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Understanding Relationships & Marriage


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Understanding Relationships & Marriage

Notes from course by

Zaynab Institute

This course is about dealing with and upholding rights of others which is one of the things we will be questioned about. Allah ta’ala is Just and commands His slave to be just

 

"Relationships are often a struggle as everyone is different however everyone is meant to be different"

 

"It is a matter of understanding that difference along with learning how to reduce conflict

and how to deal with different types of people and different relationships"

 

 

INDEX

1. Encouragment to Marry

2. Benefits of Nikah & Spouses are a Garment for each other

3. Roles & Responsibilities towards each other

4. Before Nikah

5. What to seek in a propective spouse

6. Next stage before agreement is reached

7. The Nikah & Waleemah

8. Romance in Marriage

9. Children

10. Other Relationships / Inlaws

11. Equality in Judgment

12. Physiological Differences

13. Marriage is not about demading rights only

14. The Love Languages

15. Different Love Styles

16. Emotional Intelligence in the Seerah

17. The Secure Connector - الْوَاصِلُ

18. Troublespots & Final Advice

May Allah ta'ala accept from us

 

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Encouragment of Nikah (Marriage)

Nikah is extremely important. It is a 24 hour ‘Ibaadah (worship) which includes the mundane and has tremendous potential of reward for both the husband and the wife.

It is a Sunnah of all the previous Ambiyaa AS and our Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam who stressed on Nikah and practically showed us by his example (exceptions are ‘Isaa AS who will marry when he returns to earth before the Day of Judgment and Yahya AS)

 

Nikah is part of Sunnah

Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,

“Marriage is part of my sunnah and whoever does not follow my sunnah has nothing to do with me” (Ibn Majah)

 

A group of young men told to marry if they have the means or fast

“O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding one's chastity. Whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for it will diminish his desire.” (Ibn Majah)

 

Nikah perfects a person's Imaan

"Whoever Allah provides witha  righteous wife, Allah has assisted him in half of religion. Let him fear Allah regarding the second half" (Bayhaqi)

This Hadith is sometimes misinterpreted however Muhadditheen say Nikah is Takmeerul Imaan, it perfects a person’s Imaan. This Hadith highlights the importance of Nikah and the influence it has on a person’s social and spiritual life. Some say Nikah helps allocate a person’s sexual desire in a Halaal way. Imam Ghazali (Rahimahullah) says the sexual organs and the stomach are the most destructive factors to a person’s Imaan. So this desire is curbed with Nikah and the other half, the stomach, can be curbed by eating less.

 

Nikah is not contrary to Taqwa

Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet () to inquire about the worship of the Prophet (). When they were informed, they considered their worship insignificant and said: "Where are we in comparison with the Prophet () while Allah has forgiven his past sins and future sins". One of them said: "As for me, I shall offer Salat all night long." Another said: "I shall observe Saum (fasting) continuously and shall not break it". Another said: "I shall abstain from women and shall never marry".

The Prophet () came to them and said, "Are you the people who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fast and break it; perform Salat and sleep at night and take wives. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me". (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The concept of marriage is highly emphasised in this Hadith. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam removes the false notion that marriage, having children, eating, sleeping, etc. are contrary to Taqwa. Our Deen has made it easy for us to live as Believers 24 hours a day.

A person being “not from” our Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam is a very serious matter. It is tantamount to Kufr. Not marrying without a valid reason is going against the Sunnah and detrimental to one’s Imaan. Even worse is to reject the notion of marriage i.e. saying celibacy is better than marriage.

Other religions regard celibacy as the highest stage of relationship with Allah ta’ala (priesthood, nuns, monks). It is Allah ta’ala Who has put feelings of desire in humans and He gives a solution for it through marriage. Choosing this option will aid in piety and devotion to Allah ta’ala.

 

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Benefits of Nikah

Allah ta'ala says in Surah Room, verse 21

وَمِنْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦٓ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَٰجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

And of His signs, another one is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may find rest with them, and He planted love and mercy in your hearts; surely there are signs in this for those who think about it.

 

Nikah is a manifestation of the power and might of Allah ta’ala as Allah ta’ala says from among His signs is that He has created wives (أَزْوَاج) for them from among themselves. Therefore, when people marry, the couple are a walking, talking sign of Allah ta’ala and so we should exist as such by presenting to the world a beautiful sign. We would be betraying this verse if we live contrary to this.

 

Three things are mentioned in this verse as a benefit of Nikah, Sukoon (tranquillity), Mawaddah (love) and Rahmah (mercy). These three things can only be found in the sacred bond of Nikah. The lives of two people together without this sacred bond will be void of these three things

 

سُكُون – tranquillity, comes with understanding each other’s rights and responsibilities towards each other. If we proclaim only our rights, it will not lead to Sukoon and instead will lead to fights.

 

مَوَدَّة is intense longing – there are different types of love. The love between spouses is an affectionate, two-sided love with both physical and emotional intimacy. Both love each other and support and look out for each other’s welfare.

 

رَحْمَة is compassion/mercy – love alone cannot be the driving force in a marriage. Certain commentators have mentioned that the word “love” refers specifically to the early stages of a marriage physical love is dominant. With time it diminishes and is replaced by mercy/compassion as the couple age together and care for each other. Therefore, for a successful marriage, both love and mercy are necessary.  

 

For a successful marriage, both love and mercy as well as forgiveness are necessary. Allah ta’ala overlooks and forgives our mistakes and give us other chances despite the deficiency in our worship and shortcomings in our deeds. He forgives even when we are not deserving. The spouses should similarly overlook and forgive each other even when not deserving. We expect our spouses to be our dream come true, but how many of us are dream-servants of our Lord?

Modern Muslim women complain that the Qur’an is only for men however there are subtle points hidden in the verses. Here Allah ta’ala says He has created wives so that the men may find peace. This shows the power of women as women control whether the home is peaceful or otherwise. She can be a source of peace if she herself is at peace. Women are expressive and their feelings are reflected in the home and with their husbands and children. Therefore, if men wish for their wives to be a source of peace then treating them well will ensure they are at peace which will be reflected in the home.

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “After fear for Allah, the believer cannot receive a boon greater than a good wife. If he instructs her to do something, she obeys, and she pleases him when he looks at her. If he takes an oath, she aids him to fulfil the oath and, if he has to be out, she takes care of her chastity and his property.” [Mishkat]

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “No believing man should detest his believing wife. If he dislikes some trait in her, he should then take a liking to another trait.” [Muslim]

 

 

Spouses are a Garment for each other

Allah says in Surah Baqarah, verse 187

هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ - they are as a garment for you, and you are as a garment for them

 

•          Garments cover the Satr – similarly the spouses should cover each other’s faults and  

             shortcomings

•          Garments safeguards against elements – spouses should be a protection for each other in

             every way; financially, emotionally and intimately. They should be a protection for each

             other’s Imaan.

•          Modesty – as garments are a means of modesty (Hayaa), spouses should be a means of

             protection of chastity

          Beauty/Honour – as garments are a means of beatification and honour for a person, spouses

             should be a source of honour and beauty for each other

          Pleasure – as wearing garments bring happiness, spouses should be a source of happiness

              when they look at each other

          Intimacy – garments are closest to a person’s skin so similarly spouses should have a close

             relationship

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Roles & Responsibilites towards each other

Both the husband and wife have duties and responsibilities towards each other.

