Close this search box.

Episode 4: How do Muslims Prepare for Marriage? Insights from 32 In-Depth Interviews

About the Episode

The guest of this episode is Amal Killawi, author of the first journal article on marriage preparation among Muslims in the United States. Pulling from 32 in-depth interviews with married couples, divorced individuals, therapists, and Imams, this conversation explores how Muslim couples prepare for and make the decision to get married. 

More About the Research 

Perceptions And Experiences Of Marriage Preparation Among U.S. Muslims: Multiple Voices From The Community

In her research, Amal Killawi aimed to explore the variety of perceptions and preparatory actions taken by American Muslims in the times leading up to their marriage. To do so, Killawi conducted 32 in-depth interviews with married and divorced Muslims, as well as Imam and therapists, to garner unique insight into how Muslims are preparing for marriage across the United States. 

Findings Explored in This Episode

  • Courtship is often short and riddled with various challenges.
  • Premarital counseling with an imam or therapist is not a common occurrence or requirement by imams.
  • Many people avoid seeking premarital counseling due to the stigma of therapy, a lack of awareness, and the expenses.
  • Family and community efforts are necessary to normalize marriage preparation.

Methods & Measures

  • The study was conducted among 16 females and 16 males. 16 were Arab, 8 were Black, 6 were South Asian, and 2 were categorized as “other.” Of the participants, 10 were married, 10 were divorced, 6 were imams, and 6 were therapists. All participants were based in Southern Michigan.
  • The sample size was 32 in total, with each participant receiving an individually recorded in-depth interview on their experiences with marriage and the courting process.
  • Interviews were face-to-face, semistructured, and lasted up to two hours. 
  • During interviews, participants were asked about their courtship process, their decision-making process, and their experiences preparing for marriage through specific activities including consultations with imams and therapists. 
  • All interviews were audio recorded and transcribed with the exception of one, during which the audio equipment failed. Information was pulled from the interviewer’s field notes instead.

Implications and Practical Takeaways

  1. If marriage is on your mind or it’s on the horizon for you, make sure that you are prepared! There are many ways to prepare, and no excuses for not being prepared. Whether you’re looking for a book, a lecture, or a step-by-step guide, The FYI has curated an entire Marriage Prep Toolkit for you that includes every one of the marriage prep methods discussed in this episode. Additionally, Prepare to Pair, our marriage prep course that’s received rave reviews, walks you through a wholesome marriage prep journey and is customizable to each couple.
  1. Parents should be involved in encouraging their kids to prepare for marriage. Family is more often than not very heavily involved in the marriage process, and can have a large impact in ensuring that their child is supported and making healthy, informed decisions as they navigate the courting process.
  1. If you’re listening as a parent yourself and you’re searching for more resources to support your children through the marriage process, make sure to check out the For Parents section in our Marriage Prep Toolkit, or visit our Before You Say I Do workshop.

Read More About the Research

Funding for data collection related to the study was provided by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Funding for data analysis was provided by The Family and Youth Institute.

Perceptions and Experiences of Marriage Preparation Among U.S. Muslims: Multiple Voices from the Community

Community Brief: Promoting Healthy Marriages & Preventing Divorce in the American Muslim Community


Share this post

Related Podcasts

Episode 3: My Parents are Emotionally Abusive. What Do I Do?

“My parents call me names and berate me daily. My mental health is struggling. What can I do?” “How do...

Episode 2: To Stop or to Keep Going? Self Control After Ramadan

About the Episode Did you know that there are different types of self control? In this episode, we discuss two...

Episode 1: Growing Patient in Ramadan

About the Episode Ramadan, patience, self control, compassion – how are these words related to one another? While we wrestle...

The Prophet (SAS) said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days”

Guarantee your blessings!

Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).