Divorce Mentor for Muslim Women, Fatima Omar, Predicts Divorce Rates On the Rise in the Muslim World

Family interference, pornography, and domestic violence are the three top reasons for divorce rates rising rapidly with Muslims. Women need to find new healthy ways to cope with the anxiety of the drastic changes in their relationship status.

According to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology, fifty percent of all marriages in North America ends in divorce. The number of divorces in the Muslim world are fast approaching fifty percent. Without any formal community support from masjids, imams, or families, divorced Muslim women are left all alone to experience the pain of rebuilding a life after divorce.

Parents are the role models for children who learn directly from them on how to create relationships in the future. This also increases the chances that divorces will increase because children will mimic the example of their parents who enforce this divorce cycle.

The social stigma, humiliation, and shame associated with divorced Muslim women is overwhelming and disturbing. The three top reasons for divorces in the Muslim world is family interference, pornography addiction, and domestic violence.

Families of immigrants still believe that when a girl marries into a family – she is now the possession of her husband’s family. She must get into the kitchen to learn to cook all her husbands’ favorite food. She is also obliged to serve his family. Her wifely duties may also include cleaning, entertaining, and having babies as soon as possible. Mothers have a tendency to feel very jealous of their son’s relationships with their new daughter-in-law, so the mother will find new ways to make her son feel guilty about the time he spends away from his mother which causes more problems for the new couple. She will also feed her son’s brain with ideas that his wife is not doing enough. The son, who feels obligated towards his parents, want to please them, and so he will take all the ideas that his mother has filled in his head, and start shouting and yelling at her for not doing enough. There are also cases of a mother commanding her son to hit his wife in her presence. These actions are used as a strategy to intimidate the new daughter in law so she knows her place in the family.

Pornography addiction is another serious problem that affects Muslim marriages. The pornography industry has become a billion dollar monthly industry in the United States. A study, published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture, concluded that the more a person watches porn, the more likely they are to be accepting of extramarital affairs — which the researchers note is one of the leading causes of divorce in the U.S. Most Muslim wives do not approve of their husbands watching pornography because watching pornography is not allowed in Islam. This causes more arguments and mistrust in the marriage. There is also a level of psychological trauma associated with husbands watching pornography. A wife feels rejected, not good enough, and unloved by her partner because of porn. Adultery and pornography are heavy burdens on a marriage. They are destructive, and lead to the breakdown of marriages.

Domestic violence is the third category for reasons of divorce rates escalating in the Muslim world. Even though violence against women is a grave sin in Islam, many men use violence to manipulate their wives using intimidation, threats, name-calling, slapping, financial abuse, and neglect.

Jihad Hashim Brown — the head of research at Tabah Foundation, which specializes in the interpretation of Islamic law — says that  in Islamic law it is “absolutely unlawful” to abuse a wife, injure her, or insult her dignity.

“When a situation in a marriage reaches the point where people feel like they need to hit someone, that is time for divorce. Anyone who would abuse, injure or even insult the dignity of their wife, this has now become a criminal offense which can be prosecuted in a court of law.”

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani of SeekersGuidance issued the following fatwa: “… there is absolutely no place in Islam for abuse of one’s spouse–whether physical, spoken, or emotional. All abuse is haram.”

Unless something changes drastically, divorce rates in the Islamic world will be doubling in the next few years. “The Jeddah court registers 40 marriages and 20 divorces a day,” says Somayya Jabrti, deputy editor of Arab News.

These numbers do not look promising. Women are encouraged to find ways to sustain themselves financially, emotionally and physically by finding support groups, online courses, and mentors to prepare themselves and their children for the inevitable.

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