Do Not Neglect Your Spouse by Mufti Ismail Menk
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful
Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an:
“And live with [them] in a beautiful manner. If you are then displeased with them, [then know] perhaps you dislike something which Allah has created abundant goodness in it (al-Qur’an 4:19 ).
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
The believer with the most perfect faith is the one who has best character and the one who is kindest to his wife (Sahih Muslim).
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
The believer should not harbor hatred towards his wife. If he dislikes something in her, then surely he will be pleased with another quality in her (Sahih Muslim).
Shaykh Asharaf Ali Thanwi said, commenting on the above verse:
“Brothers! when Allah has ordained these rights for women, then who can change them.
If a man fails to fulfill these rights, he will be guilty of not upholding the rights of the creation. Man should ponder over how Allah has interceded on behalf of women in the above verse.
While there may be many reasons for being displeased with one’s wife, the main reason is usually bad character—this becomes a source of grief for the husband.
Nevertheless, Allah has promised that even this bad character can become a means of attaining goodness—for He is All-wise and capable of doing anything. For example, she could bear you children who become the means of your salvation come qiyamah. Just ponder over how clearly the rights of women are emphasized in the above Qur’anic verse.”
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
The best of you is the one best to his wife. I am the best among you to his wife (Tirmidhi, Darimi).
‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) relates that a desert Arab came to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and remarked:
“Do you kiss your children, for we do not?” The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “What can I do if Allah has taken mercy out of your heart?” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Anas (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
“Whoever brings up and nurtures two young girls until they reach maturity will appear on the Day of Judgment in a state that he and I will be like this (and he joined his fingers together).” [(Sahih Muslim)]
It is easy to gauge from here how Islam has granted so many incentives upon actions necessary for the upkeep of society.
The Spiritual Care of One’s Family
Furthermore, just as it is necessary and rewarding to see to the physical and monetary needs of one’s family it is even more important and rewarding to see to their spiritual (ruhani) development.
Allah says in the Glorious Qur’an:
“O people of faith, save yourself and your families from the Hellfire.” (al-Qur’an66:6)
Likewise, the rewards for a women are also many if she interacts well with her husband.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said in a hadith narrated by Umm Salama (Allah be pleased with him):
“Any woman who dies with her husband pleased with her shall enter Paradise .” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said in a hadith narrated by Anas radhiyallahu anhu:
“If a women performs her five prayers, fasts the month of Ramadan, protects herself from immorality, and is obedient to her husband, she will enter into Paradise from any door she desires.” (Hilya)
It is greatly rewarding to treat all the creation of Allah with gentleness and kindness. This reward (along with the responsibility) only increases when their is kinship and closeness. This makes the person into a complete believer, and he is rewarded in this life and the Hereafter.
Much of the above information was gleaned from Ashraf’s Advice on Marriage available from www.al-rashad.com and the Mishkat al-Masabih, the great hadith collection by ‘Allama Tabrizi in Arabic.
This is just a sample of what rich heritage we have been left by our pious predecessors. Other marriage books and relevant chapters in hadith works like the Riyad al-Salihin (translated) and the al-Adab al-Mufrad by Imam Bukhari (translated) can be consulted for more information.
Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf
As the days come to closer to one’s marriage, excitement, ecstasy and elation pump through the bride and groom. The build up to marriage is an experience of thrill and jubilation. When the marriage is solemnised, one’s happiness and delight is on the verge of brimming and tipping over. When the newlywed couple meet for the first time, words cannot describe the sweetness of the bliss, serenity, pleasure and elation tasted by the two.
If every day of the marriage can mirror the first day of marriage, and every night reflect the first night of marriage, then the marriage will be a euphoric experience on this world.
The gentleness, passion, love, tenderness displayed on the first day and night of the marriage should be portrayed throughout one’s life.
The first couple of months are always a ‘honeymoon’. Once the couple settle down, then reality begins. Many couples fail at this point. The husband gets engrossed in his job. He comes home tired and late, feeling hungry and tired. He demands for the food and feels lazy to do anything. He eats, puts the dirty plates in the sink and lies down on the sofa. He might awaken to perform salāh if he is conscious of salāh. Otherwise, he wakes up later on towards the night, phones a few friends, watches TV and keeps ordering the wife to get him x and y. When it is time to sleep, the husband if he is feeling in a good mood he will have relations with his wife-but only to satisfy his needs. Once he is fulfilled, he stops and drops off to sleep. Whether the wife is satisfied or not does not even cross his mind. This becomes the routine of his life.
The wife on the other hand, she initially tries to please her husband. She slowly loses her enthusiasm as she does not receive enough attention from her husband. She cooks to please her husband. She will put effort into her food. She will try and perfect every detail in the food. The presentation, ingredients and spices are put meticulously so they complement each other. After a while she begins to tire from this as the husband does not comment or he criticises her food. As soon as the husband goes to work, she is on the phone to her associates. She cooks, watches TV, cleans the house and enjoys her day before her husband comes home. Once the husband comes, she becomes a slave again.
