Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rising Divorce among Somalis is a Cause for concern

Bazi Bussuri Sheikh
Sunday, July 15, 2012

It is very rare to find a Somali home that is not directly and indirectly touched by the trauma of divorce. We are now witnessing rising divorce rates among the Somalis inside the country and abroad and hardly give a moment’s thought to all those broken homes and dreams. We are really in state of denial, until suddenly it affects us. Majority of these divorce cases are preventable and could have been resolved if the necessary steps had been taken at the early stages of the conflict. There are many cases where the ones who initiated the divorce end up expressing their regret. They then shop around for a scholar to make a case for them in order to resume their marriage. There is a desperate need for pre-marital education to our young generation onhow to build a meaningful marriage relationship asmanyof our young people get into marriage with limited knowledge (caring and communication skills) about such important institution.

Divorce is a very delicate and sensitive subject and care must be taken before making the decision to divorce. The magnitude of its importance was shown in “Suurat Adh-dhalaaq” as it is the suurah with the word (Taqwallah-Fear of Allah) mentioned the most. Iblis (Shaytaan) also understood the severity of the negative impact divorce has on the society. This was supported by the hadith of Jabir(Imam Muslim, no:5032) where Iblis embraces and gives higher ranking to the one who succeeds in splitting the married couple above the ones who made someone to commit bigger sins (kabair) bearing in mind divorce is permissible.Divorce affects not only the individuals but the society as a whole in a number of ways such as:
 The relationship between the families of the divorcing couples deteriorates if the divorce was not done in amicable way as they are drawn into the emotions of the split. This is due to listening to one sided story of one spouse.
 It has negative behavioral impacts on children as some children of them act out of frustration get involved in fighting and criminal activities or suffer from depression. There are increased school dropout rates among the children whose parents are divorced. Additionally, the children who witness their parent’s divorce may impact on their future relationships, various studies suggest this.
 The divorced couples also go through a lot of hardship and the emotional and mental trauma affects them both. For them, this is the most difficult time of their lives until they get back on their feet. They really need our support and will be rewarded by Allah for helping them.
 There are cases where divorce may benefit the couple and children especially when living with high levels of conflict and hostility between their parents with no hope of reconciliation. But our main concern should be on how to reduce the un-necessary and preventable divorce cases (Low level trivial conflicts) among the Somalis. We need to take collective actions starting from the couples, parents, neighbours, scholars, tribe leaders, media and the government. We also need to change our attitude towards marriage by changing the areas where our cultural and traditional beliefs about marriage is in disagreement with the teachings of our Prophet Mohamed SAW"Indeed I have been sent to complete the best of character (akhlaq) Abu Hurairah."
Finally, we recommend the following steps should be taken by the individuals, communities abroad, media and the Somali government. :(Please also give your recommendations in the comment box as knowledge is within the people)
 1. Read and learn to enable understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the couples before and after getting married. Islamic literature on marriage is widely available such as YouTube marriage lectures, books and web articles are available on many languages.
 2. Be aware that conflicts do happen in marriage and it is natural (You are not Alone). Even our most beloved faced marital problems when the hypocrites wrongly accused Aisha “Ummul Mu’miniin” with adultery untilAllah has revealed proof of her innocence.
3. Parents: Express your love and respect for each other in front of your children and this is the best and the most effective marital relationship education for your children’s future marriage.
4. Divorced Couples: It is not easy, but do not cut yourself from the world. Forgive all the wrongs your ex did to you and most important of all forgive yourself and stop blaming yourself and anyone else for what has occurred. When angry do not curse your ex in front of your children. By doing this, things will work towards betterment instead of getting worst.
 1. Organise pre-marital workshops designed to train couples and teach them each mate’s real needs. Also organize yearly post-marriage conferences on the issues of marital relationships to increase awareness.
 2. Set up support team to mediate and to reconcile couples with conflict. Support is also needed for the divorced couples as they go through a lot stress and anxiety.
 1. Include the final year of the secondary school curriculum a subject on marital relationship and family values based on Islamic teachings.
 2. Make the pre-marital workshop attendance compulsory on those who are getting married. This was very successful in Malaysia and helped reduce the high divorce rate of the country.
 Media (Somali owned TV Stations, radio, news paper and websites)
 1. Always includeprograms and articles about marital relationship enhancement in your list of programs and articles. There is high demand for this and may improve your viewing rate whilst getting a reward from Allah.
 2. Care must be taken on the content of the programs and should not be biased. The content should be well balanced and in line with the teachings of Prophet Mohamed SCW.
Bazi Bussuri Sheikh

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