Category Archives: Marriage

Have you Talked with Your Child Today?

By Dr. Aisha Hamdan

Have you had a meaningful conversation together? Do you know what your child accomplished today, how he may be feeling, whether or not he has any concerns? Does your child know that you care about him?

In Islam, the ties of kinship and family are very strong and something that will always be present throughout our lifetime. There are very serious consequences for someone who decides to break these ties. Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, says,”Then, is it to be expected of you, if you were put in authority, that you will do mischief in the land, and break your ties of kith and kin? Such are the men whom Allah has cursed for He has made them deaf and blinded their sight.” [Qur’an 47:22-23]. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, said,”Whoever severs the bonds of kinship will not enter Paradise.” (Bukhari and Muslim).

A major component of our familial ties is communication. In fact, without communication there would be little connection between people. Living together in the same household with limited, or even hostile, interaction would not fit the criteria for maintaining the bonds of kinship. To develop meaningful relationships within our families we need to know how to communicate effectively and sincerely with each other. A large part of this involves skills and principles that can be learned through practice and sincere effort. The following is a guide to strengthen these ties that bind.

1) Active Listening.

You may be surprised to discover that the most important aspect of effective communication is listening. This means that the listener pays full attention to the speaker and attempts to understand what that person is saying and feeling. The listener should suspend judgment, show interest, and respect what is being said. He or she may then restate the content and feelings to demonstrate that sincerity is present. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, always gave his full attention to anyone that he conversed with, even his enemies and those with whom he disagreed. When he addressed his companions, they listened intently and attached importance to everything he said.

2) Level of Understanding.

Parents should always keep in mind the age and level of understanding of their child and should speak with him accordingly. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, said “Speak to the people keeping in view their level of understanding. Would you like to see them think of what you tell them from Allah and His Messenger as lies?” (Bukhari) This is important so that the child will be able to comprehend what is said, the expectations of the parents will not go beyond the capacity of the child and lead to problems, and difficulties will not be placed upon the child unnecessarily. This is particularly pertinent for sensitive issues such as death, personal modesty issues, and adult responsibilities. There are various levels of complexity with each of these and the correct level needs to be chosen for each child. One way to ascertain this is by the type of questions that a child asks.

3) The Manners of a Mu’min.

A believer is someone who believes in Allah’s Message and follows the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam. In relationships then, a believer would demonstrate honesty, kindness, patience, self-restraint, fairness, trustworthiness, etc. He would avoid teasing, blaming, belittling, mocking, excessive and idle talk, and fault-finding. There are many Qur’anic verses and ahadeeth that give detailed descriptions of this topic such as: “Verily, Allah is with the patient.” [2: 153], “Speak fair to the people.” [2:83], “Kind words and covering of faults are better than charity followed by injury.” [2:263], “A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. He does not wrong him, nor insult him nor humiliate him.” (Muslim), and “The thing which will make the majority of people enter Paradise is fear of Allah and good manners.” (Tirmithi) These principles should be applied in conversations with children and teenagers as well as adults. It is probably even more important with young people because we are setting an example for them. What do we want our children to learn? We can not expect kindness and respect from our children if we are not being kind and respectful toward them.

4) Avoiding Contention.

The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “If a man gives up contention when he is in the wrong, a house will be built for him within the Garden of Paradise; but if a man gives up contention, even when he is in the right, a house will be built for him in the loftiest part of the Garden.” (Termithi) The value of this advice lies in the fact that contention and disputes lead to a breakdown in the relationship, even rancor, enmity, and hostility. I have worked with many families where this has occurred and it can be very difficult to mend the wounds that have been created and to bring family members back together. It goes without saying that it is best to completely avoid reaching this low level.

Let us all work to improve our style of communication and our relationships with each other. When our children feel that their parents understand them and are willing to listen to them, they will open up their hearts and trust will develop. Effective teaching and discipline cannot be implemented without a certain level of trust, understanding, and mutual respect. If you are concerned about your children in a non-Muslim environment and it is affecting the way you interact with them, the best you can do is teach and advise them, give them responsibility, trust them, and let them know that you care for them. We can then make du’a and rely upon Allah’s Grace and Assistance. This is our best weapon in a world of non-belief. May Allah help each of us to strengthen the ties that bind us together as a family and bring happiness and contentment to our homes.


Set aside some time each day to talk with your child. If you have more than one child, each should have their own equal, individual time.
Read books with your child about Islam that pertain to relationships with others and stories about the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhe wa sallam, and the companions, radiallaahu anhum. These will provide you with the necessary guidelines and inspiration.
Tape record one of your conversations and rate yourself or have other give you feedback. This is an effective method to determine your weak areas and to improve upon them.
Obtain advice from other parents when needed, especially those who have more experience. This may save time and avoid undue hardships and pain.

Advice to Mothers

1. Consider children a great bounty of Allah Ta’ala. Rejoice at their birth. Congratulate one another on their arrival. Welcome the children into this world with Du’aas of righteousness and blessings. Express your gratitude unto Allah Ta’ala for affording you the opportunity of nurturing a Muslim servant and also for allowing you to leave behind your worldly and religious successor. Make Du‘aa that Allah Ta’ala makes this child an addition to the Muslim Ummah as a Da’i (inviter to Islâm) and a true servant of the Deen.

