New Mommies: Beware and Prepare!

8 beware prepare

  1. Keep your energy level boosted.

Breastfeeding, sleepless nights, unexpected visitors, home chores, and tending to older kids’ needs is undoubtedly taxing. This might not be a very suitable time to crash diet or dream of fitting back into your wedding gown. Please eat nutritious home-cooked food, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and energy-boosting snacks. Keep them handy in your bedroom. An already fatigued mind and body cannot afford to starve. The outcome is frequent ailments, horrible mood swings, and strained relationships. Later, as you mature from being a new mommy to a veteran, you will manage your diet more effectively and shed the extra pounds, too.

  1. Let the Iman thrive.

A new mother has a myriad of emotions bottled up. They can whip up a storm of tears. At other times, they may send her on a guilt trip. The changing body and volatile hormones are no help either. And, of course, Shaitan strikes with full force seeding evil and negative thoughts about everyone and everything you care for. The best remedy is to play Surah Al-Baqarah daily. Keep your tongue moist with Allah’s (swt) Dhikr. Watch and listen to Islamic videos and talks for spiritual uplift. Recite to your baby, as the child is listening. After Nifas (post-partum bleeding), return to your prayers regularly. Read at least one page of Quran daily with its translation. Only Allah (swt) knows, listens to, and understands what a mother braves.

To read the rest of this article, and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

Lessons of Wisdom from Khawlah bint Thalabah (ra)

lotus109mThe Prophet (sa) gave glad tiding to Khawlah (ra), and communicated to her the Words of Allah (swt). As relieved as she was, Khawlah (ra) replied that the ransom could not be paid by her husband. He was too poor to free slaves or feed sixty needy people, and his age did not allow him to fast every day for sixty days.

As they were waiting for a solution, a big basket of dates was presented, Khawlah (ra) said: O Messenger of Allah (sa)! I would like to present this basket of dates on behalf of my husband. The Prophet (sa) appreciated her kindness, and complimented that it would be her favour on Aws (ra).

Lessons: We hear tales of husbands helping their wives, relieving them of their financial burdens, but little is heard of women helping their husbands. Khadijah (ra) was one such woman who helped her husband when he was not financially sound, and she did so beautifully. She made no condescending remarks, and was generous with her money.

We see the same in the story of Khawlah (ra). While no mention is made of how she bought the basket of dates, but assuming she had the financial strength, she did not hesitate to spend money on behalf of her husband. Many a times, women are dependent on their husbands. Our excuse for not giving in the way of Allah (swt) is that – our husbands do not allow, or we do not have enough to give. Yet, when it comes to buying an item of home décor, or when the new lawn season arrives- we successfully extort money from our husbands.

Khawlah (ra) teaches us the etiquette of handling dispute. It is not compulsory that the one who has wronged must be the one who fixes it. The grieved party too can make amends.

Khawlah (ra) teaches us the etiquette of handling dispute. It is not compulsory that the one who has wronged must be the one who fixes it. The grieved party too can make amends.

A Wise Woman

Khawlah (ra) was a wise woman. We learn this not only from how she handled her trial, but also from the advice that she gave Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (ra).

One day, she met Umar (ra) in a marketplace. He greeted her and asked about her well-being. Khawlah (ra) replied to his greeting, and reminded him that she knew him since he was a young boy who grazed sheep. Allah (swt) favoured him and appointed him as the Leader of the Faithful.

She then advised him: “O Umar! Fear Allah (swt) with regard to people. Remember! He who fears the threat of punishment in the hereafter realises that death is not far away, and the one who fears death is afraid of wasting time in this life. He who is certain about accountability remains fearful of punishment.”

The person standing next to Umar (ra) reminded her that she was speaking to the Leader of the Faithful. Umar (ra) stopped the man and said that he was speaking to the woman whose plea was heard in the heavens above. How could he not hear her while being on earth?

Lessons: One thing that continues to inspire me about the Seerah is the etiquette of the Prophet (sa) and his Companions (ra). They had not been to any elite schools or travelled extensively, yet they were equipped with etiquette. The parents ensured their toddlers attended the study circles so that they could be groomed. One tip for gaining wisdom is to sit with the wise. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (ra) and Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra), both young lads at the time of the Prophet (sa), were the wisest men of their time. They were not deprived of the company of the adults because of their age; rather the elders encouraged their participation.

