WhatsApp: It’s time for pre-marriage training, By Muhammad Jameel Yusha’u

Muhammed Jameel Yusha'u
Muhammad Jameel Yushau

The author says pre-marital training could reduce the number of divorcees in our society.

Between 2007 and 2008, I had the privilege of managing an Islamic center in Sheffield. It was an experience I would always cherish because it brought me closer to the community. The Muslim community in Sheffield is one of the best I have ever interacted with.

That experience taught me what it means to work for a community, and understand that for a society to succeed, people have to come together, identify their problems and work towards finding a lasting solution to them.

Sheffield is a friendly city, some people call it the village city, and the Muslim community comprises of different
nationalities: Pakistanis, Yeminis, Somalis, Caribbean’s as well as the English.

One of the key problems we found at the time was the high rate of divorce among the community. Everyone should be
concerned about the rate of divorce in any society because of its implication on the wider environment.

Delinquency, prostitution, depression, poverty are some of the common results of family breakdown. A child requires the two parents to taste the delicacy of parenthood.

So what was the way out? of course the cases that came to us on daily basis required urgent solutions, from reconciliation to marriage counselling etc. but the Center decided that the best way to confront this social
problem was by arresting it from the root cause by ensuring that young people had enough training on issues related to marriage before tying the knot.

So a date was set for the training during a bank holiday (the name of public holidays in the UK) when most kids were home. Gladly the parents cooperated by bringing their children, including those who are married, for the training. The workshop included a talk by a Muslim scholar who discussed the concept of marriage in Islam, the
roles and responsibilities of the husband and the wife, and how Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) managed his household.

Other working sessions during the workshop included personality traits of couples. Participants were made to identify the best traits for potential wives and husbands, how to communicate those traits to the potential
spouse etc. Other issues included managing disputes, family upkeep, especially for those with little resources, and strategies for ensuring couples remain happy especially after the honeymoon period is over. In fact, there was a session by a good friend who had been married for 20 years. He shared his experience with participants on
how the journey had been without a major marital crack.

Even in Nigeria, some communities are making efforts like this, although it may not solve the problem of divorce completely. But at least it will contribute to making the youth understand their important responsibilities, and perhaps encourage them to work harder in ensuring marriages survive.

I was motivated to write this piece after listening to a message that has gone viral on the social networking application, WhatsApp. Of course the content was meant to entertain as with many messages like that on
WhatsApp, but it also reveals the psyche among our youths.

The message was from a school teacher who just finished her lesson, and then asked the pupils to listen to her prayers and respond with Amin.

The teacher wanted a good husband – religious, handsome, rich – whose mother is dead, who would sponsor her for Hajj and Umra regularly, support her to travel abroad, love her excessively; someone who is patient like a donkey, reserved, and one she would control with ease. Bachelors, I hope you are listening!

The teacher did not stop there, she prayed against marrying a poor person (talaka) who would make her travel by foot, or live in a full of on the mentality of our youth. Both boys and the girls are onlydreams that can only be found in a dream. Yes it was entertaining, but beyond the surface of the entertainment is a coded
message thinking of the greener side of life as I explained in previous series on Kayan Daki and Marital Stability in Hausaland.

No wonder marriages are crashing because neither of the parties can manage the expectation of the other party. It is time for Islamic organisations, especially in Northern Nigeria, to take this issue seriously by preparing the youth for this important responsibility before it is too late. No matter how little, such pre-marital training
could contribute in reducing the number of zaurawa (divorcees) in our society.

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