 

Duties of the husband

A man asked the Prophet, “What are the right of the woman over her husband?” He said, “That he should feed her as he feeds himself and clothe her as he clothes himself; he should not strike her on the face nor disfigure her, and he should not abandon her except in the house (as a form of discipline).” (Ibn Majah)

 

"The best of you is the best to his wives, and I am the best of you to my wives” (Tirmidhi)

 

It is the husband’s responsibility to provide for his wife – food, clothes and shelter- according to his means even if the wife is rich and has her own money. He must also provide household items and her personal items. It is also his duty to treat her well with justice. Regarding living quarters, he must provide something where she has privacy if the couple are living with others i.e. a room within the house where no one enters

 

Women are made from the Rib

The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhiw asallam said,

"Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt (trouble) his neighbor. And I advise you to take care of the women, for they are created from a rib and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part; if you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will remain crooked, so I urge you to take care of the women." (Bukhari)

The ribs play a very important part in our body protecting the vital organs of the body. They are made from bone and cartilage which helps in expanding and detracting during respiration. The characteristics of women are very similar to how the rib is.

As women we change roles as we go along i.e. mother, wife, sister, daughter, teacher, etc. We are resilient, flexible and accommodating. We are shock absorbers who help our spouses and children in times of anxiety. Many women are above their heads in stress yet still carry on. Allah ta’ala gives this strength and has made us so we are conducive to who we are in life so this should make us confident however we should seek His help and make Du’a for ease.

 

Men ar Caretakers of women

Allah says in Surah NIsaa', verse 34,

"Men are overseers over women because Allah has given the one more strength than other, and because men are required to spend their wealth for the maintenance of women"

قَوَّام is an intensive form of verb and قائِم is one who is responsible / caretaker of everything. The form قَوَّام is more comprehensive than قائِم. It combines the physical protection and financial maintenance as well as moral responsibility a man has over his family.

Therefore, it means men shall take full care of women, mentally, physically and financially regardless of whether he likes it or not. It does not have anything to do with men treating women like they are masters and women are slaves. The standard role of a man regarding women has been mentioned in this verse however we all know women can become queens of their homes too but because Allah ta’ala has given men this responsibility as a primary caretaker of the household, then we need to give respect to that rule. There will be discord when women step into this role as some women (especially as a first born who was given responsibilities) step into this role after marriage.

In any organisation or system, big or small, there can be only one Imam. There cannot be two Imams making decisions at the same time. Allah ta’ala, in His infinite wisdom selected men for this responsibility because it is in their natural capability. Women who understand this will be confident of the roles given to men and women by Allah ta’ala as our Deen is designed to make every aspect of our lives successful. Having no rules or boundaries and following the Nafs leads to broken homes.

Men also often get frustrated with some of the habits of women especially those related to the monthly cycle of women. Though we are made that way by Allah ta’ala, it does not give us the right to be disrespectful. We should take an account of ourselves and try to be less emotional. Having said that it is not fair of husbands to demand their wives to be less emotional or for their wives to be any particular way because just as a rib cannot bend any further than what Allah ta’ala has designated, women too are created a certain way and cannot be changed further than what Allah ta’ala has designated.  

 

Duties of the wife

It is Waajib for the wife to be obedient to her husband except when he orders you to disobey Allah as there is no obedience to anyone in the disobedience to Allah. She must guard her chastity and his possessions when he is away

 

She should look after the household duties and children while the husband works. This does not mean she is his slave. She should do it with love to please Allah.

 

Rule regarding housework

If the wife comes from a home where they employed someone to cook, clean, etc. then it is Waajib on the husband to employ someone for her to do the housework. If she comes from a home where the women of the house did the housework then he does not have to employ someone for her to do the housework.

 

Respect for the Husband

Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “It is not appropriate for anyone to prostrate to anyone else. If it were appropriate for anyone to prostrate to anyone else, I would have instructed the wife to prostrate to her husband, because of the great rights that Allah has given him over her.”

 

Pleasing Husband leads to Jannah

“Any woman who passes away and her husband is pleased with her will enter Jannah” (Tirmidhi)

 

“If a woman prays her five prayers, fasts her month of Ramadan, guards her chastity, and obeys her husband, she will enter Paradise from any gate she wishes.”

 

Someone asked, which of women is best? Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, obeys him when he tells her to do something, and does not disobey him with regard to herself or her wealth in a way that he dislikes.” (Nasai)

 

Allah designated the Roles & Responsibilities

Allah ta’ala gives roles to those who are best at them. We as women need to be very content that our role is designed by Allah ta’ala because He is all-Wise and All-Knowing. We should be confident that this is what we need to perfect our Imaan. We are the future of the Ummah and we can change our Ummah with our character. We need to play the roles given to us by Allah ta’ala and Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam and stop being what other people want us to be.

 

Advises for the wife

Be loyal

Do not be disobedient

Dress up/perfume yourself for husband

Do not demand clothes, jewellery, etc. especially of he cannot afford it

Do not use foul language, anger or remind the husband about favours you may have done or mistakes he may have made

Be polite and serve his parents and family – treat them as your own

 

Polygamy

It is permissible for a man to have up to four wives however he must treat then with justice and equality in everything. All his wives will have the same rights over him

 

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Before Nikah

True love is in Nikah

Nabi sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam said,

“There is nothing like marriage, for two who love one another” (Ibn Majah)

This hadith teaches us that there is nothing that creates true and lasting love between two people of the opposite gender, except Nikah. Love outside Nikah will not last in the world and will be a source of anguish in the world and in the Aakhirah.

 

Potential spouses seeing each other

Islam commands us to lower our gaze and forbids looking at non-mahram. This is in order to purify people’s souls and protect their honour. There are, however, certain exceptions in which it is permissible to look at a non-mahram woman for reasons of necessity, one of which is in the case of proposing marriage, because it is the basis on which a very important decision affecting a person’s life will be taken.

 

Imaam al-Nawawi (Rahimahullah) said in Rawdat al-Taalibeen wa ‘Umdat al-Mufteen (7, 19-20): “When (a man) wants to marry (a woman), it is preferable (mustahabb) for him to look at her so that he will have no regrets. According to another view, it is not preferable but it is allowed. The first view is correct because of the ahaadeeth, and it is permitted to look repeatedly, with or without her permission. If it is not easy to look at her, he may send a woman to check her out and describe her to him. A woman may also look at a man if she wants to marry him, for she will like in him what he likes in her. What is permissible for him to look at is the face and hands, front and back. He should not look at anything else.”

All four schools of thought recommend looking at the prospective spouse even if there are feelings of sexual desire.

There should be a sincere Niyyah for marriage and following the Sunnah and keeping in mind the principles of Deen throughout the occasion. The couple cannot sit in Khalwah. If necessary than the door of the room the couple sit should be left open. There should be no touching or revealing of Awrah. She should dress normally and not be dressed up.  

In the following Hadith the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam told the Sahabi RA to go and look at the woman as “It is more likely to create love between both of you”. This indicates the importance of internal and external attraction and external attraction is critical in maintaining a relationship between spouses. The eyes are conduits to the heart and as we have learnt, there are neurons involved. Therefore, looking at each other can create love though it is dangerous in another context.

Other Hadith regarding looking at prospective spouses:

From Abu Hurayrah RA: “I was with the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam when a man came and told him that he had married a woman of the Ansaar. The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said to him, ‘Have you seen her?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Go and look at her, for there is something in the eyes of the Ansaar.” [Muslim]

This teaches us that to inform someone of a person’s defect in the process of marriage is not backbiting.

From Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah RA: “The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said: ‘If one of you proposes marriage to a woman, if he can look at her to see that which will encourage him to go ahead and marry her, then let him do so.’ I proposed marriage to a young woman, and I used to hide where I could see her, until I saw that which encouraged me to go ahead and marry her, so I did so.’” [Abu Dawood]

Looking secretly does not mean looking through a window while the woman may not be dressed appropriately. It refers to looking at her without letting her know when she is outdoors in regular clothing to see how she behaves and interacts.

There should be no unnecessary delaying as the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “If someone approaches you (with a proposal) and his religion (piety) and character is pleasing to you, then get him married. If you do not do so, there will be trials (fitnah) and chaos (fasad) on the earth…” [Tirmidhi]

 

image.png

 

This slide shows the different outcome of following the Islamic model and dating when looking for a spouse. In our age there is so much more than previous times; confusion about person’s gender, premarital cohabitation, children through Zinaa, and improper use of technology and social media. Nowadays the question, “How can I marry someone I don’t know” is very common. Wanting to communicate and meet without chaperones to get to know each other is taken very lightly and unfortunately, in these situations, women are often taken advantage of and left with tarnished reputations and broken hearts.

 

The reality is that one can never know anyone through such meetings. Only Allah ta’ala is the knower of the unseen and Barakah, peace, love mercy and His help will come with following the Islamic model of finding a spouse, i.e. to get information about what common goals can be shared, compatibility, etc. through others and thereafter doing Istikharah and relying on Allah ta’ala for guidance instead of having multiple meetings without a chaperone.

 

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “No person (man) should be alone with a woman except when there is a Mahram with her” [Bukhari & Muslim]

 

Everyone has issues in relationships and especially in a marriage. Faults will open up later however by that time Allah ta’ala puts love between spouses and both have heavily invested in the relationship and the relationship will be protected. Success therefore comes only in following the Islamic model of finding a spouse. 

 

In any situation, following the principles set out in our Deen keeps a person safe. Whether a matchmaking business is used in the search for a spouse or it is arranged by elder family members, one should ensure that the principles of Deen are not compromised.

 

A man or a woman should not send a direct proposal to the future spouse. It should be done through parents or elders. We have the perfect example in Khadeejah RA who despite being an intelligent, successful and confident woman, sent the proposal of marriage to our Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam through someone else and did not approach him directly though he worked for her. This also shows there is no shame in the proposal coming from the woman. It is culture which puts shame on this however culture can be followed if it is not against Deen. Giving less value to Deen and putting culture above it is not appropriate. 

 

Parental blessing is very important so one should ask one’s self why parents are refusing a match. They have experience and wisdom and have our best interests at heart. Their blessings and Du’a seal the Barakah in a marriage. Their advice and arrangements should be valued. We should not trust our instinct alone as our emotions can blind us to the practicalities of life.

 

However, if parents are being unfairly stubborn where they have set a goal for their child to marry a particular type of person or if they have cultural bias where they do not consider anyone outside their home towns or overlook the Deen of a person in favour of culture and one fears sin, then one should politely refuse and consult other elders in the family or an Imam. One should not disobey parents but should remember the principle of Deen, “There is no obedience of creation over the obedience of Allah ta’ala”

 

“Arranged” marriages have been given a bad reputation in our age by being given the connotation of “force”. It does not mean force or being coerced. There is no force in marriage in Islam. It is a suggestion which is given consideration with final approval from the person searching a spouse. This system worked well until some years ago after which people refused to consider such suggestions. It would be foolish to reject these proposals outright. They should at least be considered knowing that final approval is theirs. 

 

It has been recognised that change is possible once it is understood why a person behaves as he/she does and for us as Muslim women, we know Allah ta’ala has given us the ability to choose who we are because we have been given the ability to change.

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What to seek in the prospective spouse

Kufu’ – (compatibility) is extremely important in a marriage. There should be compatibility in  social standing, lineage, piety, profession, wealth, etc.

Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, "A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a losers." (Bukhari)

Wealth – men are Qawwamoon, financially responsible for their families regardless of whether the wife is wealthy or not. The husband needs to therefore stand up to his responsibility.  When very wealthy men choose women of opposite financial status, it often causes issues. A wealthy woman marrying a man of opposite financial status can also cause issues. The man should be able to provide for her the same level of comfort her father provided. Therefore, there is nothing wrong in seeking a spouse on the same level of wealth, education, profession, etc. to avoid mismatched expectations.

Lineage –was very important to the Arabs and is also very much alive today even in Muslim countries i.e. a spouse cannot be a butcher. Our Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam advised a Sahabi RA to marry a woman who was loving and fertile (as procreation is one of the intentions for a marriage). Now how does a man know if a woman is fertile or not? he will look at her lineage, i.e. other women in her family

Lineage is not about the caste system of the Hindus. This is about the values families have which sometimes coincide with Deen and sometimes not and which become an innate part of a person’s nature and temperament. Compatibility in this area is important because when one marries, one will be spending a lot of time with the whole family and not just the spouse. Therefore, family values, attitudes, characteristics, etc. should be considered as this will have a great impact on a relationship.

“One who pleases him when he looks at her, obeys him when he requests her, and does not dispute him in herself and her wealth in a way he dislikes.”

Beauty – Our Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said in a Hadith that Allah ta’ala is beautiful and He loves beauty. He made the world beautiful, even deep under the ocean where we are not likely to go and see. We are also attracted to beauty in the opposite gender and it is physical attraction which drives a person to procreate. However, we know beauty fades so this Kufu’ is downplayed and regarded as less important.

Religion – The other three traits are to do with the world which will one day vanish. They have no intrinsic value on their own however their importance cannot be dismissed. The words, “Be victorious with the one in religion” shows the importance of seeking Deen in a spouse. It cannot be ignored and should supersede the other three traits.

It is not just the external Deen that one should look at, i.e. hijab, beard, etc. but one should also see if the future spouse lives a Taqwa centred life (having God consciousness in every aspect). When a person fears Allah ta’ala, he/she will be fair, kind, compassionate, will fulfil rights and generally be of good character as a spouse and parent.

Conclusion

There is a lot of wisdom in the four aspects mentioned in this Hadith. Our Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam considered our intrinsic human nature. Therefore, a person should not feel guilty if they find someone unattractive or for considering the wealth aspect. 

There is nothing wrong if a person said no to a future spouse due to not finding them attractive even if the person was religious. On the other hand, one should not overlook the other three traits and fall for beauty alone. Beauty without Taqwa can lead to arrogance.

 

Apart from what to look for in a spouse mentioned in the Hadith, there are other important aspects one should consider.

Age/Height – its importance depends on the person. If a man can respect a woman older than him or taller than him or a woman can respect a man younger than her and shorter than her, then the relationship can work. However, without respect it would be very hard to live with that person. Therefore, one should consider what generates respect or what can potentially take it away.

It would be ok for a woman to say no if the man was shorter or younger than her and this would not be looking down at any physical aspect of a person.

We have a beautiful example in our Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam marrying Khadeejah RA who was older than him and who gave total respect, love and support to her husband.

Culture – Many people say they do not want any cultural baggage in a spouse however this is an extreme view because a person enriched in cultural background is thought of as backward. Culture is not created by people. Allah ta’ala made nations and tribes for a purpose; so that people may recognise/know each other. Allah ta’ala says in Surah Hujuraat (verse 13),

O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.