2. If you don’t have any children, make Du‘â unto Allah Ta’ala for pious children just as Hadrat Zakariyya (alayhis salaam) made Du‘â . He entreated Allah Ta’ala in the following words:

Rabbî Hab Lî min Ladunka Zurriyatan-Tayyibah Innaka Sam‘îud-Duâ.

Trans: “O My Lord! Grant me from your side pleasant children for verily You are very attentive to the prayers (of everyone). [Maryam]

3. Don’t ever be disappointed on the birth of children. Due to financial restraints or health problems or due to any other reason, vigorously refrain from fretting and fuming, from regarding the child as an encumbrance or from belittling or cursing the child.

4. After the birth of the child, wash and clean him up and then call out the Azân in the right ear and Iqâmah in the left ear. There is great wisdom in ensuring that the names of Allah Ta’ala and His Rasulullah fall onto the child’s ears the moment he is born. ‘Allamah Ibnu Qayyim writes in his book Tohfatul-Wadood:
“The purpose of this is to ensure that words denoting the grandeur and greatness of Allah Ta’ala falls first onto the ears of the child. The Shahâdah (attestation) that would Physically admit him into Islâm later on, the words of the same Shahâdah are being dictated to him the day he is born just as the words of the Kalimah are dictated to him when he is breathing his last. Another benefit of calling out the Azân and Iqâmah is that Shaytân , who is just waiting to waylay a person and seeks to entangle a person with a snare of trials and tribulations from the moment he is born, flees the moment he hears the Azân . Before the beckoning of Shaytân , he is summoned to the call of Islâm and the devotion of Allah Ta’ala.”

5. If possible, after the Azân and Iqâmah , get a pious man or woman to chew a piece of date or anything sweet and place it onto the palate of the child and request the pious person to make Du‘â for the child.

6. Choose a suitable name for the child. Name the child after the prophets or the Sâhâbah or add the word ‘Abd to one of the names of Allah Ta’ala like ‘Abdullâh, ‘Abdur-Rahmân etc.

7. If out of ignorance you kept an offensive or unpleasant name, change it with another appropriate name.

8. Perform ‘Aqîqah on the seventh day. Slaughter two animals for a male and one for a female issue. However, slaughtering two animals for a male child is not necessary. Even one would suffice. Thereafter shave the child’s hair and give gold or silver equivalent to the weight of the hair in charity. (You may give cash as well.)

9. On the seventh day, circumcise on the male child. However, if this is not possible by the seventh day, get it done at least before he is seven years old. Khatnah (circumcision) is an Islâmic characteristic.

10. When the child starts talking, teach him the words of “Lâ ilâhâ IllAllah” first.

11. Feed the child with your own milk as well. This is a right of the child over the mother. Breastfeeding is one of the favours the Holy Qurân reminds the children about thereby emphasising the importance of showing kindness to the mother. The child naturally develops more love for the mother who breastfeeds him. Such children are generally more obedient and the mothers also have fewer complains about such children. Coupled with this, it is also the mother’s responsibility that with every drop of milk, she imparts the lesson of Tauhîd, the love of Rasulullah , the devotion to Dîn to the child and also that she endeavours to instil this love in his heart and soul. Do not lighten your burdens and relegate your responsibility onto the father’s shoulders but fulfil this pleasant religious obligation yourself and you will be blessed with spiritual tranquillity and joy. As far as possible, stay away from T‘awizes (amulets etc.) for the children. Instead of utilising T‘awîzes for them, teach them the Du’aas for various occasions. Recite verses of the Holy Qurân and blow on them yourself. Also inculcate in them the habit of reciting the Manzil and memorising the verses contained therein.

12. Refrain from intimidating the child. The anxiety he suffers in these developing years will affect his mind and soul for the rest of his lifetime. Generally, such children are not primed to accomplish any feat of merit. Also, don’t force the child to do anything when he is hungry.

13. Be particularly cautious about scolding, admonishing and rebuking the child for every trivial matter. Instead of showing disgust towards their deficiencies, with wisdom and enthusiasm, endeavour to rear them with love and affection. Nonetheless, your conduct with them should portray that you will not tolerate anything contrary to the Sharî‘ah.

14. Always treat your children with love, affection and warmth. As far as possible, attend to their needs and kindle their spirit of obedience. Avoid questioning the child about Why? When? and Who? Avoid questions like: “Why did you do this? Don’t you have any shame? When would you learn? I don’t know what to do with you!” Instead of admonishing the child in this manner, employ a positive stance. Rub your hand over his head and very affectionately explain that this is not what should be done. Etc. etc.

15. Show love and affection to the younger children. Rub your hands affectionately over their heads. Take them into your lap and love them. Your conduct with them should be one of cheerfulness and joviality. Don’t act like a stern and cruel ruler with them. Conducting yourself in this stern manner will fail to encourage any loving spirit in the hearts of the children for their parents. Also, the children will fail to develop any form of self-confidence and the harsh behaviour of their parents has an adverse effect on the natural nurturing of the child.

16. Expend all your energies in providing your children with decent education and wholesome upbringing. In pursuit of this objective, don’t be the least hesitant. This is your religious obligation, a great favour unto your children and a great act of goodwill unto yourself as well.

17. When the child reaches the age of seven, teach him about the performance of Salâh. Instruct him to observe this act of ‘Ibâdat. Make the girls perform the Salâh with you and send the boys to the Musjid with their father and develop the enthusiasm for the performance of Salâh. When they turn ten and they show any shortcoming in discharging this obligation, punish them appropriately. Let your actions and statements point out to them that you would not tolerate any form of carelessness in the discharge of this duty.