This style of marriage where there is no affection shown, no real emotion transmitted from one party to the other is heading towards destruction.
The husband needs to implement the romance the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam displayed. We consider Romeo to be romantic but not the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam. If I was to say the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam was the most romantic individual, I would not be lying. Looking attentively to the biography of the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam, you will find that he was extending a great deal of respect to his wives and was displaying high attention, care and love toward them.
He was the best example for the ideal manners toward the wife. He was comforting for his wives, wiping their tears, respecting their emotions, hearing their words, caring for their complaints, alleviating their sadness, going in picnics with them, racing with them, bearing their abandonment, discussing matters with them, keeping their dignity, supporting them in emergencies, declaring his love to them and was very happy with such love.
The husband and wife have to bond with one another psychologically, physically and spiritually. Here are some attractive examples and points we need to adopt to achieve a marriage of romance:
1. Know their feelings
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam was telling Sayyidah Aisha radiallahu anha : “I know well when you are pleased or angry with me. Aisha replied: How you know that? He said: When you are pleased with me you swear by saying “By the God of Mohammad” but when you are angry you swear by saying “By the God of Ibrahim”. She said: You are right, I don’t mention your name.”[i]
The husband and wife should be aware of each other’s feelings. The husband should be able to gauge when his wife is upset or sad, likewise the wife should be able to read her husband’s behaviour. By being conscious of one another’s feelings, it will help in resolving any differences. When your spouse is down or upset, be there to console him/her. Sit with them, speak with them, listen to them. Try and make them smile. If the husband is always conscious of his wife’s feelings, and the wife is always conscious of the husband’s feelings, then this will assist greatly in keeping the ‘flicker’ alight.
2. Console her
Sayyidah Safiyah radiallahu anha was on a journey with the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam. She was late so the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam received her while she was crying. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam wiped her tears with his own hands and tried his utmost to calm her down. [ii]
This is another feature a marriage must have. Each spouse has to be there for the other in the good and bad times. The wife should find comfort and solace in the husband and the husband should find warmth and love in his wife. Be gentle with one another.
3. Laying in the wife’s lap
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would recline in the lap of our beloved mother Sayyidah Aisha radaillahu anha even in the state when she would be menstruating. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would recite the Qur῾ān whilst reclining in his wife’s lap.[iii]
How many times have we rested in the lap of our spouse? These gestures may seem trivial but they are the acts which bring the hearts close. The wife can sense and see the love of her husband for her in such actions. Every so often come home and just go and rest in the lap of your wife. She will appreciate this gesture greatly.
4. Combing the spouse’s hair:
Aisha radiallahu anha would comb the hair of the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam and wash his hair.
This is how close a couple has to be. Love evolves and grows to such an extent that a spouse yearns to do everything for the other spouse even if it simply combing their hair. To maintain a high intensity of love, do the little things for your spouse also. Little acts have a huge psychological impact on the mind of the spouse. Seldom comb their hair, take their clothes out to wear, bring them a cold drink on a hot day, prepare something for them etc.
5. Drinking and eating from one place:
Aisha radiallahu anha would drink from a cup. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would take this cup and search for the place where the lips of his beloved wife made contact. Upon finding the place where his wife drank from the cup, he would put his lips on the very same place so that his lips have touched the place where her lips touched. He would then drink the contents of the cup at the same time enjoying with his spouse. When there was meat to eat, Sayyidah Aisha radiallahu anha would take a bite. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would take the meat from her hand and again place his mouth the very same place where his wife ate from. This would add taste of love to his food.[iv]
Do things together with your wife. Do not just eat at the same time and on the same tablecloth, but eat from the same plate. Let alone the same plate, eat together from the same article of food. This will bond the hearts so close to one another. When everything your wife comes into contact with becomes more beloved to you than food itself, imagine the flame of love in your lives?
6. Kissing: –
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would kiss his wife regularly. Even when he salallahu alaihi wasallam would be fasting, he would kiss his wife.[v]
Compliment your spouse often with kisses. When exiting the house, make it habit you leave by coming into contact with your spouse. When returning home, along with saying salām to her, show that you have missed her dearly.
When she is working or busy in her household chores, surprise her with a kiss. You have to show your love. Love is the fuel of marriage; if you desire your marriage to progress, you have to express your love in every way you can.
Physical relations in a marriage are very important. The famous saying is, “actions speak louder than words.” Show your spouse you love her. Sharī῾ah promotes romance and physical relations between the husband and wife. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam categorically stated,
“Conjugal relations with your wife is a sadaqah.”[vi]
7. Lifting the morsel to her mouth
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam said : If you spend an amount you will be rewarded for it, -even when you lift the morsel to your wife’s mouth.” [vii]
The husband and wife should make these gentle gestures to exhibit their love and appreciation. Feed your spouse with your own hands now and then. This will rekindle the flame of love in your marriage.
8. Assisting her in the housework:
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would clean and help at home. He would see to his needs himself rather than demanding his wife. He would clean and see to his clothing himself.
