With Allah's Name, Merciful Benefactor, Merciful Redeemer, Most
Gracious, Most Merciful We seek refuge in Him from Shaitan, the rejected enemy.
There is no ilah but Allah; He has no partners, none is like Him. We witness that
Muhammad (saaw) is His Servant and Messenger.
The subject of "Marriage in Islam," and the responsibilities inherent in such a union, has duly risen to a status of critical concern for the Ummah. Needless to say, the issue of marriage, the compatibility of the mates and the rites, roles and rights therein incurred, have been given scant attention by the ulema over the years. Such has been compounded by politico-cultural "correctness" that has, till recently, stymied attempts to weed out "culturalism" and Christian/Jewish gender concepts that have found their way into Islamic legal philosophy and literature.
Almost every where we have seen that these Judeo-Christian concepts have taken root in Muslim societies. Muslim women are even being compared with the "Eve" of the Bible, whom the snake (Devil) seduced and wherefore she (the woman) "seduced" Adam. Yes, some alleged "authentic" traditions are claimed to support this by some sectarian traditionalists. Much else will be said on this later in this paper.
The results have been, that whereas in fact, Islam (in its pure traditions) is the most liberating force for women and the progenitor of "Mutual Relations," between all people, beginning with initial family unit (man and woman), now we find many women "pleading," to Allah as He has fore-rendered in His Signs to those who take heed.
In this Sign, Al-Mujadilah: She Who Pleaded), (58:1) Allah says: "Indeed Allah has heard the statement of her who pleadeth to you about her husband and petitioned Allah, and Allah hears their arguments. Verily Allah Hears and Sees." Further in the Ayah Allah warns men not to abandon their wives by calling them names (i.e. Zihar: "my mother's back"). "They utter a word that is hateful and false," He makes clear.
Muslim men should take caution from Allah's Words in the Quran which are the fundamental basic for the Shariah (laws) and "minhaj" (Spirit or open way) (5:48) wherein there is no mixing of truth and falsehood (or other than what Allah has said.) (2:42).
We see in these Ayah that Allah is aware of the use of false or misleading words (and concepts) by men to deny women their mutual benefits and rights. In the general sense of these Signs, Allah establishes a clear principle of conduct that is to be observed by all of mankind, men and women alike. He says that He "hears, and Sees."
Our manipulations, omissions, and co-missions with regards to the traditional literature appended to (or ancillary to) the Words of Allah, are often self-serving, and frequently much of the study in these fields has been not so much for enhancing the iman and purification of one's soul, but to validate one's superiority, intellect or piety over others.
In the conclusion of this PART I of this topic, we wish to express the optimism we have felt in the coming forth of scores of true and noble men to address this concern. Admittedly many "men" and some of their apologist (who happen to be women) whimpishly bury their heads in the sand when these issues arise. Of the courageous men, I will cite just one in this section. (Some identity changes are made for privacy sake)
He wrote: " Dear Imam Kashif: I have no problems with you using the letter if it will help other brothers see that mental abuse can and is as damaging as physical abuse. If it will help others avoid the mistakes that I made that separate families, then I welcome you using it."
"Al Hamdu li llah!! Brother Imam:
My heart is so relieved that you found my letter to be of some merit. As salaamu alaikum, I pray that all is well with you and family. (My wife) moved back to Richmond on Friday. I wish things could have worked out but I had lost my desire to save the marriage. We both changed, even though she said I became a totally different person. I hate to burden you with my personal problems, Imam, but I feel so much at ease and there is less stress and tension within me. I feel like a totally relieved person. I still do not want to see her have to struggle. I will provide for her and her youngest for the appropriate length of time.
This is both a letter of apology and a confession. It is an
apology to my wife and to those who have read my articles in the media. It is an apology
because as a Muslim husband who had promised his wife happiness, comfort and a loving and
understanding husband I failed. I failed because I did not consider her rights, rights
that our Holy Prophet had guaranteed Muslim women over 1400 years ago, rights that she had
to demand, often unsuccessfully.