If people are of totally different cultures, then compatibility should be considered as families are involved and one should ask one’s self if everyone will get along. Social demands and expectations are something we cannot escape and it is unrealistic to say, “I am strong in Deen and do not want cultural baggage” as it is a bit of a paradox and we should not be negative about other people’s cultures. The important thing is we need to be informed of the other person’s cultural expectations before marrying and know what they are getting into. Different cultural backgrounds can be enriching as it can open up minds however it can require more patience.

Character – regarding character a person should look at integrity, generosity, etc. and other praiseworthy characteristics as these will be passed on to the children. As for blameworthy characteristics, lying leads to spouses losing trust which leads to relationships going sour.

Madhab – Muslim men can marry Christian or Jewish women because they have influence over how the children are brought up though it is discouraged and even regarded sinful by some Scholars if the men are living in non-Muslim countries where there would be greater danger of safeguarding one’s Imaan. 

Muslim women can only marry Muslim men therefore, they may have to decide if they wish to marry men form different Madhaahib or choose between Salafism and Deobandism. This can lead to each spouse saying certain things are Bid’ah, Kufr or prohibited according to what they believe.

To say, “I don’t care what Madhab the spouse follows” can lead to breakdown in the relationship due to practical implications. It can be difficult when husband and wife follow different Fiqh due to the differences between Madhaahib in everyday rulings i.e. bleeding negates Wudhu in the Hanafi Fiqh and not in the Shafi’ee Fiqh. Touching the opposite gender in the Shafi’ee Fiqh negates Wudhu and not in the Hanafi Fiqh. Then the question will arise regarding which Fiqh the children will follow.

Conclusion

There are many aspects to consider when choosing a spouse and to seek perfection in every aspect is unrealistic. The reality is that no one is perfect and we also are not perfect. Remember that marriage is two imperfect people working perfectly to make a marriage work

 

Marry for the betterment of Religion

When asked what kind of wealth should be acquired, Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,

“Let one of you acquire a thankful heart, a tongue that remembers Allah and a believing wife who will help him with regard to the Hereafter.” (Ibn Majah)

Nabi sallallaahu 'alayhiw asallam said,

“Do not marry women for their beauty for it may lead to their doom. Do not marry them for their wealth, for it may lead them to fall into sin. Rather, marry them for their religion. A black slave woman with piercings who is religious is better.”

These Hadith show that concentrating on only one aspect of Kufu’ is detrimental. Only Taqwa deserves this space and marrying for the right reasons brings blessings. Beauty is only skin deep. It can be that it is pleasing to the eye but not to the heart. If something of the world is not polished by Deen, it leads to ruin. Without Taqwa, beauty can lead to arrogance and wealth can be a Fitnah and a test. It can therefore be destructive and ruin relationships.

A woman should also look for piety, good character and his ability to a maintain family.

 

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Next stage before agreement is reached

After finding a compatible prospective spouse the next steps to take the process forward are;

·         Research - regarding the family, friend circle, colleagues, etc. through someone trustworthy because some people may have some ulterior motive and not provide correct information. The aim is to find out what reputation the prospective spouse has among people

This stage is important and can take time. If found to be incompatible thenit is better not to move forward to the next stage

·         Exchange bios  – if parents cannot be approached directly, tell siblings, aunt/uncle or another elder and thereafter exchange bios. Keep it simple and mention if status of passport/visa is a concern

·         Ask a Mehram to speak with the person

·         Arrange a family meeting

Seeing each other – is permissible however within limits with mahram present, not alone in a room or going out together to “get to know each other”

Questions can be asked. One can ask what one is comfortable with. The purpose is to gauge through the discussion if the same goals are being shared and/or how much Deen orientated the person is. As mentioned before, it is extremely important to keep in mind the principles of Deen while meeting and having the discussions.

· 

Make Istikharah – this is a very important part of the process. Making Istikharah and trusting in Allah ta’ala should lead to contentment of the heart so that if things did not go smoothly or did not work out then one knows it is Khayr from Allah ta’ala.

Istikharah Du’a

O Allah! I seek goodness from Your Knowledge and with Your Power (and Might) I seek strength, and I ask from You Your Great Blessings, because You have the Power and I do not have the power. You Know everything and I do not know, and You have knowledge of the unseen. Oh Allah! If in Your Knowledge this action ------------ (which I intend to do) is better for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then make it destined for me and make it easy for me and then add blessings in it, for me. O Allah! In Your Knowledge if this action ………is bad for me, bad for my religion and faith, for my life and end [death], for here [in this world] and the hereafter then turn it away from me and turn me away from it and whatever is better for me, ordain [destine] that for me and then make me satisfied with it.

A shorter version which can be done at any time, and as often as one wants (though there are recommended numbers) is the following:

اللَّهُمَّ خِرْ لِيْ وَاخْتَرْ لِي

Allaahumma khirlee wakhtarlee

O Allah grant me a choice and choose for me

Accept parents and elders’ guidance as they have your best interest at heart      

     Make decision soon and accept outcome

·       Once proposal accepted, do not delay Nikah and waste time in long engagements (which are not part of Islam). Nikah should be public in a masjid, not secret

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The Nikah & Waleemah

·        Nikkah in a Masjid is Sunnah – a Nikah should be publicized so there are no doubts when the couple are seen together. It should not be a secret Nikah.

     The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallama said, “Announce the marriage.” Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān 4066

·

·    Two witnesses necessary

·   

     Mehr - is an agreed amount given by the groom to the bride. Woman can forgo it however if agreed than groom has to give it or he will be accountable for it.

 

To avoid conflict the Mahr should be discussed and agreed upon before the Nikah ceremony and bargaining should be avoided. It should not be so high that the groom cannot afford it and not so little that it dishonours the bride. The best Mahr is affordable and easy. The Sunnah is in moderation

·         Other words used in the Qur’an doe Mahr: ‘attiyah, nihla, hiba

·         Right of the wife from her husband - Mahr is the right of the wife. It is a gift by which he honours his wife and a means of expressing his seriousness and responsibility as he enters the Nikah. Allah ta’ala says in the Qur’an,

And give the women (on marriage) their dower as a free gift; but if they, of their own good pleasure, remit any part of it to you, Take it and enjoy it with right good cheer [Surah Nisaa: 4]

So he should give it willingly and she can forgo it however she cannot be forced to forgo it

·         Due immediately after nikkah

·         Amount:

    • Minimum: 10 dirhams-30.618 gr Silver
    • Mehr Fatimi: 1,530 gr Silver – what Ali RA gave to Faatimah RA
    • Mehr Mithl – the amount given to a woman on the bride’s paternal side. Have to consider similarity in age, beauty, virginity, locality, time and wealth
    • Moderation

·         Mu’ajjal – due immediately after Nikah and Muajjal – delayed. It is a debt to the wife if not pai

 

·   Wakeel from the girl’s family

  • Father, brother, uncle – a representative who provides her consent for the groom she has chosen

Note: consent of girl necessary. There cannot be a marriage without consent

Hadith:

Aisha RA reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, should women be asked for their consent before marriage?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Yes.” I said, “Indeed, sometimes a virgin is too shy to speak when asked.” The Prophet said, “Her silence is her consent.” [Bukhari Muslim]

 

·   Khutbah

  • Surah Al Imran: 102

O you who believe! Observe your duty to Allah with right observance, and die not save as those who have surrendered (unto Him)

  • Surah Al Nisa: 1

O mankind! Have fear of your Rabb, the One who created you from a single soul, from that soul He created its mate, and through them He spread countless men and women. Fear Allah, the One in whose name you demand your rights from one another and the ties of relationship; surely Allah is watching you very closely.

