to appoint him, himself to find her a suitable walī. Due to her naivety and his callous experience in manipulating women, she accepted. So to summarise; she accepted to marry the brother without consent from her parents via phone and skype, with no witnesses or wedding, her walī was anonymous to her, and the brother she was to marry had the ability to appoint an anonymous walī for her. A few days after the questionable ‘nikāh’ had taken place, her ‘husband’ came to her with no other reason but to fulfil his sexual desire. It was only after this that she discovered he had various other sexual partners whom he had claimed to have married previously. A few days later he left her, however he would continue to return in order to blackmail her for sexual relations as he had convinced her their ‘nikāh’ was still valid. As a result, the sister unfortunately contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

In another incident, a sister who reverted to Islām ended up cohabiting with two men at the same time! Initially she married a brother who had come to the UK to study. The brother then left for his country, only to return within a few months. As a result of being alone, she was approached by another brother who offered to help annul her marriage contract. As she now believed her husband was no longer able to return to the UK, she proceeded. The brother introduced her to a supposed mufti who was located abroad. He went on to annul her contract and pronounce her as a divorcee who was able to marry again. Sometime later, the proclaimed mufti, who this brother had recommended, approached her for marriage himself! As he claimed he was of a certain school of thought, he managed to convince her she did not need a walī and hence they could marry over the phone. They went on to proceed with what I call a ‘tele-nikāh’, and she, without even seeing this so called mufti, was ‘married’ once again. Similar to the previous incident, there was no wedding ceremony and the witnesses were all communicating to the sister via telephone. She later met the mufti, who pronounced himself at her door with a gift and flowers. Overwhelmed, she ‘consummated the marriage’ with him. Shockingly (!), this proclaimed mufti also left after a few nights to his home city where he had a previous wife. A few weeks later, the first husband returned to find that she had ‘married’ someone else. He thereby explained that her marriage was invalid as she was still married to him, and began to sexually exploit the sister through blackmail while forbidding her to speak to the so called mufti. This brother would then leave, and the mufti would return, leaving the sister confused as to who she was legally married to. Eventually, the sister began to comprehend the seriousness of the situation at hand and decided to get in contact.

To mention yet another case in which a sister was taken advantage of: a brother had managed to deceive this sister into believing he was seeking asylum in the UK due to crimes he was accused of in his country. He needed a place to take refuge and so persuaded the sister to marry him. They lived together in secrecy, within which time the sister used to act as a slave for this brother. She used to cook, clean and spend money on the brother only to receive abuse in return. To make matters worse, she found the brother would sleep during the day and watch pornography during the night. He used emotional and religious blackmail to give her the impression that she was always in the wrong, and made her feel debased. He used to say “Allāh will never forgive you if you call the police” and used rhetoric such as “It is kufr to seek help from the disbelievers against a Muslim” to prevent her from reaching out for help from the authorities. She lived as a slave for some time until eventually she managed to escape from his web of deceit and torture, in what is a long, disheartening and traumatic story.

As you can see, these are distressing incidents. Prior to discussing any solutions, we must analyse these cases to determine the explanation behind their occurrence. The reasons are vast and complex, so I will mention but a few key factors.

We are able to ascertain that the sisters mentioned is these and most other cases are living alone or do not have a guardian present. They are either divorcees who have left the home of their parents, or new Muslims living by themselves. It is disheartening to know that many sisters insist they are able to live independently from their protectors and maintainers (who are their husbands, fathers and brothers) as Allāh has mentioned of them in the ayah. On the contrary, our sisters should accept that without the presence of any of these individuals who care for their safety, they will become easy and vulnerable targets, prone to susceptibility. It is within the fiṭrah (natural disposition) of a female to look for a male custodian around her, whether it be her father, brother or husband. This is why the sharīʿah gave the custody of the daughter to her father when she has reached maturity. A female who reaches the stage of adolescence is in need of a father figure in her life. If this figure is absent, the desire to replace this fulfillment could end up through a means which is ḥarām.

And Allāh mentions in the Qur’ān:

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” [1]

It is sad that some Muslim women show dissatisfaction when knowledge is brought to them that the custody of the daughter lies in the hands of her father once she reaches maturity. Are they unaware that the dissatisfaction they show may be directed to the teachings of Allāh and His messenger (Ṣallāhu ‘alayhi wa salam). May Allāh protect us all from this hypocrisy. Many sisters, in particular those who come from broken families with the absence of any father figure, are more likely to be led astray by individuals who they misplace their trust in knowingly or unknowingly. These sisters need to take counter-measures to construct a barrier between themselves and evil individuals, through appointing a reliable and honourable safeguard. A hungry lion is more likely to target an isolated gazelle. Many sisters may have disagreements with their fathers due to age and cultural gaps which is understandable. However there is no man in the world who will protect and go through what a father will for his daughter. I recall several cases in which sisters would leave their fathers’ home to stay with friends and then fall into ḥarām relationships through them. To conclude, there is no greater shield than that which your parents (and particularly your father) may provide for you, so do your utmost to cherish them. And live mercifully with them without speaking an ill word to them, as they nurtured you when you were incapable of anything, and they have and will always be there for you.

Source: http://www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] al-Qur’ān 30:21

DISCLAIMER: All material found on Islam21c.com is for free and is for information purposes only. All material may be freely copied & shared on condition that it is clearly attributed to Islam21c.com [hyperlinked] as the original source. The views expressed on this site or on any linked sites do not necessarily represent those of Islam21c.com