Saturday, August 27, 2011

Books on Gender Equity in Marriage, Failed Marriages, and a Converts Take on Culture

In His Name
'assalam o alaykum ...

Here are a few works

1. Family Leadership, Qawamah An Obligation to Fulfill, Not an Excuse to Abuse
Dr. Mohamed Rida Beshir Paperback (6x9) 112 Pages List Price $12.95

This book discusses in details family leadership (Qawamah) in Islam and the many misconceptions that arise around this concept. It provides a detailed analysis on the subject from a variety of available literature and emphasizes that it is primarily an obligation to be fulfilled on part of the husband toward his family. It also provides many practical examples on the appropriate use of Qawamah as well as its inappropriate use. “….an extremely valuable springboard for further discussion and consideration of a most timely topic that affects every Muslim family in North America. As a Muslim with a doctorate in clinical psychology, it is my professional recommendation that every mosque and Islamic center in North America should use Dr. Beshir’s new book to lead in-depth study and discussion sessions about the role of family leadership within Islam.” – Jerald F. Dirks, M.Div., Psy.D.

My brief reading of the text yields these observations

  1. an extensive discussion on the word qawammuna. This is placed within the context of lexical works and Quranic Commentaries. There is a greater emphasis on emphasizing 'adl (i.e. justice) within marital relations and the implications it holds by understanding qawammuna with this principle, and the ramifications it holds for both spouses and for the family at large
  2. The authors own involvement in the Islamic Community, leads him to place several case studies within the text. By placing the discussion within the context of 'adl and also the rights that each spouse holds towards the other, he places the case studies as examples where this principle is applied
2. When Muslim Marriage Fails Divorce Chronicles and Commentaries
Suzy Ismail Paperback (6x9) 136 Pages Price $14.95

"In this important work, author Suzy Ismail takes on the topic of crumbling Muslim marriages in the West. Using a refreshing storytelling approach, this book gives readers a view into five different failed marriages, both from the husbands' and the wives' perspectives, followed by commentary on why each marriage failed. Each story is different, and yet common themes such as miscommunication and a lack of common life visions repeat themselves again and again. By telling each story from both sides, the author also gives us a chance to truly see how two people can have such different perspectives and feelings on a shared situation, and in this way, reminds us of the great importance of communication in all our close relationships. The stories span from young couples unable to survive the early stages of marriage to parents of adult children leaving each other after decades in loveless relationships. They also tackle important topics such as domestic abuse, cultural differences, and infidelity. This book will undoubtedly enter into the must-read category for family literature for Muslims here in the West." -- Dr. Mohamed Rida Beshir

My take on this work is as under ,

I have given this work to several parents whose children are coming of age and ready to be married. Given that many parents are of Immigrant backgrounds, their children express their dis-approval when their suitors are suggested to be from migrant Countries. The FOB (fresh of the boat) Syndrome afflicts these children, and this particular book, by virtue of case studies, chronicling failed marriages is a breath of fresh air, since it allows the parents to understand where their children are coming from. Such a dual acceptance and understanding goes a long way, as parents and their children alike, seek to find suitable suitors


3. Believing As Ourselves Lynn Jones Paperback (6x9) 176 pages List Price $9.95

A compelling and honest narration of life of a female American convert to Islam and the trials and obstacles that she encountered in her struggle to attain authentic self-surrender to God. Although her personal experience provides the backdrop for the book, it brings to light all of the common challenges to which converts are exposed, and provides poignant suggestions and counsel on how to effectively come to terms with them.

One can download the book from this link