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Divorce and marriages in Islam
Divorce and marriages in Western America
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Ethics of Marriage and Divorce
Marriage and Divorce are two widespread experiences that are practiced by
almost every culture. However, different cultures have different perspectives on
marriage and divorce. Marriage is a legal or formal union of two people who wants to
live as partners and to make personal relationships to have a happy marriage. In other
words, marriage is the diverse interpersonal union relationships that are developed in
different parts of the world for making familial connections that are religious, legal,
social and grant the partners the legal rights e.g. arranged marriage, same-sex marriage,
plural marriage and opposite sex-marriage. According to anthropologists, these kinds of
marriages are found in almost every human society since the ancient times.
Divorce can be defined as “Divorce is the dissolution of the marital bonds that
dissolve matrimony relations between the two parties 1. Another definition of divorce is
that “It is the end of the marriage contract between two people to be separate”.2 Almost
every culture has the same definition of marriage and divorce i.e. union of two people
Emery, Robert E. Cultural Sociology of Divorce: An Encyclopedia. Los Angeles:
SAGE, 2013. Web.
Merriam Webster. Divorce. Merriam Webster Dictionary. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.
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and dissolution of the union by two people. However, the perspectives on marriage and
divorce are different in Western and Middle Eastern culture. “Western and Eastern
cultures have different ethical beliefs regarding marriage and divorce. Eastern culture
gives more importance to religious marriage and lower importance to divorce and
Western culture give more importance to cohabitation and non-marriage”.
Eastern and Western Believes on Marriage and Divorce
Middle East countries have different beliefs on divorce and marriage than the
Western countries. Eastern and Western people are not only brought up in different
cultures, but they also are also educated in different ways which changed their views.
Every culture shows its features in the people’s behaviors towards love, life
relationships, and personalities. Attitudes of Western people are different than the
attitudes and behaviors of Eastern people, and this is the reason that when Eastern people
visit Western countries, they encounter cultural shock.3
Eastern people do not marry just for the romantic relationship and love but they
marry on the basis of social, educational and economic background and they select the
life partner who is comparable to them, and that is why, they are more concerned about
the realistic feelings in the marriage than only thinking about the romantic relationships
in the marriage. On the other hand, Western do not marry like this. They first confirm
Wang, Mendy. Eastern vs. Western Culture. P. 1-4. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.
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that if they love each other and then they marry. They prefer romantic relationships in
their marriages to stay together.
Due to the preference of love in the marriage, a rich Western woman would be
satisfied if she married to a poor man but she will be happy because she loves to the
person regardless of his class, status, education and financial position.
This does not
happen in the Middle East because they prefer status and if children want to marry on
the basis of love, their parents will not allow them to marry to poor guys, and they will
hinder their marriage. Moreover, Westerns have no parental interference in their
marriages, but Eastern parents are strict regarding their children marriages because they
think that it is their responsibility to find a match able partner for their children. Western
believe that their children have rights to decide their life and they can take a decision on
their own. 5
Marriage and Divorce in Islam
In the Middle East or Ara world, one of the wide spreading religion is Islam.
Islam helped and hindered the ways of Middle Eastern women in fulfilling their roles of
political, economic and liberation struggles. In Islam, the word Nikah is used which is
a pre-Islamic Arabic word for marriage. Like other religions, cultures, and societies,
Nikah means forming a relationship between a man and a woman. Islam focuses on
May, Elaine- Tylor. Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in Post-Victorian America.
University of Chicago Press 1980. Web
Wang, Mendy. Eastern vs. Western Culture. P. 1-4. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.
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marriage as this is the only legal and valid way to reproduce socially acceptable children.
Muslim marriages are meant to maintain not only sexual passions among individuals
but also to create and organize domestic lives. Most marriages in Islam take place after
mutual consent of two parties.
Requirements of Marriage in Islam
Marriage includes a formal proposal from one side and its acceptance by the
other. The marriage is then followed by a gift from the family of the bride to the family
of groom called ‘dowry.' Groom also responses by giving marriage gift called ‘mehr’ to
his wife. In Islam, marriage is the purpose to expand legal families, to create an
understanding among the spouses so that they could support each other mentally,
financially and morally. This would ultimately lead to a strong, sound and stable society.
Islam has allowed a man to have four wives at the same time, but this permission
has bound to some limitations. If a person is financially strong enough to afford more
than one wives at the same time and if he can do fair justice to them then he is permitted
to have more than one wives. Polygamy has an enormous role in Islamic society.
According to Islamic scholars, the roots of polygamy were decent as it aimed to
strengthen the financial and social status of widows. The Strong financial approach of
an individual or a family will help to develop a healthy and wealthy society. On the
other hand, polygamy generates the lack of tolerance, trust and respect among the wives
and also among the spouses. Even Prophet Mohammad PBUH also had to face
jealousies among his wives. The law in 1967 restricted the polygamous marriages and
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obligated to take court’s approval before marrying to other woman and also take
permission of the former wives. 6
Divorce in Islam
It is a fact that divorce existed before Islam, but the advent of Islam made this
process more favorable for the women.7 Islam gave the right of divorce only to husband.
It was not allowed in Islam to divide the property of wife on divorce which was given
to her on or during the marital relationship period. This practice prohibited men to take
benefit of the wife’s property.8 However, the husband’s property was divided according
to the marriage contract on divorce, and if a woman sought maintenance and expenses
from his former husband, he was obliged to support her wife even after divorce.
Cause of Divorce
Divorce in Islam is a final and absolute separation between two spouses. Islam
would be considered incomplete without divorce law although it is a highly-condemned
act among all the lawful practices of Islam. The happening of divorce could be followed
up by various reasons like misunderstanding among partners, unreasonable
Afshar, Haleh. Women in the Middle East: Perceptions, Realities, and Struggles for
Liberation. New York: St. Martin's, 1993. Web.
Sonbol, Amira El Azhary. Women, the Family, and Divorce Laws in Islamic History.
Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1996. Web.
Mitchell, William. Women’s rights in Islam regarding marriage and divorce. Journal
of Law and Practice. Vol. 9. 2011. P. 1-14
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interferences of relatives, financial issues physical incompatibility, etc. In some cases,
Islam highly recommends divorce to carry an ethical life. When a chaste lady gets
married to an impious man, the vehicle of life totally gets unbalance. Adjustments
become difficult, and there remains no other solution rather than to get apart.
According to Islamic teachings, the worth of woman lies in veiling herself.
Vulgarity is highly prevalent in our society and woman is a great source of charm for a
man. When a man starts to pay attention to the charming ladies around him, he gets fed
up of his upright wife, and this leads to divorce. Sometimes male spouse divorces his
wife because he gets attracted towards another na-mahram lady by her lack of hijab and
inviting attitudes. Neglection from one partner or the other also leads to many unwanted
attitudes and then finally to divorce.
Requirements of Divorce
The Prophet Mohammad PBUH of Islam admired those male spouses who gave
attention and time to their wives, listened to their troubles, consoled and thanked them
for the se...