Living in a Joint Family – More Pros than Cons

family

I got married and moved to Karachi. Before my marriage, I had never in my life lived in Pakistan, let alone Karachi. The two places where we would go are Islamabad and Lahore, so this was a whole new experience for me. It has now been a year Alhumdulilllah, and I have started adjusting to all the changes.

Initially, it didn’t sink in since everything was so new with new people and a new environment. But, as time passed on, I started to get into a routine. Living in a joint family has brought along some challenges, but a lot of positive things too.

It’s been so nice to have my in-laws with me to help me adjust in a new place. My mother-in-law, especially, has been so understanding and helpful. She makes sure – despite her busy schedule that I don’t get bored at home, and hence, takes me out during the day. She has also been so great in welcoming me to the family, and showing me how things are done. This way I didn’t have to struggle as much as some do to learn how they do things in their families.

As we all know, all families have their own set of ways and routines, and they are all different; so having someone to guide you through it is a great help. For me, it was Not only helpful in learning the ways of my husband’s family, but it helped me a lot in knowing what things my husband likes and dislikes. I didn’t have to experiment and find out the hard way.

Living with in-laws helps create a bond between you and them; and it increases understanding between both the parties. Before living in a joint family, I was terrified that when you live with your in-laws, they can see all your weaknesses or they can see if you’re in a bad mood; while if you live abroad,  no one sees any of these things. Now, I’ve learned that although it is true, my in-laws must know my flaws and weaknesses; but at the same time, we have a stronger relationship, and they also do see the other side of me as well. My husband is also very dedicated to his parents and very family-oriented, so when he sees me having a good relationship with his parents, and doing things that are hard for me to please them, it creates a special place for me- not only in his heart but also his parents’ heart.

Every situation has its pros and cons. Since, I had lived in a nuclear family system my whole life and had gotten used to that system. My parents always liked that we should be independent and try to handle situations ourselves.. This being said, they do still oversee everything but more in the background. They are there to support, but let us try things the way we want. In my in-laws, it’s a bit different; and adjusting to that was a bit difficult, while I still love to try things my own way. I had to see things in a positive light that now I can have guidance throughout.

Another test for me was when I lived in the Middle East, there were no security issues and I drove on my own and I knew that I was not dependent. In Karachi, there are security issues which makes my father in law a little hesitant to let me go alone; along with that he says that people in Karachi are very different from the Middle East, and doesn’t want anyone to take advantage of me. So, I can’t go to all the places alone, although I still go everywhere I’d like just not always alone. More than the safety issues though, adjusting to the traffic of Karachi and the way everyone drives here has been harder for me. I’m used to people following rules and staying in their lanes, now I’m constantly just watching people break traffic rules, not to mention the famous motorcycles that come at you from every angle.

All in all, the past year has been a year of so many firsts for me, and as I look back on it now I see that although moving to Pakistan was never part of my plan, I’m sure that Allah (swt) has something greater for me. I know that Allah (swt) has made these adjustments easier for me; and Insha’Allah as time goes on, it will only get easier for me. At times, I do complain about living in Karachi and having to change my entire lifestyle. I hear stories of other people’s in-laws give them a tough time, and I immediately realize how much Allah (swt) has blessed me. My complaints are so small compared to some of the tests that others are facing. Being grateful will only increase Barakah; and therefore, when facing any tough times regarding your in-laws, or married life, or any situation, looking for the good will always please Allah (swt). And Insha’Allah, He will help us to come out stronger from those situations.

Marriage is Love: What it takes to be in love and be loved?

vision for marriageWhen I say a love story, what is the first image that comes to one’s mind? A chick flick movie, a Disney fairytale, a folk love story, Romeo of Juliet or Taylor Swift’s old yet enticing ‘love story’ song?

Before we move on, we first need to clarify that this phrase ‘a love story’ is a lot more than just a phrase. It is a phenomenon or a concept in its own; and we usually hear this phrase in the context of ‘fantasy’ because we have been growing up in such an environment where the ‘unreal’ world is alluring to us.

Hence, this ‘unreal’ concept of love story has emerged in our lives from our childhood fairytales, when the prince used to rescue princesses, fighting all the monsters on the way; finally meeting her and kissing her and then they lived happily ever after. Then later came these movies or soap operas in which a boy and a girl meet- first they don’t like each other, then they fall in love; sing a song together, but suddenly, some barrier comes up; perhaps their parents. However, finally they get married and the end. But is it the end of the movie or the love story?

Nikah – The Miraculous Bond of Love

According to Islam, marriage that is Nikah is an emotional, spiritual, physical and social bond between a boy and a girl within the ties of marriage, as blessed by Allah (swt). As Allah (swt) says in Surah Ar-Rum, “Among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Hence, this attraction that Allah (swt) has put between a man and a woman is a blessing and a mercy from Allah (swt). And, the way one uses this blessing to please Allah (swt) is through the bond of Nikah. Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa) said: “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of the religion; so let him fear Allah (swt) regarding the remaining half.” (Tirmidhi) This is the importance of Nikah in our Deen.

At another instance, Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa) said: “You have seen nothing like marriage for increasing the love of two people.” (Tirmidhi)

This further shows the importance of a love story beginning through marriage.

This might sound alien to us because love story beginning with marriage is not something we hear quite often; We are often told by the media that love story is before marriage and marriage puts a full stop to the love story, but that is not real. According to Islam, love doesn’t end with marriage, it rather begins with it; marriage sows the seed of love! I will prove this point through examples of not fiction movies, but real people and their real love stories.

Exemplary Relationship of Khadijah (ra) and Muhammad (sa)

My first example of true love, proving husband and wife to be a source of comfort, mercy and blessing from Allah (swt) is the real love story of Khadijah (ra) and Muhammad (sa).

She was one of the noblest women of her time from a very influential family. She was also beautiful and was running her own business quite successfully. Many prominent and wealthy men had asked for her hand, but she refused. As a widow, she had lost the desire to marry again until he came in her life. He was just 25-twenty five years old, but well known for his honesty and trustworthiness, and this is what attracted her towards him.

As she had been looking for someone honest to conduct her business, he started working for her. Experiencing his honesty, she was very impressed by his character, and that was enough to sow the seed of love once again in her heart. She sent her sister who asked him: “Why are you not married yet?”  “For the lack of means,” he said. When she proposed him, he amazingly remarked, ‘How can I marry her? She turned down many wealthy men!” To which her sister replied that, “She will take care of that.” And, it was the beginning of one of the most happiest and sacred marriages in the human history. They both were a source of immense pleasure and strength for each other. They put each other’s fear to rest. They were married for 25-twenty five years and they had 4-four daughters and some sons who had died in infancy. She was there for him when the times were hard, but they were separated by her death. However, even after her death, he use to send food and provide support to her relatives and friends out of the pure forever love for her. Once, years after her death, he came across a necklace that she once wore and he began to cry seeing that necklace.

Confide in Each Other

Their relationship fits completely in the verse stated below, when Allah (swt) describes the most beautiful relationship between a man and his wife,

“…They are Libas (i.e. body cover, or screen, or Sakan, (i.e. you enjoy the pleasure of living with them), for you and you are the same for them…” (Al-Baqarah 2:187)

What’s the purpose of garment? They are for protection from different climates, to adorn or beautify, and for covering out of natural modesty or covering any weaknesses of our body.

Hence in this relationship, man and wife need to protect each other and look out for each other; secondly beautify each other- they should be the source of bringing smile on each other’s faces and serenity in  minds; lastly to cover each other ‘s weaknesses. Moreover, just like the garment is closest to us, similarly our spouses should be the closest to our hearts.

The Prophet (sa) said: “A woman is married for four things i.e. her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her Deen. So you should marry a religious woman (otherwise), you will be a loser.”  (Bukhari)

As was in the case of Hazrat Khadijah (ra), Muhammad (sa) had no wealth; he was an orphan, but definitely very handsome.  His main quality that attracted her was his character, honesty and sincerity. May Allah (swt) bless them both! Ameen.

Allah’s (swt) Apostle (sa) did not marry any other woman till her (Khadijah’s (ra)) death, even when he could have; because he was young and it was quite normal in that culture to keep more than one wife, but he chose not to.

Ideal Love Story of Fatimah (ra) and Ali (ra)

Second love story is of the daughter of Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa) and her husband Ali (ra). Fatimah (ra) was then eighteen years of age, and one day Ali (ra) came to Muhammad (sa). He kept sitting quietly for a long time, until Muhammad (sa) himself asked him whether he was there to propose for Fatimah (ra) in marriage with him, and he shyly replied in positive. After which Muhammad (sa) went to Fatimah (ra) and asked her opinion and she agreed.

This shows the importance of women’s choice and her consent for marriage. Forced marriages are not a part of Islam. A marriage ceremony was carried out in which Ali (ra) gave his own marriage speech and Prophet (sa) blessed the couple with supplications for their new lives. Fatimah (ra) and Ali (ra) were not well off, thus when they shifted together, they lived a very simple life and there was never a complaint from either of the two. They both were also quite young when they got married and thus were like friends to their children, Hassan (ra) and Hussain (ra). May Allah (swt) have mercy on all of them. Ameen.

Don’t Delay Marriages!

We talk about sexism, racism- but we are also discriminating people on the basis of their age for getting married and that is ageism, and we rarely talk about it. In Islam, there is no sexism, racism or ageism. If willingly a child or even a teenager wants to work and get married, then Islam doesn’t restrict them from doing so; unlike our materialistic society which teaches to get educated first, then work and finally get married.

The desire of love, comfort and warmth is to be used in a natural way which Allah (swt) has prescribed for us; and not in an unnatural way because we can’t really thrive going against the commandments of our Creator.

A gist of one of the narrations of Prophet (sa) was that marriage is from his Sunnah and whosoever leaves his Sunnah is not from him. (Bukhari)

There are many real love stories from the lives of the companions of Prophet (sa) too that we can learn from. We, in spite of claiming to follow Islam, say that these love stories were for that time period, and today, we can’t think or live like that in this day and age. But think; is not Quran there for all times? Isn’t Prophet (sa) a role model for all times? We, as followers of Prophet (sa), have the responsibility to revive back the true spirit of this prophetic tradition. We must follow these real people; they can be our love role models. Hence, marrying according to Sunnah, is the perfect ingredient of the recipe of our real love story.

Dua taught by Prophet (sa) from Quran:

“Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqun (the pious).” Ameen.

Are the new couple in double the trouble?

thumb2Walking into the holy matrimony at the age of nineteen, I had my fair share of doubts and misunderstandings. I had this fantasy of no less than a hybrid Mr. Darcy and Hugh Grant. For me, this marriage scenario basically meant a “Halal boyfriend” type of situation – and to be quite honest, it’s not my fault that I had such expectations. The world of social media made me presume that my marriage would be full of selfies and hashtags. But it’s not like that.

It’s so much better.

The big day came and went in the blink of an eye; and six months later there is so much that I have learnt.

1.      It is difficult. It’s not easy to live with someone you hardly know. But, with extra time and extra patience, it gets better. You become each other’s best friends and everything becomes easier when you have that one person to talk to about anything and everything. The Holy Prophet’s (sa) and Aisha’s (ra) relationship is the paramount example for such a relationship. They played with one another, and one of my most favourite actions of the Holy Prophet (sa) is how he would kiss Aisha (ra) on the forehead or cheeks in affection. I admire their relationship and feel as though in this day and age, such a relationship would prove to excel rather than the orthodox “husband rules wife”- the Desi marriage.
2.      Never assume! Assumptions are the death of happiness. Don’t assume that he isn’t trying or that he doesn’t care. Every man is different and his perception of love is different as well. I assure you, give them time; they will prove to be a soppier romantic than you, and they may even surprise you with loving gestures.
3.      Don’t rush things. You have your whole life together so take it easy. Enjoy the little moments together.
4.      Be generous with words and gestures. Say “Thank you”, “I’m sorry” or even “I love you” without hesitation. Spontaneous bursts of love are always confidence boosters. The Holy Prophet (sa) treated all his wives with such love and respect and his wives treated him the same. Respect, trust and love are the foundations for good marriage.
5.      Have little things that are just yours. A certain word that only you two know, or a game that only you two know how to play. Create something unique just for yourselves.
6.      Be each other’s support. This is the most important thing. Text messages and emails can always bring out other meanings rather than what we wish to portray – so don’t be irrational and judge, instead take a deep breath and support each other’s flaws and perfections. One of the most beautiful examples in Islamic history is Hazrat Ibrahim’s (as) and Hajra’s (ra) journey into Safah and Marwa. She supported her husband without any doubts, and waited for him in mountains with a wailing child. Her trust in Allah (swt) and her husband made her a woman of Jannah.

In the end, when the whole world seems like a lonely place, your spouse will always be there. He or she is “your person”; so, fight for them and always appreciate them. They are one of a kind and they are all yours. Allah (swt) made marriage half of the faith and the Holy Prophet (sa) made marriage a Sunnah. “Marriage is my Sunnah whosoever keeps away from it is not from me”.

As a girl, my Dua for myself and every other girl who is married or getting married is to “find a spouse that has the traits of Hazrat Adam (as) in the matter of knowledge, the traits of Hazrat Yaqub (as) in the matter of fatherhood, and the traits of the Holy Prophet (sa) in the matters of love”. Ameen.

Fortitude with Gratitude – Key to a Happy Marital Life

vision for marriageSana and Ali got married three month ago. They were having a life of bliss. For them, marriage was nothing, but a bed of roses.

They were going through the period of dinner invitations. Last invitation was from Ali’s uncle. They were warmly greeted by the family members, and then started a session of talks and discussion about the current scenario of Pakistan. It came to a halt when Hira, Ali’s cousin enquired Sana about her views on marriage and her husband.

Sana smiled generously and said: “People with patience and gratitude are the residents of Jannah.” It was just a blunt statement that she uttered without calculating the pros and cons. She had no idea what will it be bringing for her in near future.

Ali was rude and ruthless in their bedroom where Sana had already dressed up for sleep. He did not talk to her a single word. Banged the bedroom door hard and dozed off.

Pillow absorbed the tears that she shed the whole night. She was depressed and felt disdain.

That sort of reaction, slowly and gradually, became a part of routine. His loving tone, incomparable care and affection, those looks, the sugary mesmerizing words, all praise and appreciation, emotional support just started to vanish in a glimpse.

She could not come out of the shock of his change in behaviour. She started to whine and nag. Being bitter and moody became her traits. She started to miss her daily obligatory prayers.

Time passed and their relationship deteriorated with every single day. Things turned out to be more jumbled up. Finally, she thought of taking advice from her best friend, Annabia. On the other hand, Ali was opting for something that she could not even think of.

She narrated her feelings openly to her. She wept and wept madly. “What has happened to him, why does not he love me anymore, what should I do to have him back?

Annabia was very relaxed. There was not even a single line of disbelief or surprise, or even sympathy on her face. Her reaction was calm. She was enjoying her cup of tea and it blew a big hit to Sana. She almost started to yell and scream.

“Are you listening to me? Do you have any idea how miserable my marriage is going? I will be insane in a few days; I cannot handle it. I want things to be the same as they used to be.”

“I was stupid enough to come to you; you seem to be busy with your cup of tea. You can never imagine my agony.” She was exhausted.

Annabia took a deep sigh and gently touched her hand.

“Just relax,” she softly whispered.

‘But but…” Sana murmured.

“This is all very normal Sana; marriage is not only a bed of roses. Life will not always be full of laughter. It is common to feel neglected, and in the lowest pitch of dismay after few months of marriage. It is not a honeymoon period always. In the start, things are new. Both spouses are emotionally high with their own sets of thoughts and desires. They show their best. Have time to spend time with each other and hang around. But then, there lies a practical life ahead which demands a lot. Both parties have their separate set of responsibilities and expectations to prove up to. Love does not end, but it fades away. In later years of marriage, the partners have to work hard, and invest time and energy to keep the love alive, to let it ignite and blossom. Every marriage has some hiccups: Sabr (patience) and Shukar (thankfulness) are two main weapons of a believer. List down the things that he excels in, you will find yourself way better than thousands of women who are victims of domestic violence, torture, and are nothing more than a sex toy.” She added.

“I had felt the same way. Everyone does, but nobody reacts the way you are doing. It is not the end of the world honey. Things will be fine. Give some space and time. Uplift your faith and things will fall into order very soon. You need to have patience, and this can only be attained by connecting more with Allah (swt), offer night prayers- instead of boiling your head with worries.” She advised Sana to be the way she used to be. ”Instead of expecting him to be the same old person, try yourself to be as energetic, loving and happy. It will be a vicious cycle. Who knows, he might be feeling same the way you are. Men are not vocal about their feelings. They shut themselves up with a board of ‘do not disturb.’”

Sana felt a relief. For then, she had a vision about a strategy, a remedy to follow.  Past flash backs made her heart beat with happiness, and she could not stop herself from smiling. She rushed home where the love of her life resided.

Some known voices caused her feet to numb. She could not breathe for another second. It was as if her body had been paralysed. The exchange of dialogue caused shivers to run down her spine.

Her mother in law was furious and cynical, whereas Ali sounded irritated and said, “I did not choose her, it’s you. I am sick and tired of all this. If you have so many problems with her, I will divorce her.”

“I asked you not to give her leniency, but no, you were the one running after her. Taking notes from her and pleasing her. And what did she do? She disrespected you in front of your family by saying she is patient enough. She is living a terrible life with you and you being the lucky one must thank Allah (swt) for such a beauty queen in your life.” The words were flooded with sarcasm.

Ali said in a hurtful tone, “Do not keep reminding me about it, I wish you never heard her saying this to Hira. I will find a way soon.” he left by saying this.

Sana rushed to her room. She made ablution, and went straight in prostration (Sujood) and sobbed bitterly. This was  the first time that she asked Allah (swt) for help. She felt so light after communicating with the Lord of the worlds.

Now, she  needed to be a person of her words. Her formula of life became patience and gratitude.

We will face every sort of people in life; we cannot change them, but can make our roots of faith strong to encounter such facets.

 

From Ms. to Mrs. – Expectations Versus Reality

Vol 4-Issue 3 Muslim WeddingsI’m getting married -Yay! There is so much to be done- designer dress, jewellery, footwear, bags, make-up artist, salon etc. How many days will the wedding celebrations continue? How many functions? Theme of the day? What about the dance preparations? Do we have enough time to rehearse the dances in-sync? Oh wait- I almost forgot, the photographer! ‘Capturing memories that will last for a life-time.’ I want my wedding album to be the most creative. I’ll update my face book profile pictures and cover photos every day. Why not share my happiness with the world?

Many of us start considering these things as soon as the wedding bells start ringing in our head. The fairy-tale we had been reading, watching and dreaming of since our childhood is finally becoming true. So what do I do to prepare myself for this life-altering event? Yes! I Know! I need the wedding glow. I can’t be a dull bride. Manicure, pedicure, whitening facial, skin treatments, weight-loss plans, gym programs (Obviously, I can’t be a fat bride. What will people say?)

But….What happens once we say ‘Qubool Hai’? The fairy-tale wedding, the excitement of the events, the food, the glittering dresses, and need not mention the never ending laughter. What happens when all of this comes to an end and a new chapter in our life begins? What happens when the first time we get into an argument with our husband? What happens when someone from the in-laws says something that hurts you deeply? What happens when misunderstandings arise? This is the time when it truly hits us that the fairy-tales always promised a happily-ever-after, but this is not what we had imagined. What does this ‘happily-ever-after’ mean anyway?

We are so focused upon the fairy tale wedding events and the preparations that we forget to make preparations for the real life drama that would follow-on later.

Expectation vs. Reality

  • Expectation: My husband will come home every day with a smile on his face.
  • Reality: Girls, sorry to burst your bubble, but this is not true for an everyday routine. Your husband is a human. He goes through different stressful routines and tasks in a day at his work. He gets tired, he has hunger pangs, he is uncomfortable with the work-place politics and there could be a number of other reasons which you are unaware of. At times, he would want solitude for a little while. Try to calm him down. Ask him about his problems, strike a light conversation to divert his attention, give him a light snack to eat, dress-up adequately for him and be empathetic. Don’t take it personally. His mood will eventually become better.

 There will be times when you face criticisms and you will feel that you aren’t appreciated for your efforts.

  • Expectation: I will live the way ‘I’ like.
  • Reality: Once you get married, for some initial months, you are new to the in-laws and your in-laws are new to you. Learn their living habits, likes/dislikes and make sincere efforts to adjust to the new lifestyle. Pray to Allah (swt) for an increased level of patience and Taqwa. In times of turmoil, recite the Quran and the burden will be lifted from your heart Insha’Allah. Seeking permission wouldn’t mean the end of your freedom. Your husband would like it when you seek his permission and value his opinion in every matter.
  • Expectation: I will be showered with compliments
  • Reality: There will be times when you face criticisms and you will feel that you aren’t appreciated for your efforts. This is the time when you require patience the most. Keep doing good anyway. Keep a clear heart and try to improve your short-comings. Allah (swt) is the All knowing and All seeing. Allah (swt) is the turner of hearts.
  • Expectation: I will never get into a disagreement with my spouse
  • Reality: You and your husband are two different people with two different minds. There are going to be many occasions when you would not agree with a certain behaviour of your husband, or when your husband doesn’t agree with your opinions or conducts. Satan becomes the happiest when there is disagreement between the husband and wife. So, whenever you see yourself lose control of your patience, remember to seek refuge in Allah (swt) from the Satan. Even the Holy Prophet (sa) once had misunderstandings with Hazrat Aisha (ra) due to the malicious rumours spread by certain slanderous people, while on an expedition against Banu-Al-Mustaliq (Ref: Book Enjoy your life- Deduced from a study of the Prophet’s (sa) life by Dr. Muhammad Al-‘Areefi) Have the utmost faith in the judgement of Allah (swt). Try to finish the disagreements as soon as possible. Don’t prolong them. Be courteous and respectful even in the state of anger.
  • Expectation: I will spend my husband’s money as I like
  • Reality: You are now the lady of the house. It is your responsibility to make sure that the house expenditures run efficiently. Well, who doesn’t like shopping? But, set priorities and be a helpful and considerate spouse, rather than a shopaholic spendthrift. Make efforts to strengthen your Iman and do not indulge too much in the worldly desires.  In Surah Al-Araf, we are told, “O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying and going round (the Tawaf of ) the Kabah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31)

The Satan gives a big reward to the subordinate who has created differences and distances between the husband and the wife in the form of arguments, disagreements and fights.

My dear sisters, the relation of a husband and wife is the first relation to come into existence i.e. that of Hazrat Adam (as) and bibi Hawa (as). The Satan gives a big reward to the subordinate who has created differences and distances between the husband and the wife in the form of arguments, disagreements and fights. We, at times, have such high expectations from our marital lives that even a slightest issue disrupts the harmony which we had imagined; and we tend to give up hope. Marriage is a relationship upon which you and your spouse have to work coherently. Learn to adjust, learn to give-in, to forgive, understand each other and above all respect one another. May Allah (swt) guide us to the best of knowledge and Iman.

Ibn Qayyim said: “The (path) always starts with trials and tests, then comes the period of patience and reliance (upon Allah (swt)), and the end is enlightenment, guidance and victory.” (Shifaa’ Al-Aleel)

Newly-wed? Thrive to Survive!

Vol 5 - Issue 4 A wedding to rememberIt is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from him his wife (Hawwa), in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. When he had sexual relation with her, she became pregnant and she carried it about lightly. Then when it became heavy, they both invoked Allah, their Lord (saying): If You give us a Salih (good in every aspect) child, we shall indeed be among the grateful.” (Al-Araf 7:189)

Allah (swt) has created men and women to worship Him; but besides this, Allah (swt) has created this Dunya as a test for us. Allah (swt) has established a really beautiful bonding between the husband and wife. Allah (swt) states in the Quran, “And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

It is quite clear that husband and wife are a source of peace and comfort for each other. When two souls meet, they might have differences- different nature and different life style.

Hence, it is quite necessary for a newly wedded couple to spend some time with each other, and try to understand each other very well. Honeymoon period is quite necessary for a healthy beginning of a married life. It helps to develop the feeling of love and care for each other. Both, husband and wife, should understand each other’s nature, likes and dislikes, and should deal with each other accordingly. They should expect less from each other and should focus more on giving.

Tips for the wives

  • They should try to maintain good relations with their in-laws, and should not complain about them to their husband.
  • They should get ready for their husbands i.e. wear good clothes, makeup and perfume, under the limits described by Allah (swt); although it might sound typical, but it really makes husbands feel happy and special.
  • They should understand their husband’s mood and concern, and should deal accordingly.
    They should make food of their husband’s choice- as it is said that the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach.
  • They should welcome their husbands with a smile.
  • They should protect their husband’s honour in their absence.

Tips for the husbands

  • They should praise and appreciate their wives’ efforts.
  • Their wives deserve love and care- as they are very sensitive and emotional; and also, they have left their parents and their loved ones for them.

