- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Concentration in prayers is a constant struggle. As much as we would like Khushu in our prayer, it is not there. In Surah Al-Muminun, it appears, “Successful indeed are the believers.Those who offer their Salat (prayers) with all solemnity and full submissiveness.” (Al-Muminun 23:1-2)
Attaining humble submission
It can be attained by turning away from the futile and unnecessary (as we read in the verse after). The futile and unnecessary are time wasters. Someone was asked, “Why do you take off your shoes before entering the House of God?” He replied, “My shoes are the Dunya that I am leaving behind. I don’t need it when I am engaged with my Lord.” We need to empty our heads from the unnecessary concerns and gossips before we get on the prayer rug. Getting rid of such thoughts is impossible, unless we cleanse ourselves. Therefore, Zakat was mentioned next.
Zakat as purification
One needs to purify his wealth, as well as, his thoughts. With evil thoughts in our mind, we get on the prayer mat; going through our conversations with other people or plotting our next rebuttals. We need to work on our temper and control our tongues. Let’s not utter words that will haunt us later. May He make us of those who work on their bad qualities. Ameen.
Purpose of giving Zakat
Allah (swt) commands us to give Zakat so as to replace materialism with generosity. This is how we can get rid of the futile.
Don’t even go near fornication
Then we are advised to stay away from adultery and immorality. The Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i.e. his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i.e. his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise.” (Bukhari). Whenever a person falters, he should turn to Allah (swt) in sincere repentance. Chastity of the private parts and the tongue is a trust; whoever loses that trust will lose peace from his life.
Your spouse is entrusted upon you
Therefore, the next trait of the successful ones mentioned is, “Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat (all the duties which Allah has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts etc.) and to their covenants.” (Al-Muminun 23:8). Spouses are a trust to one another. The verses of God-consciousness (Taqwa) are recited in the Nikah sermon. And wherever Quran mentions the rights of husband and wife, it is followed by a reminder of the Hereafter. Let us not break our trusts and promises; whether they be with other people or Allah (swt).
When a person prays only when he wants to pray and neglects it at other times, he cannot be humble in his prayers. Therefore, it is said, “And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours).” (Al-Muminun 23:9)
Stories of the successful ones
After describing the qualities required to attain success, Allah (swt) narrates the stories of successful people – the prophets and the messengers. He says, “Then We sent Our Messengers in succession, every time there came to a nation their Messenger, they denied him, so We made them follow one another (to destruction), and We made them as Ahadeeth (the true stories for mankind to learn a lesson from them). So away with a people who believe not.” (Al-Muminun 23:44)
Denial leads to destruction
Whether one openly denies the messenger or shows a hypocritical behaviour; such that we declare that we are the nation of Muhammad (sa), but take his Sunnah as a burden. Then we should know that we are inviting destruction. Allah (swt) loosens the rope up to a certain limit and then pulls it. Let’s return to Him before the rope is pulled.
Pray before you are prayed upon
The doors of repentance are opened until death. When death approaches and then man says, “I now seek forgiveness for my sins!” it would not be accepted from him. Allah (swt) says, “Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: “My Lord! Send me back,So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” (Al-Muminun 23:99-100). There are no second chances. This life is our only chance to build our relationship with Allah (swt) and strengthen it.
Allah (swt) questions man about his purpose of creation, “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” (Al-Muminun 23:115) Allah (swt) did not create man for nothing. We have been informed of our purpose of creation and we will be questioned about our time here. Let’s not waste this chance.
(Adapted from Mufti Ismail Menk’s “Pearls of Peace” series, Cape Town, Ramadan 2013. The lecture can be listened to at this link.)
“How do you like the newest addition to my wardrobe?” Hina twirled on the ebony floor. “It is grand!” I chuckled at her girlish antics as she continued to swirl her lovely lilac chiffon flares, the fabric catching a twinkle of gold here and there.
“A gift from hubby dear?” I asked my childhood friend.
Her pretty smile instantly transformed into a sour frown. “Yeah right! Do you really think he has the mind or the taste for this kind of stuff? Only I know what I have been through the past ten years of marriage.”
There she goes again, I thought regretfully. Hina’s tendency to magnify petty issues into significant ones almost always ensured that the slightest mention of her spouse enraged her.
“Just check out the fine trimmings in gold. Isn’t it a delicacy?” Hina went back to admiring her dress.
I could only nod with the faintest smile thinking what good it was if she was feeling so bitter inside and did not want to wear it for the most important man in her life: her better half.
“You don’t agree with me, do you?” she caught me off guard. It was as though she had followed my train of thought.
“No… it’s lovely!” I tried to persuade her with a generous smile.
“I didn’t mean the stupid dress. I am talking about my marriage!” Hina said curtly.
I sighed and stayed silent for a while. We had been through this conversation countless times, and I was wondering if it would do her any good to hear it once more.
“You know, Hina, the other day I read something that completely swept me off my feet.”
“Really, what?” she eyed me suspiciously.
“Allah (swt) says to married men in the Quran: ‘It is made lawful for you to have sexual relations with your wives on the night of As-Saum (the fasts). 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)”
“It is meant for kind-hearted, loving and God-fearing men, not Adil,” Hina spoke quietly, gazing downward.
“Do you know what that means?” I continued, ignoring her comment “The wife is a resort for her husband, and the husband is a resort for her. Don’t we head to resorts on holidays for enjoyment? This is the kind of relationship that Allah (swt) has ordained for a married couple – to be a source of happiness and contentment for each other. And, naturally, that can only happen when we suppress our desires to lash out in anger at each other, let go of the past mistakes, prevent ourselves from being thankless for the present, and not show mistrust for the future.” I tried to reason with her.
“But what if it is mostly his mistakes… for how long can I preservere?” Hina challenged with tears welling up.
“Love him more than you love this outfit!” I whispered. “He is your Libas. This will one day go out of style and will be either stowed away or donated to the destitute. But your relationship is to stay. What does your Libas do for you? It makes you appear beautiful, it hides your flaws, it protects you from harmful weather, and it states who you are. It is the first thing anyone sets eyes on.”
Hina stared silently then began to sob softly.
“Hina, dear…” I held her soft hand in mine.
“If you lift your garment in public, it is you who will be undressed, not others. May Allah (swt) bless you with wise company, but most people around us relish juicy gossip. Don’t undress yourself before them. Also, if you wash your dirty laundry in public, do you really think your problems will go away? If your husband comes to know of this, will it create an atmosphere of pleasantness or bitterness between the two of you? No matter what misgivings there are between you, they must be solved by both of you. Cherish your relationship with him like a prized gown that embellishes you.”
“It is so hard,” Hina wept like a child.
“I know! It is especially hard when your Libas has been torn, tattered and left at the mercy of cruel gales for so long. Ask Allah’s (swt) forgiveness and pray earnestly to Him for help every day. Take the initiative and stay steadfast. Don’t let anything or anyone come between you and your Libas. Allah (swt) willing, you will love him and adorn him like never before, and he will do the same for you, eventually.” I reassured her, silently praying to Allah (swt) to grant her wisdom, patience, courage, and above all, tranquility.
I do not know what happened the next year or so, as I lost touch with Hina. One morning, as I was sipping my coffee, I received an email saying: “To my beloved seamstress who taught me how to carry myself in style. By the way, I also want to quote something to her that I later found in the Quran, following my counselling cum fashion designing session with her a year ago: ‘It 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…’ (Al-Araf 7:189) May Allah (swt) love you as much as I do. It was you who helped me appreciate my Libas.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
It 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:
- Surprise your spouse with a spontaneous act of love, whether it is once a month or once a year.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
What I have noticed about young, mostly practicing married girls is that they are usually more concerned about pleasing the in-laws and keeping the home perfect, rather than preserving their lustre and focusing on their sensual side. Why does it happen? Is it culture? Or have we misunderstood the importance of Halal intimacy in Islam?
Jabir bin Abdullah (rtam) has narrated: While we were returning with the Prophet (sa) from a Ghazwah (Holy Battle), I started driving my camel fast, as it was a lazy camel. A rider came behind me and pricked my camel with a spear he had with him, and then my camel started running as fast as the best camel you may see. Behold! The rider was the Prophet (sa) himself. He asked: “What makes you in such a hurry?” I replied: “I am newly-married.” He said: “Did you marry a virgin or a matron?” I replied: “A matron.” He said: “Why didn’t you marry a young girl, so that you may play with her and she with you?” When we were about to enter (Madinah), the Prophet (sa) said: “Wait so that you may enter (Madinah) at night, so that the lady of unkempt hair may comb her hair, and the one, whose husband has been absent, may shave her pubic region.” (Bukhari)
It is obvious from this Hadeeth that enjoying a healthy relationship with one’s spouse and grooming oneself is part of Sunnah. Instead, married women today may have homes that run like perfectly oiled machines, but when it comes to intimacy, they don’t know where to begin.
As Muslims, it is our duty to support each other in all walks of life and for a marriage to run smoothly, moms and moms-in-law play a bigger role than they realize.
