Allah (swt) says about marriage: “Waja Allah Baina Kum Ma Wadatan Wa Rehma.”You will find these beautiful words of the Quran applicable in all of your married lives. Allah (swt) says He put between you – between husband and wife – love, Mawadah, and it is passionate love. Allah (swt) says Mawadah Wa Rehma – love and mercy, because in the beginning of your marriage, you are very passionate and obsessed with your wife. You cannot think about anything else. When your friends call you, they go straight to voice mail, because you just got married and for about six months you are out of sight. But then, as marriage goes further, what is it that keeps it alive? Rehma – It’s the mercy towards your wife, mercy towards your husband, courtesy between you two.
A man comes to Umar (rtam) and says that he wants to divorce his wife. Umar (rtam) asks: “Why do you want to divorce your wife?” The man says: “I don’t love her anymore and I don’t find her attractive anymore.” So Umar (rtam) asked him: “Faina Raiaya?” What about the courtesy you owe to your wife?
Doesn’t she take care of your kids? Hasn’t she put up with you all this time? We, men, are very difficult creatures to put up with, and our wives put up with us, even if we say a couple of words here and there. In the end, they still put up with us. Right? Since they do quite a bit for us, we cannot just say: “Oh well, she doesn’t look like what I was imagining, when I didn’t lower my gaze and saw some things on TV. She doesn’t meet my expectations.” This is not a healthy attitude. If the believers watch their gaze, control their temptations and then they do the best with their wives, they will be the most satisfied and won’t have any temptations outside.
However, at the same time, sisters have to understand that Allah (swt) created men and women very differently. No matter from what background they come, for men, their biggest weakness is the same – women. In majority of cases, Allah (swt) has made women oblivious to this weakness of men, so they do not realize how bad it is. So when women read the Ayah about lowering their gaze, they say: “Oh yeah, I can do that. What’s the big deal? Why can’t men just lower their gaze?” They don’t understand the power of this desire that Allah (swt) put inside of us. The number one Fitna the Prophet (sa) fears for the men of this Ummah is what? Women, because it is a serious problem. So, if the wives understand that, then instead of condemning their husband, they would understand that the wife has a role of supporting her husband, and she can do that by warding temptations off from him, not by lecturing him.
Every day the husband goes to the office and sees horribly dressed women smiling at everybody – this is all these women have in terms of their dignity, they are not respected for their intellect, they are not respected for their opinions. But they are polite and nice – they are smiling at you. Even in ad women are smiling at you. Then, you get home, open the door and your wife says: “Where were you? The train was late? Oh, every day the train is late, oh, I understand.” So you return home to a frown every day, and the first day it’s okay, the second day it’s okay, but ten years of this, twelve years of this – what’s going to happen? The husband has resentment towards the wife, even if he doesn’t say anything.
How difficult is it for a wife to give her husband a smile, when he comes home? It stabs the husband, when he comes home and the wife doesn’t care. He may not say anything, but it hurts the relationship. He gets upset for no apparent reason. There is not enough salt in the food, he gets extra angry at kids and the list goes on. However, in the same scenario, the wife opens the door and she greets the husband with a smile, just a smile, it’s not expensive. But what happens? The rest of the night goes smoothly, the husband is in a good mood he’s talking to her. And when he is talking to her, if she says: “I don’t want to talk right now – I have a headache.” What is going to happen? All started from where – just one little act of the wife.
These are simple yet so powerful solutions. If you don’t take care of these situations, things just keep adding up and adding up and adding up. So both sides have to understand that they have to take care of the other side. Instead of expecting from the other side, just make a goal for yourself to take care of the other side.
Another advice in terms of harmony between husband and wife is regarding argumentation. Men seem to think everything can be solved by reasoning and logical evidences, right? And they forget that Allah (swt) didn’t create women in this simple black and white fashion – women are complicated creatures. After getting married, many of you will testify that your wife is crying, and when you ask her, why she is crying, she will say that she doesn’t know. When you inquire, if there is anything you have done wrong, she will say that it is too complicated for you to understand. Right? And their feelings will be hurt… Who just lost that argument? You did, because you tried to reason.
What is the best way to make your point with women? It is not by argument. The best way to make a point with your wife is to follow the Sunnah of the Messenger (sa): firstly, mercy, secondly, silence. Silence! You know how effective silence is for good believing wives? If the husband is silent, then she will say: “What’s the matter? Is there something I did?” But if the husband talks back, she will talk back way better than you can. Right? She will come back with a better rebound than you ever thought possible. But if you are silent and if there is an ounce of goodness in her, she will come and say: “Maybe even if I don’t think it was my fault, it was my fault, I am sorry.” But the husband has to learn this technique of silence, and this is not silence with a frown and pushing her away. Just a little extra sad puppy face here and there, you know–try it with your mom and see, if it works.
These are important etiquettes of marriage. The Messenger (sa) could yell at his spouses and say harsh words, but he did not. Because relationship is so fragile, and Shaitan is looking for every opportunity to destroy it. And as soon as he destroys it, what is going to happen? Corruption in Muslim communities. Men will not be guarding their eyes anymore, scandals will spread; this is how they spread – from bad marriages. Where do all the great tragedies that happen in the Muslim community start? They start from the husband not taking care of the wife and the wife not taking care of the husband. May Allah (swt) make us the best husbands and grant us the best wives.
Transcribed by Sana Mohsin.