Anas ibn Malik narrated that, a Sahabi named Anjeshe was leading the camels that were carrying the Prophet’s (sa) wives on the way back from the last pilgrimage. He was making the camels run with the rhythmic songs that he sang with his beautiful voice. The Prophet (sa) told him:

“O Anjeshe, ride slowly, do not break the crystals” (Darimi, Istizan)

  • Outings, long drives and shopping for their wives is equally important.
  • Taking their wives to meet her parents as well as respecting them, would make wives happy.

Thus, the conclusion is that marriage can’t be successful without the PTC tool i.e. Patience, Tolerance and Compromise.

And, don’t forget to make this Dua: “And those who say: Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun” (Al-Furqan 25:74)

For the Unwed Muslimah: Single is Serene

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: TexasEagle / Foter / CC BY-NC

  1. Everything is decreed

The only sober way to change your perspective is to know that you are where you were destined to be. Allah (swt) is Al-Muqtadir (The perfect in ability) and He is the Creator of the Divine Qadr. Your destiny was written by Him even before you came into existence. Customarily, we find people pinning blame or ill-omens to single women for being single. Nothing can be more ignorant and farther from the truth. If you are single right now, you are living out what has been written for you and the rest shall come to pass too- if that includes a husband and a family then rejoice; if it doesn’t, then rejoice some more. It is your Creator’s (swt) wise plan.

Ask any married individual and he/she mopes about having no time for self-growth and development.

  1. Marriage – a non-mandatory blessing

Our lives, our time, the air we breathe are some blessings that have been granted to us by our Lord. But, who said that a spouse is included in the deal for all? Each and every one of us enjoy a different set of bounties when it comes to our share of family, friends, Rizq, intelligence, talent, beauty and opportunities etc. You are not bound to have a relationship; so stop thinking that you are deprived. Your Creator is Al-Wahab (The liberal Bestower). You may have what many other married couples do not have. If being single was unfortunate, then Allah (swt) would not have destined Maryam (as) and prophets like Yahya (as) to live and die as single.

  1. Comparison is the thief of joy

Everyone is in a different chapter of his/her life story. If you decide to compare your life to that happily married cousin or the very wealthy and pampered friend, you will self-sabotage your own life. Understand that Allah (swt) has created every person and his circumstances unique. Any kind of comparison is the greatest insult one can do to that uniqueness in creativity. When we compare our life to others, we are always comparing apples to oranges. Regretfully, social media with couples flaunting their joy adds to the trigger of emotions; and single people often feel insecure, under-achieved and deprived. There is so much to life. A spouse may be a cherry on the cake, but not the cake itself. The cake is your relationship with Allah (swt); the rest is just the icing.

  1. Fasting ensures chastity and contentment

For many Muslimahs, marriage is simply a means to satisfy their natural intimate desire- as Islam disallows adultery. They are not mentally mature to handle a relationship; and neither they are committed and trained to bear and raise kids. If physical attraction would have been such a strong means to keep couples together, then we would not have seen spiralling divorces. Sexual need is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. The prophetic means to curb is to fast regularly. Also occupy yourself with something productive; refrain from viewing soft pornography and seductive imagery on media; try to hang around with friends and family members who are serious about developing their own talents, skills and pursuing community and welfare services.

  1. Self-appreciation and education

Marriage is a serious business. It comes with a set of heavy duty responsibilities that occupies your entire day and time for many years. Ask any married individual and he/she mopes about having no time for self-growth and development. If Allah (swt) has destined you to be single, then avail this opportunity to grow- educate yourself, develop a skill, pursue a hobby and take care of your health. We often hear comments like: “I need to lose weight so that I can get married.” The only reason one should maintain good health and care is so that he/she is able to worship and obey Allah (swt) effectively. Your self-esteem will rise automatically. Your looks and your decisions should not be fashioned to win a spouse; rather to keep Allah (swt) pleased with you.

May Allah (swt) bless us all with understanding of His Deen and contentment. Ameen

Marital Blues: He Loves Who?

divideredThis is the dilemma most of the men around encounter, as soon as they step into a marital relation. The first few months are a bliss, since there is absence of responsibilities and family pressures. He is solely a husband enjoying with his better half and guarding and combating for his beloved’s rights and desires. He cannot imagine a single thorn to prick her feet that would cause her pain or anguish. However, the picture starts to dim, as the time passes by. Later things start to deteriorate, when he is being questioned by his emotional mother and sentimental wife. The tug leaves him despicable and perturbed. “What can I do to make each of them happy?” is a common question that pops up on the surface of his consciousness. He starts to avoid and ignore the situations that direly require his supervision, wise decision and problem solving. He spends most of his time secluded in his own cave. The love is now out of the window.

In this relationship, man plays an immense role. He can make it bloom or he can cause it to wither. Whether he likes it or not, but he has to play judiciously as he is the one around whom all affairs revolve. Women are possessive by nature. One of my male teacher said, women are possessive. It is all about their family – its wellbeing, its health and all related to their own kith. For this reason, it is natural for a mother to feel insecure and jealous when her son’s attention, love, care, and time is divided. She cannot tolerate the shift and thus, resentment follows towards the new addition. In this situation, the man has to be cautious of the mother’s feelings and tackle accordingly by giving her time and constant reassurance about the status she still holds in his life. On the other hand, the wife who is newly wed to him craves for his attention and time, love and care. He should balance the two entities with insight and not to make any one of them feel unloved and ignored.

In this relationship, man plays an immense role. He can make it bloom or he can cause it to wither. Whether he likes it or not, but he has to play judiciously as he is the one around whom all affairs revolve

There are some common points to ponder on before a man reacts.

Firstly, a woman who is now your wife is not an outsider. She is a part of you and your life. She is not a third person. So do not, I stress, do not make her feel like a fish out of water. It is not about her and us (you and your biological family). When you expect her to treat and take care of your own family like hers, then make her feel a part of the family too. If you are going to shun her and talk behind her back; make detail discussions about her attitude and behaviour to others behind doors; complain to your parents, especially your mother, about her actions or words that you find offending etc. – it all will make her feel isolated. When you expect her not to bad mouth about your family, and some issues that she might be facing with people around; and to deal with the shortcomings with tolerance and oft forgiveness- then you are expected to be as generous as you want her in regard to her short comings and not to bad mouth, complain or nag about her bad points to your family.

Being a man, you are held responsible to earn the bread and butter for the family. You are made the head (Ameer) of the family. Working outside by dealing with people, and surviving peak rush hours of traffic, bearing losses, or not meeting up the desired target may make you vulnerable and depressed. As you expect home and your spouse to be pleasant, the same is expected of you. Pouring down your frustration and tiredness on your spouse and kids is not at all justified.  How can we forget the example of our beloved Prophet (sa) (may peace be upon him) who used to be playful and loveable towards his wives, and he used to pamper them too even when he was given such a difficult and challenging work of Dawah (spreading Allah’s (swt) Deen) and also facing a lot of felicity and turmoil.

A man should neither misbehave with his mother nor speak to her in a loud tone, specifically when the spouse or the kids are around. A mother who has taught you how to speak is not at all worthy of your foul language and raised tone. Treat her in a respectable way, even if you do not agree to her terms and conditions. She may feel degraded in front of others and this will give birth to a grudge in her heart against your spouse (as she might feel her responsible for this outburst of anger and misbehaviour). Satan is everywhere and he loves to instill assumptions in our hearts. Accusations are a result of these whispers of Satan mostly.

You should be open to both entities and listen to both sides- instead of being judgmental by favouring one over another.

You are required to be a man with his own set of rules; forget those days of leniency and childhood. It’s time to act like a grown up instead of crying and complaining. Safeguarding the respect of both is crucial in attaining a good and friendly environment at home. You need to open your ears, but not to believe in everything you listen. At times what you see is not the truth but a manipulated and falsified lie. Do not turn a deaf ear to your spouse’s complaining by considering her guilty every time, and accusing her for things she did not do. Generalizing complains that you have got against her will break her into pieces, and will not earn anything but lack of trust in future. You should be open to both entities and listen to both sides- instead of being judgmental by favouring one over another.

Every person has his/her own right and worth. If anyone is given undue importance over the worth of another, it will create chaos. Limit other’s interference and influence over your decisions- especially governing your own family. It is all about maintaining a balance. You need to decide it yourself by an honest retrospection about your actions. And if you have decided it once that you are too good to be challenged, and you have done a lot to make things workable and your spouse happy- then no one can help you and your highly held ego. We all make mistakes and we all have some short comings. Wise is the one who does not drown in his ocean of I, me, and myself notion and in the pool of self-assumed goodness and sacrifices- but the one who looks beyond it and is ready to make a change. Where a female is involved, you have to deal with it like a fragile thing with lots of emotions, appreciation, recognition, and praise. And when two females are involved, then with these things, the aid of Allah (swt) is a must. Consistency is required when dealing with females, you are not required to do big lofty things, but little tiny things on a daily basis will do wonders. Calling her or texting her once in a day will make her more than happy. It is not necessary to buy expensive gifts every time, a surprise note or a flower will surely earn you grade points.