How can moms and moms-in-law help young married girls, overwhelmed with their roles and responsibilities, preserve their lustre? Naturally, elderly people do have more time on hand and they all want to see their kids settled happily in life. If their daughters or daughters-in-law are dishevelled, it will affect their marriage. Maybe they can give some of their time (depending on their own health, resources, stamina and patience) to offer relief to these girls. The sensual side is the first to go, when women are overworked, mismanaged or, at times, lazy and don’t want to make an additional effort to groom themselves, when they have house chores to manage, kids to raise and social commitments to fulfill.
They start lying: “My husband doesn’t mind that I look ten years older than him. Even if he does, too bad, I can’t do anything about it.” Or they complain that their spouse neglects them, talks about other women and even dreams about them. Who would want to live with a wrecked mess and for how long?
Here is a list of suggestions that moms and moms-in-law can begin with:
- Encourage grandchildren to sleep with their grandparents sometimes, especially in a joint family setup.
- Offer to keep an eye on the maids, so the girl can spend some time grooming herself.
- Offer to entertain the children once in a while, when the husband returns home.
- Babysit the children at times, so that the mother can get a few hours of undisturbed sleep or visit a spa for relaxation and makeover.
- Take care of children during the weekend, giving the couple a two hours’ time. They may take the grandchildren to a place of their choice, or just spend time at home watching an interesting animal documentary or cricket match, playing board games, reading books or teaching a skill.
- The responsibilities assigned to the daughter-in-law in a joint family setup can be limited to those, which can be accomplished during daytime, while the spouse is away. Anything that holds her back at night in the kitchen or requires her to be there early in the morning could be considered with sympathy.
The point is not to spend money, ending in skyrocketing expenses. It is simply to keep the magnetism alive between the spouses, which will make them happier and better care-givers and providers for the family. It will also keep petty disputes at bay and nourish the communication. Physical appeal is essential for every marriage. Nanis and Dadis should prepare unmarried girls for it and help the married ones carry on with it.
The son should also be more available for his parents during daytime hours. (Wives should not complain about that, too). This will strike a balance. He can hire some help (part-time driver or maid) to enable his parents to stay more independent, without relying upon him and his wife in all daily matters. Adl (justice) has to be done with everyone.
A husband has to honour his parents, and the wife should help him in that. The wife should not be the cause of discord between him and them. When the parents will be taken care of and cherished, they will not mind the couple spending more quality time together.
Since a large number of family setups are joint family based, grandmothers also need to step up – their cooperation is a great help. Likewise, the girls need to be trained for becoming independent – they have to learn to prioritize work, manage time and work wisely for everyone’s benefit.
The bright lights of the wedding hall are pouring down on guests fitted in their choicest attire. The bride and groom attend the wedding reception resplendent in their meticulously prepared finery.
Yet, sadly, not many young Muslims, coming to the wedding hall for finalizing the most important decision of their lives, are fully aware of what an Islamic marriage actually entails. “Most couples spend more time preparing for the wedding, than they do preparing for the marriage.” The future husbands and wives-to-be go through numerous cultural rituals, yet only a few of them are ready for forming a strong, Islamically based family unit.
There are several matters young Muslims should consider, while getting ready for the life changing decision to ‘tie the knot’. Firstly, special care should be taken in selecting a good future life partner – one that would become your companion in paving your way to Jannah. Secondly, it is highly advisable that the young people go through some sort of Islamic premarital counseling that not only would provide them with knowledge regarding their Shariah rights and responsibilities, but also prepare them emotionally and mentally for building a successful Muslim family.
Finding the right man
It might be next to impossible to find a perfect man for marriage; however, it is within your reach to take some precautionary measures, which would assure that you do not end up in a disaster. Where to get started? Mona White suggests, “Nothing, absolutely NOTHING (including that BMW and indoor swimming pool) compares with the man’s religion and character.”
“If a man, whose practice of the religion satisfies you, asks you for your daughter in marriage, you should marry them; otherwise, there will be corruption on the earth.” (At-Tirmidhi).
There must be a reason, why such a great importance is placed on the Deen of man. Allah’s perfect order ensures that a God fearing husband would take good care of his wife and children and would not harm or dishonor them in any way. Ibn Uthaymeen says: “The most important thing is that the one proposing marriage should be good in the Deen and in his character – since regarding one possessing Deen and good character, she will not lose out in any respect: if he keeps her, then he will do so in a good manner and if he releases her, he will do so in a good manner.”
M. White draws up a checklist, which will guide you through the selection process:
(1) Correct Aqeedah: Believing in all those principles that Allah has commanded us to believe and keeping away from Shirk and innovations.
