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Divorce and American Muslims

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abuayisha View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 August 2009 at 12:01pm
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Hayfa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hayfa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 August 2009 at 5:51pm
Asalaam Alaikum,

Thanks for the posting. A very good article.
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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badeth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote badeth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 August 2009 at 9:44pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hayfa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 August 2009 at 3:41am
Badeth,


The number of people actually who are in Polygynous marriages is like 1-2% of all Muslinm in the world so it has really little to do with the divorce rate.

2nd we are talking about marriages in the US. We do not have children getting married. And really it is NOT the cause of divorce. The average age for women to marry is in their 20s in the US.

There is very little divorce in places like Yemen or India.. irriguardless of religion.  But this is separate from the article. You could say the cause of divorce in Italy or Mexico is Christianity. And its just not the case.  Religion is but one aspect of a person's like. I would argue that it depends on context. Many people in the world cannot afford to divorce. Other poverty can  break the family. So it is really based upon situation by situation.

In fact Muslims have lower rates of divorce than many other groups.

We should be caseful about throwing out why this and why that without the information to back it up. Peoples' lives are complex. There are many factors that causes divorce. in the US we have our own coditions just like there are conditions in the Philippines that are unique to the culture and conditions of the Filipino people.

Case in point.. you give all these points.. and yet some people SHOULD divorce. I know someone who married some woman who was only lookin for a green card. He was 40 year old American. He was not getting married 'early' or such. Just a bad partner. And its a blessing from Allah that we are allowed to divorce.  But he meets no statistics. He just met a bad person who lied about who they were. Happened to a friend of mine in Pakistan. Grat family, very religious. The family lied about their background.. religions convictions etc. Husband had girlfriends, family  was terrible, son did not work, etc. Thank Allah again, that divorce is permitted. 

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sign*Reader Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 August 2009 at 12:39pm
  Divorce is secondary; getting hitched comes first and that has so many slips...
Found this article on that situation about a prominent group of Muslims in America and their predicament... AKA ABCD=American Born Confused Desis

PAKISTANI AMERICANS -A SEARCH FOR A PERFECT MATCH


As Pakistani Americans pass through different phases of life, new challenges emerge with great intensity. First generation immigrants have made sustained efforts to secure financial future and built Islamic centers to preserve their religious and cultural heritage. As the life cycle changes additional tests await our community in North America.

An emerging social concern is finding a suitable life partner for young people. I know many parents with highly educated daughters who keep on looking for a perfect match. I look around and observe this issue particularly impacting highly educated, talented young women with professional education. I personally know many cases where women with medical education are having hard time finding a suitable spouse. People continue their search for a perfect match till they cross over to an age where life as a single person seems more convenient.

Reading local religious publications like Message and Islamic Horizons gives me an indication that parents are facing a daunting task. Looking deeper into this malaise, I find this problem can be easily resolved if our community changes its outlook by adapting to local conditions. Following are the basic dimensions of this issue.

Arranged marriages

Back home there are ties of relatives, friendships and professional colleagues. A search within relatives and colleagues can expand to include a large number of people. People can start their search with relatives and friends and can easily find a match within the large social circle. Alternatively, they can hire professionals within a particular province.

In the USA, life is very busy with limited social interaction. Friends or even relatives cannot help beyond their small circle of friends. Unlike back home, people here cannot devote time and energy on this search for the sake of others. Even close relatives sometimes live far away in North America. Friendships take time and generally people make a few good friends. So there is very little choice available.

Some people go back to Pakistan and end up marrying within relatives or friends. Based on my observations, the divorce rate among Pakistani men and America-born women is very high. I know many instances of such failed marriages. However, Pakistan-born girls seem to adjust better in changed environments. Perhaps they are used to male chauvinistic attitudes prevalent in the Pakistani society. The girls born in the USA do not seem to adjust with Pakistani born macho males. So people thinking of going home must think about social attitudes of males and females in Pakistan.

Social and Cultural Background

Immigrants try very hard to stick to their own subculture. Finding a suitable match in the USA from the same culture and similar background is very difficult indeed. I know people who want rich, educated, tall, fair, handsome, Sunni or Shia, Pathan, Punjabi, or Syed matches for their kids. People keep on rejecting possible marriage matches for one reason or another. I have seen people rejecting a good match for the simple reason of being of Shia or Sunni background. In fact, it is very difficult to retain our identity even as a simple Muslim.