18. When they turn ten, separate their beds and make each one of them sleep on separate beds.

19. Always keep the children clean and tidy. Be very particular about their hygiene, bathing and cleanliness. Ensure that their clothes are clean and Pâk. However, abstain from excessive grooming and vanity. Keep the girls clothing simple as well. Don’t ruin the morals of the boys by making them wear flamboyant and gaudy clothing.

20. Avoid mentioning their faults in front of others. Be very cautious about putting the child to shame. At all costs, refrain from bruising his ego. Similarly, when one of them errs, don’t scold all of them. Advise the offender separately or take appropriate action against him alone.

21. In front of the children, don’t reveal your despair over their failure to rectify themselves. In fact, to boost their spirits, praise them wholeheartedly even over trivial achievements. Always try to encourage them and raise their spirit of self-confidence.

22. Relate to them the stories of the Prophets . Explain how they invited the non-Muslims to Islâm and what role their character played in attracting the infidels to Islâm. Also narrate to them incidents from the lives of the Sahâbah and other pious people. Regard such narration as crucial for their morals and for the development of their affiliation towards Dîn. In spite of your thousand and one other chores, take out a bit of time for this as well. May Allah Ta’ala assist you and all the other Muslim mothers.

23. Periodically, make the children distribute alms, food etc. to the poor with their on hands. This would promote a spirit of sympathy and generosity towards the poor. Now and again, allow them to distribute food, (sweets etc.) to their other siblings as well as this would engender a sense of recognising the rights of others and create a spirit of impartiality amongst them.

24. Do not comply with the child’s every whim and fancy. With tact and wisdom, try to dissuade the child from this habit. Employ a bit of harshness now and again. Don’t turn them into obstinate and adamant children by showering them with misplaced love.

25. Avoid speaking in harsh tones. Avoid yelling and shrieking and advise the children to speak in a moderate and gentle tone as well. Also stress upon them to avoid shouting and yelling at one another.

26. Develop amongst them the habit of doing everything by themselves. They should avoid depending on the servants for every little thing.

27. If there is a squabble amongst children, don’t side with your child unfairly. Remember, just as you cherish certain feelings in favour of your child, other parents also cherish the same feelings in favour of their children. Also, don’t allow the complaints of your sister-in-law’s children or the complaints of the neighbours to reach your husband.

28. Always be impartial to all your children. Be very cautious and refrain from showing favouritism at all costs. If you have a greater inclination to one of your children you are excused but as far as your conduct, behaviour and dealings are concerned, you should be impartial and fair to each one of them.

29. Always be an excellent example to your children. You are unto your children a perpetual and silent teacher who is always studied and scrutinised by the children. Even in jest, do not speak lies before your children.

30. Be cheerful on the birth of a daughter just as you are cheerful on the birth of a son. Girls or boys, both are blessings of Allah Ta’ala. Allah alone knows which is best for you; a boy or a girl. Similarly, don’t express displeasure when one of your sister’s-in-law gives birth to a girl child. Also don’t pressure your sister-in-law or your brother’s in laws to give gifts etc. on this occasion, thereby attracting their curses. Forcing others to give presents renders one guilty of accepting or partaking of Harâm wealth. It appears in the Hadîth that Rasulullah said: “Behold! The wealth of a person is not Halâl except with the happiness of the heart.” [Mishkât Page 255 Hadîth 8] May Allah Ta’ala protect us all from Harâm gifts.

31. Bring up your daughters with heartfelt joy, devout happiness, and a sense of religious spirit. In compensation of this, cherish the hope of Jannah from Allah Ta’ala.

32. Do not regard the female child as inferior to the male and do not give him preference over her. Expose the same love for both of them and conduct yourself impartially with both of them.

33. With enthusiasm and care, ensure that you give the girls their fixed share of a deceased’s estate. Also, be specific in your will about depriving the daughters of their share of the inheritance. Make sure you study books on this subject like Tarîqa-e-Wasiyyat and Ahkâm-e-Mayyit.

34. The ideal mother is she who instils the honour and esteem of her husband into the hearts of her children. She explains in various ways the status he commands as a leader and chief of the household. For instance, when something crops up, she responds by saying: “We’ll ask your father when he returns. We’ll do it if he agrees otherwise not because there is always good in obeying him. Allah Ta’ala is also pleased. Dad is the leader of the household. Obedience to the leader in permissible matters removes a number of calamities and this also attracts the mercy of Allah Ta’ala.” Etc. etc.

35. Similarly, the ideal mother is she who refrains from arguing and quarrelling with her husband in front of her children. In spite of the most detestable behaviour of her husband, she exercises patience in front of them and submits to the husband: “Yes, I was at fault, I am sorry. This won’t happen in the future.” Then when she is alone with him, she explains the proper situation to him and that she didn’t say anything at that time because of the children. Similarly, the ideal mother is she who refrains from giving the husband and children any sad news the moment they come home. She does not pounce on them with a volley of questions nor does she criticise them on any of their shortcomings the moment they step foot into the house. Instead, she greets them with Salâm, feeds them properly and then she says what has to be said.