(2) Understanding and application of the Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah: According to M. White, “a person who does not understand the authority of Sunnah in his religion has no understanding of his religion at all.” The Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “I have left among you two matters that if you adhere to them, you will never be misguided: the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet.” (Baihaqi)
(3) Character and habits: For this, you will have to do some research through the relatives and friends of the concerned man. Inquire, whether he prays in congregation, is generous in giving for the sake of Allah, has a beard, is a contributing member of the society, etc. Do not leave any question pending. The more you will ask the better understanding you will have about the prospective husband-to-be.
Searching for the ideal wife
The Prophet (sa) has said: “When a man marries, he indeed perfects half of his religion. Then, he should fear Allah for the remaining half.” (Bukhari)
This Hadeeth suggests that a Muslim man should be especially careful in choosing his wife, because his marriage will affect not only the soundness and happiness of his future family but also the status of his own religion. According to another Hadeeth, “A woman may be married for four reasons: for her wealth (or property), her lineage (or family status) her beauty, and her religion; so try to marry the one who is religious, may your hands be rubbed with dust [i.e., may you prosper].” (Bukhari)
Thus, in the case of the ideal wife, priority should be given to her Deen. According to Umm Rashid, “A Muslim man could not ask for anything better than to have a religious wife to be by his side and to teach his children.”
Further, Umm Rashid discusses the traits a prospective wife should have:
(1) Correct Aqeedah is once again on the top of the list.
(2) Good character: Shaykh al-Uthaymeen describes some qualities of a good character: Wishing the Muslims well, being content, having a cheerful countenance, speaking well, being generous, being courageous and dealing with others in an open and sincere manner.
(3) Proper Hijab: It gives to Muslim women their due respect and serves as a protection, ensuring that they would not be harassed. Allah says in the Quran: “Enjoin the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty; not to display their beauty and ornaments except what normally appears thereof; let them draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their charms…” (An-Nur 24:31).
(4) Good reputation: According to Umm Rashid, “Whether a woman is a virgin or one previously married, she should be chaste.” Allah says in the Quran: “… pure women are for pure men, and pure men are for pure women…” (An-Nur 24:26).
Islamic Premarital Counseling
Another matter to consider, while preparing for marriage, is Islamic premarital counseling. What is it and what are its benefits? “In professional terms, Islamic counseling would be a confluence of counseling and psychotherapy with the central tenets of Islam. The idea behind Islamic counseling is to borrow the positive aspects of the Western psychotherapy and counseling, integrate them with the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah, and thus form a unique type of counseling that would be specifically beneficial for Muslims.
“Marriage counseling has three main areas including pre marriage, post marriage, and family counseling during marriage. Premarital counseling is a preventive measure to help people understand marital relationships, the responsibility that comes with it, and their expectations of one another.”
Premarital counseling is done in two ways:
(1) Premarital education: Lectures for single men and women that are open for anyone interested to learn and do not involve any formal responsibilities.
(2) Premarital counseling: A more private option that deals with the case-specific queries and concerns of a couple seeking marriage.
Premarital counseling can address a wide variety of topics, including the significance of marriage; communication between husband and wife; abuse within the family; styles of parenting, financial planning, relations with the extended family, decision-making; and conflict resolution between the spouses.
Creating awareness of these topics before marriage can become an effective preventive measure for avoiding unnecessary marital complications.
The Newlywed Game
|1, Be creative and have fun exploring what makes you and your spouse unique. If your likes and dislikes differ, there is nothing wrong about it.||1, Get real. Do not hold grand expectations of the Hollywood-style all-too-perfect, but non-existent marriage.|
|2, When looking for faults, look in the mirror. Learn to admit mistakes, focus on self-improvement rather than critical analysis of each other.||2, Do not fall a victim of ‘ADD’ (Attention Deficit Disillusionment). When you two don’t share the same ideas for spending leisure time, allow space to do your own things separately.|
|3, Be flexible and never lose your sense of humour. If you start taking every little thing seriously, life will become like a pressure cooker.||3, After a conflict do not carry your anger around waiting forever for your spouse to apologize. If the deserved apology comes – great! If it doesn’t, let go and have faith that Allah must have planned something better for you.|
|4, Be forgiving and kind. Instead of picking the worse in each other, focus on the positive and appreciate it.||4, Never try to change each other to please others. What may be good for your friends may not be ideal for you and your spouse. Change for the better should only be for Allah and then for each other.|
|5, Be prepared to sacrifice. Selfish and self-centered people can never make any relationship work.||5, To have a successful marriage one person cannot always be the taker or the giver. The street cannot be one-way.|
|6, Whenever you feel like gossiping about your spouse, pour it all out before Allah. He will know and understand much better than your friends, or relatives ever will.||6, When you are least expecting something good and it happens, the feeling is unimaginable. If you always expect a royal treatment, you will end up hurt and frustrated.|