When Muslim Marriage Fails: Divorce Chronicles and Commentaries
by Suzy Ismail
Beltsville, Maryland: Amana Publications, 2010. 136 pages.
When I first heard about the book, I jumped at the opportunity to read it. Recently engaged, I wanted to understand the pitfalls many newlywed couples experience and how to avoid them.
The book provides five stories told from the perspective of both the wife and husband and covers different reasons why couples married, strife they experienced and what caused their eventual divorces. It covers issues as diverse as arranged marriages, marrying outside of one’s culture, marrying for wealth, marrying for status, marrying for love without consulting parents and marrying even for green cards. Each one of these marriages failed mainly because each couple went into the marriages with different expectations and dreams and they failed to communicate with each other properly. Each set of stories was then commented on by an expert on Muslim families/marriages where they explained why the marriage failed.
Having the book written as ten mini-stories made it a very easy read. So easy in fact, I ended up reading the whole book in one sitting. Placing commentaries after each couple was beneficial in understanding the pitfalls of each marriage. However, having five different commentators, each commenting on one couples story made the commentaries repetitive and they lost value as the further I read through the book.
Overall each story was well written and can easily absorb the reader into the story and feel the struggles of each character. One can easily sympathize with both characters even as they portray the other as an uncaring and selfish partner. As each character made mistakes and reacted to their circumstances, one wishes they could enter into the story and warn the couple and show them the bigger picture before it was too late. Each story was unique with different circumstances and issues that even though each story ended in divorce it did not feel as a repeat of the previous stories.
Kudos for the writer for writing a unique book that tries to show the pitfalls of marriage in a unique way that is much closer to the way our society receives information. I feel that this book can reach a much larger audience than just lectures and books on the importance of marriage which are usually focused to those with religious leanings. This book can reach a much larger and missed audience that needs this information but usually is not interested in ‘how to’ books or lectures. I would strongly encourage this book for those who already found the one they want to marry and are either married or starting the marriage process.