Every person has his/her own right and worth. If anyone is given undue importance over the worth of another, it will create chaos.

Supplicate to Allah (swt) for being accurate in your decisions and to be fair in dealings. Pray for tranquility and love among the family members and a heart that is ready to forgive and forget. Dwelling on past issues will not bear any good outcome. So stop being critical and sarcastic. When it is cancerous for you to compliment your spouse, it is cancerous for the relation when you pass nasty comments even under the banner of joke.

In a nutshell, marriage is for man and not for boys. It is not a platform to satisfy your sexual desires and physical needs. If you are not ready to bear the responsibility and to manage all affairs with a hard nerve, then kindly don’t opt to tie the knot soon.

Keeping the End in Mind

vision for marriageBearing the end in mind is about the principle of vision, and vision is powerful. According to a well-acclaimed research, it is this principle that helps prisoners of war survive the atrocities and brutalities of concentration camps. Vision is the same principle that gives children the drive to succeed. It is a moving power behind effective individuals and organizations in every walk of life. Vision is also greater than the negative baggage of the past and even the accumulated heartache of the present.

Mariam, a woman married for almost fifteen years shared that, “There are times when my husband and I disagree about things and put a wall between us due to a difference of opinion. I have resolved not to let the wall expand and drive us apart. Almost instantly or later, I realize what Satan is trying to scheme against us. Without caring who is right or wrong, I willingly apologize to my husband or try talking things out.

Many of my friends think this is a loser’s policy. They prefer to be caught dead than to admit their mistake, or kiss and make up for a quarrel they never started.”

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The Wedding Night

Bridal-Room-Decoration-6

The wedding night marks the beginning of a whole new kind of relationship deeper and more personal than any other relationship one will ever have, entailing a deluge of unique experiences and considerations.

Between a husband and wife, nothing remains hidden. There are no veils and no barriers, and no shameful parts. How could there be, when the husband is a garment for his wife and she for him? They are to seek comfort and tranquility in one another.

They will be able to enjoy what has always been forbidden to them. This new permissibility is a realization for the husband that this person is his wife, life-partner, and mother of his children. Consequently, his new bride deserves to be treated with the utmost care, consideration, and sensitivity from the very first moment. Therefore, the wedding night should be a night filled with tenderness, intimacy, affection, and joy. In that night, the husband should be seeking to establish ties of love and affection with his wife and placate her worries and fears about the new life she has just embarked upon, so as to ultimately feel secure and at peace with him.

Alhumdullilah, as with all aspects of life, Islam provides us with simple guidelines, which make this event meaningful and blessed for the couple.

The final disposition of things is for those of pious practice, as the Lord of the Worlds said: “As to the Righteous, they shall be amidst (cool) shades and springs (of water). And (they shall have) fruits, – all they desire. ‘Eat and drink to your heart’s content: for that which you worked (for righteousness).’ Thus do We certainly reward the Doers of Good.” (Al-Mursalat 77:41-44)

Kindness toward your wife, when you wish to enter her chamber

When one goes into his wife’s chamber on the wedding night, it is desirable to show her kindness, such as presenting her with something to drink, etc. This is found in the Hadeeth narrated by Asma’ bint Yazid Ibn As-Sakan, who said: “I beautified Aisha (rta) for Allah’s Messenger (sa), then called him to come to see her unveiled. He came, sat next to her, and brought a large cup of milk, from which he drank. Then, he offered it to Aisha (rta), but she lowered her head and felt shy. I scolded her and said to her: ‘Take from the hand of the Prophet (sa).’ She then took it and drank some. Then, the Prophet (sa) said to her: ‘Give some to your companion.’ At that point, I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah (sa), rather take it yourself and drink, and then give it to me from your hand.’ He took it, drank some, and then offered it to me. I sat down and put it on my knees. Then, I began rotating it and following it with my lips, in order that I might hit the spot from which the Prophet (sa) had drunk. Then, the Prophet (sa) said about some women, who were there with me: ‘Give them some.’ But, they said: ‘We don’t want it.’ (i.e., we are not hungry). The Prophet (sa) said: ‘Do not combine hunger and fibbing!’ (Ahmad)

The husband should place his hand upon his wife’s head and offer a supplication for her

At the time of consummating the marriage with his wife or before that the husband should, place his hand on the front part of her head and mention the name of Allah (swt) Most High, and pray for Allah’s (swt) blessings. As in the statement of the Prophet: “When any of you marries a woman … he should hold her forelock, mention Allah (swt) Most High, and pray for His blessings saying: “O Allah (swt), I ask You for the good in her and the good with which You have created her, and I seek refuge in You from the evil in her and the evil with which You have created her.'” (Bukhari)

The husband and wife should offer two units of prayer together

This is an established practice of the pious predecessors, as related in the following narration: On the authority of Shaqeeq who said: “A man named Abu Hareez came and said: ‘I have married a young girl, and I am afraid that she will despise me.’ ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood said to him: ‘Verily, closeness is from Allah (swt), and hatred is from Shaitan, who wishes to make despicable that which Allah (swt) has allowed. So, when your wife comes to you, tell her to pray behind you 2 Rakat.'” In another version of the same story, “‘Abdullah went on to say: ‘And say: ‘O Allah (swt), give Your blessings on me in my wife, and to her in me. O Allah (swt), join us together as long as You join us in good, and split us apart, if You send to us that which is better.'” (Ibn Abi Shaibah and at-Tabarani and ‘Abdur-Razzaq: Saheeh)

Before cohabitation with one’s wife or husband, it is desirable to mention the name of Allah (swt)

When a Muslim man is about to enter his wife, he should always say first: “In the name of Allah (swt), O Allah (swt), keep us away from the devil, and keep the devil away from that which You may grant us (i.e., offspring).”

About this the Prophet (sa) said: “After that, if Allah (swt) decrees that they will have a child, the devil will never be able to harm that child.” (Bukhari)

What the husband should do the morning after his wedding night

The following morning, it is desirable for the husband to visit those relatives, who came and visited him to greet and pray for him and his bride. It is also desirable for them to do likewise for him, according to the following Hadeeth narrated by Anas (rta): “The Messenger of Allah (sa) gave a feast on the morning of his wedding night with Zainab (rta), at which he fed the Muslims to satisfaction on bread and meat. Then, he went out to the Mothers of the Believers (i.e., to his other wives), gave them greetings, and prayed for them, which they returned in kind. This is what he used to do on the morning after a wedding night.” (Ibn Sa’d and An-Nasai)

The prohibition of spreading bedroom secrets

It is forbidden for either the husband or the wife to spread any of the secrets of their bedroom or private relations to anyone outside. The following Hadeeth is about this: “The worst in position of all people in the estimation of Allah (swt) on the Day of Resurrection will be the man, who cohabits with his wife, or the woman, who cohabits with her husband, then either of them divulges the secret of his mate.” (Muslim)

Half my Deen – A Reality Check in Time!

happy-marriageIt was declared that Sofia and Saif’s wedding was heading to a divorce. They were not made for each other. Their thoughts did not match. They were complete opposites.

Haven’t we heard that opposites attract? Well, but here they repelled! There was not a moment where either of them did not argue. Be it money, clothes, food or their sleeping time, there were numerous petty reasons of their bickering when finally Sofia returned to her mother’s place declaring that she could not stand Saif anymore.

It was a grand fairy tale wedding that had taken place hardly six months ago. It had been the talk of the neighbourhood that the beautiful and elegant Sofia was marrying rich and handsome Saif.

Sofia returned to her parental home within six months of marriage. But things were not comfortable at home either. Her mom and dad did not welcome her as always. She was not looked at with pity or concern; she was being scorned and had ogling large eyes all over.

Saif too had returned to his parental home disheartened. He did not know what was wrong in their marriage. Every gadget was in Sofie’s (as he called her lovingly) hands, adorned with jewellery rubies, emeralds, a large apartment in a posh locality. But she had lame arguments and fought over everything. He allowed her to buy the best designer clothes, gave her money but nothing would make her happy

Saif’s parents were humble and he was guilty of leaving them to stay with his wife. His parents were shocked to know that Saif and his wife were applying for a divorce. His mother had told him that divorce is such a huge decision that it would shake the Arsh (heavens).