36. The ideal mother is she who tries to maintain between two children an appropriate gap that allows the first one to complete breastfeeding and become a bit self-sufficient and also it affords the mother to overcome her weakness she suffered due to childbirth and breastfeeding. This gives her the opportunity to lighten her shoulders from the turmoil of a very young child. Now when she has no other valid Shar‘î excuse, she prepares herself for the next child so that each one of them can be brought up correctly and each one is awarded individual attention. This gap also offers her the opportunity to offer each child her individual attention and also it also allows her to recuperate after the weakness of childbirth, breastfeeding etc. Also, this gap ensures that the milk she is presently feeding is not adversely affected by another pregnancy. Therefore, it is recommended that the couple employ temporary measures of birth control and maintain a reasonable gap between their children. In fact, in view of the health of the mother or the child or on grounds of compelling reasons, after consulting with the Muftîs, she may even maintain a longer gap provided her intentions are not warped.

37. The ideal mother is she who honours her husband’s as well as her own mother in a manner pleasing unto Allah Ta’ala and this in turn engenders the same graciousness, Dînî spirit and honour amongst her children as well. She who happens to be a “coolness unto the eyes” of her mother and the husband’s mother, her children will also be a “coolness unto her eyes”.

38. The ideal mother is she who practises upon the advices proffered in this book and endeavours to instil these attributes into her Muslim sisters as well. She also encourages her Muslim sisters to read this book and books like Tohfa-e-Khawâtîn, Tohfa-e-Dulhan, Fadâil-e-A‘amâl, Fadâil-e-Sadaqât. She also makes Du‘â for the compiler of this book and the people who have assisted in its publication and also for those men and women engaged in the effort of Dîn.

39. Do not keep two daughters-in-law of conflicting temperament together. Ensure that you don’t get two of your sons married at the same time. If you have to do this, ensure that they stay separately. This arrangement encompasses a number of benefits and advantages to all parties concerned. For further information on this topic, read the book Tohfa-e-Dulhâ under the chapter “advices to the parents of the groom”.

40. When your daughter reaches the age of seven, bring her up in such a manner that she avoids shaking hands with men and she covers all her hair when she steps out of the home. Also, from an early age, develop the habit of making her wear long tops and (cotton) pants so that her legs remain covered at all times.

41. Together with the aforementioned strategies, make Du’aas for your children with ardent zeal and enthusiasm. Also abstain from the disobedience of Allah Ta’ala and restrain others from the same. It is hoped that Allah Ta’ala would not thrust aside the sincere Du’aas emanating from the depths of the parent’s hearts.


Why do You Always go Crying to Your Mum?

By Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera

In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth.

In life, it is quite natural that things don’t always necessarily go the way we want them to. Life is full of difficulties, challenges and obstacles. What defines whether a person will be successful in this life is the knowledge of how to deal with these problems in a correct and wise way. This is what our religion teaches us – belief in Allah and the firm acceptance that He is our Lord and Sustainer helps us to rise above our self-centred natures as we have a higher authority to invoke, to please, to seek support from and from whom we receive rewards in this life and the next. A believer’s trust in Allah makes him understand that despite all the apparent negativities that may surround him at any point in his life, if he continues to do the right thing in the right way, that is according to deen, then Allah will help him and guide him towards a better end, as Allah is the Wise, the All-knowing.

Complaining about our spouses

Many of us may have witnessed within our own family or elsewhere a married couple experiencing problems with each other – a few months into the marriage when the romantic period, where everything seemed to smell of roses, is gone, the defects of the spouse begin to become apparent. Each begins to see shortcomings in the other that they hadn’t noticed thus far and may even begin to regret having married his/her partner. So the first thing they do, particularly so for women, is that they call their mother. Mothers will quite naturally be partial to their own son or daughter. This is the reality and mothers are not to be blamed for that, it’s just the way they are (and may Allah bless them for it as the positive aspect of this is truly beneficial for us). Even supposedly ‘tough’ fathers are sometimes guilty of this favouritism too!

In a related story, it is mentioned that there was a woman who called her mother every single time she had a problem with her husband. While her mother would normally listen to her complaints and both would engage in a back-biting session, on one occasion the woman was surprised to hear a different answer from her mother. She asked her: “Have you prayed to Allah first to resolve your matter?” The daughter was very surprised as her mother had never asked anything like this before. She continued: “Look my girl. I love you a lot, but I think it’s unfair for us to keep talking about your husband like this.” The daughter was dumbstruck. She was completely caught by surprise by the response, because this was the same mother who had always listened attentively to her and supported her, who would suggest retorts to the husband and who had blindly taken her side in every situation. Surprising as it may have been to the daughter, the mother had become aware of the fact that supporting her daughter in back-biting the son-in-law was not helping the situation in any way. The mother then explained: “You and your husband have a very special relationship, which I don’t have with your husband. Whatever happens between the two of you, it’s much easier for you to resolve it amongst yourselves, to overlook and to be patient and forgive each other. I’m looking at the situation as a third party, with emotional attachments to you alone and not to him, so I don’t want you to call me anymore about this problem.” The words of the mother hit home and the daughter understood that it was her own responsibility to deal with her issues. Soon Allah most High gave her the wisdom to approach them herself and the problems were soon resolved between husband and wife. This mother had some wisdom in what she said to her daughter. Many parents are not like this and will continue to carelessly engage in back-biting to support their children. If our parents speak ill of our spouses, even if they are perfect for us, we will also inevitably begin to think ill of them. Although it is very difficult, we must be able to politely tell our parents that what they expect and what we expect from our spouses may not be the same thing and that nothing more needs to be said.

