The Orlando Sentinel reported this week that Khalid Abeljawwad Mohd, a 41 year old Muslim man found guilty in June of attempted first degree murder and other charges was sentenced to life in prison. Mohd tried to murder his wife, Rema Jamel after she asked him to help her extend her visa to stay in the United States. He told her he did not plan to help her, but he wanted her to go back to Jordan leaving their sons with him, because he intended to bring his second wife from Jordan to the United States. The couple argued and Jamel testified that her husband became so angry with her that she tried to call police, but he removed the phone line from the wall so she could not call. When she tried to leave to go to a neighbor’s house he poured lighter fluid on her, pushed her to the floor causing her to black out. While she was unconscious, he set her on fire. Her children told police they heard their parents arguing and said their mother was on fire with “yellow stuff” dripping from her body.
This tragic story demonstrates a stark contrast between the concept of marriage in Christianity and in Islam. In a Muslim marriage relationship a woman is considered a possession of her husband. “Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: women and sons, heaped-up hoards of gold and silver…” (Surah 3:14) Under Islamic sharia law, polygamy is allowed and a man may marry up to four wives at one time. “Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four…” (Surah 4:3)
In addition, both Shiite and Sunni Muslim men can engage in “pleasure marriages” – a temporary “marriage” for the purpose of having sex. These marriages known as “Mut’ah marriage in the Shiite sect can last as long as several years to a few hours. An article in the Daily Beast interviews a young Lebanese Shiite Muslim from Brooklyn named Ali Selman who has had 25 temporary marriages in the past ten years. According to him the woman in the relationship must say, “I marry you, myself” and the man replies, “I accept,” and a token bridal gift such as chocolates must be given. According to Muhsin Alidina, a Shiite Muslim scholar in Queens, there is more to the contract than some Muslim men believe. It must be a mutually accepted arrangement with a bridal gift of cash paid to the wife. The wife must also stay single for two menstrual cycles after the relationship ends to make sure she is not pregnant. If there is a child conceived, the husband is responsible.
In Sunni Islam, the pleasure marriages are called “misyar marriage.” Because the practice was becoming more popular the Institute of Islamic Religious Law issued a fatwa [an Islamic religious ruling] permitting the marriages in which, “the woman relinquishes a home, financial support, and her part [in joint life] with her husband, or part of it, and consents to the man’s coming to her home whenever he wants, day or night.” A Saudi matchmaker told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, a London daily newspaper, that following the fatwa she began getting 15 to 20 requests each day from men requesting such marriages.
Because women are seen as property, pleasure marriages and polygamy are both acceptable. Quite the contrast to the Bible’s command, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25)
PRAYERS FOR FAMILY:
- Pray for healing and restoration for Rema Jamel and her children. Burned over 75% of her body, she is permanently disfigured and in constant pain. Doctors have told her she will need about a dozen more surgeries.
- Pray for young women from a western background that may be considering marriage to a Muslim man. Pray that they will be aware of the teachings of the Islamic religion regarding marriage and understand their lack of rights if they marry a Muslim.
- Pray for Christian couples, that their marriage will be an example of the love of Christ for His Church.
- Muslims who become Christians oftentimes report that what drew them to Christianity was seeing the inspiring difference in the life of a Christian near them. Ask God to enable Christian couples in strong, faith filled marriages to serve as living witnesses to Muslims in their communities.