family, Islam, marriage, Muslim, qualitative


Since 11 September 2001, Islam has been the center of many debates, discussions, parodies and publications. Many Muslims feel that their religion has been portrayed unfairly in Western media. The topics that seem to generate the most criticism relate to gender roles and the treatment of women, both inside the home and in society. The purpose of this paper is to examine the perceived role of Islam on marital and familial relationships from an insider’s perspective and to present participants’ reflections on sensitive issues, including gender roles, women’s rights and marital unity. Content analysis of in-depth interviews of twenty diverse Shia and Sunni Muslim couples living in the U.S. (n = 40) yielded three emergent themes: (1) Islam as a way of life; (2) Islam as a unifying force; and (3) gender roles and the treatment of women. These data suggest that, as perceived by our religiously involved “insider” participants, Islam influences marriage relationships, unites families and (when understood and lived properly) protects women from abuse and oppression.

Original Publication Citation

*Alghafli, Z., *Hatch, T., & Marks, L. (2014). Religion and relationships in Muslim families: A qualitative examination of devout married Muslim couples. Religions, 5, 814-833.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date







Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor