Case Study: Halaqas at Home
I’d Just Like to be Able to Come Home to a Quiet House and Relax!
Kareema and Ahmed have been married for about a year. Kareema moved from another city to Ahmed’s city after the wedding and is studying for her Master’s degree, while Ahmed works full time. Ahmed has always been very involved in Islamic activities in his city. Kareema used to be very involved in Islamic activities in her old town, but has found that there aren’t any activities for sisters here. She has looked for sisters’ halaqas (study circles) or public lectures at university and at the mosque but can’t find anything. Kareema is starting to feel depressed about this and brings up the problem with some other sisters she has met at university. She’s happy to find a few sisters who are interested in starting a halaqa with her, but unfortunately, they all live in different parts of the city and Kareema is the only one who lives in a central location that is easy to get to. Together, the girls discuss their schedules and find that the only possible times they are all available to meet is either Tuesday or Thursday night. Kareema tells the other girls she’ll check with her husband about using their apartment for their halaqa, and if not, they can always try to book a room on a weekly basis at the university.
That night, over dinner, Kareema tells Ahmed about the halaqa idea excitedly, but Ahmed doesn’t look happy about it.
“I don’t know, Kareema,” he says, “I’m already so tired when I get home from work. I don’t think I could stay out later on a week night.”
“It’s okay,” Kareema answers. “You can come home and just go to our bedroom or the study room. We’ll just be in the living room.”
Ahmed shakes his head. “It’ll be too noisy. Honestly, I’d just like to be able to come home to a quiet house and relax.”
Kareema tells Ahmed that the other possible location is on campus, but asks him if he can pick her up after the halaqa, since the bus from university to their building doesn’t run past 8 p.m. and she doesn’t drive. Ahmed tells her that he’d be too tired to come get her, and that he’d really rather they found a time during the day to do the halaqa, and then she could do it on campus or at their place. Kareema explains that a lot of the sisters study full time and wouldn’t be able to make it during the day, and that this is really important to her, but Ahmed says it’s just too hard, and that maybe next semester the schedules will work out and she’ll be able to start a halaqa during the day.
“I can’t honey. I’m just too tired after working all day.”
Why this use of Qawamah is inappropriate
- Ahmed isn’t considering Kareema’s needs to socialize and gain knowledge with sisters.
- It is the responsibility of the husband to provide the means for his family members to be educated, particularly in matters of religion.
- The compromise Ahmed would have to make (i.e. going to their bedroom or the study room one night a week while the women hold the halaqa in the living room) is really not unreasonable at all and is a very small price to pay to help his wife fulfill her social/educational needs.