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Failed Marriages A Perspective with Solution By Khalid Baig Material development and urbanization over the years has

s came up with an alarming increase in ratio of failed marriages along with other issues. To tap the solution for the same, this issue needs a holistic autopsy. It is no denying the fact that for most of the marriages ending in divorce or separation mostly the wives and usually the children are at the losing end. Despite this being obvious that no sane person likes it this way, the ratio is growing continuously like ever-soaring debt of the Third world countries. In countries and societies where divorce rates are high, Saudia being one of such places unfortunately, the general social order and peace is always at stake both in long term and short term perspective. This in no way supplements the goals and objectives of a society and country at large. The best way to deal with a problem is to solve the problem, and no result oriented and sustainable solution is possible unless the issue at hand is screened and analyzed fully with all its respective socio-cultural facets. Failed marriages is something linked to the institution of marriage, and to identify sustainable solutions - both long term and short term, to this problem, let us see what Quran says impliedly and expressedly about marriage: And Allah has given you wives of your own kind, and has given you , from your wives, sons and grandsons, and had bestowed for you good provision. Do they then believe in false deities and deny the favour of Allah (by not worshipping Allah Alone) (16:72)* And among His signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed Signs for a people who reflect.(30:21)* These verses immaculately mention that the rationale of marriage as an institution is to live in peace and love with spouses, multiply reproduce, and be grateful to the Creator. Love is the key word here, as fountain head of mutual trust and respect, which actually leads to peaceful living as a couple but only if we can differentiate between love and lust, as when lust is misidentified as love, the result is lewdness, which can never be lasting. The lasting bond is guaranteed by love (as reflected in above mentioned verses), which is harmony of minds that can be achieved by expecting and respecting the mutual difference, caring, confiding and communicating with each other. Despite marriage being such a desirable relation, still the ratio of disturbed marriages is very high, and the reason (to quiet an extent) for this can be found in non-compliance of the following verse (especially the last part of this verse) of Quran:

O you who believe! you are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing, and Allah brings through it a great deal of good. (4:19) * Defiance of the clear injunctions of Quran lead to the disturbance, and roots of this fact can be traced back to the environment, one is exposed to at his or her early age . It not only shed light on attitudes as adults in different relations, but also hints a Long Term solution to the problem. Addressing the issue of failed marriages, a two prong strategy viz. Short Term Strategy and Long Term Strategy is required. Both the strategies are epitomized below: Short Term Strategy In this context following points may entail in some good results: 1. Steps like Pre-Marriage training (as proposed in the 23rd May 05 edition of Saudi Gazette) may prove quite handy. In addition to this, post marriage counseling is equally important. 2. The result from these steps can further be cemented by introducing some case studies and thesis work at university level for both males and females, who not only are spouses of tomorrow, but also are mature enough to take the input in right perspective. 3. Introduction of sex education at right rung of academic ladder with proper home work for at junior levels it may ignite unwanted excitement, which would have serious repercussions for society at large. The short term strategy has the potential to increase the survival rate of marriages considerably, as if either of the partner is empowered to handle the rough patches of married life, s/he would possibly think and act rationally. Since problem is not only of immediate nature, it is a matter that has roots deep in the very psychology and biology of both males and females, thus the whole society, which is further supplemented by some stereotype perceptions nurtured from early ages, so the sustainability of the short-terms results (as stand-alone strategy) may not be guaranteed. For sustainability of the same, we need to focus on long term strategy vis--vis the short term, which is discussed below. Long Term Strategy The objective of this strategy is to steer the social thinking/psychology as a whole, to such maturity level that it can serve as social pressure to check failed marriages effectively. The possible action plan for this could be:

1. Right from early age, parents should teach & demonstrate respect towards opposite gender to their children i.e. by being a role model in domestic environment. Most of the mindsets are result of early childhood experience and exposures! 2. Education at School / High School level in context of approach towards opposite gender should based on EQUALITY as hinted in the Quran as: And whoever does righteous good deeds, be he a male or a female, and is true believer in the Oneness of Allah (Muslim), such will enter Paradise and not the least injustice, even to the size of a speck on the back of a date-stone, will be done to them. (4:124)* 3. The concept that males have one degree over females needs to be put in right perspective, at all platforms of social interaction e.g. home, school, college, university etc, again Quran tells us about this issue as : Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husbands property etc). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful), but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.(4:34)* This verse epitomize the rationale of men being one degree over as follows: 1. Men are protector of women, because Allah has made them stronger physically, so they can excel the women, and all ranks agree that enduring realities of practical life earning livelihood is the reason. 2. Men are maintainers of women, because they support women from their (men) means from what they earn using the strength Allah has blessed them (men) with. It is also pertinent to mention here that the middle part of the same verse highlights conduct of righteous women based on this very rationale, and the last part of the same verse lays down condition i.e. ill-conduct (disloyalty to husbands) , to justify maltreatment of women by man (which should be light and with a clear potential of being useful), which is not allowed out rightly, but only after having admonished and refusing the bed with her. One wonders then how brutal beating of a wife by husband could be justified, which is anything but Islamic! So a question arises here that if a man is neither protecting a women, nor supporting her from his means, on what ground should he demand devotion & obedience!, or what logic is left at his disposal to wrongfully exploit a women just by misappropriating this verse? This is something for elders of the society to ponder upon and help the younger generation with a rationale solution its a matter for all our brothers and sisters! Furthermore, but for this logically conditioned difference of status (between men and women), both men and women are equal in every aspect, as per the Quran i.e.

Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in the world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter) (16:97)* Verily, the Muslims (those who submit to Allah in Islam) men and women, the believer men and women (who believe in Islamic Monotheism), the men and the women who are obedient (to Allah), the men and the women who are truthful (in their speech and deeds), the men and the women who are patient (in performing all the duties which Allah has ordered and in abstaining from all what Allah has forbidden), the men and the women who are humble (before their Lord Allah), the men and the women who give charity (obligatory i.e. Zakat, and non-obligatory i.e. alms, etc), the men and the women who fast (the obligatory fasting during the Month of Ramadan, and the optional Nawafil fasting), the men and the women who guard their chastity (from illegal sexual acts) and the men and the women who remember Allah much with their hearts and tongues (while sitting, standing, lying etc. for more than 300 times extra over the remembrance of Allah during the five compulsory congregational prayers, or praying extra additional Nawafil prayers of night in the last part of night etc.) Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (i.e. Paradise) (33:35)* It manifest the logic that men and women are equal in eye of Almighty, and in a specific relation if a degree is granted to men over women it is conditioned with protection and (support) maintenance! All the members of a Muslim society, and ummah at large, should consider the fact that Islamic Code of Conduct both individually and socially, is determined by Allah and HIS messenger Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and family norms, clan binding, cultural patterns or customary mores should only be the means to this end, not the end itself! An across the board employment of both short-term and long-term strategies as detailed above, has a solid potential to effectively curb the problem of failing marriages in our society, InshallahIndeed Allah is All - Knower! * Translation of the meanings of Quranic verses by Dr Muhsin Khan & Dr Taqiuddin Hilali, published by Darussalam & approved by late Sheikh Abullaziz bin Baz