Emotional blackmail

Another common problem between spouses that can be extremely detrimental for relationships is the concept of ‘emotional blackmail’. When tensions rise, the husband can be quick to say, “I’ll divorce you!” and the wife may be even quicker to respond, “Give me a divorce then! If you don’t like me, why don’t you really do it?” Although in most cases they don’t really mean what they are saying at all, but are simply in a state of heightened emotion and getting carried away, spouses may say things like this to each other. In some extreme cases, these sorts of outbursts even lead to actual divorces, despite the fact that they didn’t really mean any of it when the argument started. We must understand that the words we utter from our mouths can have a significant impact on our lives, whether we consider them seriously or not. So important an issue is the impact of words that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) used to change the names of people who had names carrying bad meanings, replacing them with pleasant ones. On one such occasion he came across a man who was called Hazn, meaning ‘the aggrieved one’, and so changed his name to Sahl, meaning ‘easy-going’.

Just as names and the words we utter have an impact on us, so too must we realise that if we keep saying bad things to each other, whether we actually mean them or not, then Shaytan will seize that opportunity to create discord between two people, especially spouses. Sometimes people are simply not in the right state of mind to consider things calmly: the husband may have had a rough day at work, struggled through terrible traffic and when he arrives home he may be stressed, hungry, tired and frustrated. Similarly, the wife may have had a particularly tiring day at home, with the children playing up or just feeling the mental drain of no adult company all day. So in those moments it is especially important to reflect on how we should greet each other, what we say to each other and the way we say it as well.

Fostering Love

We must be able to admit that we all make mistakes and sometimes behave with each other in ways we shouldn’t. But even when we realise that we have made a mistake in our behaviour, our arrogance keeps us from going to our partner and saying salaam, from making peace. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “The one who says salaam first, is free from arrogance” (Bayhaqi). This arrogance is the very thing that keeps us from reconciling – we carry a false notion that if we admit our own fault, our spouse will always try to take advantage over us. In reality, admitting the mistake to the wife or husband will most likely make love increase. The practice of admitting mistakes and reconciling with our partner will increase the probability that they will also return the favour when a mistake is made by him or her. Saying kind words, bringing gifts, being the first one to say salaam, asking about how each other’s days have been and overall trying to make the other understand that we really care; these are the things that ‘score points’ with our spouse. We have to make an active effort to do these kinds of things and we must be aware of what our spouses need. Men and women are not the same and will appreciate different things. Women may feel cared for through gifts while a man presented with the same gift would find it an insult to his manhood! A man may simply crave his wife’s womanly attention and care. At the end of the day, the more points a couple can score with each other the happier and more romantic their relationship will be.

Many men think that as soon as children arrive they become more important than their wives. In the example of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and the Companions, the focus of love is on the relationship between spouses, not between parents and children. The parent-child relationship should be more focussed on tarbiya, that is bringing up children with sound moral and social values. Researchers are now saying that the wife should have more priority in the eyes of her husband than the children, due to the fact that a happy and loving relationship between husband and wife in a family means they are more likely to be on the same page when it comes to this tarbiya and raising their children. Otherwise, if there is a dispute between the two of them, it is sadly often seen that out of spite for the other the wife or husband will sometimes allow the children to do things that the other one doesn’t approve of! Thus the children become tools by which the spouses poke at each other in their dispute. It can easily be seen the kinds of values these children will grow up with. If the husband and wife both make each other their first priority, these issues should not arise and they are more likely to have a healthier and happier household.

Dealing with differences

As human beings we are all created with unique personalities, and thus it is expected that our mentalities will not always be on the same wavelength as our partners’. As time goes on and the marital relationship becomes more mature, the husband and wife may both come across many issues on which they don’t think the same way and this is perfectly normal! These differences shouldn’t have to cause any problems in the marriage unless the husband or the wife, or both, state blatantly that they are not on the same page. Such a statement can generally prove to be very detrimental as it indicates to the other person that “we are different” or “we should not be together.” In cases of difference in opinion, being outspoken without considering the emotions of the other can be extremely detrimental to the relationship. Instead, both should assess the situation and try to find out what makes his or her partner think differently and thus come to a compromising middle point.

From the very initial stages of marriage we should always be considering these sorts of issues to allow us to build a good relationship in the long run. Rather than allowing anything to escape our lips in a fit of rage, we should consider the implications that our words will carry in the future and how these words will impact the relationship. It’s unfortunate that so many couples have overlooked these problems and year after year they have had to endure a terrible relationship with their partner. It may come to a point where they completely give up hope on making things better and learn to live in dispute forever! Imagine the message that this gives to the children of such a family. Children will learn the secrets to living a happy life from their parents. Where else will they learn it from? All that is shown on television are the sensationalist dramas that represent to them the worst kinds of family disputes: disloyalty, unfaithfulness, infidelity, abuse. These are what make the TV shows juicy but sadly they are only reflections of what a child may be seeing in their own household between their very own parents.