In the media we emphasize and condemn the physical abuse that exists within the ummah. There is another abuse that is also overlooked: emotional abuse. I, as much as I hate to admit it, must confess to being a mental abuser. I did not realize what I had become but when I did I did not like what I saw every morning in the mirror. I had turned my marriage into a stressful and unhappy partnership. However much I did not like what I had become, emotionally I could not change. I had moved her into my house and did not think of it as our house, rather as my house. I saw it as someone taking charge over my space. My attitude towards my marriage became one of resentment.
Because of my inability to adjust to being married; my
marriage no longer exists. I could not make the adjustment
to marriage because I was not ready for it when it happened.
I came into Al-Islam with enthusiasm and it was constantly
stressed to me that one must be married to be a complete
Muslim. So I wanted to fulfill my duties as quickly as
possible. Unfortunately, I was not ready spiritually,
mentally, nor emotionally because I was just beginning to
grow as a Muslim. Some will argue that marriage will help
your deen become stronger, help you become a better Muslim.
I found that to be not necessarily so. Could this thinking
contribute to the high divorce rate among Muslims? I feel
we must grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually as
Muslims as we undergo this major adjustment in our lives.
What we as reverts are doing is accepting a totally new way
of life. Albeit a much better way of life, but yet in still
one that is much different from one that we became adults
in. I do not want to use that as an excuse for my behavior
only as a contributing factor for my inability to adjust to
sharing after living as a single person for 18 years.
I also want to apologize for those who have read my articles
over the last three years. I have written about what a good
Muslim should be and criticized those who did not uphold the
traditions and policies as set by our Prophet Muhammad
(pbuh). Some of you may consider me a hypocrite. However,
I have often included myself when criticizing others for
wrongdoing if I was guilty of the same. I will continue to
write about what I feel goes against the Prophets Sunnah. I
will continue to write about abuse, both physical and
mental. I see now that harm of mental abuse is just as
real, just as damaging as physical abuse.
This is my letter of confession and an apology to those who
were affected by my behavior. There is a little
consolation--whether it is believed or not in fact that
when I entered into my marriage I did it with the full
intention of making it work and fully expected it to last
through eternity. I will continue to ask Allah Subhanahu Wa
Taala for forgiveness and mercy. I know that our Creator is
a merciful God and I pray that my prayers asking for
forgiveness are listen to and that I am given enough time
here on this earth to amend the wrong that I have done.
May my wife find it in her heart in the not too distant
future to forgive me also. My intent was real and
honorable, even though I left too many promises unfulfilled.
May these words of remorse serve as guidance to others.
Marriage is an institution that one should enter into with a
full knowledge of what is expected. One should be prepared
to accept the physical, mental and emotional
responsibilities of marriage. Marriage is an institution
created by Allah (SWT). Marriage is not a mistake. Allah
(SWT) did not make a mistake with His creations. It is the
creations that make the mistakes. Pray to Allah for
guidance. Make Istikhaarah (the prayer for guidance) and
ask Allah Subanahu Wa Ta ala to send you a mate. However,
one must also recognize the signs that Allah sends us. The
first mate that comes your way may not be the one Allah had
intended for you. Marriage is to be for an eternity. Do
not rush into it. If it is to be, it will be.
If this is in earnest (and I believe it is) is it not then well
said? Or will cowards or apologists for mistreatments of women vent rage toward him?
To re-phrase an old Marine saying: "All we need is a few good (Muslim) men. "Simplify!"
NOTE: SOON, PART II: (Abuse of language, literature and traditions in Marriage failings)
Imam Ghayth Nur Kashif
7 December 1998.
[Currently, he is the Imam for Masjidush-Shura Washington DC. He was one of the founders of the American Muslim Council and served as in-house editor for the International Institute of Islamic Studies in Virginia, USA. As a writer, his writings have been published in significant publications. He is listed in WHO'S' WHO in Black America and WHO'S WHO among International Authors and Writers. His main interest lies in the rise of Islam in USA and the effects of international foreign policy upon Muslims in USA. He has traveled widely and has had acquaintance with such peer personalities as Malcolm (X) Shabazz, Muhammad Ali and W.D. Mohammad, etc., all early pioneers in the Islamic movements in America.]