As we are concerned about finding the best schools for our children, and all the best things of this world, let us not forget the Adaab (etiquette).

As we are concerned about finding the best schools for our children, and all the best things of this world, let us not forget the Adaab (etiquette). Education and etiquette go hand in hand.

In her advice to Umar (ra), Khawlah (ra) reminds us to not lose our focus – the success in the hereafter. It is the success in the hereafter that truly determines who is successful. In our roles and responsibilities, we must fear Allah (swt). We should avoid negligence as well as tyranny. The fear of accountability should keep us grounded and in check. The fact that each day we are getting close to our death, should motivate us to not waste our time.

May Allah (swt) reform our matters, and allow us to adopt beautiful etiquette, Ameen.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

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The Best Husband; A Complete Believer

best husband

By Ahmed Faraz Khan – Freelance writer and student at Islamic Online University

Abu Hurairah (rtam) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “The most complete believers in faith are those with the best character among them. And the best of you are those who are best to your women.” (Tirmidhi)

Does it matter how much you earn, what car you own, or how big your house is, if you aren’t able to be the best friend or a source of security and comfort for your wife? She should feel protected, happy, and at ease in your company.

Here are five tips for improving your relationship with your spouse:

Respect

Respect is the most important aspect of a relationship, especially when it comes to marriage. In fact, most marriage issues are somehow related to the element of respect. You have to respect your wife as an individual. Respect her likes, dislikes, moods, interests, and personality. Give her space, and don’t criticize every little thing she does. Realize that she is a unique person who deserves respect for who she is.

To read the rest of this article, and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine.

Lessons of Fortitude from Umm Sulaym Bint Malhan (ra)

shell_in_the_sand_1600x1200When someone is loved by their dear ones, they are called by many nick names. Same was the case with Umm Sulaym (ra). Though widely known as Umm Sulaym, some of her other names were: Sahlah, Ghameesa, Rameesa, Rumaylah and Mulaykah.

She was the daughter of Malhan ibn Khalid. Her first husband was Malik ibn Nadhr, from whom she had Anas ibn Malik (ra) and Barah (ra). She later married Abu Talha (ra). She was a woman blessed with beauty, intellect, good character, fortitude and independent thinking. Her distinguishing trait, however, was her love for Islam and its defence.

Conversion to Islam

Umm Sulaym (ra) is one of the forerunners who embraced Islam as soon as the message reached her. Her husband was not in town. When he learnt that his wife had converted to Islam, he asked her if she was a Sabi (without any religion). Umm Sulaym (ra) replied that she had not left religion. Rather, she had embraced faith and followed the truth. Her husband threatened her. But Umm Sulaym (ra) remained calm. Her heart was filled with the love of her Creator (swt) and His Messenger (sa).

(Note: Umm Sulaym (ra) remained married to an unbeliever because at that time the verses that prohibit such a marriage were not revealed.)

We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt)

Lessons to draw: Umm Sulaym (ra) knew her salvation in the hereafter did not depend on her husband. She was a woman of independent thinking. She submitted to the commands of Allah (swt) and did not allow her husband to dissuade her. When our family does not support us in the way of Allah (swt), we take that as an excuse for not excelling in religion. We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt), and not depend on people to connect with Him. She also did not fear that if her husband left, what will become of her.

How strong are we in the path of Allah (swt)?

Paying attention to the necessary

Umm Sulaym (ra) did not engage herself in conflicts and arguments. She directed her energies to that which actually mattered – the upbringing of her son Anas (ra). She started with the basics and taught him the words of Adhan (call to prayer). One day, little Anas (ra) was memorising La ilaha illa Allahu Muhammad ur Rasulullah, when his father saw him. Furious as he was, Malik ibn Nadhr confronted his wife for spoiling their son and warned her to stop. Umm Sulaym (ra) again calmly replied that she was not spoiling their son, but educating him.