Seeking help

At this point, whether our marriage is in its early stages or further ahead down the line, we must understand that having problems in a relationship is normal but we must not let it stay in that state for long – active steps must be taken to make our relationships better. The first thing one can do is to contact someone who can help. It doesn’t matter if it has already been 20 years. This someone can be an Islamic scholar with whom you have a good relationship and you have confidence in the soundness of his Islamic knowledge and practice; it can be an uncle or an aunt who understands you and can give good advice; or it can even be a dear friend. This is where good social relationships can come to our assistance. Identify the cause of the problem and ask someone to help in solving it. These problems may sometimes be caused by certain personality traits, or a specific issue such as jealousy, arrogance, or lust for certain haram things etc. There are specific adhkar and other a’mal that can help in such cases and help us to get rid of these problems. The key here is making the intention to seek out our own flaws, find solutions for them and then to take proper actions. If a doctor gives us medicine for a problem that we’ve had for a long time, then we must expect to spend some time and effort to follow the prescription of the doctor properly to get rid of the long-standing disease. Similarly, when an Islamic Scholar, a Shaykh, gives us a spiritual prescription to solve the issues in our family life that we may have had for years, we also must be careful and diligent and expect to spend some time in following those guidelines to rid us of our problem.

Our deen is an all-encompassing lifestyle. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) dealt with all of these kinds of issues and has left a perfect example for us to follow. We should never hesitate to ask for help and guidance from others and must make continuous and abundant du’a to Allah most High. We should establish relationships with the respected ‘ulama, so that we can turn to them when we need assistance. Good relationships with family and friends are extremely beneficial for helping to resolve household disputes should they arise, so we should always maintain good ties with the people around us. Islam is a social religion and we are social beings —we have not been enjoined with hermitic life, or with an existence living alone, angry with everyone else. It is mentioned in a hadith that the believer is a place of affection: there is no good in the one who is not affectionate and interacting well with others and people do not interact well with him (see Musnad Ahmad). Thus good social interaction can take us to great heights. We must commit to identify the root of the problems we face in our relationships, seeking help from Allah. We should act upon wise counsel with determination and strive to build a strong relationship with our spouse which inshaAllah will in turn ensure the sound upbringing and nurturing of our children.

Transcribed by Mohammad Asif ul Haq

 Edited by Mirina Paananen

Help Me Respect You Mum

I adore you mum! So please help me fulfil your rights by fulfilling mine. Respecting my wife makes it much easier for us to respect you.

I love you my wife! So help me fulfil your rights by fulfilling mine. Respecting my mother makes it much easier for me to respect you.

Happily ever after.
Mufti Ismail Menk

Quality Time with Dad

This article presents the current relationship between a father and a child in this fast paced and time constraint society and provides many practical advises on how to improve this relationship to benefit the whole family.

It has been estimated that working fathers spend about 3 minutes a day with their children.

Fathers who abandon their families, fathers who rarely see their children because of divorce, and fathers who are busy and have very little or nothing to do with the raising of their children are common.

Dad gets up early, takes the long drive to work, gets off late, takes the long drive home, and gets home very tired. He just wants to have dinner, relax a little, and go to bed so that he can repeat the same routine the next day. Every now and then, he tells himself that he will spend more time with his children tomorrow.

But Muslims aren’t like that, you say.
How much time do you spend with your children in the day? Not just in the same house, but together — really together.

A popular American song by Harry Chapin tells the sad story of a boy who always tries to spend time with his father, but always finds him too busy. When the boy grows up and the father gets older, the father always wants to spend time with his son, but his son always has other things to do.

Quality time spent between a father and his children is essential for both the parent and the children. The children need to know that their father loves and cares for them, and the father needs to be careful that he doesn’t lose his relationship with his children by neglect.

Tips to Improve Father-Child Relationship
There are several ways a father can spend quality time with his children and develop a relationship with them. Even if he is extremely busy, he can probably free up enough time to do some of these things.

Show your children in simple ways that you love them. Some fathers try to appeal to their children by showering them with gifts rather than giving of themselves. This may cause more harm than good. The simple example of Prophet Muhammad is much better, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. When his daughter Fatima (May Allah be pleased with her) would come to him, the Prophet used to stand up, kiss her, take her hand, and give her his seat. Later in life, this personal type of affection will be much more memorable to children than receiving a gift that anyone could have given them.

Tell or read your
children stories on some nights before bed.
There are lots of excellent Islamic stories and books available that you can use, or you can make up your own. At the same time, you will be helping your children develop Islamic character.  A twist on this idea is to ask your children to make up stories to tell you.

Play with your children sometimes.
You could play ball, color pictures, build toy houses from blocks, or do whatever they like.

Let your children help you with simple tasks.
Allow them to help you carry in the groceries, make dinner, or mow the yard. Children often get great joy from doing things that adults consider work.

Take the family to for a picnic.
Spend time with your children playing Frisbee, passing a ball, or pushing them in the swings. Your children will cherish this special time together as a family.

Help your children with their homework.
Show them that you are truly interested in their education and life by asking them what they did in school and looking at their books, projects, and assignments with them.

Have at least two meals a week as a family.

Use driving time with your children.
Don’t just turn on the news and forget your children when they are in the car with you. Talk or joke with them, or sing Islamic songs together.

Give your small children a bath sometimes.
Usually, mothers bathe the children, but bath time is an excellent opportunity for fathers to be with their kids. Let them splash around and play a little more than mom does.

Teach your children
to make wudu and pray with you.
If at home, praying together as a family Jamat is better than praying alone. Children love to call azan. Make the youngest one the salat manager at home, taking care of prayer rugs, timing, and inviting everyone to salat.

Take your
children to the masjid with you.
This is an excellent way for you to build a relationship with them as both a father and a Muslim.