  • Surah Al Ahzab: 70-71

O believers! Fear Allah and always say the right thing;

He will bless your deeds for you, and forgive your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, has truly achieved a great triumph.

            *Explanations of these verses from Qur’an class at the end of the document

·    Acceptance from both sides – involves “Ijaab” (offer) and “Qubool” (acceptance)

 

Note: Both Ijaab and Qubool have to be in an audible manner. Woman cannot be forced.

A representative of the bride and two witnesses will ask the bride for her permission. This will be relayed to the Imam during the ceremony. The Imam will ask the groom if he accepts the bride in his Nikah. Once he says “yes, I accept”, the Nikah is complete

*It is Mustahab to distribute dates

 

Feeding people - there is no rule in Islam that girl side have to feed people. There should be no pomp and show. There should be no extravagance in the whole procedure or anything Haraam like music, free mixing, etc.

 

Sunnah ways is Simplicity

Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “The most blessed marriage (nikah) is the one with the least expenses.”

 

Fatimah RA was sent walking to the house of Ali RA accompanied by Umm Ayman RA after a simple Nikah without any pomp and show

 

Waleemah

The Waleemah is Sunnah as a sign of gratitude and pleasure therefore the correct Niyyah should be made of following the Sunnah, inviting and feeding people, making them happy, etc. Correct Niyyah should also be made when inviting people as people often invite others because they feel they have to. There should be no ostentation or in competition with others which is contagious and can lead others to emulate. Waleemah can take place after Khalwah or consummation

The best Nikah and Waleemah is that which is simple and affordable without unnecessary delays and the Waleemah is the duty of the husband.

The more pomp, show, extravagance, etc. the more the stress, disagreements and arguments. People take out loans in order to cover the costs which makes it even more burdensome. The most blessed marriage is the one which is the least burdensome.

The principles of Deen should be kept at all times during the arrangements of the Nikah and Waleemah. A compromise can be made for some customs where parents and other close relatives could be very hurt however there is no compromise of that which is forbidden in the Shari’ah.

The pandemic situation shows that extravagance can be avoided and simple Nikahs and Waleemahs can be done. Therefore, even after the pandemic we need to go back to the Sunnah. Starting this journey on the right foot with the right Niyyah and the stamp of Sunnah will bring Barakah in the marriage.

 

 

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Romance in a Marriage

Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,

“The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” [Ibn Majah]

Romance is very much a part of our Deen. Our Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam was extremely loving and romantic as seen in Hadith.

‘A’isha RA said the Prophet took her along with him on one of his journeys. The Prophet instructed his Companions to go on ahead. After they had proceeded some distance, the Prophet asked ‘A’isha if she would like to race him. ‘A’isha gladly accepted and won the race.

Years had passed and ‘A’isah again accompanied Prophet Muhammad on a journey. He asked again if she should like to race. Reminding her husband of the race that she once won, she readily accepted his offer. They raced but this time ‘A’isha lost. According to ‘A’isha, this was due to the weight she had gained since the first race. Afterwards, the Prophet, smiling, said: “This is in return for that race.”

Aisha RA said that Nabi sallallaahu 'alayhiw asallam used to put his mouth on the place she had drunk from and he would lay his head on her lap and recite the Qur'an even when she was menstruating. He called her by a special name (Humayraa). 

Many cultural practices extinguish romance i.e. when living with extended family where modesty has to be maintained. However couples can still have excitement by going out, going away, etc. and women can dress in revealing clothes to be visually appealing and attractive in private.

The beginning of the relationship is maintained by romantic attraction which ends so one needs to build the relationship on a solid foundation of respect, honesty, loyalty, etc. After the end of this period spouses need to figure out their values and how to live by them.

 

 

Public display of affection

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam had fun with his wives however it was not publicly done.

 

Intimacy

It is the right on each other to have full and complete fulfilment. Historically and in conservative societies women having this expectation are looked down on. This is not right as women can be very sensual and should be sensual towards their husbands. The husbands are asked to lower their gaze and guard their modesty so women should offer what they desire as they are human and avoiding temptations. This is why there is marriage.

Behind closed doors very little is off limit between husband and wife. Few exceptions include when in menstruation/post-natal bleeding and impermissible acts of intimacy.  

 

There is a need to talk to professionals about abuse, past trauma, illness, etc. as they can interfere emotionally and physically with intimacy with the spouse

 

Intimacy should not be denied without a valid reason

“If a husband calls his wife to his bed and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” (Bukhari)

 

“When a man calls his wife for his need, then let her come, even if she is at the oven.” (Tirmidhi)

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Children

It is their right that we provide them with is food, clothes according to need, shelter and love. Give them unconditional love. Love them no matter what they do. If you do that, they will know that what you do for them is not to manipulate them or emotionally blackmail them. It is because you love them.

 

Be firm but kind. If they yell and curse it means we did not do our job. If they demand and yell in a shop, take them out and let them yell till they are finished then take them back in telling them they cannot behave in this manner

 

Do not hit, insult or abuse children. Love them but do not let them take advantage. Children WILL mess up. Give them opportunity to make up as Allah ta’ala gives us opportunity to make Tawbah and make up again and again. By yelling and hitting we are teaching them to yell and hit. Take a nurturing attitude.

 

Relax when nursing babies as emotions transfer to the baby. Let them connect to the Qur’an, Dhikr, etc. Calm parents raise calm children and anxious, depressed children raise anxious depressed children.

 

Du’a for pious children: Surah Furqaan 74

 

رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَٰجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَٱجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

"Our Rabb! Make our spouses and our children to be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the righteous."

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Other Relationships

So far we have discussed marriage because it is one of the biggest backbone of society, the fabric which keeps communities together, what joins families and the objective is to expend family units.  

Islam promotes a collectivistic society with joint decisions on a family and even extended family level. Generally, in the West focus is more on the individual level though this was not so before.

In the 1900’s when men went to war and women came out to world, they did not want to go back to their previous life after experiencing independence. Women’s movements appeared and society changed. The East however, is now rapidly changing and becoming an individualistic one like the West

Research shows that people benefit more with extended family support. They suffer less depression, anxiety, etc. and there is also financial benefit. This is if there is more Deen and Deeni as well as secular education. People with Deeni education mind the boundaries and accommodate others. Identities don’t get blurred or damaged. Unfortunately, many people are not educated Deeni wise.

So whether in the East or West, people need to be educated in Deen where Akhlaaq and Adab comes from. Islam promotes care of community and to make sacrifices for the greater good. This enables others giving support when needed.

Unfortunately, in marriage and in other relationships, both sides take the individualistic approach and it’s all about “me” and when that happens, Akhlaaq disappears. It’s not about giving the bare bone rights, it’s about doing the best from our side because Islam teaches us Ihsaan.

 

In laws

In laws are our husband’s parents due to whom we are married to them. They may have different ways due to various reasons like they may have faced struggles of migration or colonisation or to get fed and educated. Therefore, they may be in survival mode. Have love and respect in the heart as they are Muslim and your elders. Think of them as the mum and dad of the man you love. Sometimes women are so good to others but not to in laws. Lean towards them and keep hearts clean. Do Mashwarah about household duties and share in the

When women marry and move in with in laws, it is great change for both sides and adjustments are required on both sides.

