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)

When They Disagreed Before the Prophet (sa)

disagreement before Prophet (sa)

He (sa) Let Him Go

Abu Saeed Al-Khudri (rtam) narrated: “Ali bin Abu Talib (rtam) sent a piece of gold, not yet taken out of its ore, in a tanned leather container to Allah’s Messenger (sa). Allah’s Messenger (sa) distributed that amongst four persons: Uyainah bin Badr (rtam), Aqra bin Habis (rtam), Zaid Al-Khalil (rtam) and the fourth was either Alqamah (rtam) or Amr bin Tufail (rtam). On that, one of his companions said: ‘We are more deserving of this (gold) than these (persons).’ When the news reached the Prophet (sa), he said: ‘Don’t you trust me, though I am the trustworthy man of the One in the heavens, and I receive the news of the heavens (i.e., Divine Revelation) both in the morning and in the evening?’ There got up a man with sunken eyes, raised cheek bones, raised forehead, a thick beard, a shaven head and a waist sheet that was tucked up and he said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Be afraid of Allah.’ The Prophet (sa) said: ‘Woe to you! Am I not of all the people of the earth the most entitled to fear Allah?’ Then, that man went away. Khalid bin Al-Waleed (rtam) said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Shall I chop his neck off?’ The Prophet (sa) said: ‘No, maybe he offers prayers.’ Khalid (rtam) said: ‘Numerous are those, who offer prayers and say by their tongues (i.e., mouths) what is not in their hearts.’ Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: ‘I have not been ordered (by Allah) to search the hearts of the people or cut open their bellies.’” (Bukhari)

The above incident highlights that suspicion without evidence is not permitted, especially, when a believer is under consideration. Also, if there occurs a disagreement with a stranger whom we have no previous relationship with, it is best to disregard it. We often witness or experience such disputes and squabble on the road, in the market, in the Masjid or other public places and take them to our heart. For peace to prevail, we should initiate forgiveness.

He (sa) Reconciled Amongst Them

Al-Bara (rtam) has narrated: “When the Prophet (sa) intended to perform Umrah in the month of Dhul-Qadah, the people of Makkah did not let him enter Makkah, till he settled the matter with them by promising to stay in it for three days only. When the document of the treaty was written, the following was mentioned: ‘These are the terms, on which Muhammad (sa), Allah’s Apostle agreed (to make peace).’ They said: ‘We will not agree to this, for if we believed that you are Allah’s Apostle, we would not prevent you, but you are Muhammad bin Abdullah (sa).’ The Prophet (sa) said: ‘I am Allah’s Apostle and also Muhammad bin Abdullah (sa).’ Then, he said to Ali (rtam): ‘Rub off (the words) ‘Allah’s Apostle’,’ but Ali (rtam) said: ‘No, by Allah, I will never rub off your name.’ Allah’s Apostle (sa) took the document and wrote: ‘This is what Muhammad bin Abdullah (sa) has agreed upon: No arms will be brought into Makkah, except in their cases, and nobody from the people of Makkah will be allowed to go with him (i.e., the Prophet (sa)), even if he wished to follow him, and he (the Prophet (sa)) will not prevent any of his companions from staying in Makkah, if the latter wants to stay.’ When the Prophet (sa) entered Makkah and the time limit passed, the people of Makkah went to Ali (rtam) and said: ‘Tell your friend (i.e., the Prophet (sa)) to go out, as the period (agreed to) has passed.’ The Prophet (sa) went out of Makkah. The daughter of Hamza (rtam) ran after them (i.e., the Prophet (sa) and his companions), calling: ‘O uncle! O uncle!’ Ali (rtam) received her and led her by the hand, and said to Fatimah (rtaf): ‘Take your uncle’s daughter.’ Zaid (rtam) and Jafar (rtam) quarreled about her. Ali (rtam) said: ‘I have more right to her, as she is my uncle’s daughter.’ Jafar (rtam) said: ‘She is my uncle’s daughter, and her aunt is my wife.’ Zaid (rtam) said: ‘She is my brother’s daughter.’ The Prophet (sa) judged that she should be given to her aunt, and said that the aunt was like the mother. He then said to all: ‘You are from me, and I am from you’, and said to Jafar (rtam): ‘You resemble me both in character and appearance’, and said to Zaid (rtam): ‘You are our brother (in faith) and our freed slave.’” (Bukhari)

These were men of high faith. They dedicated their lives, honour, assets, and every single blessing from Allah (swt) in his way and yet they disagreed. The point to comprehend is that Allah (swt) has not created carbon copies. We are all unique in our thoughts and actions. This is what makes the world diverse, and helps man deliver his best. The Prophet (sa) understood the Sahabah’s good intentions for the girl, and hence judged amongst them which they agreed to.

He (sa) Punished Him

Urwa bin Az-Zubair (rtam) has narrated: “Az-Zubair (rtam) told me that he quarrelled with an Ansari man, who had participated in (the battle of) Badr, in front of Allah’s Apostle (sa) about a water stream, which both of them used for irrigation. Allah’s Apostle (sa) said to Az-Zubair (rtam): ‘O Zubair! Irrigate (your garden) first and then let the water flow to your neighbour.’ The Ansari became angry and said: ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Is it because he is your cousin?’ On that, the complexion of Allah’s Apostle (sa) changed (because of anger), and he said (to Az-Zubair [rtam]): ‘Irrigate (your garden) and then withhold the water, till it reaches the walls (surrounding the palms).’ Allah’s Apostle (sa) gave Az-Zubair (rtam) his full right. Before that, Allah’s Apostle (sa) had given a generous judgement beneficial for Az-Zubair (rtam) and the Ansari, but the Ansari rejected it. Hence, Allah’s Apostle (sa) gave Az-Zubair (rtam) his full right according to the evident law. Az-Zubair (rtam) said: ‘By Allah! I think the following verse was revealed concerning that case: “But no by your Lord they can have no faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them.” (An-Nisa 4:65)’” (Bukhari)