Healthy Marriage Intiative: An Overview
One of the goals of MANA is to assist and empower local Muslim communities so that they can develop into dynamic, viable, effective communities. Healthy marriages are the foundation for a viable community. Stable marriages allow for communities to grow and unstable marriages are a detriment to growth. Our problem is that the Muslim community in America is greatly weakened by an unacceptable number of unstable marriages and divorces. The results are broken homes, spousal abuse, children raised by one parent, and emotional turmoil in the community. This problem affects all Muslims in America but it seems to plague the inner-city Muslim communities to a greater extent.
MANA’s Majlis ash-Shura decided in late 2005 that MANA’s first project should be an effort to address the challenge of addressing the issue of healthy marriages. The project was called the Marriage Initiative.
The ultimate purpose of the Marriage Initiative is to help masjids and Muslim communities build and maintain healthy marriages. To obtain this goal, the Marriage Initiate will consult with a wide range of Muslims with expertise and experience in issues of marriage and divorce to develop model guidelines, procedures, material and training for all aspects of marriage and divorce. Local masjids and communities will then encouraged to adopt the Marriage Initiative program. The prime advocacy of the Marriage Initiative is a standardized pre-marital counseling program that hopefully all masjids will adopt.
ORGANIZING THE MARRIAGE INITIATIVE
A Task Force was appointed by MANA’s Majlis ash-Shura. The members are:
- Anwar Muhaimin (Chair), Imam, International Muslim Brotheroood (Phila)
- Aneesah Nadir, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Arizona State U and President of Islamic Social Service Association
- Ihsan Bagby, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, U of Kentucky, Imam, Masjid Bilal, and General Secretary of MANA
- Anas Muhaimin, Assistant Imam, International Muslim Brotherhood
- Saida Abdul Aziz, Administrator, Quba Institute
- Luqman Ahmad, Imam and writer
- Jamilah Clark, Ph.D. in Islamic Studies, Temple University and marriage counselor
The Task Force set the following objectives:
- Survey masjids and care providers to determine what guidelines and procedures are used in the field.
- Develop a first draft of guidelines, etc.
- Organize a “Consultative Meeting” with experts and Muslim leaders to receive their feedback on the guidelines, etc.
- Finalize the material and submit it to MANA’s Shura for final approval.
The various products of the Marriage Initiative are:
- Standard marriage contract
- Marriage preparation program for young adults and adults
- Pre-Marital Counseling Guidelines
- Guidelines for Wali
- Masjid Guidelines for Marriage
- Masjid Guidelines for Divorce
- Guidelines for Arbitration
- Divorce forms
- Guidelines for spousal abuse
First drafts are to be prepared by March 2007.
The Consultative meeting is to take place in March 2007.
All material is to be readied by April 2007. In sha Allah.