ABU DHABI // Men and women who are married were reminded of their obligations and responsibilities towards each other yesterday in a weekly address that again tackled the growing problem of divorce. The Government-issued sermon was the second in 13 months to address what experts have called an epidemic breakdown of the family unit. Four out of 10 marriages in the country end in divorce, according to the Marriage Fund, giving it the highest divorce rate in the Arab world.
The sermon addressed some of the causes of the high divorce rate, particularly among younger couples. "Some spouses blame each other, and claim the other has fallen short of his or her duties," it said. "But they forget that they too have obligations and the other too has rights." It also reminded couples to consider their individual rights as well as responsibilities to one another. "The man has the obligation to pay for the household and his family's keep, and to look after them, protect them and raise his children," said the sermon.
"And the woman is obligated to obey her husband as long as it does not go against God, and in looking after her family, home and children." Last July worshippers were told by the sermon to respect the marriage choices of their adult children and not to force their daughters into an arranged marriage. Yesterday the sermon again cautioned against too much parental intrusion. "Islam urges us to give our sons and daughters the opportunity to choose in matters of marriage, and to take seriously their opinion so as to ensure harmony between them and their future spouse," the sermon said.