Friday, March 5, 2010

Islamic Law

I have been thinking a great deal about my situation lately in terms of Islamic Law. Prior to our marriage, my husband agreed to abide by the rules of my religion.
I had asked my husband to sit down with me and write up an Islamic prenuptual agreement. These are standard in all Islamic marriages. They can be as simple or as complex as you want them.

I think these are really important because it sets up the dialoge ahead of time as to what each parties expectations are and spells out what will happen if these expectations are not met.

Unfortunately, I got tied up and busy with the wedding plans and my husband was in no hurry to draft such a document. So, we never did one.

I really regret that.

Contrary to popular belief, Islam at its root was a very progressive religion for women. It was the first religion to give women the right to divorce. It was the first religion to give women property rights - and many other financial rights.

In Islam, motherhood is valued.

I feel strongly that we do not value motherhood in our culture, and I think that is really wrong.

There are a lot of things built in to many Islamic countries (via Islamic Law) that protect women and mothers.

For one, the extended family plays a much greater role. If one party is acting out, the family calls that party into account.

Women are free to work if they chose to, but if they do, the money they earn is theirs alone to keep and not intended to support the family. The man is supposed to support the family at all times and would be audited upfront to make sure they were capable of doing that before a marriage could even take place.

If the man strayed or the couple decided to divorce, the man would still be required to support the family.

A woman also receives her family inheritance when she marries, so she has a nest egg going into the marriage that no one can touch. So if all else fails in the rare situation where a man did not support his family after a divorce, the woman would have something to fall back on.

Interest is forbidden in Islamic Law, so there is very little debt in most Muslim countries (although this is changing unfortunately). Most men live with their families well into their mid-thirties and save money so they can pay cash for their home. Most cars are purchased with cash. People live within their means more often, so there aren't all the same financial issues that we have here in the United States.

I guess what I am getting at is that the position that I am in right now would just never happen in most of the Muslim world.

Obviously, these laws to not apply to my situation here in the United States. But I wanted to point them out because I frequently find that people have major misunderstandings about Islam.

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