Daughters in law should have a loving, happy, joyful and “I’m going to try” approach even though it will be hard at first. She will have to make a new identity. And use her skills in the family dynamics. If a woman bonds with her in laws they can a great source of support.

Faults can lie on both sides. Sometimes in laws expect a “maid” and sometimes daughters in law go in with a chip on their shoulders. If it gets toxic then it is wiser to move out however using wisdom, take it slowly, patiently and kindly. It will be hard but may increase love. If you cannot move out then bear your circumstances with patience.

The husband if often stuck in the middle. He has to mediate and arbitrate and women should take their feelings into consideration.

 

 

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Equality of judgment between men and women refers to being equal in the sight of Allah ta’ala however this often translates to “men and women are unequal”. Allah ta’ala is al-‘Aadil (The Just). He is just and expects us to be just. Men and women are different however, the differences between men and women does not affect judgment. If we do not acknowledge and understand the differences then we will constantly fall into the trap of trying to be equal in something that is not meant to be equal.

 

No one will be wronged

Allah says in Surah Nisaa'. verse 124,

"But those who do good—whether male or female—and have faith will enter Paradise and will never be wronged ˹even as much as˺ the speck on a date stone"

This verse shows there is total gender equality in terms of judgment of men and women. Many verses in the Qur’an encourage both men and women (ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ) to do good deeds and both are mentioned in terms of the reward.

Adam AS and Hawwa AS were judged equally from the beginning. Allah ta’ala decided for them according to the deed they committed and not their gender. By default, humans are distinguished among all of creation and then further distinguished according to their devotion to Allah ta’ala. Therefore, all humans are valuable in the sight of Allah ta’ala and honoured by their virtue.

Those women who feel less than their husbands or any male, should feel confident in how Allah ta’ala created us and that He will judge men and women according to their virtue.

 

 

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Allah ta’ala sees men and women equally but made them different to each other and the responses given by men and women are based on their biology, chemistry and physiology and perhaps science has not gone far enough into these differences. It is when people do not understand others in their relationships, that it creates tension. The mistake people make is that they think, “He/she should have behaved this way because I think it is appropriate” or because “This is how I was brought up.” People expect others to be a certain way and when this happens in a marriage then it causes problems. Knowing and understanding why people respond the way they do will lead to being less resentful and judgmental and being more tolerant.

Scientific research in the last 15 years has shown that men and women are not alike biologically. There is growing evidence that Oxytocin to Testosterone to Progesterone and even the brains of men and women are different. This does not mean one gender is better than the other. It means the differences are unique and critical in helping men and women understand each other.

 

Oxytocin

Oxytocin in the brain, acts as a chemical messenger and has an important role in many human behaviours. It has the power to regulate our emotional responses and pro-social behaviours, including trust, empathy, gazing, positive memories, processing of bonding cues, and positive communication

Hugging, kissing, cuddling, and sexual intimacy can all trigger oxytocin production, which can strengthen bonds between adults, too. These effects have led oxytocin to be grouped with the other happy hormones — hormones known to have a positive impact on mood and emotions.

In women Oxytocin helps in maintaining relationships because Oxytocin is known for the compassionate effect a person feels from it. When a woman hears her child cry, milk excretes from the breast and this is due to the Oxytocin. This is an involuntary reaction to the child’s cry. Imagine the Rahmah involved. She stops doing whatever she is doing and feeds her child. Women tend to be more patient and softer when they see their child crying.

Thereafter when the woman cuddles, hugs, touches her child, more Oxytocin is excreted which helps in regulating other emotional responses which are more conducive to social behaviours i.e. they help in relationships.

For women this hormone helps them to do what Allah ta’ala has given them the primary responsibility of, i.e. nurturing the family and for men it helps them do what they were made responsible of i.e. being Qawwaam.

 

Mirror Neurons

In our brains are Mirror neurons which allow us to learn through imitation (mirroring behaviours). They enable us to reflect body language, facial expressions, and emotions. Mirror neurons play an essential part in our social life. They are the key for child development, as well as relationships and education.

Imitation has always been a powerful learning tool. The human brain is enabled with different mechanisms that allow us to imitate actions. Babies are capable of reproducing facial expressions, and as adults, we imitate basic behaviour. When we see a baby smile and we smile back. This is due to the mirror neurons. Similarly, if we see someone hurt, our facial expression will show the expression of being hurt yourself. Mirror neurons are responsible for yawning when we see someone else yawn and the way laughter can be contagious.

It seems like we have the capacity to feel what others feel, empathize with them and understand their feelings. What happens in the brain for this to happen? The answer is mirror neurons.

 

Testosterone

Testosterone is excreted more in men than women. For men it helps build bone and muscle. It also helps in better verbal memory, mathematical reasoning and libido. Men tend to think logically and rationally and even appear to be rude in their approach while women solve problems in a different way.

Men’s self-esteem is higher and they are more dominant which is why they do not like women to be controlling and being decision makers. Therefore, we should respect this part of their biology otherwise it will create problems. When a decision is necessary for the good of the family and our husband does not see it at the time, then there are ways we can go about it with wisdom.

There can never be two principles or two prime ministers however the second in line also has a lot of responsibility.

Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam was perfect in his role as husband, father, companion and guide to humanity and he had these manly characteristics and his Sunnah should be our role model. He showed mercy and compassion with family, companions and even the non-Muslims and his enemies with Oxytocin and we should find that balance.

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Marriage is not about rights only, though the rights are there

Nabi sallallaahu 'alayhiw asallam said,

"All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards. The ruler is a guardian and the man is a guardian of his family; the lady is a guardian and is responsible for her husband's house and his offspring; and so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards." (Bukhari)

Mu’awiyah al-Qushayri reported, I said, “O Messenger of Allah, what are the rights of women over us?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “That you feed them when you eat, you clothe them when you clothe yourself, you do not strike her face, and you do not rebuke her or boycott except inside the house.” Abu Dawood

Theis Hadith sums up our responsibilities. All of us are given a circle (ward); for a teacher it is her students, for a shepherd, it is his sheep, etc. and each on is a guardian and responsible for his/her ward.

In every relationship, we have a role and responsibilities. For a wife, her husband’s home and offspring are her primary responsibilities and now we know that our physical make up is designed to assist us in our role by the mercy from Allah ta’ala. Due to the enormous responsibility on a man’s shoulder of providing for his family, it is his right that his wife obeys him in all matters except where the Shari’ah says otherwise, that no one he disapproves of enters his home without his permission and that his wife has intimate relations with him, protecting his and her chastity and Imaan. The result will be a happy home filled with Sakeenah, Muwaddah and Rahmah and entry into Jannah through any gate she wishes.

Abu Huraira RA reported, The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If a woman prays her five prayers, fasts her month of Ramadan, guards her chastity, and obeys her husband, she will enter Paradise from any gate she wishes.” Ṣaḥeeḥ Ibn Ḥibbān

Therefore, a marriage (or any relationship) is not about demanding rights and scoring points. It is about having Taqwa, forgiveness and forbearance. It is two imperfect people trying perfectly to make a marriage or any relationship work. Without these components, Shaytaan will come into the relationship of two people. 

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We now know men and women are biologically and physiologically different and have varying behaviour and expectations as a result of different upbringing, how their parents’ relationships were and different cultures people live in. We are all human beings with unique personalities so how do we make our relationships work? One powerful tool we can use is learning about the love languages.

