Divorce: How a Katsina foundation’s initiative is creating peace and harmony among couples
By Zubairu Idris, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Certainly, patience is an ingredient that sustains and stabilises the marriage institution. However, when there is an irreconcilable difference between couples, the issue of management or outright separation comes in.
The love that existed among couples before marriage is threatened when divorce becomes the option to resolve challenges.
Sheikh Samu Adam, Chief Imam, Banu Coomassie Mosque, Katsina, said that the high rate of divorce cases is affecting family unity, children’s upbringing, as well as other social and economic problems in the society.
He said that the rate of divorce would reduce if couples have the proper knowledge of their responsibilities in their homes and also control their emotions during misunderstandings.
The Chief Judge of Katsina State, Justice Musa Danladi-Abubakar, in his observation said that an investigation conducted on the kind of cases brought to courts in the state, found out that majority of the cases are related to marriage issues.
He equally expressed concern over the increasing rate of divorce in the state and stressed the need for all and sundry to intensify efforts to ensure reversing the ugly trend.
Divorce, though permissible in Islam when it becomes absolutely necessary, is considered a most hateful option to take in the sight of Allah because of its many implications on the family.
Sociologists listed consequences of divorce to include anxiety, depression, insomnia, drug abuse, moral decadence and sometimes conflict between families of the separated partners.
As part of contributions toward enhancing peace among couples in Katsina State, Imam Nura Abubakar-Assalafy established a foundation called Al-Mu’asharah Marriage Guidance and Counseling Foundation (AMGCF).
Abubakar-Assalafy, who is the chairman of the foundation, said the foundation organises seminars where they educate spouses on their responsibilities and what to do to enhance their relationship to avoid divorce.
He added that they offer other services like reconciliation, linking partners in marriages and enlightenment on the importance of HIV/AIDS, genotype, pregnancy, drugs and mental health tests before marriage.
A cross section of female participants at the seminar
The Chairman explained that: “for one to show someone things that could sustain peace in marriage, also need to be educated and enlightened on possible causes of divorce for them to avoid.”
Causes of divorce
Experts identified many factors as reasons why husbands divorce their wives, particularly in the Northern parts of the country.
However, Dr Abdallah Gadon-Kaya, a Kano-based Islamic scholar, said that adhering to Allah’s commandments in marital life by a couple would build peace in the family and serve as a panacea to reduce the high rate of divorce.
Sheikh Abdallah Gadon-Kaya from left receiving an award at the closing ceremony of the seminar.
He stated this recently in Katsina at the closing ceremony of a seminar for couples on marriage and marital life, organised by the foundation.
Gadon-Kaya said that partners should first of all try to understand each other and avoid things that could foment trouble.
He further explained that wrong choice of partner by spouse, inability to adhere to the teachings of the religion in the marriage and improper handling of mobile phones are part of problems that could cause divorce.
“Some people don’t have time for their spouses to discuss issues because they are busy chatting on their phones, until when that issue became difficult to handle,” he said
Others, he said, were a lack of personal hygiene by one of the spouses, hence the need for both husband and wife to always keep themselves neat and tidy.
He further said that failure of the husband to shoulder his responsibility as head of the family and cheating by one of the partners also play a vital role in causing divorce.
“Some couples may secretly have an illegal partner outside wedlock, and if the other one notices, will definitely lead to trouble and could subsequently bring an end to the marriage,” he said.
The cleric said that some husbands could not satisfy the sexual desire of their wives.
“In some cases, wives of such husbands who lack fear of Allah, could be involved in sexual affairs with another man outside, and whenever the husband notices it, that could be the end of the marriage,” he said.
Abubakar-Assalafy added that involvement of parents into the affairs of couples also contribute greatly in causing divorce.
He lamented that, “it is hard to go to an area in this part of the country and count one-to-ten houses without coming across a divorcee. This will not augur well for us and the society we are living in.”
Impact of the seminar and reconciliation in boosting peace among couples
Imam Nura Abubakar-Assalafy said that they started rendering services four years ago with few participants, adding that they conduct the seminar annually, and the number of participants keeps on increasing every year.
According to him, in 2023, they had participants from neighbouring states like Zamfara and Kano. Invited scholars presented 18 different papers on various aspects of marriage and marital life.
He said that the research they conducted indicated that all those who attended the seminar are living in peace in their matrimonial homes unlike before.
“I have seen a woman who said anyone who wants to marry her must attend a seminar of the foundation. When she met her heart-throb, he also attended the seminar before the marriage, and they are now living in peace,” he said.
He revealed that from time-to-time they visit the trainees in their matrimonial homes to assess the level of peace there.
“I visited a house of one of our participants, where I met the husband washing his car and that of his wife, while the wife was in the kitchen preparing their food.
“From time-to-time I receive phone calls from the husbands or wives thanking us for educating and enlightening them on what to do to ensure peace in their houses,” he said.
Abdulrazak Kafin-Soli, one of the trainees, said that it is through the various training sessions of the foundation that they learned what marriage is all about and what is expected of the partners.
He said that before he left the house, his wife would tell him the type of clothes to wear: “She always talks to me politely with respect and love, unlike before.
“I will attend the seminar every year because of its importance. Whenever we have issues, we resolve our grievance amicably without involving a third party.”
He, therefore, urged the foundation to expand the scope of the programme to cover other people from other areas.
“The higher the number of people trained, the number of people going to court seeking for divorce will drastically reduce,” he said.
He also urged his colleagues to step down what they have learned to other people in their respective communities.
Challenges of the initiative
Abubakar-Assalafy said the foundation is facing inadequacy of funds that is why their activities are only within the state capital, Katsina.
He explained that they wanted to extend their services to other places in order to reach a large number of people, but could not due to insufficient funds.
The chairman further noted that the foundation doesn’t have vehicles for its day-to-day activities.
He also said that they need a permanent office to be equipped with computers and projectors to enhance training, adding that they also need special workshops for training females on cooking, dressing and makeup.
Justice Musa Danladi-Abubakar advised that lessons on marriage and marital life should be made compulsory to all those wishing to marry.
He added that HIV/AIDS, genotype and pregnancy tests be made compulsory before marriage, to reduce cases of marrying a woman with a pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, which may cause misunderstanding that will lead to divorce.
Danladi-Abubakar also stressed the need for such efforts to cover all the nooks and crannies of the state with a view to educating more people on the responsibilities of spouses for the attainment of the desired goal of reducing divorce.
Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Religious Affairs, Alhaji Surajo Abukur, urged women to intensify efforts in ensuring proper upbringing of their children.
He attributed the spate of moral decadence to the negligence of mothers to breed good people in the society.
Abukur further said that the state government would soon commence mass wedding of divorcees and widows as part of measures to reduce high number of unmarried women in the society.
“When we approached Gov. Dikko Radda on the plan, he told us that it is a good initiative, but said his main concern is how to reduce the high rate of divorce,” he said.
He assured that the administration is ready to collaborate with such organizations to find lasting solutions in boosting peace among couples to reduce divorce rate. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
**This is a piece of the Solutions Journalism and if used please credit the writer and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)