Arguments became a norm in Malik’s house. Malik threatened his wife that if she did not leave her religion, then he will have to leave her. Umm Sulaym (ra) remained undeterred. Understanding that his wife would not give up the religion that she so dearly loved, Malik left the house and was killed by an enemy.

Lesson to draw: Dawah begins from home. Many people are seen practicing religion, but when one meets their children – they are quite the opposite. While it is a test from Allah (swt), one cause of their detachment from Deen is that the message did not reach them. The parent had been attending or delivering religious lectures and classes, while not transferring the knowledge to those at home. This is also one reason why families are different.

Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed

Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed. Again, it is a test from Allah (swt). When the father (Nadhr) rejects the religion, the son (Anas) embraces it. Continue your efforts and seek reward from only Him.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

Lessons in Faith from Hawa Bint Yazid (ra)

originalShe was the daughter of Yazid ibn Sakan and Aqrab bint Muath. Saad ibn Muath (ra), a close companion of the Prophet (sa) was her maternal uncle. Her husband was Qais ibn Khateem.

Concern for Husband’s Activities

Hawa bint Yazid (ra) is among those forerunners who embraced Islam in its early days. While the Prophet (sa) was still in Makkah, she embraced Islam in Madinah. Her husband’s poetry worried Hawa (ra). Each time that she read: “As for the poets, the erring ones follow them. See you not that they speak about every subject (praising people – right or wrong) in their poetry.” (Ash-Shuara 26: 224-225), she asked Allah (swt) for his guidance. She wanted to share her spiritual feelings and thoughts with her spouse. She prayed that Allah (swt) might guide him just as He had guided her.

She admired the companions of the Prophet (sa), and wondered why her husband could not be like them. There were Hasaan ibn Thabith (ra) and Abdullah ibn Rawahah (ra) who were near to the Prophet (sa) because of their praiseworthy poetry. They promoted Islam with their compositions. Her husband’s vulgar poetry would upset her; he had no share in the defence and promotion of Islam. He spent his life in play and amusement. He preferred misguidance over guidance.

Her husband’s vulgar poetry would upset her; he had no share in the defence and promotion of Islam. He spent his life in play and amusement

Lessons to draw: There are some poets like Allama Muhammad Iqbal who used their power of pen for noble cause. This poet of the East was blessed by Allah (swt) with immense wisdom and reverence for his Creator. He acknowledged the true reality of this life and our insignificant position before Allah (swt). He knew we were not created purposelessly. We have a highly important role to play. He raised voice for the weak and oppressed. His poetry awakened the dead souls. Then there are those kinds of poets who do not give much thought to what they are composing. They only want poetry to be pleasing to the ears. In doing so, they might even commit Shirk (association of partners with Allah (swt) and invite people to do Haram (impermissible acts)). A writer or a poet must be really careful about where he is putting his energy, and what his pen is promoting. May we be a source of goodness for ourselves, our families and others, and neither choose Haram for ourselves nor call others to it, Ameen.

Love for the chosen religion

Like other early Muslims, Hawa (ra) concealed her conversion. She feared unkind treatment from her husband. Her story is similar to that of Aasiya (as), the wife of Pharaoh. Hawa (ra) gave precedence to her faith over everything else. She became fearless. She desired dying upon the true religion than dying upon idolatry.

While she tried her best to conceal her faith from her husband, she could not do so for long. One cannot hide his acts of worship from the people that they live with. They can drop in at the time for prayer and see the Muslim member praying a prayer different from theirs. The family may be seated for meal and the Muslim member does not eat anything because he is fasting. Same happened with Hawa (ra). One day her husband saw her praying. Then he saw her reading something on a leather and date skin. She was reciting words that he had never heard before. He found it strange.

Her story is similar to that of Aasiya (as), the wife of Pharaoh. Hawa (ra) gave precedence to her faith over everything else. She became fearless.

When Qais understood what Hawa (ra) was reciting was the Quran, his ego was invoked that his woman embraced Islam without his permission! Recall what Pharaoh said to the magicians when they said, “So the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: We believe in the Lord of Harun (Aaron) and Musa (Moses).”