We mistakenly think that everyone likes to be loved the way we like to be loved however, after many years of marriage counselling, Dr Gary Chapman’s conclusion is that people express and receive love in 5 different ways, called love languages: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

Thinking everyone likes to be loved the way we like to be loved leads to misunderstanding and feelings of resentment and tension. In a Hadith the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “Treat people according to their status.” This was in context of the following Haditg:

A beggar asked ‘Aaishah (radiyallahu ‘anhaa) for charity and she gave him a piece of bread. Thereafter, one well-dressed person asked her for charity and she invited him to sit down and served him food. When she was asked about the reason for the difference in treatment, she said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) instructed us, ‘Treat people according to their status.’”

This gist of this is that we should treat people differently (not unequally) based on what they need.

Dr Chapman believes that, once you identify and learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language, you will have discovered the key to a long-lasting, loving marriage.

Summary of Dr Chapman’s Conclusion

Dr Chapman is convinced that keeping the emotional love tank full is as important to a marriage as maintaining the proper oil level is to an automobile. When your spouse’s emotional love tank is full and they feel secure in your love, the whole world looks bright and your spouse will move out to reach their highest potential in life.

 

Words of Affirmation

Some people like to hear words of praise and appreciation and are especially hurt by insults. Sometimes our words say one thing, but our tone of voice says another and this causes tension in the relationship.

Verbal compliments or words of appreciation are powerful communicators of love and if this is the “love language” of your spouse (or any person) then using words of praise and appreciation will lead to a better relationship.

 

‘A’isha RA once asked Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam, “O God’s Messenger, how is your love for me?”

“Like a strong binding knot,” he replied.

‘A’isha again asked, “How is the knot?”

“Like the first day,” he replied.

 

‘Once Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam was sitting in a room with `Aisha RA and fixing his shoes. It was very warm, and `Aisha RA looked to his blessed forehead and noticed that there were beads of sweat on it. She became overwhelmed by the majesty of that sight and was staring at him long enough for him to notice.

He said, “What’s the matter?” She replied, “If Abu Bukair Al-Huthali, the poet, saw you, he would know that his poem was written for you, Abu Bukair said that if you looked to the majesty of the moon, it twinkles and lights up the world for everyone to see.”

So the Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam got up, walked to `Aisha RA, kissed her between the eyes, and said, “Wallahi yaa Aisha, you are like that to me and more”

 

Gifts

For some people receiving gifts is their “love language” because it shows the thought and effort that has gone into it.

تَهَادُوا تَحَابُّوا  - “Give each other gifts and you will love each other.” - Source: al-Adab al-Mufrad 594

Giving gifts creates love so give practical, thoughtful, useful gifts and not something which brings frowns.

 

If Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam slaughtered a sheep, he would send meat to the friends of Khadijah RA as a present as much as would suffice them. So what must he have done while she was alive?

 

Physical touch

For some people physically touching, sitting close, cuddling, etc. is important and neglect of this causes them  to be hurt.

 

Quality time

If your partner’s primary love language is quality time, your spouse simply wants you being with them, spending time with them. Spending time with your partner in a common pursuit communicates that you care about each other, that you enjoy being with each other, that you like to do things together. It also involves being a good listener.

When Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam talked to someone he turned his entire body towards the other person giving his full attention to them. He shared quality time by giving undistracted, undivided attention. Unfortunately, we do not follow this Sunnah. Our attention is on other things like the phone messages while our loved ones are talking to us.

 

Acts of Service

For some people, love is being shown when little things are done for them. They get hurt when their partners are lazy with them or when commitments are broken.

 

Conclusion

Find out your own love language and that of other people around (spouse, siblings, parents, in laws, etc.) so that each person’s needs are fulfilled leading to better relationships. Don’t make the mistake of believing that the touch, gift, words, etc. that brings pleasure to you will also bring pleasure to your spouse or others in your relationships.

Dr Chapman suggests three ways to discover your own primary love language:

·         What does your spouse do or fail to do that hurts you most deeply? The opposite of what hurts you most is probably your love language.

·         What have you most often requested of your spouse? The thing you have most often requested is likely the thing that would make you feel most loved.

·         In what way do you regularly express love to your spouse? Your method of expressing love may be an indication that that would also make you feel loved.

Quiz

For this a quiz make be taken here: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/

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Love Style (Attachment Theory)

According to psychologists, each person’s childhood experiences have a tremendous impact on a person which continues throughout life. It forms the roots of who they are and how they react in situations, how they respond to others and how they express love.  

It has been recognised that change is possible once it is understood why a person behaves as he/she does and for us as Muslim women, we know Allah ta’ala has given us the ability to choose who we are because we have been given the ability to change.

What is Love Style?

Milan Yerkovich (a pastoral counsellor) and Kay Yerkovich (licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) say people tend to fall into one of five categories called “Love Styles” which will help us understand the underlying factors and react accordingly, avoiding negativity and in this way help ourselves and others in our relationships.

Note: This is not to make anyone feel sad or bad or to blame parents or carers for their childhood experiences, but to learn why we, and others, react the way we do in our relationships. It will also help us as parents, not to fall into these traps. 

 

What are the 5 Love Styles?

The Pleaser

Pleasers usually grow up in a home with a parent who is overly protective, angry, and/or critical. Pleaser children do everything they can to “be good” to get positive responses and avoid troubling their highly-reactive parent; they learn to spend their energy comforting or appeasing their parent, instead of receiving comfort themselves. They are uncomfortable with conflict. As adults, Pleasers tend to continually monitor the moods of those around them in an attempt to keep everyone happy and have a hard time saying no. However, this can lead to resentment, an emotion that can break down a relationship. In some cases, others may become aware of the condition of the Pleaser and take advantage leading to resentment and a toxic relationship. 

For the Pleaser to have a stable relationship, they have to learn to say no respectfully and give the reason why they cannot take a responsibility.

The Victim

This is where a child grows up in a chaotic home. Children survive a chaotic home environment by trying to “stay under the radar”, making themselves as invisible as possible. They’ll hide and appease, learning how to escape into their own heads to lessen the pain from their angry, violent, chaotic parents. Victims lack a sense of self-worth and are often anxious and depressed. Rather than engage, they’ll resort to just “going through the motions” in order to get by. Victims may emulate their childhood home environment by pursuing a relationship with a Controller. When children are involved in such a relationship, the Victim may even inflict their suppressed anger on their children whenever the Controller is not present.

For the Victim to have a healthy relationship, he/she should have self-love and stand up for themselves and not let others walk over them.

The Controller

Controllers did not have a lot of love and need control to remove the feeling of being controlled in childhood. Having control means having protection from feelings like fear, humiliation. While control can be either highly rigid or sporadic and unpredictable, Controllers rarely realize the true reason they feel the need to be in charge. They do not ask for help and get things done themselves in a certain manner and get very angry if others do not follow that way.

To have a healthy relationship, the Controller needs to let go and trust in Allah and have trust in others. They also need to keep anger at bay.

The Vacillator

Growing up with an unpredictable parent, Vacillators’ needs aren’t top priority. Without consistent parental affection they develop feelings of abandonment, and by the time the parent feels like giving again, their child is tired of waiting and too angry to receive. They feel very misunderstood and have internal conflicts with themselves. They are very sensitive and perceptive to others.

To have a healthy relationship, Vacillators need to learn how to pace themselves and how to commit before getting hurt by their own expectations.

