Drunkenness A Major Cause Of Divorce Among Muslims of East Lanka

Although Islam bars Muslims from consuming alcohol, drunkenness is a major cause of divorce among the Muslims of Eastern Sri Lanka.

Published: 02nd April 2016 07:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd April 2016 07:36 PM   |  A+A-

BATTICALOA (EAST LANKA): Although Islam bars Muslims from consuming alcohol, drunkenness is a major cause of divorce among the Muslims of Eastern Sri Lanka.

Drunkenness is also the cause of poverty which in turn leads to the migration of married women to the Middle East and the attendant disruption of family life in this area.

Appallingly, this is the state of affairs even in Kattankudy, an all-Muslim town near here which has the reputation of having the highest concentration of mosques.

There are no bars or liquor shops in Katankudy, but the towns in Batticaloa district are so closely strung together that the brew is available in plenty within a few kilometers.

Nafeesa (all names have been changed) had to seek work in Saudi Arabia because her tailor husband spent all his earnings on liquor.

"He used to create a scene in the middle of the night and beat me up in front of the kids.I had no option but to divorce him," she recalled.

However, Nafeesa had to come back from abroad as her girl children were growing up and could not be left in the care of relations.Today she lives by making "murukku", a snack.

Asked if society looks down on divorced women, she said: "In this close knit society, they are well aware of my plight.They understand."

Separation due to migration also leads to divorce.

Meherunnissa had gone to Kuwait to be able to build a house for her family.But she had to seek  divorce from her husband as, in her absence, he had married another woman. Left in the lurch, she had to go back to the Middle East to support herself and her children.

According to Qazi S. M. Aliyar of Katankudy, young men as well as women, are unable to control their sexual urges in the absence of their spouces.

"I understand their plight, give them divorce and allow remarriage," he said.

Though women find it harder to get divorce than men because the conditions for them are tougher under Islamic law, they do exercise the option quite often.

"I try for reform and reconciliation  for a minimum of three months, but if my efforts fail, I allow divorce," Aliyar said.


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