“[Fir’aun (Pharaoh)] said: “Believe you in him [Musa (Moses)] before I give you permission?” (Ta-Ha 20: 70-71). A person who has tasted faith does not wait for someone’s permission. They follow their heart and submit before Allah (swt).

Qais did not wait for his wife to complete her prayer. While she was prostrating, he raised her up and threw her on the floor. He then laughed callously, feeling no remorse. The same act was repeated the next day too. Hawa (ra) remained patient. She could do nothing in her defence than weep and ask Allah (swt) for help. She prayed for her freedom and delightful moments. She prayed for strength to overpower her heartless husband.

When she was tested, she placed her complaint before her Lord, not the people. She only relied on Him.

Her husband continued his torture and mistreatment. He was distant from the Creator. His heart was void of any fear or moral values.  But what happens when one truly relies upon his Creator’s bounty and grace? He paves the way for them. Qais’s torture towards his wife became the talk of the town. Every house and tongue was talking about his cruel behaviour. Escaping the bounds of Madinah, the news soon reached Makkah – to the Prophet (sa).

Lessons to draw: Often when we begin practicing Islam, we label everyone else misguided. We call them to Islam in a condescending way. The young girl who does not wear Hijab is told she is from the people of hellfire. Hawa (ra) was married to a tyrant. While she desired his guidance, she was not even once disrespectful to him. When she was tested, she placed her complaint before her Lord, not the people. She only relied on Him. And He made the way for her.  Many times when we are tested, we only cry, but do not invoke Allah (swt) for help and ease. We should take our complaints to the most Powerful.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

Five Moments to say ‘I Love You’ to Your Wife

iloveu

  1. When she feels wronged or has committed wrong.

Due to our human nature, most of us tend to move into a reactive mode in two phases of our life: a) when someone has been unjust to us and we are looking for allies and evidences to prove our innocence, and b) when we have perpetuated injustice upon others and try to evade responsibility, either out of ignorance or guilt. In both cases, a spouse’s relationship is tested. It is not recommended to encourage incorrect behaviour but it is best to first reassure your wife that you love her, in spite of her being the victim or the victimizer. Once your emotional account is loaded and she appreciates your sincerity, she will normalize faster and overcome the emotional disturbance within her.

  1. When she falls ill.

Today, nobody welcomes sickness, unlike the Sahabah and our predecessors who got worried when Allah (swt) did not send them ailments. They would think that perhaps He (swt) wanted to grant everything to them in this world and, hence, hold back any chances for repentance. Yes, one should never pray for illness, but when it arrives, it is advised to exercise patience. Help your wife to do that by spending some extra time with her. If that is not possible, ask her what will comfort her. Perhaps employing some reliable help for the house for cleaning or cooking, or maybe letting her spend time with her own family would help. Inform her that her recovery means a lot to you. A bouquet of flowers or something she loves will always cheer her up, too.

  1. When PMS arrives.

This is a state that men most misunderstand because they are not educated about it.  Biologically, a woman becomes very vulnerable during her menstruation period. Due to her hormones, she may become moody, depressed, unnecessarily angry, and at times weepy, too. And you may or may not even be the reason for a battle she decides to pick. It is best to exercise patience with her and not demand things she would not be able to deliver in such a volatile state of mind. The Prophet (sa) is known to rest his head in Aisha’s (rtam) lap while she was menstruating. He handled her very gently and fondly. In the absence of intimate relations between spouses, some women also feel unwanted and under-valued. Hence, a reassurance of your love for her will bring back her sense of belonging.

  1. When your baby is on the way.

Most women are pampered when the first baby is on the way. However, they do experience a mixture of emotions ranging from elation to fear of labour and the upcoming responsibilities. They still need your support every now and then, especially if you live in a joint family setup and do not get sufficient time together. If the pregnancy is a difficult one, where the woman experiences severe nausea and vomiting, and is prescribed bed rest, it is even more challenging for the mother-to-be. For women who are expecting a child and who already have kids to worry about and care for, you can provide trusted help for the house, occasional retreats to her family’s care, if that comforts her, and your tender understanding.