As mothers we need to make sure our children are touched, cuddles, hugged.

The Avoider

Coming from homes that are often low in affection, but which place high value on independence and self-reliance, the Avoider grows up learning only to take care of themselves. To deal with the anxiety of having so little comfort and nurturing from their parents, they have learned to restrict their feelings and suppress their needs. As an adult, Avoiders can seem emotionally distant or detached. They feel uncomfortable around people who have intense emotions.

To have a healthy relationship the Avoider should learn to open up express emotions.

What is your love style?

They have developed a free online quiz to help determine a person’s unique Love Style.

Take the Quiz: https://howwelove.com/love-style-quiz/

 

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Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be self-aware of one’s own emotions as well as the emotions of others (empathy) while being able to control and manage one’s own emotions.

EI has three components:

·         Self-awareness 

·         Self-management

When one is aware of, understands and acknowledge one’s emotions, then one can manage them better. We need to know what we are feeling and why we are feeling this way in order to figure out the best way to react.

 

·         Empathy

Empathy is the ability to be aware of the emotions of others and understand from their perspective.

When we study the Seerah and Hadith we see that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam was an extremely emotionally intelligent person. There are lessons for us in becoming emotionally intelligent people in the way he understood his own emotions, acknowledged and managed them and the way he interacted with everyone around him, teaching them to be emotionally intelligent people.

The personality of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam was such that every person felt he/she was the most beloved to him.

‘Amr ibn Al-‘As RA reported, I said, “Which person is most beloved to you?” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said, “Aisha.” I said, “I mean among men.” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “Her father.” I said, “Then who?” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “Umar ibn al-Khattab,” and he mentioned some other men. [Bukhari]

He felt such love from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam he thought he would be high on the list. If we do not have this in our life then we can at least make others feel loved.

“The one who severs his family ties will not enter Paradise.” [Bukhari Muslim]

“Verily, the believers are like a structure, each part strengthening the other,” and the Prophet clasped his fingers together. [Bukhari Muslim]

“The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.” [Bukhari Muslim]

There are many more Hadith that can be quoted.

To summarise, it is that quality which enables us to confront situations and problems with patience, understanding and insight (delving deeper into why a person is behaving in a certain manner). It is not something one is born with. It has to be learnt and for us, our Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam who was an extremely emotionally intelligent person, is our role model. It is important to be an emotionally intelligent person to save our relationships.

 

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We should be gentle with people when interacting because we do not know the major part of any person’s life and personality. How they were brought up by their parents, how their friends made them feel, how their teachers spoke to them, etc. defines a person.

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said to Aisha RA, 

“O Aisha, Allah is gentle and He loves gentleness. He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness and He does not reward anything else like it.” [Muslim]

“Every good deed is charity. Verily, it is a good deed to meet your brother with a cheerful face, and to pour what is left from your bucket into the vessel of your brother.” [Tirmidhi]

Therefore, we should treat people gently.

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 الْوَاصِلُ-   The secure connector

Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam said,

“Al-Waasil is not the one who recompenses the good done to him by his relatives (i.e. doing salaam, giving gifts, being nice to each other), but Al-Waasil is the one who keeps good relations with those relatives who had severed the bond of kinship with him.” [Bukhari]

 

This Hadith is regarding the beautiful quality our Nabi sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam wanted us to have; that of being a Waasil, one who maintain ties with those who severe them. It is hard, but do-able and brings a lot of Barakah in the marriage, home and in all relationships.

 

Psychologists call the Waasil a “Secure connector”

 

We can be of the secure connectors. It requires reflection, i.e. why is this person behaving in this manner, and it requires self-reflection, i.e. why am I behaving in this manner?

 

A Waasil is a balanced person who sees the weakness in his/her own self and in others without putting others down (meaning the Waasil will explain the other person’s behaviour to himself).

 

Why and how is a Waasil able to do this?

By practicing self-care both physically (by getting exercise, enough sleep, etc.) and spiritually (through ‘Ibaadah). This is a very important concept as one cannot be patient and help others in their relationships without drawing from Dhikr.

 

When something breaks, it takes effort to fix. We find out the materials of the thing that is broken and Google to find out how best to fix it. When relationships break, we need to fix it and not let it fester.

 

Keeping connections with those who severe ties is much more difficult than returning the good done to us.

 

Activity: crumple up a piece of paper and tightly screw it up into a ball. Then unfold it and try to smooth away the creases. The paper will not be the same even if the creases are ironed out, the paper will tear at the creases. If this is done repeatedly, the paper will be useless.

Similarly, a relationship becomes irretrievable if hurt is caused repeatedly.

 

Spoken words are powerful. They have the power to heal, save or destroy a relationship. It is therefore very important to be mindful of one’s speech. We should be gentle with people when interacting because we do not know the major part of any person’s life and personality. According to psychologists, each person’s childhood experiences have a tremendous impact on a person which continues throughout life. It forms the roots of who they are and how they react in situations, how they respond to others and how they express love.  

 

We should restrain words and choose them carefully only when the heart is in a good place i.e. there is no negative feelings in the heart like pride, jealousy, envy, anger, resentment, etc.

 

Make Intention to become   الْوَاصِلُ

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Troublespots in Marriage & other Relationships

Life is not a bed of roses. We have been told we will be tested and tests often come in the form of relationships being hit with trouble. Sometimes the problems are perpetual and sometimes, solveable.

The perpetual problems never get solved and we have to cope with them because we cannot change others. With wisdom we can try to make the best of the situation and with Allah’s favour it can improve. In the solvable problems we can reach out and try to solve the problem.

We face challenging situations in life but then Allah ta’ala told us He will put us in these situations so we should recognise these tests and accept them. Accepting them makes it easier on the heart because it is not personal any more i.e. we will recognise it’s a test from Allah ta’ala and not personal hurt from someone.

Tests are hard as that is what tests are otherwise, they would not be tests. With a growth mindset we can overcome them. We can choose how we deal with it.

Our Deen teaches us our responsibilities and we are accountable for what we choose to do i.e. if you yell, you choose to do so. Even if he made you angry (which is natural), you can control the anger and not yell. Expressing it negatively is your choice. What we do influences others as well so we are accountable for that too.

Allah ta’ala mentions in the Qur’an that he will not burden us more than what we can bear (Qur’an 2:286) and at the same time if we still mess up after having good intentions, we will still be rewarded as long as effort has been made.

Allah ta’ala also mentions that He will not change the condition of people until they first change that which is in their hearts (Qur’an 13:11) so when we change the condition of our hearts, Allah ta’ala will change the condition of our situation.

Allah ta’ala did not say everything will remain the same so we should not have that expectation. He is watching and seeing how His servants are going to deal with the situation He has put them in.

When we accept our new reality and there is effort on our part, He will help us. Therefore, acknowledge the difficulty and your limitations. Let go of the previous reality and embrace the new one. 

Don’t get fixated on the Dunya and on expectations. Marriage, children, wealth, health, etc. will be according to what Allah ta’ala has destined for each of us. Remember that what is written for us WILL come to us. We have suffocated and restricted ourselves due to our expectations and setting up fake boundaries.

Relationships are tests and that is why there are rules in our Deen. We are taught to be good to the creation. We have to learn to communicate better by being better listeners instead of being on the defensive. This leads to compromises and solutions.Therefore, in all circumstances, we should make effort and this is Ihsaan and we have to become  الْوَاصِلُ - the secure connectors.

 

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