Author: Umm Hayaat (Eidgah Shareef)
“And among His signs is that He created spouses for you from yourselves for you to gain rest from them, and kept love and mercy between yourselves; indeed in this are signs for the people who ponder."
(Surah Ar-Room 30:21)
The Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam has said: “Shall I not tell you whom the (Hell) Fire is forbidden to touch? It is forbidden to touch a man who is always accessible, having polite and tender nature.” (Sunnan Al-Tirmidhi Shareef) AND "The whole world is an asset and the best asset is a righteous wife." (Muslim Shareef)
Assalam-o-‘Alaikum Wa Rehmatullahe Wa Barakotohu!
Here is the second article in the series of Marriage, dedicated to all the Brothers and Sisters who are about to enter the sacred bond of matrimony, InshaAllah! This is to provide an insight on this most important issue of our lives. For all those, who wish to enter the pure bliss of matrimony, must try to understand the various expects and try their best to make their marriage a great success, Insha Allah!
Marriage is obviously a very important Sunnah, but it is equally important to know that whether one is Already for marriage or not - that is, if one can meet the obligations of being a husband or not. It's essential to walk into something with one’s eyes open, and to know the ruling of Allah Subhanohu Wa Ta’ala, and the blessed guidance of Beloved RasulAllah SalAllahu ‘Alaihe Wasallam BEFORE one does something (rather than after, when it's too late!)
Adab of marriage is a crucial area that unfortunately most people are unaware of. As one of the teachers has mentioned, 'if you understand and practice the spirit, you'll never need recourse to the law.'
What one is looking for in a partner is 'Deen.' This means three things (in order of importance): beliefs, character and practice. Note that good character is probably more important than practice because:
The Holy Prophet Muhammad SalAllahu ‘Alaihe Wasallam has said: ‘The most perfect believer in faith is the one whose character is finest and who is kindest to his wife.' (Tirmidhi and Nasa'i)
a) A person of good character is easier to live with, and marriage is about 'Taskeen,' which means 'making a home' but ALSO 'bringing tranquility.' Note that a home is supposed to be a place of tranquility. Also note that this is MUTUAL - tranquility and making a home does NOT mean wife listens to everything a husband says, stands to attention and obeys every command! A husband has to bring tranquility to her as well! This is the psychology bit...
b) A person with good character is naturally attracted to good actions, even if they may not be performing them at the moment. Actions are easy to change in comparison to character traits.
Character, unfortunately is (a) difficult to judge - especially when one does not have the time to get to know someone - and (b) something unfortunately not particularly high up the priority list for most people, particularly when it comes to finding or rendering oneself suitable for marriage partners. One has to have a feel for these things, or ask the right sort of questions.
Have Faith: Faith has no eyes; he who asks to see has no faith. ~ Faith is a sounder guide than reason. Reason can go only so far, but faith has no limits. ~
This is the person who will be closest to you - and have the most insidious influence on you, for better or worse - for the rest of your life. It is the person with whom you will raise your children, a major determinant of their final destination. Choose well, choose carefully. Yes, one can influence a person for the better - of course - but they will also influence you. Better all rounds to start with the best possible chance. If you want to build a table, buying and assembling the flat- packed one from IKEA is easier than taking an axe to the tree and going from there (even with the Swedish instructions!)
The Beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) advised Women: “If somebody comes to you and you are pleased with his character and religion then marry him. If you do not, there will be discord on earth and widespread corruption.” Shaykh Ibn Majah 1967. See Slsilah as-Saheehah
This great Hadith-e-Mubarakah demonstrates as to what should be the most important factor, a woman should look for when selecting a husband: they being good character and piety. Wealth and lineage are secondary considerations.
And furthermore, the person of religion and a good behavior may be a blessing for her and her children. She may learn manners and religion from him. If he does not have these characters then she should stay away from him, especially if he is one of those who lax in respect to performing the prayers.
Remember that a good wife - or husband - (defined as one who will facilitate rather than hinder one’s pathway to Allah) is rarer than red Sulphur. Someone interested and actively involved in Tariqah & Dawah Work is usually a safer bet. Note this does not mean, 'have a Shaykh' or attending Islamic gathering and Mawlud shareef' but at least someone, who is actively involved in the process of self-purification. A person helps you spiritually not merely by waking you up for Fajr (though this is handy!) but also by creating domestic conditions conducive to spiritual progress. The primary obstacle on the path is worldly distraction - be this financial, physical or emotional - that leads to heedlessness and pre-occupation. Heedlessness is the root of all spiritual diseases, which is why the Awliya-e-Karaam recommends nothing more than Dhikr (Remembrance) as a tool of rectification. Allah says, 'wadhkur Allaha dhikran kathiran,' which might be translated as 'make Dhikr absolutely all the time.' We are created weak, and tend not to focus well on long-term matters (Ajila) when we have pressing short-term worries(`Ajila).