  1. After your baby has arrived.

Amidst the joy of a new baby and postpartum pain of delivery, a new mother is literally besieged with emotions and responsibilities. She has sleepless nights, emotional and physical distress of establishing breast feeding, postpartum bleeding causing weakness, biological developments in the body, influx of guests and family wanting to greet the newly-arrived baby, and in case where she has older children, the guilt of not being able to take care of them. On top of that, she is not able to offer Salah, which makes her spiritually vulnerable. Also, after the arrival of the new baby, the husband and wife sometimes don’t get sufficient time together to talk and share. Hence, make the additional effort to fulfill her needs and spend time with her, facilitating her in her efforts to re-build emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Quranic recitations can be played for the mom and baby to protect them from Satan’s attack.

In times of happiness, one is emotionally self-sufficient and might not need to hear terms of endearment so often.  “I love you” should therefore be said and felt more often in times of distress and misery.

 

Beautiful Weaves – Relations with In-Laws

Beautiful Weaves

The Man Who Marries – The Most Critical Player

In a Muslim household, the man of the house is the Ameer (leader). He is the shepherd, who will be held accountable for his flock. He is their leader; he knows them, nurtures them and trains them to become effective members of the Ummah socially, physically, emotionally, mentally and, most significantly, spiritually.

Consider a household in which a set of parents just got their son married. The entire family lives together under one roof. Who will be the Ameer of this family: the father or the son? Until now, it was the father, of course, but now, after their son has wedded, he needs to become the Ameer for his own family as per Islam’s demand. His wife and his offspring to be born will be his responsibility all the way.

The greatest problem that joint family setups and over-protective parenting of today poses is that the man, who is married, hasn’t grown up to be a man. He is clueless about his role, obviously untrained, living in the shadows of his parents and sometimes even financially dependent. This automatically spells disaster. If he has no vision for himself, his wife or the family to come, he will not be granted any freedom to take his decisions either.

He will be an easy prey to manipulation from either side, be it his wife or his parents. Since he will have little courage to stand up for anyone’s rights, he will be controlled. This man will never be able to do justice with any of his relations, because he will eventually tilt towards the oppressor. The oppressed may be the parents or his wife and family.

If boys can go through vigorous and multiple years of academic education and career counselling, why aren’t they prepared for such a pivotal role of their life that will determine their eternity: hell or heaven? And if this sounds too dramatic for you, read on:

“And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e. they will be far away from Allah’s mercy), and for them is the unhappy evil home (i.e. Hell).” (Ar-Rad 13:25)

It is the effectiveness of this role as an Ameer that defines a man’s success and place in his family. If he is able to provide financially, decide wisely, love empathetically, forgive patiently and, above all, treat everyone justly, he will command everybody’s respect and earn Allah’s (swt) mercy, too.

The best means to train yourself is to seek guidance from the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (sa). Parents of boys should offer to them opportunities for taking decisions; it doesn’t matter whether they are wrong or right. They should be encouraged to learn conflict resolution skills. Parents can discuss varied scenarios from home, school, workplace, market and elsewhere and invite them to analyze situations and resolve issues. Shura (advise) should be sought from them, concerning important family matters, so these boys groom into competent Muslim men.

All these means are stepping stones to empowering them for their future role as Ameers of their own families. If they are old enough to marry and be accountable before Allah (swt), why do parents think that their sons are not mature enough to lead their own flock?

Father – The Navigator

With the passage of time, the role of a father has been diminished merely to that of a bread winner. Once he stops putting food on the table for his family, he is not remembered much. This may be due to the fact that while he was striving hard to finance the needs of his family, he was hardly around for bonding with them.

In Ibrahim (as), we see a dynamic father whose genes, sacrifice for Islam and prayers to Allah (swt) prove the obedience we all know Ismail (as) for. Sahih Bukhari narrates that after the death of Hajrah (as), Ibrahim (as) came to visit Ismail (as) and his family; however, Ismail (as) had left Makkah before his arrival. He met Ismail’s (as) wife instead and inquired about him. She replied that he had gone to search for livelihood. Then, Ibrahim (as) asked her about their condition and way of living. She said, complaining to him: “We are living in misery; we are living in hardship and destitution.” Ibrahim (as) replied: “When your husband returns, convey my salutation and tell him to change the threshold of the gate (of his house).” When Ismail (as) returned home, he felt something unusual. He asked his wife, if anyone had come in his absence and she narrated the whole message to him. Ismail (as) told his wife: “It was my father, who visited you, and he has told me to divorce you. Go back to your family.”