Sofie stayed quiet while they ate lunch, dinner and breakfast. Silence could be broken with just some nods and hums but she did not have the guts to speak out to her parents. Why? If she was right then what was that hesitation? Sofie felt guilt all over. She was sure that she was wrong, for if she had been right, her parents would have supported her. As she stood in the window and saw droplets of water rolling down the pane, she wiped her tears. At 4-four p.m. they had to appear at the court. For an umpteenth time her gaze went on the wall. It had been an hour since lunch but the minutes were getting heavier each moment. Would Saif come to pick up or would he send the driver? But why would he care now? She regretted her behaviour with him the last day they were together.

She gathered some tissues around her. Her heart was weeping. But why could not she gather herself? She had to go alone as her father did not even want to discuss that issue with her. However she was sure that her parents would get over it in a few days after the divorce. She always hated Saif’s choice, his food habits, his sleeping and everything. So why was she missing all the luxuries and comforts he had showered her with? She called her dad’s driver and he was ready to take her. But no sooner she stepped out of the house than her sandal slipped and she tripped down the stairs right to the bottom and her world went dark.

His mother had told him that divorce is such a huge decision that it would shake the Arsh (heavens).

When she woke up, she saw tensed faces around her. Saif and his parents were present there. But her parents were absent. Saif raised his hands and kept on Sofie’s forehead and wiped the sweat with a tissue. Then she noticed her bandaged leg and bruised hand. Her head was quite heavy. Her mother in law asked Sofie how she was feeling. Sofie was too embarrassed to reply, she just stuck a faint smile. She did not know what exactly had happened.

Saif’s parents left to get something for her to eat and allowed them to be alone which Sofie detested. And luckily the nurses came in and told Saif to let her sleep without disturbance.

Soon she drifted into a blissful sleep only to be awakened by the doctor who did her routine check up and advised rest for a few more days. Then she ordered the RMO (Resident Medical Officer) and nurse to leave the room as she wanted to have a few words with Sofia in isolation.

She asked Sofie with such pure intentions and concern that she did not see even in her own mother, “Beta, you look so pale. You are newly married. Did you try to commit suicide?” Sofie shook her head, she didn’t know whether to trust her or not. What if she was her husband’s agent? But whatever she said later was enough to change Sofia, her present and her future.

“You know these days where social media is becoming cheaper and there are so many extra marital affairs coming on scene… Getting a sincere, loving husband is rare! You are quite lucky, but what makes you sad? It is indeed the talk of the hospital. Both of you are young and beautiful. You are married to a rich, handsome husband who is so devoted to you. Take my advice; marriages do not remain in the honey moon phase forever. Marriage is a life time commitment. You have to live through thick and thin. Marriage is doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, serving, being a maid and working hard to get the crown of a Queen. It is not what you read in novels or watch in serials or movies.. Marriage is to get peace and tranquillity in our lives. It is not to measure differences but to raise the one who is weak.”

marriages do not remain in the honey moon phase forever. Marriage is a life time commitment. You have to live through thick and thin.

Whatever she spoke was the truth but I was adamant. “Are you related to Saif?” I asked.

“You are very naive!” she said. “Pay some heed to what I said and think over it!” she said without replying to my question.

As she went out of the room, the bitter truth she spoke dawned upon me. Her words were echoing in my mind that “marriage does not remain in the honeymoon phase forever. It is not what you read in novels and watch in movies and serials!” But that’s what every woman searches for! That’s why she was sad, that’s what she was missing in her life. She wanted her husband to take her to a hotel or a movie or to a mall or any other park for an outing every day. He wanted promotion, he wanted to save money and he wanted to invest! Obviously then how could their thinking match? The maturity was still lacking and she was behaving like a kid in some mere infatuation.

Sofie’s ego and pride would not allow her to apologize. She did not want to bend down on her knees. Soon she tossed and turned to get some more sleep. As she turned, she saw a letter.

It began with “Allah (swt) has created man and woman as company for one another and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquillity according to the commandments of Allah (swt) and the directions of His Messenger (sa). The Quran states:

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar- Rum 30:21)

“And Allah has made for you wives of your own kind, and has made for you, from your wives, sons and grandsons, and has bestowed on you good provision. Do they then believe in false deities and deny the Favour of Allah (by not worshipping Allah Alone).”(An-Nahl 16:72)

The word Zawaj is used in the Quran to signify a pair or a mate. But in common parlance it stands for marriage. Since a family is the nucleus of an Islamic society and marriage is the only way to bring families into existence, therefore the Prophet (sa) insisted his followers upon entering into marriage The Shariah prescribes rules to regulate the functioning of the family so that both spouses can live together in love, security and tranquillity. Marriage in Islam has two major aspects:

1. Ibadah (worship) of Allah (swt)

2. The transactions between human beings

With respect to Ibadah, marriage is an act pleasing to Allah (swt) because it is in accordance with His commandments that husband and wife love each other and help each other make efforts to continue the human race, rear and nurse their children in such a fashion that they become true servants of Allah (swt).

These aspects are beautifully explained in the traditions of our Prophet (sa). It is narrated by Anas that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah (swt) regarding the remaining half.”

The Prophet (sa) considered marriage for a Muslim as half of his religion because it shields him from promiscuity, adultery, fornication, homosexuality etc. which ultimately lead to many other evils like slander, quarrelling, homicide, loss of property and disintegration of the family. According to the Prophet (sa) the remaining half of the faith can be saved by Taqwa.

Since a family is the nucleus of an Islamic society and marriage is the only way to bring families into existence, therefore the Prophet (sa) insisted his followers upon entering into marriage

I never understood the true essence of marriage along with its prescribed injunctions. I am very sorry I failed, but wish you could just give me another chance.” Yours only, Saif.

Sofie who did not want to apologize replied, “I myself never knew what marriage is and in my ignorance almost ended our marriage. I hope we can live more considerately and happily today, tomorrow and always- Insha’Allah!” Yours only, Sofie.

Twenty Tips for a Successful Marriage

happy-marriageMarriage is not only about love; it is also about trust. If you are not able to trust your spouse then there can be no love in the relationship. Today’s generation does not know the meaning of marriage. Marriage is an exceptional bond that binds you in a relationship such that whether you have a small tiff or a major problem, you try to overcome it with mutual understanding.

Even the Shaitan is envious of a married couple who ties the knots in a bond that is unbreakable. Every day he sits on his throne ordering his Shaitan servants to go and make the humans go astray. After they accomplish their evil mission, they go to their master and happily tell him about whom they managed to mislead. But the Shaitan (Iblis) is not very happy with their performance. However when one of his servants tells him that he has caused a rift between a husband and wife, he gets excited and praises that servant of his. Allah (swt) has created this couple and through Nikah they are in a special internal bond that is unbreakable. Allah (swt) hates the word divorce whereas the Shaitan (Iblis) loves to break this relationship.

Today’s generation should always think before they start an argument with their spouse; maybe it is the Shaitan who is trying to cause a rift between them. Always sit and talk about your problems to one another. Try to be patient even if your spouse isn’t. A husband-wife relationship is like a car with tyres on each side; when one of the tyres inflates, the car cannot be driven further. So keep this in mind and build such a strong relationship that even a hurricane is unable to shake it. Our Prophet’s (sa) dealing with his wives is an ideal example for us to follow and succeed.

Here are some helpful tips for a successful marriage, Insha’Allah:

  1. Trust and help each other; be good and stay positive.
  2. Please your spouse and make him or her feel special always. For example, cook his or her favourite food or dine out at his or her favourite place.
  3. Be humorous, playful, helpful, respectful and entertaining.
  4. Never bring your past mistakes in your present.
  5. Encourage and give hope to your spouse.
  6. Do not compare each other even over tiny things.
  7. Surprise your spouse with something new. For example, give gifts to each other.
  8. Spend quality time as much as you can.
  9. Look beautiful for your spouse.
  10. Listen carefully and obey sincerely.
  11. Avoid fighting, ignoring, lying, doubting, misbehaving and getting angry.
  12. Be open and discuss your problems/worries with your spouse. Also, make eye contact while speaking.
  13. If one of you is angry, the other should be quiet.
  14. Don’t argue. Simply say ‘Sorry’ whether it’s your mistake or not.
  15. Always make Dua to make your marriage successful and your relationship/ bond strong.
  16. Always be thankful to your spouse.
  17. Say ‘I love you’ to your spouse.
  18. Understand each other by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  19. Respect your spouse and be a garment for him or her everywhere.
  20. Eat together, be together and pray together.