Be available for your children, and let them know that you are there for anything they want to discuss.
If you are not available to talk to your children, somebody else probably will be, and it may be the wrong kind of person. A good way of getting to know your children better as individuals is to take them out one at a time for eating, conversation, or some other event.

Practice talking with your child, not at him.
Since the father often takes the main responsibility for disciplining the children, it is very easy for fathers to merely become order-givers rather than parents and companions of their children. Spend some time listening, rather than talking.

We only have one chance to be with our kids before they grow up. If we want them to love us and respect us when we are old, we have to build those relationships while they are young.

Fathers usually don’t have the time to devote to their children that mothers do. But if we make the little time we have with our children quality time, we still might be able to build enduring relationships with them before it’s too late.

By Ibrahim Bowers

Nurturing Marital Love

Since marital love is prone to sickness and even death, it is imperative for couples to constantly work to revitalize and preserve it.

Husbands and wives must do the following:

1. They have to get in the habit of saying things that are positive, like offering compliments and like making little prayers for each other.

A husband could say to his wife: “If I were sent back to the days of my youth, I would not choose for a wife anyone besides you.” Of course, the wife can easily say something similar to her husband.

Affectionate words have an effect, especially on women. They have, indeed, often been the weapons used by unscrupulous men to gain access to what is not theirs.

Sweet words arouse a woman’s heart. A husband should take care to say them to his wife before someone else does.

2. Husbands and wives have to get into the habit of doing those little things that mean so much. If a man comes home to find his wife asleep, he can cover her and tuck her into bed.

A husband can give his wife a call from work just to say hello and to let her know that he is thinking about her.

If a wife finds that her husband has fallen asleep, she can give him a little kiss on the forehead, even if she thinks that he will not be aware of it. Indeed, on some level his senses are working even though he is asleep and he may very well be aware of it.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized the value of these little things, “…even the morsel of food that you place in your wife’s mouth…” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

It may very well be that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was alluding to the expenditure of a man for his wife’s needs. Nonetheless, the Prophet (peace be upon him) chose to express it in the way he did for a reason. Most importantly, this is the way the Prophet peace be upon him) conducted himself with his family.

This type of behavior is governed by the tastes of the people involved. It may take some getting used to, but it really does not take a lot of effort.

A person who is not accustomed to such things may feel embarrassed just hearing about them and may prefer to leave matters the way they are rather than try to change his behavior and do things that he might see as ridiculous.

Still, we must be willing introduce new habits into our lives if we do not want our problems to go on forever.

3. The husband and wife must set aside time to talk to each other. They should talk about the past; reminisce about the good times. Talking about them keeps them fresh in our minds as if they had happened only yesterday. They should talk about the future and share their hopes and their plans. They should also talk about the present, both the good and bad of it, and discuss different ways to solve their problems.

4. Keeping close physical contact is good for the relationship. This is not just for times of intimacy, but at all times, like when sitting in the lounge or walking down the street. This is regardless of the fact that there are still men in our society who are ashamed to have people see them walking in public with their wives at their sides.

5. Emotional support should be guaranteed whenever it is required. When the wife is pregnant or on her monthly period, she may need her husband to lend her a little moral support. He should take her mental state into consideration. Medical experts attest to the fact that when women go through pregnancy, menstruation, or postpartum bleeding, they suffer from psychological stress that can aversely affect their behavior. It is at times like these that a woman needs her husband’s support. She needs him to let her know how much she means to him and how much he needs her in his life.

Likewise, the husband might fall ill or come under a lot of difficulties. The wife must take these things into consideration. If people want their relationship to last, they must let each other feel that support.

6. There have to be some material expressions of love. Gifts should be given, sometimes without there being any occasion for it, since a pleasant surprise is always welcome. A good gift is one that expresses feelings of affection. It does not have to be expensive, but it has to be appropriate for the other’s tastes and personality; something that will be cherished.

7. The husband and wife have to learn how to be more tolerant of each other and overlook one another’s shortcomings. It should become a habit to forget about the little mistakes of daily life and not even bring them up. Silence in these trivialities is a sign of noble character.

A woman said to Aishah: “When my husband comes home, he becomes like a cat. When he goes out, he becomes like a lion. He does not ask about what might have happened.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

Ibn Hajar explains her words as follows:

They might mean that he is very generous and tolerant. He does no make a big fuss about what goes missing of his wealth. If he brings something for the house, he dies not enquire about it later on. He does not make an issue of the shortcomings that he might see at home but instead is clement and tolerant.

It is wrong to go overboard in considering the faults of others but when it comes to ourselves, keep a running account of all our good qualities.

There is a tradition that goes: “One of you sees the dust in his brother’s eyes and forgets about the dirt in his own.”

8. A husband and wife must come to an understanding when it comes to matters of mutual concern, like the raising of children, work, travel, expenses, and problems that might pose a threat to the marital relationship.

9. Husbands and wives need to do things to liven up their relationship. Each one of them can read a book or listen to a cassette that might give them some ideas on how they can revitalize their marital life and bring more meaning to it. They can vary their habits when it comes to relaxing together, dining, taking refreshments, decorating their home, and in relating to each other both openly and intimately. These are the things that keep up the excitement and interest in a relationship.

10. The relationship must be protected from negative influences that can harm it. One of the worst of these is the habit of comparing one’s spouse to others. Many men tend to compare their wives to those of other men. Some even compare them with the faces they see in magazines and on television. Women also compare their husbands with other women’s husbands in things like wealth, looks, and how many times he takes her out. All of this makes people feel bad and insufficient and it can ruin the marital relationship.

