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Mediation & Divorce

Please call Imam Almasmari to set up an appointment 248-857-9200 or email imam@muslimunitycenter.org
MUC does have a referral for a certified muslim mediator if needed. Please ask us about it.

Mediation Process:

Islamic Mediation is a well established process for resolving disagreements in which an impartial third party (the mediator) helps people in dispute to find a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediation has many benefits where it allows people to be heard. In many cases, a simple apology from either or both sides is all that is required to put the situation right. It is an empowering process that encourages people to put forward their own suggestions and ideas. It is less intimidating than legal procedures, and parties often represent themselves rather than having a lawyer or someone else speak for them. It provides solutions that the parties themselves have decided on, giving them all a sense of ownership of any agreement. As a result, agreements reached in this way last much better than solutions handed down by courts or an arbitrator. It can be organized quickly. When disagreements are not addressed, they can escalate. Mediation is easy to arrange and can be completed within weeks. It is usually affordable by all. Many masajid offer mediation for free, and many other forms of community mediation are available at a reasonable rate.

The Qur’an mentions the process of mediation in a family dispute, Allah says in Sura Al-Nisaa:

وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهَا إِنْ يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا {35}

"And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things]." [Al-Nisaa 4:35]
 

Islamic Mediation is based on the following principles:

  • The process must be fair to all parties with equal representation from each side.
  • The process needs collaborative problem solving between those in dispute,
  • Every effort to aim for a ‘win/win’ situation which is acceptable to all parties
  • A focus on the future, with emphasis on rebuilding relationships or recognizing that agreeing to disagree is also acceptable but in a civilized manner
  • Respect for all concerned must be in the forefront of all discussions and dealing.
  • The past issues may be part of discussion without apportioning blame for what has happened in the past
  • A belief that acknowledging feelings as well as facts allows participants to let go of their anger and move forward.
  • Re-affirming the belief that Allah is watching over everything.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to encourages and enable all parties to:

  • Think on a common-sense approach to resolve their issues that is beneficial to all including the families and the community at large
  • Take a step back and look inwards for their own short comings and behavior in contributing to the issues and think about how they could put the situation right
  • to come up with their own practical solution which will benefit all sides
  • allows people to rebuild relationships as they work together to find a common ground for resolution
  • Reach an agreement that is their own.

Mediation is generally more cost effective and often takes less time than going to court, and is a flexible process that can be used to settle disputes in a whole range of situations. It is also an excellent preventative tool and can be used effectively to stop problems escalating and becoming worse. A mediation process is different to the legal process, where hostility often still exists between parties once the case is over.

Steps in Islamic Mediation:

The following steps have to take place:

  1. The role of a mediator usually falls on an Imam, community elder or professional who is trained and experienced in the mediation process. He or she must be unbiased and have good observation and listening skills.
  2. If one person asks for mediation, all those involved are contacted to check if they agree to take part.
  3. Anyone can withdraw at any stage of the process if they want to.
  4. Mediator must explain the mediation process along with the rights and obligations of each party or person.
  5. Based on the issue and severity the mediator(s) might decide to meet with each party individually. The mediators will ask each of them to explain how they see the issue and current situation, and how they would like it to be in the future. They will also ask what suggestions the parties have for sorting out the disagreement.
  6. Information shared during the mediation is private and confidential (with the exception of disclosure of serious physical, mental or sexual abuse that he/she is obligated by law to report) unless otherwise agreed.

If both parties agree to come to a joint meeting, the following steps take place:

  • Mediators will explain the structure of the meeting and ask everyone to agree to some basic rules, such as respect for each other, listening without interrupting and not using offensive remarks or abusive language.
  • Each person will then have a chance to talk about the problem as it affects him or her. The mediators will try to make sure that everyone understands what each person has said, and allow them to respond.
  • They will then help both parties identify and define the issues that need to be resolved. Very often this leads to solutions that no one had thought of before, helping parties to reach an agreement.
  • If it is a complicated issue then the mediator may facilitate each party to find common grounds that can be easily resolved in the dispute and initiate the process of addressing them first.
  • The agreement is usually written down, and signed by both parties and the mediators. However, it is not legally binding and may not be enforced in court unless the parties decide to make it a legally binding contract.
  • The agreement does not affect anyone’s legal rights either, allowing the freedom to find an alternate way of dealing with the dispute at any time.

By giving everyone the opportunity to explain their side of the story, and to talk without being interrupted, mediation can be very helpful when a situation is stuck.

It is not an ‘easy option’ – when people are honest and are encouraged to say what they feel, the situation can provoke strong emotions – but once people have had a chance to express their feelings, they are more likely to let their hostility go.
(http://www.rahmaa.org/domestic-violence/islamic-mediation/)

Divorce (Ta’laq & Khula) Process:

  1. Individuals or couples must meet with one of our Imams prior to proceeding with a divorce and providing proof of having tried counseling prior to divorce.
  2. The counsellors will listen to the individual’s / couple’s case, the party may bring any documented proof with them to the meeting if they wish.
  3. If the individual or couple wish to proceed with a divorce, they will need to:
  • Proof of counseling indicating an attempt to try to make the marriage work out
  • Complete the divorce intake form
  • Provide a copy of the legal divorce
  • Provide a Photo I.D.

The Imam’s office will begin to help them collate all of the relevant documents, correspondence, and contact over the following weeks. The time period for processing a case will depend on the clients’ situation, circumstances, access and availability.

  1. If a divorce/khulla is granted the client will be presented with a certificate accordingly within a period of two weeks. There is a fee for the certificate and the whole proceeding of $150 which may be paid by check or cash and may be paid on the day the divorce is granted made out to Muslim Unity Center.

INFORMATION:

  • There is no charge for the counselling and divorce service but there is a final fee of $150 for the Khulla or Ta’laq (divorce) certificate.
  • When a man requests a divorce, or a woman requests a divorce with reason, it is known as ‘Ta’laq’ and when a woman requests a divorce without due reason; it is known as ‘Khulla’.
  • Individuals cannot request or proceed with a divorce on behalf of other parties. All clients must represent themselves throughout the divorce procedure. They may be accompanied if they wish.
  • Divorces for couples who were married abroad still require a divorce from the court prior to proceeding with the Islamic Divorce Decree.