Khadijah (rta) – A Guiding Light for Every Muslimah

beautiful-hibiscus-flower-dsc02642Do you ever wish to shake hands with a political figure, or pose for the camera standing next to a high heeled model, or even meet a celebrated Islamic scholar? Khadijah (rta) had the honour of receiving greetings from the Lord of the worlds from above seven heavens.

Jibreel (as) once came to the Prophet (sa) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! This is Khadijah (rta), coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord, and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace made of Qasab in Paradise, wherein there will be neither any noise nor any toil.” (Bukhari)

Today, we will spend some time with our dear mother and study the traits of this wonderful woman, who attained the certificate of greatest achievement that can ever be; the Pleasure of the Most High and a Palace in Jannah. What made her so outstanding?

Women especially, are champions at complaining. 

The first Muslimah

Khadijah (rta) readily and instantly accepted the message of Islam, without any hesitation. She was well-aware that proclaiming this new faith would mean inviting trouble as she was surrounded by an ignorant, stereotyped society. How many of us refrain from taking a positive step with the fear of what people might say, and there she accepted the call of Islam at the cost of her life. Whilst we are not willing to pay any price for the truth, Khadijah (rta) gave up everything, teaching us a lesson; our reputation, our wealth and our community, nothing is more valuable than faith and the principles of truth.

Whilst we are not willing to pay any price for the truth, Khadijah (rta) gave up everything, teaching us a lesson; our reputation, our wealth and our community, nothing is more valuable than faith and the principles of truth.

Patience and endurance

Women especially, are champions at complaining. A woman not complaining about her servants, husband, children, in-laws and the tiniest struggles of life is very hard to find! Being the wife of the Prophet (sa), Khadijah (rta) had to face the greatest of trials.

After Qasim, Abdullah too passed away soon after he was born. Instead of sympathies and consolation that one would have expected at that grievous occasion, the pagans rejoiced at the news and started making fun of Muhammad (sa). Moreover, Abu Lahab ordered his two sons to divorce the daughters of Muhammad (sa) who were in their marriage. Weren’t these arrows hard hitting for a mother?

Later, came three difficult years of suffering and starvation in the valley of Abu Talib. However, Khadijah (rta) bore the hardships and the uncomfortable lifestyle without complaining even once.. Every other day, her neighbour Umm-e-Jameel would throw garbage in the front yard of the honourable Khadijah (rta). Did she go and scream at her husband about what she had to go through because of him? No she did not! She did have a heart, but what an enduring heart it was!

Spending in the way of Allah (swt)

“Allah (swt) would never humiliate you, for you are good to your relatives, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest and you answer the call of those who are in distress.” This is the well-known testimony given by Khadijah (rta) about her husband after the first revelation. In fact, in each act of kindness and charity, she had a major role too. She never stopped her husband or crashed his generosity like many of us would have in favour of our own kids.

With Ali Ibn Talib, Zaid Bin Harithah, their children and two children from Khadijah’s (rta) previous marriage, the expenses weren’t few. However, never was a beggar sent empty handed, or a needy one refused from the household of Khadijah (rta). She gave up all her wealth to spread the religion of Allah (swt).

Never-ending support for her husband

Khadijah (rta) always stood alongside Muhammad (sa) firmly and supportively against the toughest of tides. It was her to whom he returned after the perturbing event of revelations and she affectionately reassured him. Khadijah (rta) was like a shelter amidst the pelting stones of harassment and mockery, a refuge after the tiring and heart breaking days of Dawah. She was not the grumpy, selfish kind. Both were like pillars supporting each other. No wonder Muhammad (sa) loved her and reminisced about her so often.

Every Muslim woman, especially the wives of Islamic workers have a lesson in this: Be a bridge between your men and their worship, not barriers. Like the pillars of a house you may be obscure. However, you are the actual source of strength and power!

He once said: “I have not yet found a better wife than her. She had faith in me when everyone, even members of my own family and tribe did not believe me, and accepted that I was truly a Prophet and a Messenger of Allah (swt). She converted to Islam, spent all her wealth and worldly goods to help me spread this faith. And this too when the entire world turned against me and persecuted me. It is through her that Allah (swt) blessed me with children.”

Every Muslim woman, especially the wives of Islamic workers have a lesson in this: Be a bridge between your men and their worship, not barriers. Like the pillars of a house you may be obscure. However, you are the actual source of strength and power!

An exemplary mother

Behind the faith of Zainab (rta), the Hijrah of Umm Kulthum (rta) and the endless courage of Fatimah (rta) was the hand of their mother. Amongst the children of Khadijah (rta), only Fatimah’s (rta) Seerah is available in detail, and in it one can see the generosity, patience, selflessness and love for Islam that she took from her mother. Khadijah (rta) is not just herself one of the top four ladies of Jannah, she’s also the mother of one of the top ladies of Jannah!

Muhammad (sa) once drew four lines on the ground and asked his companions if they knew what those meant. They replied in the negative. He then told them that they stood for the four leading ladies of Jannah: Asiyah Bint Muzahim, Mariam (as) Bint Imran (as), Khadijah (rta) Bint Khuwalid (rta) and Fatimah Bint Muhammad (rta).

This leads to a question that each one of us should ask ourselves. “Do our sons and daughters get a nourishment of faith, patience and Haya (modesty) from us?

We always rush after successful people, praising them and seeking advice from them. Why don’t we dive into the books of Seerah and spend some evenings with these fabulous Queens of Jannah. Forget about Miss Fashion, Miss World and the Miss Universe because “All that glitters is not gold!” Aspire to be amongst the women with the heart of gold: the women of Jannah and the legendary ladies; follow their footsteps in order to accomplish Jannah where they belong.

May Allah (swt) make us enter Paradise and meet the Queens of Jannah. Ameen

The True Essence of a Muslimah

Beautiful-DiamondA daughter once asked her mother, “Mom, I have heard about diamonds and rubies and also gold and silver. Which is the most precious jewel?”

Her mother replied, “Jewels of gold, silver, diamonds and rubies are all only stones, and do not shine, unless they are burnt and polished. For me, you are my precious jewel. In fact, every daughter is a gem, irreplaceable! I would like to decorate you with such jewels and gems, which will bring you honour and respect, and add a glow to your dignity and character.

• Clothe yourself with Taqwa, and adorn yourself with the most precious jewel of piety.
• Take care of your head! It is the closest to Allah (swt) in Sujud, so make your prostrations lengthy.
• Keep your head cool and low (out of humility) when amongst people. Let Allah (swt) raise it high.
• Keep your hands immersed in work and tongue moist in Dhikr. That’s the essence of the women of Jannah.
• Raise your hands, shed tears, and share your thoughts and feelings only in front of Allah (swt).
• Lower your gaze and adorn it with the emeralds of contentment.

If you have gold, it’s not that you will not turn old.
But if you have character, it will build your Akhirah.
If you have lots of brocade and silk in your closet,
But elegance will be disclosed by your deeds’ facet.

If you are not endowed with diamonds or pearls,
Remember, through your speech and smile you glitter.
And scatter the beauty of Islam.
Through reverence in covering your Awrah.
And reveal what is permissible, and be it little, be happy with Halal and pure.
That’s the true essence of a Muslimah.

Her daughter replied: “True! I am blessed to have a mother, who knows my true value and wants the best for me in this life as well as hereafter.”

May Allah (swt) guide my daughter and all the daughters of the Ummah, too. Ameen

Celebrating Valentine’s Day? I think NOT!

say-no-valentine-day1It had been a long and tiring day. I returned home only to realize that I had no energy left to talk to or socialize with any of my family members. I dragged my footsteps inside the house and headed straight towards my bed. As I tried to fall asleep, my husband walked in from the other room. “Another tiring day, huh?” He remarked. All I managed was a little hum until I shut my eyes back again. He quietly came and sat next to me and continued to fiddle on his laptop.

After a few hours, when I felt tiredness decrease a bit, I headed over to the kitchen to fix a dinner for the two of us. It was a quiet meal in the serenity of our peaceful home but it was comforting. The brightest light shinning at the end of the tunnel was the weekend approaching us the next day. My brain was gushing with ideas to ensure complete relaxation over that weekend. I didn’t think much about spending time with my husband; honestly, that was absolutely the last thing on my mind. The hectic schedule of my job, studies and home were taking their toll on me and unfortunately, I hardly had time to spare for him. I would leave that to only special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries which was a safe move and quite frankly, a little automated too.

 I can never forget the reply he gave me. He said, “If, every now and then, we fill our lives with this much love, we wouldn’t need a single day like Valentine’s.” 