Ismail (as) married another woman from the tribe of Jurham. Ibrahim (as) stayed away for some time, as long as Allah (swt) wished; he again visited his son but did not find him. He came to Ismail’s (as) wife and asked her about him. She replied: “He has gone to search for his livelihood.” Ibrahim (as) then inquired: “How are you getting on?” asking about their sustenance and living. She replied: “We are prosperous and well-off (i.e., we have everything in abundance). Then she thanked Allah (swt). Ibrahim (as) asked: “What kind of food do you eat?” she answered: “Meat.” “What do you drink?” “Water.”

Ibrahim (as) said to his daughter-in-law: “When your husband comes, give my regards to him and tell him that he should keep firm the threshold of his gate.” When Ismail (as) returned, he asked his wife, if anyone had called on her. She replied: “Yes, a good-looking old man came to me.” She praised him and conveyed his message to Ismail (as). Ismail (as) replied: “He was my father, and he has ordered me to keep you with me.”

This is the true concern a father has for his son – to be married to a virtuous and God-fearing girl, who safeguards the progeny and serves as a content, loyal and loving companion. Ibrahim (as) ensured that his son builds a strong Muslim home, not the sustenance he was earning, the kind of camel he was riding or the amount of savings his bank account held.

Ismail (as), in turn, was a devout son, who understood what his father meant and immediately paid heed to his command, as he realized Allah’s (swt) pleasure lied in it.

Mother – The Door to Jannah

Often parents end up spending more than 70% of their earnings (and sometimes all their savings) on the well-being of their children. They don’t keep accounts of it, of course, but it is understood that the very best that comes to the family directly goes to kids.

It is natural for these parents to feel insecure, lonely and at times, abandoned, when their kids (especially married sons) begin their own family lives. The situation is worse, if they have not taught the Islamic values and responsibilities the son has to fulfil towards his parents in terms of kindness, care and time spent together. Adding fuel to fire, a stranger in the form of a daughter-in-law steps in. She is viewed with great suspicion and mistrust. She is perceived as a competitor to the mother-in-law, especially when the son forgets to balance his roles and set his priorities.

Often out of envy and possessiveness, mothers do not want to let their sons go, thinking that they will be loved less and altogether forgotten one day. This may assume extreme measures in cases of single mothers, who are either widowed or divorced. Seeing their children settling in their marital lives gives them fear of losing them.

Parents should ensure that their married children assume the new challenges of life independently and patiently. It is recommended to spend on their children, but it is imperative to invest in one’s retirement and for old age comforts. In case the kids are unable to support them, these parents must have financial independence for themselves. It is a great relief to be able to sustain oneself at an age, when one has no income and many medical expenses.

In terms of expectations, married sons (and not their wives) should be held accountable for the parents. If the sons themselves are not available, they have to hire help or arrange any other required means to take care of their old parents. However, if parents do not teach their children the value of this care, it is very unlikely that the sons will ever serve them. It is the custom of disbelievers to consider daughters-in-law to be slaves, servants or caregivers for their husbands’ elderly parents. In Islam, it is the duty of the son or the daughter equally, married or not.

If the daughter-in-law is a God-fearing soul, she will proactively participate in whatever she can contribute. However, it should be considered that if she has children and her own parents to look after, she might be pressed for time. Sadly, parents seldom marry their sons to such practicing Muslimahs, as recommended by our Prophet (sa). Today, many brides are selected purely on the scale of materialism. When homes break up or men surrender before their headstrong wives, parents are the first ones to be thrown out of the family photograph.

When mothers-in-law are the dominant force, another gloomy question lurks – whose house is it? If the daughters-in-law actively participate in the kitchen, they are considered to be interfering, their management skills are incompetent or they are too concerned about impressing their husbands. If they stay aloof, they are considered to be indifferent, lazy or useless.