Realistic Expectations

Parents in general prefer medical doctors as a prospective groom for their daughters. I do not blame them for looking at long-term financial security but simple demographic analysis does not support this trend. If the profession is very critical in the choice then other conditions should be relaxed. I have not seen a very handsome, tall, fair medical doctor from a great family. Medical doctors in the next generation of Pakistani Americans are limited in numbers. This condition along with great personality, ethnic and religious background results in completely unrealistic approach. It often fails and young people continue to wait for a perfect match.

Muslims from South Asia like to marry their kids among relatives and people who are from similar ethnic and religious backgrounds. This is not an easy task in North America due to limited population scattered across the USA and Canada. In North America, the total population of Pakistani immigrants is about a quarter million (US census 2000). Majority is living in major metropolitan areas like Los Angles, Houston, Chicago, Washington DC and New York. The distances are great and there is very little interaction between people living in New York and Houston or Los Angles. So if we place a large number of preconditions then it becomes very difficult to find a good spouse.

In my opinion, parents have to broaden their horizon and include people from other Muslim countries living in the USA. They also have to relax conditions and consider Muslims from other sects within Islam.

Social Interaction

Majority of Pakistani Americans in the USA do not allow young people to meet or interact with the opposite sex. In co-ed schools, our kids have complete freedom to talk to any boy or girl without restrictions. As soon as they come home we adhere to the separation of sexes. Girls are allowed to meet girls and boys can only make friends with boys.

In Islamic centers, the restrictions go beyond any rational boundaries. This causes a great confusion in the minds of young people and results in a complete vacuum where young people do not understand anything about one another. The result is an increase in inter-racial marriages among low-income people. The lack of any understanding among the next generation of Pakistani Americans is resulting in divorce rates similar to American people. There may be many other issues but lack of any understanding is one of the main reasons. I am not advocating free mixing of boys and girls like the common American social scene. I believe we should provide a forum where young people can see each other under supervision. Islamic centers, community organizations can easily provide such forums that do not violate any religious injunctions.

Marriage Services

Islamic organizations such as ICNA and ISNA are trying very hard to link up a prospective relationship. They do so on voluntary basis that simply cannot succeed over a wide area. The search requires good communication, feedback and checking that volunteers simply cannot conduct due to time constraints. The people who are volunteers have many other demands of life. For them it is perhaps a last priority or a hobby. This is a demanding work that requires constant communication and discussion.

Pakistani Americans have a limited number of good professional marriage services. Many Pakistanis are very apprehensive in contacting such people. If a marriage fails then horror stories go around.

My observation shows that these people are doing a great job in providing honest information and good service. Checking and evaluation is not a part of their job. They provide the information received from both parties and do not have resources to verify or check the claims.

Meeting the people, checking the information and background must be done by the people themselves. There is a very good possibility that one out of ten matches suggested by the matrimonial service meets personal criteria. People should take time for checking and face-to-face meetings and making their own decision.

Brave New World

Although I have seen very religious people finding suitable matches in the USA, it is becoming increasingly difficult for compatible relationship. I have seen very religious people marrying their girls to the so- called liberal Muslims due to financial resources of the groom. But such marriages end up in agony for the religious girls.

Contrary to the thinking of conservative religious people, a large number of young people communicate on the Internet. Some young people meet freely on the college campuses. However they are always concerned about the wishes of their parents. Young people have no idea about Islamic sects, provincial background, ethnicity or caste that Pakistanis have back home. We have to provide guidance in such circumstances.

Conclusion

I have tried to highlight the issue based on my personal observations. Community leaders and parents should step out of old ideas and face the realities of American life. They must understand that such an important decision cannot be left to volunteers. The volunteers should understand that this is a noble effort that lays the foundations of family and Almighty will give them great rewards.

I have touched the contours of this multifaceted social issue currently impacting our community. This is only a first step. I implore parents and our community leaders to look into this social crisis. Let us discuss it on a rational basis and move towards building the institutions to help all of us.
Nasim Hassan Delaware
- [email protected]




Edited by Sign*Reader - 20 August 2009 at 7:02pm
Kismet Domino: Faith/Courage/Liberty/Abundance/Selfishness/Immorality/Apathy/Bondage or extinction.
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