The next day started out unexpectedly. Here I was, having a lazy Sunday morning in bed as planned when in came my husband with a tray of freshly-made omelettes and tea. Breakfast in bed! I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was the first time in five years he had ever made such an attempt. Tucked in the corner of the tray along with a red rose, was a love note. I instinctively racked my brain for the reason behind such unabashed generosity. Was it our anniversary? No. Was it my birthday? No. Then what is it that I forgot and he remembered? I couldn’t guess and in the end, just went with the flow. However, I couldn’t control my curiosity for long and soon, I ended up asking my husband for the ‘real’ reason behind this gesture. Did I forget an important event? If yes, could he tell me before I embarrassed myself! I can never forget the reply he gave me. He said, “If, every now and then, we fill our lives with this much love, we wouldn’t need a single day like Valentine’s.” This was the real reason behind that beautiful morning surprise.

From that day onwards, to date, we make that extra effort every month or so to bring out the spirit of love and fill our lives with romance the way Allah (swt) has instructed spouses to do so

It struck me that it was already the month of February and I was insisting on a lavish day out for Valentine’s Day whereas my husband was constantly trying to talk me out of it. However, the lesson I learned that day was greater than any words, because actions speak way louder than them. From that day onwards, to date, we make that extra effort every month or so to bring out the spirit of love and fill our lives with romance the way Allah (swt) has instructed spouses to do so and the Prophet (sa) has modeled for us by being the model husband. We have abandoned tying ourselves to dates dictated by the calendar or people like St. Valentine!

Each time you look at your spouse with love, think of this love as a love for the sake of Allah (swt). Take pleasure in this blessing Allah (swt) has given you and He will double your pleasure, Insha’Allah.

10 years later, after this inspirational moment in our lives, we are well qualified enough to give out little pointers to the fresh love birds out there regarding Valentine’s Day. I was one of the staunchest supporters of Valentine’s Day. Ah, it is a day of love; how beautiful that sounds! How could one even think of not liking it? However, today, I have a whole new perspective of the ‘days of love’, and here they are:

  1. Surprise your spouse with a spontaneous act of love, whether it is once a month or once a year.
  2. Be creative as well as spontaneous. Don’t limit yourself to red roses, or anything red for that matter. Choose from a variety of colours. It’s much more fun! Remember the best colour: Sibghatullah (the colour of Allah) and the colour of Taqwa.
  3. Each time you look at your spouse with love, think of this love as a love for the sake of Allah (swt). Take pleasure in this blessing Allah (swt) has given you and He will double your pleasure, Insha’Allah.
  4. Islam is a practical religion. It does not burden you with emotions which you do not feel. You don’t have to make a day special just because the calendar dictates you to do so. Follow your heart. Allah gives you the freedom to intensify the days when you feel your emotions are at their peak. This will in turn increase your own pleasure and convey a much stronger message to the one you love.
  5. There is so much Barakah in surprises for your spouse! No fixed calendar date can give you as much joy as that sudden white or pink rose that pops out of your husband’s hand! You really have to experience it to feel it! Remember the doubling rule: do it for Allah (swt) and He would double it for you.
  6. One of the wisdoms behind abandoning fixed-day celebrations is a much intensified reaction on normal routine good news days like job promotions,  children’s report cards, or just because you are looking pretty that day! Look for such moments and capitalize on them. Be practical not dramatic.
  7. Imagine the relief you will be providing to your husband! And yes I’m referring to the monetary one. He will spend on buying you gifts when his pocket allows him to.
  8. Men are less dramatic in expressing their emotions and lack the ability of designing their emotions around certain days like women usually do. Hence, the disparity results in a huge conflict of expectations especially on days like the Valentine’s Day. When you drop this day and give your husband the freedom to choose the day he likes, you will certainly notice the ease of his emotions pouring out and the originality of it all. Islam tells us that the best spouses are those who are pure and courteous. So give yourself and your spouse a chance to be genuine and pure with your emotions. Don’t fabricate them or bind them to one day. You are way better than that!

The Real Romance

loveforallahsakeFor love, there have been wars. For love, people have harboured feelings of anger, jealousy, and hatred to the extent of committing murder and heinous crimes thereafter. Without doubt, the emotion of love is a strong emotion which is seemingly represented by red hearts, red roses, red ribbons, etc. Love is commonly expressed in a manner expressed best in stories, novels, movies, and so on. We have come to understand the emotion of ‘love’ the way it is described and portrayed in the mass media.

The moment we think about love, a picture of a couple in love springs up in our minds. We consider the ‘drama’ in their lives, which leads to marriage or yearning. Then there is some more drama, followed by suspense, and in the end, we have a standard ‘happily ever after’.

At first glance, Islam and love seem total antonyms of each other. Although all the elements of love are present in the Quran and Ahadeeth, we do not understand the concept of romance or love in Islam. Muhabbah (love) comes from the root word Hubb, which means a seed that Allah (swt) has sown in our hearts. Ibn Abbas (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said:

 Muhabbah (love) comes from the root word Hubb, which means a seed that Allah (swt) has sown in our hearts.

“Allah brought all the offspring of Adam from Adam’s back, in Arafah, and He took the oath from the people. Then Allah said (and the Prophet [sa] recited): ‘Am I not your Lord?’ (Al-Araf 7:172)” (An-Nasai and Ahmad)

On that day, Allah (swt) bestowed us with His love in our hearts. Allah (swt) further guides us in the Quran. He says He loves those who constantly repent, those who are pure inwardly and outwardly, those who do good deeds beautifully, those who have Taqwa, are conscious of Allah (swt) and abstain from sins, and those who are patient during trials and do not lose their temper. Allah (swt) does not love those who create mischief, those who betray others, and those who are arrogant and two-faced. Hence, we get a clear picture that those whom Allah (swt) loves will love humanity and leave a progeny full of goodness.

Today’s common ‘objects’ of love are spouses, children, wealth, and Dunya. However, Allah (swt) says that those who have Iman love Allah (swt) the most, as the Quran mentions that the believers love Allah (swt) more intensely. (Al-Baqarah 2:165) We know how much the Sahabah (ra) loved the Prophet (sa) and how they loved Allah (swt), too. Consider also the Hadeeth that specifies seven categories of people who will be given Allah’s Shade on the Day of Resurrection. In one category will be those whose love is for the sake of Allah (swt) alone.

The youth are full of emotions and emotions can make us lose control. Decisions taken on the basis of emotions are usually wrong and result in regret. These days, through pop culture and mass media, Muslim youth tend to destroy their lives by indulging in Haram relationships which have no place in Islam. A relationship whose base is either love at first sight, or beauty, or expensive gifts, or fun will always be flimsy with a weak foundation. It will not last for long as a Hadeeth says: “Your love for something blinds and deafens.” (Abu Dawood and Ahmad)

Love based on a strong foundation is love for the sake of Allah (swt). Love is to want to be with your spouse in this world and the hereafter as well. This love has commitment and is not based merely on physical or emotional factors. Spouses are garments to each other and both are enjoined to have mercy on one another. Every moment spent with each other is rewarded.

reserve all smileys, roses and hearts for what is Halal and judge for yourself what true love is. Love what Allah (swt) loves and leave what angers Allah (swt).

It was reported from Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “In the (sexual act) of each one of you there is a charity.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, when one of us fulfils his carnal desire will he have some reward for that?” He (sa) said: “Do you not see that if he were to act upon it (his desire) in an unlawful manner, then he would be deserving of punishment? Likewise, if he were to act upon it in a lawful manner, he will be deserving of a reward.” (Muslim)

If we try to emulate virtual love or love depicted in movies, it will kill our spiritual heart. The person will be deprived of Allah’s love and mercy in this world, unless he sincerely repents. Hence, reserve all smileys, roses and hearts for what is Halal and judge for yourself what true love is. Love what Allah (swt) loves and leave what angers Allah (swt).

Love is when Prophet Muhammad (sa) took the glass from which Aisha (rta) had drunk. He put his lips on the exact same place she had put hers and then drank. (An-Nasai)

Love is when Prophet Muhammad (sa) raced with Aisha (rta) and teased her when she lost! (Abu Dawood)

Love is when Fatimah (rta) immediately smiled and never complained when her father (sa) told her that her Nikah has been made to Ali (rta).

Love is when Zainab (rta) sent a necklace given to her by her mother Khadeejah as a ransom for her husband!

Love is when Khadeejah (rta) spent her entire wealth on the Deen for the man she loved!

That is real love, Subhan’Allah!