Understanding Trends in American Muslim Divorce and Marriage: A Discussion Guide for Families and Communities
The divorce rate among North American Muslims has risen sharply in the last 25 years. While marriage breakdown is also on the rise in some Muslim countries, for many members of the older generation divorce was unusual or even unheard of in their family. When marriages did end, the widespread social taboo associated with divorce meant that it was difficult to talk openly with one’s family and other community members about marital discord and breakdown. This taboo continues today, to some degree, in the North American Muslim community.
This four-year empirical study has encouraged individuals and groups to discuss marital conflict openly and frankly. The goal was to explore what they understand as their Islamic obligations in marriage, the challenges they face in their married lives, and under what circumstances they might consider divorce – including their decision-making process, where they turn for help, and what rituals of closure and divorce outcomes are important to them.