Cultivating Friendship with your Spouse


Any princess, who was swept up to the altar in the arms of her prince charming, can tell you that, a few months later, she’d gladly trade in the glittery clothes and tinkling laughter for a comfortable pair of pants and a good chuckle over a cup of coffee with her prince. Marriage is for the long haul, and like any journey, it is more fun when your travelling companion is a good friend.

Friendship in marriage must be developed and nurtured. Unfortunately, once the ethereal feeling of the honeymoon period ends, most couples take living together for granted. The following are top five “tried and tested” reminders of how to cultivate your relationship with your best friend – your spouse.

Companions on the Sirat-ul-Mustaqeem

We have been instructed: “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones…” (At-Tahrim 66:6) Regrettably, many couples interpret this as fault finding and preaching to one another. A true friend desires to aid his companion grow as a person; husbands may arrange to oversee the children so that their wives could study the Quran or attend a class; similarly, a wife may ungrudgingly arrange the family schedule so that her spouse can spend time with beneficial brothers.

Buy mustard and Achar

Expect to have differences in opinion, tastes and even sleeping habits. Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated: “A believer must not hate (his wife) believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another.” (Muslim) Accept each other’s diversity and respect it. To put it simply: if he prefers mustard above your Achar, just serve both with dinner. To each their own.

Your spouse is not your extension

Best friends need not do everything together or account for every moment spent without each other; allow your spouse to chill with her friends or dedicate time to a project she values. Does his office work or other family obligations limit time spent with you? Focus upon the time you have together instead of the time you feel you are being cheated out of. Value the quality time that you spend with each other; don’t fret upon its quantity.


Giving a gift is just as much fun as receiving one, for Prophet Muhammad (sa) asserted: “Give gifts to one another, and you will love one another.” (Bukhari) So why wait for a ‘special’ occasion? Whether it is something wrapped up, a dinner for two, setting off with him to his favourite electronic store to get that gizmo he’s been raving about or taking the toddler outdoors so his exhausted mommy can get some sleep, a gift can be anything that is valued by your friend. Remember – rewards must be earned, but giving a gift is rewarding.

Love is saying you are sorry and meaning it

The term ‘sorry’ is much abused by couples: some don’t feel the need to say it, while others say it as a muscular reflex. The term ought to be valued and used to mean: “I apologize for my actions, which hurt you, and will try my utmost not to repeat them.” Use the term with sincerity and it will strengthen your relationship immensely, Insha’Allah.

Are you a happily-married couple? What tried-and-tested reminders would you like to share about cultivating friendship with spouse? Email us your suggestions at

Is my Spouse my Best Friend Forever (BFF)?


Life after marriage can be either a constant tug of war or your spouse can become your best friend forever. Achieving the latter is the key to a healthy, happy and hearty family. Here’s how you can unlock the door to eternal bliss.

Khawar is fifteen years older than his wife Fouzia. He is diabetic, hypertensive, has had a kidney transplant and now cannot work or earn a living to support his family – the entire responsibility is on Fouzia’s shoulders.  Then why does she stay with him and take care of him with a smiling face and a happy heart?

My dad is seventy and has had a bypass surgery. When my mom went on a short trip to another city, my dad called her thrice every day. Heeding to our advice, he did not call her one day, so that she may enjoy unhindered; however, she could not bear not to hear his voice and called him to ask if he was fine, and if not, should she take an earlier flight? Was it simply her responsibility that fuelled her concern?

In the above-mentioned relationships, it was the strengthened bond of love, care and communication that compelled the spouses to be concerned for each other. Apart from being a couple, they had always been each others’ best buddies. How can a couple become BFF? The answer lies in the three verses that are recited as part of the Nikah ceremony:

“O You who believe! Fear Allah (by doing All that He has ordered and by abstaining from All that He has forbidden) as He should be feared…” (Al-Imran 3:102)

“…fear Allah through whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship)…” (An-Nisa 4:1)

“O You who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth…” (Al-Ahzab 33:70)

According to these verses, the basis of any relationship is God-consciousness, which compels one to avoid anything that displeases Allah (swt) and work towards creating a feeling of mutual respect, trust and honest communication among the spouses – the building blocks to lifelong friendship. To achieve this, it is imperative for both spouses to:

  • Develop frank communication.
  • Not be judgmental – listen and offer sincere advice. Sometimes, just listen.
  • Respect and support the decisions of your spouse and their consequences.
  • Define roles and give each other time and space.
  • Rearing children should be a joint endeavour.
  • Grow together in faith.
  • Remember that fights are normal but forgive and forget quickly.
  • Be loyal as true friends – always stand up for each other, against all odds.
  • Intimacy is an essential part of any marriage. Dress up for each other and do something out of the ordinary once in a while to surprise your best friend.
  • Finally, accept each other as BFF and make nurturing this relationship a priority through all odds.

