Dr. Aneesah Nadir –
As Muslims we know that marriage is half of our religion. It is a foundation of the Prophet’s pbuh tradition and the Muslim society. Ramadan is a time to renew our relationship with Allah and with each other. The Islamic Social Services Association-USA (ISSA-USA) calls on Muslims nationwide to refocus our efforts on building healthy marriages and families as part of its National Muslim Marriage Week Campaign. ISSA-USA asks Muslims throughout the country to consider the married life of Prophet pbuh and the example he set of a loving, patient husband and father.
No matter where you are in the marriage continuum from single to married for many years to divorced or remarried we ask you to consider the struggle to maintain a healthy marriage and to recognize that despite the struggle it is possible to build a healthy, happy marriage and family. We ask how real is the struggle and what are practical keys for a healthy marriage?
The struggle is so real that young educated Muslim American women mid-20s to late 30s are struggling to find suitable, compatible marriage prospects. The struggle is so real that the divorce rate among Muslims is at least 33% and children are experiencing shared custody living between their parents’ homes. The struggle is so real that Muslim children are growing up in homes where they have witnessed marital discord and domestic violence among their parents. Some in this next generation are not sure they even want to get married.
Despite the reality of the struggle and the challenges couples continue to face, we happily look to the example of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. We know how he lovingly honored and respected Khadijah’s ra for business prowess and her loyalty at the most difficult times of the early days of Islam. We know that he patiently enjoyed running races and cultural events with Aisha ra. He relied on the wisdom and advice of Um Salamah who suggested to make the sacrifice at Hudaybiyyah when the Muslims were refused access to Mecca. He did not turn away from women who were strong, assertive, intelligent or full of character like Khadijah, Aishah, Hafsah or Um Salamah. He never raised his hands or his voice to his wives or children. He pbuh was and is our best example.
Today we see our elders having been married 40, 50, 60 years. They let us know it is possible to live a healthy, happy, loving marriage as Muslims in these days and times. And happily we see young brothers and sisters of similar and diverse cultures in their late twenties to forties forging happy marriages and families in the era of the Millennials and Generation X despite the challenging times in which we live.
Keys for a healthy marriage include a meaningful relationship with Allah swt and His Messenger pbuh as well as conducting a serious self-assessment and introspection. Ask yourself how ready are you to marry, what values do you bring to the marriage and what do you want from your marriage future or present. This Ramadan is a great time to engage in personal self-reflection and put some new habits into practice.
ISSA-USA wishes you and your family a blessed Ramadan and prays for happy, healthy, strong families community wide. Ramadan Mubarak!