Management skills of two ladies can be poles apart yet good in their own ways. There is no perfect recipe for running a house. Management styles are as diverse as the people involved. However, in joint family setups, this is a very common stumbling stone. A mother-in-law, who has been managing the home turf for the past twenty-five or so years, is naturally the ‘queen bee’. She can’t be stripped of her title and honour. The daughter-in-law, who has just joined the family, has her own dreams, ideas and priorities; she might find all of these are being trampled upon. The kitchen is a woman’s dominion, which may easily turn into a battleground. For maintaining peace in home, kitchens must be separately owned and managed.

Muttaqi (pious and God-fearing) mothers are a gift of Allah (swt). They are the binding force of the family. With their invaluable experience, they have a great opportunity to transfer priceless traits to the next generation and leave behind Sadaqah-e-Jariya for themselves.

Daughter-in-law – The Peacemaker

Not long ago, mothers taught their daughters the valuable skills of becoming good wives. Nowadays, this mental preparation and training is increasingly skipped. Since no university offers such courses, for many girls, life after marriage may somewhat resemble a bomb exploding in their face. What? I can’t sleep until noon? I can’t chat on my mobile for hours? I have to cook breakfast for my husband that early? I need to clean up my room? I have to mingle socially with my in-laws? That’s it! I am filing for divorce!

You might think this is an exaggeration. However, tragically, it is true. Young girls of today sometimes want to break up simply because they cannot cope with their roles as wives and mothers. For maintaining the perfect figure, they never ate well; thus, their bodies lack the nourishment required for physical challenges of house chores and child bearing. They were raised to go to school, attend college and take up a job – not for being a part of home management. In other words, they were expected to behave like men. Thus, it is only natural that they revolt, when they are expected to do anything else. They feel as if someone else’s role is being imposed on them.

In some cases, married couples, who live with the parents-in-law, enjoy privileges without participating in responsibilities. In other extreme stories, daughters-in-law are treated like servants. With no love for the parents-in-law in her heart, anger and disdain for her husband, because he wouldn’t stand up for her, and frustrated to the core, she sizzles until she can’t take it anymore. The results are easy to predict: the couple gets a divorce, the couple moves out to a new dwelling after an ugly brawl with the parents, or lives on ‘unhappily ever after’.

What does Allah (swt) say about this? After commanding us not to sever ties of kinship, He also advises us to fear Him and be patient. It is impossible to love, honour and care for people, if we think selfishly – Allah (swt) always has to be in the centre. A girl has no blood ties with either her husband or his family. These relationships require nurturing and tending to on a daily basis. It is like a group of strangers coming together and making an effort to like and live with each other. Some will take more initiative, while others might just sit back and do nothing about it.

As a true agent of change and devout Muslimah, every young married girl must grab the opportunity to make that effort. If there is a misunderstanding, do not prove it right by behaving just like that; prove it wrong by behaving otherwise. It takes a while for strangers to become friends – it requires time and hard work. Also, positive thinking and sincere prayers are like a rescue boat sailing high on the stormy seas, whereas self pity, jealousy and lack of empathy for others is like the “Titanic”, running into the iceberg that sunk it.

For solving problems, we should first understand the parties involved and address their obvious and hidden intents by asking: Why do they behave in a certain way? Once the root cause is unearthed, it is easier for us to devise our own strategies in handling the situation. Also, always separate the problem from the person. Just because someone behaves a certain way doesn’t mean that this person is malicious or downright wicked to the core.

Husband and wife are like garments for each other; they are meant to protect, beautify and confide in each other. A wife is the source of solace, comfort and enjoyment for her husband. Honouring the parents of husband is like honouring him. If a husband treats his wife well, it is because of the upbringing he has received at the hands of his parents. Later, when the young wife becomes a mother, she realizes the pains his parents must have gone through in raising him. It is the right of every parent to be respected. Our in-laws are not our blood relations. Yet, they are no less in significance, as our ties with them will influence the happiness of our own marriage.

May Allah (swt) grant us the forbearance and wisdom to build strong Muslim homes. Ameen.