By Ruhie Jamshaid
“And those who say: ‘Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqun.’ Those will be rewarded with the highest place (in Paradise) because of their patience. Therein they shall be met with greetings and the word of peace and respect.” (Al-Furqan 25:74-75)
When I got married almost seven years ago, I did not quite truly comprehend the importance of the act. Many of us look at marriage as a natural transition in life; something inevitable and socially necessary. I was no different.
But with the advent of my life in this new direction of matrimony, I realized the weight of the Hadeeth I had so often heard – according to Anas Ibn Malik (rta), Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of the Deen; so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half.” (At-Tirmidhi and Bayhaqi)
Indeed, I realized why half of my faith was being fulfilled now, as opposed to my days of single-hood. If earlier I had lived mostly for myself under the safe shade of my father’s roof, then with marriage, I had suddenly become doubly responsible … for myself and for my spouse, and sometimes even for his family and he for mine. From ‘me’ the life transformed to ‘us.’ My husband and I both had to find a balance on the see-saw of life to keep afloat a marital home based on the principles of our faith.
The compromises had to be two-fold from both of us to varying degrees. Things that my husband had taken for granted during his pre-marriage days, such as his weekly three-hour tennis sessions, had to come to an end or get shortened drastically. My repulsion to enter the kitchen had to be defaced, and I had to learn to love cooking, because a good meal meant a lot to my husband. We both also had to delve deep within ourselves and modify certain personality traits, in order to ensure peace in the home and, hence, earn the pleasure of Allah (swt). It was suddenly about self-improvement and reflection, instead of a mindless existence.
With our family growing and children coming into the picture, there had to be a greater Jihad within. The ‘us’ carried much more weight now. My husband and I both had to extinguish certain facets of ourselves for the greater benefit of our children and family. We had to guard our prayers twice as hard, watch our words zealously and even eat far more healthily than we previously did, because we wanted to impact our flesh and blood correctly and seek the pleasure of Allah (swt) in the process. We had to be careful to uplift our body, mind and soul, because we had to lead by example now – young, eager eyes were watching us and absorbing all information that was to mould their lives.
Seven years from that fateful day of my marriage, I see that many changes have taken place in both my husband and I. Although life isn’t as free and frolicking as it used to be, it certainly is a lot more meaningful. There is this sense of purpose, a Jihad if you will, in living each day as a Muslim family. And I certainly feel closer to Allah (swt). When we have an argument, it isn’t about who’s right, but more so about if this is what Allah (swt) says is right. We try to research Islamic literature to find answers to our conflicts, thereby inevitably learning more about Islam. When I feel drained under the weight of my duties as a mother and wife, I recharge my soul by reminding myself that it isn’t about me but about doing what is required and right for the sake of Allah (swt). There is that constant reaffirmation of faith. Each single day is a Jihad in Allah’s (swt) way.
As a modern Muslimah, though I am clear about my family being a priority in the scheme of things in my life, I also remind myself that I have to be of service to society. My children are growing up, and there will come a time, when they will be far less dependent on me and will ‘fly’ out into the world from my loving nest. Hence, I also reserve a part of me to prepare for that day of having my nest somewhat empty. I try to do extra courses and also have a home-based communications business. I write for personal and professional reasons to stay connected with the world beyond my home. I make sure I exercise and keep healthy. I read to have intelligent things to talk about to my husband and children. I try to learn about Islam as much as I can.
I remind myself constantly not to drown completely and overwhelmingly in my role as a wife and a mother but also to develop more wholly by keeping in mind that I am also a daughter, a friend, a writer… a person in my own right. After all, isn’t making the best of one’s existence for the eventual pleasure of Allah (swt) what life is about?
In trying to be a well-rounded Muslimah, I seek to add value to my role as a mother and a wife. Being a good mother and wife isn’t about just the practical demands of the job. I have to be a source of knowledge and example for my children. I have to be able to walk beside my husband and support him in his role as the head of the family. It is only when I myself grow in worldly matters and in those concerning the path of Imaan that I will be a source of guidance and support to my children and husband and in the process build a strong Muslim family for the pleasure of Allah (swt). As a Muslimah, I have this great role of preparing my children to be capable members of the Muslim Ummah, and I have to be proactive in order to achieve it.
Marriage, overall, is a great spiritual boon. Having a God-fearing spouse as my ‘worldly’ guardian to remind me to thread the right path is a great gift. Having the responsibility of molding my children to become capable members of the Ummah is a blessing. Having an aim, a purpose every single day is enlightening. Indeed, marriage completes a major part of our faith and makes living a lot more meaningful.
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