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Islam, Reflections

Marital Problems: Between Qadaa and the Qadi

shutterstock_115749433Would you go to a mechanic to heal your stomach ache? And if the mechanic could not heal you, would you resign yourself to the stomach ache as qadaa (fate)? Probably not – you’d go to the one that specialises in the problem you are facing: a doctor.

Just as a mechanic is not a doctor, a qadi is not usually a psychological therapist or marriage counsellor. A qadi would be trained and expected to understand and enforce by and large Islamic legal rights and responsibilities, whereas a therapist would be trained and expected to help with aspects of personal issues that do not necessarily require legal intervention, and some problems arise from the medical condition of either spouse, and should be referred to a medical doctor.

There are any range of problems that can occur in a marriage, requiring different expertise for resolution.

If, however, you visited a qadi to resolve a breach of your *legal* rights and they advised you to be patient and await your reward in the hereafter, would the qadi be fulfilling their role by refusing to rule on the situation?

When it comes to marital problems, women and men ought to be able to *rely* on the qadi as a recourse to deal with transgressions of their spouse’s legal obligations (e.g. violence, neglect, abusive language, etc). This recourse to an authority beyond the household is especially important when a spouse becomes tyrannical or abuses authority. Without this recourse, what avenue is left for either party to resolve their problem?

And when faced with problems that do not require legal resolution (e.g. lack of understanding between spouses, etc) then we should surely learn to direct these issues toward relevant specialists like marriage counsellors.

Problems cannot be shelved as qadaa before even attempting to resolve them, since our purpose in life is to strive for good actions and justice. The Islamic concept of qadaa is not an excuse to permit or tolerate injustice (against another or even yourself) when it can be changed or addressed.

The concept of qadaa simply informs the Muslim that if something bad happens *despite* our best efforts, it was part of Allah’s plan.

Qadis are necessary in aiding the Muslims, individually and collectively, in the pursuit for justice and prevention of injustice, and must not shirk their responsibilities. Likewise, Muslims should not be reticent to call on the aid of a Qadi in relation to their Islamic legal rights and responsibilities.

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