I have been happily married to my BFF for seventeen years, and our secret is laughing at ourselves, making up quickly after a fight, and working towards paradise together. Alhumdulillah.

An Eternal Love Story

29By Shaikh Omar Suleiman – Member, ICNA Shariah Council and Instructor, Al Maghrib Institute, Canada 

In this day and age, the success of a marriage rests upon the material comforts that one provides to his spouse. However, these soon fade away. The bond of love created for the sake of Allah (swt), with the success in the hereafter at heart, is what really strengthens a nuptial bond.

This is a very touching story about one of the great companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa) called Abu Darda (rtam). Let me introduce you to Abu Darda (rtam). He was a man with abundant knowledge of Islam. His love to disseminate this treasure and to seek more of it took him far and wide. Being highly enthusiastic, he wanted to share this valuable treasure with all and sundry. He used to relate Ahadeeth about the virtues of knowledge.

When the Prophet (sa) and his companions migrated to Madinah, every Ansari hosted one of the immigrants, the people who were expelled from Makkah. The Prophet (sa) paired every migrant with an Ansari brother, thus strengthening the ties of love and brotherhood between them. Who was the brother of Abu Darda (rtam)? Salman Farsi (rtam). Was Salman Farsi (rtam) an immigrant? Yes. He did migrate but not from Makkah. He was from Persia and had been going to places looking for Prophet Muhammad (sa), whom he finally found in Madinah. The Prophet (sa) paired him with Abu Darda (rtam).

Whenever Salman (rtam) would enter the house of Abu Darda (rtam) (and this was before the verse on Hijab was revealed), he would see Umm Darda (rtaf) wearing a cloth with patches and stains all over it. He asked her why she was dressed that way, and she replied that Abu Darda (rtam) is not interested in the luxuries of this world. She had blisters over her hands but she never complained. She was always smiling with contentment, as all their efforts and prayers were directed to attain success in the hereafter.

One day, Salman (rtam) came to Abu Darda’s house. Abu Darda served him a meal and said to him: “(Please) eat for I am fasting.” Salman (rtam) said: “I am not going to eat, unless you eat.” So Abu Darda ate. When it was night, Abu Darda (rtam) got up (for the night prayer). Salman (rtam) said (to him): “Sleep” and he slept. Again Abu Darda (rtam) got up (for the prayer), and Salman (rtam) said (to him): “Sleep.” When it was the last part of the night, Salman (rtam) said to him: “Get up now (for the prayer).” Both of them offered their prayers and Salman (rtam) said to Abu Darda (rtam): “Your Lord has a right on you; your soul has a right on you; your family has a right on you; you should give the rights of all those who have a right on you.” Later on, Abu Darda (rtam) visited the Prophet (sa) and mentioned that to him. The Prophet (sa) said: “Salman (rtam) has spoken the truth.” (Bukhari)

Since Abu Darda (rtam) was always keen to please Allah (swt) and his Messenger (sa), he changed his ways. However, his financial situation was not that sound. Umm Darda (rtaf) was someone who used to be around the Prophet (sa) from a very young age. When she was a little girl, she used to play in the Masjid. She grew up loving and following the tenets of Islam. She was always in search of more knowledge about this beautiful religion. Both Abu Darda (rtam) and his wife were pious and God-fearing – they spent their lives in service to this great religion. They never tasted the sweetness or strove for the treasures of this world. Hence, he was not a rich man. They both lived to achieve the true success in the hereafter.

When the time of death came near for Abu Darda (rtam), his wife was with him. She said to her husband: “When you proposed to me in this world, you asked my father for my hand and I accepted it.  Ask Allah (swt) for me to be your wife in the hereafter as well. I want to be your wife in paradise.”

One might think that she said this out of emotion and love, when her husband was leaving this world, but that is not so. She was truly in love with her husband for the sake of Allah (swt) and wanted to be with him in paradise after death.

Later on, when she got a marriage proposal from Muawiyah (rtam), who was the caliph of the Muslims, she refused saying that she is engaged to Abu Darda (rtam) in paradise. Muawiyah (rtam) was a man with wealth and status. Despite all these facts, Umm Darda (rtam) refused him. Unbelievable, Subhan’Allah!

