Society

Marriage and Divorce: American Muslim Trends*

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“The divine wisdom of allowing couples to dissolve their marriages is obvious and essential to healthy community building. But disturbing statistics show an unprecedented rise in divorce among North American Muslims, and the collective community is not showing any signs of improvement because of it.

In her study, “Understanding Trends in American Muslim Divorce and Marriage: A Discussion Guide for Families and Communities,” Dr. Julie Macfarlane set out to collect quantifiable data relating to the increasing number of divorces in the North American Muslim community. Macfarlane, a Fellow at the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding and a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor, (Ontario, Canada) received funding to research trends of American Muslim divorce from The Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. An expert in dispute resolution and mediation, Macfarlane became increasingly interested in the topic of Islamic divorce amidst the heated public discussions and accusations of Shari‘ah Law “infiltrating” the legal systems in the United States and parts of Canada.”

 Children At Tarawih Prayers?

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“In 2007, our Southern California community was privileged to host renowned reciter of the Quran, Shaykh Mishary Rashid Alafasi, at a local masjid. The shaykh stayed throughout Ramadan and led the tarâwîḥ prayers, and thousands of Muslims traveled to the Islamic Center of Irvine to enjoy the unique and splendid experience. The masjid was filled far beyond its capacity, so spacious tents and enormous carpets were assembled to provide extra, outdoor prayer space for the worshipers.

For me, that Ramadan was especially meaningful because it was the first time our two eldest children (who were our only children, at the time) were mature enough to pray, with focus and patience, alongside my husband and me for more than a few rak¢ât. I enjoyed the serenity and beauty of those tarawîḥ prayers immensely . . . except when I was hit by a scooter.”

The Fitna of Mistreating Women

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A test is meant to determine who the tested really is. It is not a comment on the thing by which we are tested. Children are not considered inherently evil. But how well we treat our children and whether we allow our children to distract us from remembrance of Allah determines the good or bad within us, not the nature of children. The same can be said for how men treat women. Women are not inherently evil, less than men, or somehow disliked by Allah. The Prophet (SAW) said: “Men and women are twin halves of each other.” [Bukhâri] But the test, or the fitna of a woman, is a reflection on a man’s own character, and whether he treats women well or not.