Marital issues facing Muslims: Analysis and Recommendations

By: Khalid Iqbal, Founder of Rahmaa Institute

Marriage is the cornerstone of a healthy Muslim society. A happy and tranquil home provides important benefits to all of its members in personal satisfaction, health, longevity and social life. It especially has an extremely positive effect on the children in their social, physical, and psychological behavior. Children coming from a two parent home generally do very well in school with high academic achievement.

Unfortunately, we are seeing a trend of declining marital satisfaction among couples of all ages. The trend is disturbing even scary as family dysfunction rises. Social service counselors and Imams are increasingly spending most of their time trying to fix the “marriage problem”.

The trend of divorces amongst Muslims is heavily on the rise. What makes it most disturbing is the increase in numbers of couples seeking divorce after several years of marriage. Most of these divorcees say that they were just holding it in for a long time waiting only for their children to grow up and get married. The sad part was when asked if they tried to seek help from a marriage counselor, all, except one, said no. The most alarming part is they did not know it was available to them or had misconceptions about going to a marriage counselor.

In this article I have tried to outline some of the main reasons for family dysfunction based on a few articles on the subject and our own experiences in doing family counseling, along with a few recommendations. We are also writing separate articles on each of the main reasons mentioned below. We have divided them into three separate areas outlining issues:

1. Prior to marriage
2. After marriage and
3. After separation or divorce

Pre-Marriage Issues:

1. Looks and physical attributes:
In a hadeeth from our Prophet Mohammad SWS who said “One marries for four reasons
Their looks, their wealth, their status and their piety. The best among the four is the piety.”
In many cultures the candidates and their parents mostly concentrate on the first three. There is wisdom in the teachings of our Prophet (SWS).

2. Wrong expectations:

In a recent TV show from a Muslim country, they were discussing marriage problems. The female guests who were recently divorced or separated were there because the parents tried to marry their daughters to someone from America or Europe so that they could move overseas. This was done in haste without doing proper background check on the other party. These “grooms from overseas” stayed and enjoyed their brides for a few days or weeks and then left.

3. Mismatch:

Seeking a medical doctor, engineer or other lucrative profession may not be right match for your son or daughter. Sometimes both spouses having the same or similar profession might result in a mismatch because to the high demand in terms of their time and attention, especially in a high stress jobs.

4. Delay in marriage:

This is a problem for women and men. Parents sometimes delay the marriage of their child because of education, or financial stability, or any other reason. Then when the proposals stop coming they rush to have their daughter married even if they are not compatible and suitable for each other. We need to follow the Hadeeth of the Prophet (SWS) who said “One should marry as soon as they are capable of supporting their family.”

For men, if they are forced to wait once they have expressed an interest in marriage it is common for them to then start acting on their urges and mostly in ways outside of the norm of Islam.

5. Lack of critical personal information

One of the biggest issue in marriage these days is either not disclosing complete information about themselves or straight out lying. Many con artists lie about their age, income, health, family background, addiction to drugs and alcohol, an the like for reasons of their own. Not knowing that it is a sin and also causes major issues later on in marriage.

After Marriage Issues:

1. Interference from family and In-laws:

Extended family generally tends to have a significant influence and impact on the young couple’s life. Recent survey show that the in-laws are the number one issue causing disruption in the life of newly married couple. Please refer to our article “Parents involvement in the Life of Married Couple”

2. Domestic violence

A number of marriages end up in divorce because of excessive anger leading up to domestic violence. The couple should find out more about each other’s behavior when angry prior to marriage. This is one of the issues although important, the partners or their parents are reluctant to ask. Many marriage counselors including those at Rahmaa Institute make sure to inquire and talk about it at length during their premarital counseling sessions.

3. Ineffective Communication:

Productive communication is the key for a successful and happy married life. Communication breakdown is common during anger or in dispute. Instead of sharing their feelings partners start to point fingers and use accusatory language. Once again at Rahmaa Institute, we spend one whole session on this subject.

4. Lack of Trust:

Trust is the string that connects the couple together. It takes a lifetime to build trust but only a moment to break this delicate string. Hiding things from each other, telling lies, gossiping, backbiting about your spouse, sharing personal intricate information with others, all contribute to the loss of Trust

5. Disagreements over Finances:

a. Separate bank accounts
b. Fighting over bills
c. Non-payment of zakat
d. Dependence on credit cards

6. Differing interests:

a. Cultural differences
b. Religious differences
c. Personal likes and dislikes

7. Infidelity / adultery
This is indeed a serious issue but because of the world we live in it also seems to be a disease that is destroying Muslim homes. This is a major sin. Allah is very clear about it in Surah Noor:

الزَّانِي لَا يَنْكِحُ إِلَّا زَانِيَةً أَوْ مُشْرِكَةً وَالزَّانِيَةُ لَا يَنْكِحُهَا إِلَّا زَانٍ أَوْ مُشْرِكٌ ۚ وَحُرِّمَ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
24:3 Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry and but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden.

Suggested Solutions:

Each issue mentioned above has consequences in the life of young couple. The following may only be the starting point for resolving some of these issues:

1. The first and most important step is to recognize and educate ourselves on the issues. At Rahmaa Institute, we are constantly developing new educational programs, workshops and counseling sessions. We plan to tackle each issue individually and write and post articles about each on our web page.

2. Recognize that the solution lies in the hands of those involved, the couple, parents, elders and family.

3. The society especially Muslim community needs awareness on the real issues facing young couples, instead of following wrong traditions or culture. A lot of time, money and energy is spent on clothes, preparation, decorations, food, which are important. However, it would be best to put premarital counseling on the top of that list. We must educate ourselves and the society on the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah in marital matters.

4. Seek help from professional counselors, who are not only knowledgeable in their field but also about our culture and religion.

5. Young couple, this is your life, so take charge and take appropriate action to make your home a happy one.

6. Many couples think that marriage counseling is only for those facing marital problems. That is not correct. Premarital and post marital counseling or group counseling will prepare you on how to deal with conflicts and issues as they appear. We offer on line counseling via skype that you can register for and take the session in the comfort of your home. Contact us at

We pray to Allah that “He protect our Muslim homes from Shaitan and any mischief or issues. That He brings happiness and tranquility in our homes. That He gives us the wisdom and courage to tackle our issues wisely with love and mercy. That He helps us make the right decision for our home, protect our spouses and children.” Amin.

We would love to hear from you; your comments, suggestions and criticism that will help us serve you better.

DISCLAIMER: Rahmaa Institute is dedicated to empowering Muslim families through education, workshops, self-evaluating internet based courses and couple and family counseling. We are a religious aid focused on sharing guidance based off the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. We do appreciate donations to help us continue the research, providing such services to the masajid all across the world and raising awareness of solutions and support to those considering marriage, newlyweds, those experiencing conflict in their marriage and finally to those who wish to enhance their marriage with better communication and understanding of one another.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment