Rafed English

Divorce Yesterday and Today

It was usual in Islamic countries for marriages to take place in a context of common sense and compatibility. It was the family who would find the appropriate partner with regard to religion, moral behaviour, financial status and physical character. For this reason, marriages on the whole were successful.

The family's choosing for their offspring did not negate the choice and contentment of the prospective couple but rather confirmed it and steered it in the required direction, because of the families knowledge and links to other family circles was more than that of the young man or woman. Further more, the family by possessing a means of exerting pressure on those who wished to divorce could act to prevent splits taking place. Hence the families acted in truth as a kind of safety valve against the recklessness and haste of youth as in the Qur'anic verse :

'Then appoint two arbiters, one from his family, one from hers; if they seek to set things to rights then Allah will cause their reconciliation' 80.

This God granted success as with everything else that He causes in this world must be preceded by human action, for God has disdained to run affairs other than through their causes.

I have been told by one of the persons responsible for marriage and divorce in the city of Karbala forty years ago that he only presided over the divorce of one person a year. Today however, now that society has taken up with Western values or has plunged into Westernisation and the misplaced imitation of its laws and customs, it is the youngsters who choose their partners in isolation and without consulting their parents. It is evident now that the criteria for marriage is a mixture of emotion, sexual fervour, inexperience, and immaturity. This is fuelled by the pressure of such values and their false notions of freedom and its attack on authentic customs which it describes as being reactionary or backward and senile. Hence a large proportion of marriages now end in separation and divorce.

For those that fall into these traps the calamities are great.

For these reasons it is imperative that we return to the Islamic lifestyle of happiness which our forefathers lived in the lands of Islam until half a century ago.

80 The Holy Qur'an: Women (4): 35.

Adapted from the book; "The Family" by: "Imam Muhammad Shirazi"

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