This illumines her thoughts and her mission in life. Even though her marriage and life with Abu Darda (rtam) did not have all the material things of this world, those that in today’s time and age we consider important to make a union successful, it had the ingredient that cannot be taken away by any economic crisis or aging process – love of Allah (swt).

Transcribed for “Hiba” by Nazia Wahab Khan.

Cradle to Grave – Consumer Kids


Marketers are reaching out to the embryo in the mother’s womb to hook it up for lifetime. From baby wear to infant accessories and play stuff, it all awaits the new arrival even before it is born. And that is where the producers are hitting the bull’s eye. Kids spend USD 40 billion annually. Such is their power in the economy. Naturally, everyone is out to get them as often, as early and at as many places as possible to convert them into lifelong consumers.


Some of the tactics that companies exploit and parents must be aware of are as follows:

  1. Nagging works. Imagine your seven-year-old rolling on the floor of a store, yelling at the top of his lungs for a toy that you have refused him/her. Research shows that such pressures work on parents, who lack determination and want face saving in public. Bluntly, they would rather have the kid shut up than exert proactive parenting. Hence, the reactive measures work. Also, soft and persistent whining and whimpering on the part of kids strikes deals for them, and parents eventually give in a while later.
  2. TV rules. The top three selling toys are generally the ones that are advertised the most on the television or are associated with some popular cartoon or kids’ show. Naturally, numerous companies have married their name to a myriad of products. They have a ready consumer sitting right before the screen, who would drive his parents all the way to the mall to become the proud owner of one of the paraphernalia on offer.
  3. Manipulative advertising. Marketing researchers have blink tests for kids. If a child sits through a TV commercial without blinking, it means the advertisers have nailed it. But if they observe him/her to blink in between, it means the quality of the advertisement is not mesmerizing enough. They immediately change the ad. After all, it is their motive is to sell the products.
  4. Defining culture. Another recent trend has been the cultural shift in consumer choices. The kids’ culture has gone from cheap to upscale. It is stepping into the world of brands. The companies take advantage of the kids’ natural desire to grow up faster and richer. Children’s idols are no longer teachers, astronauts, etc. They are teen idols, movie stars, sports’ icons, etc.
  5. Emerging lifestyles. Girls’ toys and Barbies tell little girls that the ultimate success is to look beautiful and sexy. What they buy and how they look is very important because this determines their value. Similarly, boys’ games are being brought closer to virtual reality, where violence, power and domination are dished out as entertainment to them. This is how we resolve conflicts, too, by killing and hitting.
  6. Good media vs. bad media. When some smart parents deciphered the exploitation scheme of these companies, the producers set out another false trap. A popular mantra these days is: “Kids don’t just grow up, they think up” – meaning: get your infant to watch educational videos and surround him with mind stimulating toys to turn him into a genius. And if you do not take the initiative, your kids will surely fall behind. This was another way to appeal to parents’ insecurities. As a result, in the year 2010, USD 7.8 billion worth of educational videos were sold.
  7. Reality bites. There is no solid scientific evidence that an infant or a toddler, who is introduced to electronic educational material, will be any smarter than the one who is not. In fact, research does confirm the opposite. Kids exposed to early screen time have a poor vocabulary, their ability to learn is hindered, they are caught with attention issues, etc. Their cognitive and social skills have no great leaps as super ambitious parents might want. It only trains the child to watch more TV.
  8. What does help then? Since the brain is rapidly changing in the first two years of a baby’s life, close family involvement and experiences help it thrive. The baby learns to hear sounds and voices, sights loving faces around him and feels the hugs of parents. Creative play is the foundation of critical thinking, problem solving and empathy. However, with the TV culture, kids are deprived of imagination. They are only learning to imitate. They can’t play a hero, unless they have the entire product range to represent it. In other words, a stick will not work for a sword.

There is a USD 15 million industry working to undermine parental responsibility. Naturally, these companies want to own these kids for life and have a share of their mind. Branded baby paraphernalia begins this journey of cradle to grave brand loyalty. Later, it determines their choice of cereal for breakfast, backpacks used in school, bed sheets spread over their beds and even socks worn for sports.

To many parents, this might seem very trendy or even innocent, but they must understand that while it will soar the company’s profits, it is a sure shot recipe for their children to stay dissatisfied and depressed further in their lives.

Consumerism has connections to satanic thoughts and desires, whereas Zuhd (abstinence from the riches of the world) grants deep peace and liberation to the soul – a soul that is owned only by the Creator (swt) and not by some service/merchandise warehouse planning its next product line and producing lies to sell it.

Be a moderate. It is okay for children to use and wear unpopular and unbranded stuff once in a while, and not worry about their class or image all the time.