If we must compare ourselves to others, we should do so with those who have less going for them than ourselves. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Look towards those who are beneath you and do not look towards those who are above you. This is better so that you do not belittle Allah’s blessings.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

We must accustom ourselves to living in the real world and to finding contentment in what Allah has decreed for us. We should not look longingly at what others have been given. Whatever little that we have will be a lot if we utilize it well.

It is quite possible that many who speak about their marital bliss and go on boasting about their husbands and wives are untruthful in what they say. They just like to brag.

The grass often does seem greener on the other side, but only because we are not looking at it up close.

By Salmaan ibn Fahd al-‘Awdah

After Divorce

Whilst divorce may release one from oppression, it is used as a door for a different oppression by some.

It requires true piety & great character to fulfil one another’s rights after divorce.

Trying to show who is more powerful, who was right or being bitter about how the marriage ended, spreading rumour & insult results in great loss & silent suffering of the perpetrators & at times the innocent children.

Children take to all sorts of regretful habits because of their inability to deal with warring parents in any other way.

Mufti Ismail Menk

Manners for Young Children

1. Teach children to use the right hand for eating, drinking, giving and taking. To eat and drink while sitting, and to stay, ‘Bismillah’ before eating and, ‘Alhamdulillah’ after finishing.

2. Teach children hygienic etiquette, to clip fingernails and toe nails, and to wash hands before and after eating.

3. Teach them how to clean themselves after using the toilet and how to keep urine off their clothes.

4. Correct their mistakes kindly and privately without scolding them.

5. Instruct them to listen to the Adhaan quietely and repeat the words of Adhaan after the Muadhin, then to ask Allah to exalt the mention of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] and supplicate the following,

‘O Allah, the Rabb (Lord) of this complete invitation, and the ready prayer, grant Muhammad the means and the virtue, and raise him to a praised rank which You have promised him.’

6. Assign each of them a separate bed, if possible, otherwise a separate cover. It is most preferable to have a room for girls and another for boys.

7. Instruct them to remove harmful objects off the road and not to throw litter on it.

8. Warn against bad company and against loitering.

9. Greet children with Assalaamu alaykum at home, in school, and in public.

10. Instruct children to be kind to neighbours and to be helpful to them, and avoid bothering or disturbing them.

11. Instruct them to be courteous to guests and to treat them with generosity.

The rule of Music and Singing

It is the duty of the educators to warn children against listening to music and singing. Allah states, ‘And of men who take idle talk to lead men away from the path of Allah without knowledge, and make fun of it. For such there will be humiliating punishment.’ (31:6)

Most scholars are agreed that idle talk is nothing but singing. Ibn Mas’ood [radhiallaahu anhu] said the same. Allah also addressed Satan saying, ‘And excite whoever you can with your sound.’ (17:64)

The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, ‘There will be from my Ummah those who will deem as lawful; fonircation, silk (for Muslim males), liquor and music.’

The great scholar Mujahid and others said, ‘The sound of Satan is music and singing.’

Singing of Today

Most, if not all, of the singing today talks about love, voluptuous desires, kissing and details of a woman’s body and other sexual connotations, things that excite the youth and incite them to establish illicit relations.

The best way to combat the habit of listening to music is reading the Qur’aan and the rememberance of Allah, and reading the Seerah or the biography of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam].

Obedience to Parents

If you want to attain success in both worlds, then you should apply the following advice:

1. Speak politely to your parents and humble yourself before them and be kind to them, and never scold them nor express a word of disgust to them.

2. Obey your parents as long as no disobedience to Allah is involved.

3. Never frown at them, nor give them an angry look.

4. Honour them and guard their reputation and their property. Never take anything from them without permission.

5. Do what pleases them, and help them out even without their asking for your help.

6. Consult them in your own affairs, and apologise to them if you fail to do so.

7. Respond to them quickly and with a smile and when they call you.

8. Treat with courtesy your parents’ friends and relatives during their life and life after their death.

9. Never argue with them, nor blame them and if they err, show them politely their error.

10. Never speak to them with loud voice, and listen politely to them.

11. Help around the house, and offer help to your father at his work.

12. Do not travel without their permission, and if you do, keep in touch with them.

13. Never enter their bedroom before knocking and receiving permission to enter.

14. Never offend them by any bad habit that you may have.

15. Never start eating before they do.

16. Never give your wife or children priority over them. Seek their pleasure, for doing so secures the pleasure of Allah.

17. Do not sit on a place higher than theirs.

18. If you maintain them, never be niggardly towards them. The way you treat them, your children will treat you.

19. The most deserving of your kindness is your mother, then your father, and know that Jannah lies under the feet of mothers.

20. Never be disobedient to your parents, for this is the case of misery in both worlds.

21. Ask your parents to supplicate in your favour, because Allah responds to their Du’aa for you or against you.

22. Supplicate frequently for them, and ask Allah’s forgiveness for them.

23. Never cause anyone to curse them. The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] explained this by saying, ‘When a man curses another, the other would curse the man’s father. So beware of this horrible sin.’

24. Remember whatever good deeds you do or accomplish, your parents will benefit from it after their death. And remember too that the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, ‘You and your property belong to your father’.

Guidelines for Raising Children
Abdul Rahman Abdullah Manderolla

[Source: Madrasa In’aamiyyah]