Something important: One often finds today that religiously-minded youngsters like ourselves get advice like the above on 'getting a good partner,' smugly content in our superiority over our 'less religious,' 'culturally backward' elders. Of course, we know better. They just married whoever Mum chose for them…:)
They didn't care about religion, piety, or any of that stuff. They just wanted someone from their village... And their marriages, in most cases, have lasted 20, 30, or 40 years. Many of our marriages don't last a winter...
Why? Because when we choose our 'perfect partner,' we expect perfection. We live in an age of instant satisfaction, where we are constantly being told to expect - no, demand - exactly what we want. Whether we like it or not, those who grow up in less-traditional societies are influenced by the 'gimme' mindset, the idea that happiness and contentment are not found in making the best of what one has, but in constantly searching for a fully-formed utopia.
Since nobody is perfect, emphasis should be placed on the positive qualities of your spouse. Praise and Gratitude should be expressed on a regular basis, which will strengthen these qualities.
The Beloved Prophet Alaihes Salato Salaam, said, "A believing man should not have any malice against a believing woman. He may dislike one characteristic in her, but may find another in her which is pleasing." (Muslim Shareef)
Marriage is a hard work. For women, it is often a jihad - a constant struggle, placing others before oneself, sacrificing etc. When we get a diamond in the rough, we have to polish it carefully and constantly. The joy is in the struggle, the incremental steps towards whatever is reasonably attainable. It's not in making it perfect the first time around. Home-cooked food has more Barakah than ready meals from some Chinese/Mexican/Desi take-away, even if the salt is slightly less, it is still made with love, the fruit of one's own hands.
Another important factor is to take on that challenge to do better. To improve and once you look back how it started the first rough drafts, you will delight in the difference between now and then, Insha Allah!
So be warned, the work really starts after the Nikah has occurred. A beautiful tip; My Beloved Shaykh explained to me long time ago that "A successful marriage has three ingredients: Shukr, Sabr and Compromise where needed! Be thankful for whatever good qualities your partner has, and be patient and forbearing in the face of their not-so-good ones. And be flexible to compromise as per situation in order to maintain the Peace and Harmony at home and in your relationship."
Although problems are expected in every marriage, Patience and Forgiveness are the best gifts that we can use to correct mistakes. We must strive to be patient, kind, calm, and above all, to understand our partner’s point of view.
Food For Thought:
If an individual is to be happy, healthy, and prosperous, he/she must change from the Laws of the Mind (negative) to the Laws of the Soul (positive).
Laws of the Mind are: fear, worry, selfishness, pride, anger, criticism, suspicion, greed, hypocrisy, prejudice, jealousy, and hate.
Laws of the Soul are: faith, hope, generosity, aspiration, patience, sympathy, goodness, kindness, courage, duty, and love.
Our older generations, consciously or not, were aware of this. They were content with marrying a person who was far from perfect. Over years, with difficulty and no doubt many tears, they have grown together, molding each other in unnoticeable ways, until they are content with one another. You'll notice the word 'content' is mentioned frequently. This is on a purpose. Our problem is that we are fundamentally discontented with what we have. This is the major Fitnah of the modern world.
Last note: Everything just shared needs to apply on our Brothers FIRST! Make sure you are suitable to be a husband according to what has been mentioned above. Many of us have exacting standards for potential spouses, and make the unwitting and narcissistic assumption that we ourselves are perfect partners. A healthy prescription of introspection / looking in the mirror three times a day is just what has been prescribed...
Dua’ when looking in the mirror: "Allahuma anta hassanta khalqi, fa hassin khuluqi” (Oh Allah, you have beautified my form, now beautify my inward character). Think about it!
Both spouses should enter the marriage with the pure intention of pleasing Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, in order to receive His grace and blessings. The marriage itself then becomes an act of worship and one for which both spouses will be rewarded, Insha Allah!
Abundant Blessings and Salutations be upon the Beloved Messenger of Love, Mercy, and Compassion, Our Master Sayyedna Muhammad, his blessed Family and Companions.