Islamic Voice
Rabi-ul-Akhir 1422H
July 2001
Volume 15-07 No:175

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WOMEN"S ISSUES


Interfaith Marriages: Disturbing Trend
Tips for A: Successful Husband

Interfaith Marriages

Disturbing Trend

Unable to find suitable matches within the community, the Muslim girls are stepping out of the faith to make marital partners leading to a host of problems

M. H. Lakdawala

In the last few months five Muslim girls from the predominant Muslim pocket of Malad Malavni in Mumbai have married outside their religious communities. This has led to quite uneasiness amongst the Muslims of the locality.

Uptil now mixed marriages were confined to the elite Muslims. Middle class considered it against their religious teachings. But gradually the instances of middle class Muslim girls opting for non-Muslim boys are increasing. According to Dr. Ishaq Jamkhanawala, president, Anjuman-I-Islam, “It has reached alarming proportions. Previously it was very rare, but now it has become a regular feature,” he said.

That mixed marriages generally led to a lot of tension within the two families does not act as deterrent. “The nature of marriage in India is such that you invariably marry the family along with the individual,” says Saida Shaikh, who married businessman Vinod Amritkar two years ago. “Even if there is one person in the family who decides to vitiate the atmosphere, things can turn volatile.”

Saida says that living independently has made the things easier for them. “But the pain that my family has broken all contacts with me is unbearable. I cannot meet my parents nor can attend the family get-together,” she said.

Last year when a Muslim correspondent of a National daily married a non-Muslim Gujrati businessman, she was sacked from most of the community projects she was associated with.

Diverse faiths often bedevil marital relationships. Of the 20 such couples, seven had filed for divorce

Ironically as the Muslim community is getting conscious of the importance of education, the pace of girls getting educated is faster as compared to boys, specially, in the communities such as Khojas, Bohras, Memons, Khans, Syeds and other mercantile communities.

In the marriage market, it’s becoming more and more difficult for an educated middle class Muslim girl to find a suitable match.

Interacting with the cross section of the community, various factors were revealed for the spurt in the marriages outside the faith. Lack of knowledge about Islam turned out to be the single most important reason. Parents’ attention has been on education and career, the provision for imparting the knowledge about the basic tenets of Islam is not made. Although most of the Muslim homes have TV there is no discussion on what is being shown on soaps and sitcoms and the difference between facts and fantasy.

Lack of adequate communication between parents and children is quite rampant. With interaction between Muslim girls and males of other communities increasing due to education, the parents fail to explain or communicate to children about the situation in campus and where to draw the line.

Farida Mukadam, whose daughter Sakina married a Christian boy John is a broken woman today. John agreed to get converted to Islam. But after marriage under the pressure form his parents, John refused and in fact forced Sakina to get converted to Christianity or get divorced, revealed Farida with tears in her eyes.

“Today my daughter is not allowed to visit us. Whenever I become restless for not seeing her for a long time, I travel all the way to Thane and wait outside the church to see her where she comes every Sunday with her in-laws,” she said with a look of distance and tumult in her heart.

Maimoona Khan resigns from her teaching job to marry Sanjay Puranik, a CA on the promise that she would be allowed to follow and practise Islam. Six months into marriage Sanjay opposed her practising Islam which untimately resulted in divorce just 18 months after marriage. Now with one baby girl to look after Maimoona is finding very tough to survive as her father refuses to take her back and no vacancy existing. “If it was not for the secret support of my mother, I would have landed on pavement. I think I made a mistake believing Sanjay. It’s very difficult for a man to accept his wife practising another religion,” she said

Even Mahatma Gandhi had some perspective on the cross-cultural marriage between the Hindu and Muslims. He did not necessarily condemn Hindu-Muslim marriage, but instead classifies it as a “risky experiment.” “In a cross-cultural marriage, the couple has already failed because they lose the support of their family and relatives. They must start a new life without any kind of aid, which, unfortunately, leads to financial problems”.

This may lead to an adverse impact on Muslim community as well-established, talented Muslim boys and girls marry in non-muslim community. These boys and girls who could play a major role for upliftment of Muslims are hijacked from community on the name of liberal ideas or so-called modern society.

Another very much damaging thing from the point of view of education of Muslim society is that an educated girl who is needed with highest priority for Muslims for lifting the lifestyle of the next generation is no more available if educated Muslim girl marries with non-Muslim boy. Thus Muslims are not able even to utilise the education and talent of their girls to teach their children and create strong Muslim generation which can be more rational and powerful.

In an informal survey by Islamic Voice of the inter-religious marriages where a Muslim girl has married a non-Muslim boy, out of 20 couples, seven have divorced or filed for divorce under Special Marriage Act. Eleven couples are having the normal relationship. But in all the 11 cases both the partners do not practise any religion or are of the same ideological bent of mind. Out of remaining two, in one case both partners practise their individual religion. But here both are well settled and have secured high paying jobs. In the other case both the partners follow theirs as well as their partner’s religion also.

The trend is quite alarming. The only way out is to grant the Muslim women the status as enjoined in the Quran and Sunnah. Unless and until social reforms are undertaken at the grassroots level such type of issues would keep on rearing their head.

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Tips for A

Successful Husband

1. Dress up for your wife, look clean and smell good.When was the last time you went shopping for designer pajamas? Just like the husband wants his wife to look nice for him, she also wants her husband to dress up for her too. Remember that the Prophet (peace be upon him) would always start with Miswak when returning home and always loved the sweetest smells.

2. Use the cutest names for your wife. Call your wife by the most beloved names to her, and avoid using names that hurt their feelings.

3. Don’t treat her like a fly. We never think about a fly in our daily lives until it ‘bugs’ us. Similarly, a wife will do well all day -which brings no attention from the husband - until she does something to ‘bug’ him. Don’t treat her like this; recognize all the good that she does and focus on that.

4. If you see wrong from your wife, try being silent and do not comment! This is one of the ways the Prophet (Pbuh) used when he would see something inappropriate from his wives(R.A). It’s a technique that few Muslim men have mastered.

5. Smile at your wife whenever you see her and embrace her often. Smiling is Sadaqah and your wife is not exempt from the Muslim Ummah. Imagine life with her constantly seeing you smiling. Remember also those Ahadith when the Prophet (Pbuh) would kiss his wife before leaving for Salah, even when he was fasting.

6. Thank her for all that she does for you. Then thank her again! Take for example a dinner at your house. She makes the food, cleans the home, and a dozen other tasks to prepare. And sometimes the only acknowledgement she receives is that there needed to be more salt in the soup. Don’t let that be; thank her!

7. Ask her to write down the last ten things you did for her that made her happy. Then go and do them again. It may be hard to recognize what gives your wife pleasure. You don’t have to play a guessing game, ask her and work on repeating those times in your life.

8. Don’t belittle her desires. Comfort her. Sometimes the men may look down upon the requests of their wives. The Prophet (Pbuh) set the example for us in an incident when Safiyyah ( R.A ) was crying because, as she said, he had put her on a slow camel. He wiped her tears, comforted her, and brought her the camel.

9. Be humorous and play games with your wife. Look at how the Prophet (Pbuh) would race with his wife Aisha (R.A) in the desert. When was the last time we did something like that?

10. Always remember the words of Allah’s Messenger (Pbuh): "The best of you are those who treat their families the best. And I am the best amongst you to my family.” Try to be the best!

In conclusion: Never forget to make Dua to Allah - ta’ala to make your marriage successful. And Allah ta’ala knows best!!

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