Without being asked, if the couple help each other in day to day activities, it will make one appreciate the other. Likewise, one should try his best not to demand his/her spouse to do things too much. Whatever one can do himself, he should do. We need to be considerate of the spouse. The wife works tirelessly all day. So if the husband was to be considerate and realise his wife works hard, this will touch the wife. Likewise, if the wife was to go out of her way to see to the needs of her husband being considerate, it will induce a great spark of love between the two.
9. Telling her stories
Discuss stories and events with your spouse. Engage in light hearted discussions with her-something to laugh and joke over. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam on many occasions would discuss stories, events and have light hearted discussions. The famous story narrated by Sayyidah Aisha radiallahu anha regarding Umm Zar’ is evident.
This is one angle which is neglected more so than often. It is all ‘business’ between the husband and wife. They do not get into light hearted conversations. Instead, the husband rings his friends and chuckles with them. The wife on the other hand giggles during the day with her friends. This should not be the case. Focus and divert all your amusement and entertainment at your spouse. If you want to laugh, then let it be that you are laughing with your wife.
Make it a point in your busy schedule daily where you sit with your wife and do nothing but have fun with her.
10. Sharing happy occasions with her:
Once when the Ethiopians were practicing target shooting in the masjid complex, the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam stood with his wife watching. Not only did the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam stand with his wife, he put his cloak around her. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam although he had other jobs to do, he stayed there standing with his wife. He only went when his wife wanted to go.[viii]
A husband should be one who shares happy occasions and experiences with his wife. When it is raining, cold or sunny, one should shelter his wife.
You should be willing to sacrifice your errands to spend time with your wife. When the spouse sees sacrifice for her sake, it will create immense love and respect in their heart.
11. Racing with his wife
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would exercise and play with his wife also. The famous incident of the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam challenging his wife to race is well known.
When a couple can have such good times together, it only ignites the love even more.
12. Calling her by a beautiful name:
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would call his wife ‘Humairā’’ out of love. Linguistically it means the little reddish one, but the scholars state that in reality it refers to someone who is so fair that due to the sun they get a reddish tan. This was the reason why the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam called her Humairaa’.[ix]
Call your spouse nice sweet names. One has to show his partner love and affection in every little thing. One needs to feed love constantly to his spouse to keep the flame burning.
Once the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam stared into his wife’s eyes. He was gazing at the world within his wife’s eyes. He then said to Sayyidah Aisha radiallahu anha in praise of her beauty,
“How white are your eyes.”[x]
This is what is needed. The husband and wife should be constantly complementing and praising each other. The husband has to show his love and attraction to his wife. The wife needs to show her infatuation for her husband. When there is a reciprocal relationship, the marriage climbs heights.
13. Dress for your spouse
Sayyiduna Ibn Abbās radiallahu anhu said: “As my wife adorns herself for me, I adorn myself for her. I do not want to take all of my rights from her so that she will not take all of her rights from me because Allah, the Exalted, stated the following: “And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them.” (Qur῾ān 2 :228.)[xi]
This is another area where many spouses fail. The wife only dresses when it is a special occasion. The husband on the hand stays scruffy and does not take care to be neat and tidy. If the couple want their everyday to be a special occasion like their wedding day, they must dress to impress!
The wife should wear the clothing which pleases her husband. Likewise, the husband should wear what the wife likes. Every time the husband and wife glance at each other, the glance should arouse them and stir up more love for their spouse. This will ignite the love in the heart.
14. Utilising perfume:
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would have a container for perfume. He would use perfume constantly.[xii] One should make an effort to smell good for his wife all the time. Looking good, keeping clean, smelling nice compliments a relationship exceptionally. Make sure you hair is tidy, your clothes are neat and you smell pleasant. This will attract your spouse always and inject affection into the marriage.
15. Do not talk about her private matters:
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam described the one who discloses his wife’s affairs to others as amongst the worst of people.[xiii]
Whatever occurs between yourself and your spouse should remain between you two. How unmanly and shameful is it when a husband discusses his wife to his friends? The secrets and issues of the spouse must not be narrated at all to anyone. Do not talk about your wife to others. Your wife is for you. You are for your wife. Your fidelity and loyalty should always be to your spouse.
16. Loving & respecting their families
Another great factor to contribute to a healthy relationship is to love and cherish the family of your spouse. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam was once asked whom he loved the most. He replied, “Aisha.” When the questioner rephrased his question and asked from amongst the men, he replied, “Her father.”
The Prophet could have easily said Abu Bakr. His answer displays such intelligence and ingenuity, that in one response he displayed his devotion to his wife and her family. He exhibited his fondness for his in-laws. Imagine how happy his wife Sayyidah Aisha would have become upon hearing this response?
Compliment your in laws in front of your wife. Compliment your wife to her family. Your wife will really appreciate this.
Never underestimate the importance of seemingly little things as putting food in your wife’s mouth, opening the car’s door for her, etc.
Try to always find some time for both of you to pray together. Strengthening the bond between you and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala is the best guarantee that your own marital bond would always remain strong. Having peace with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala will always result in having more peace at home.
With regards to your second query about the China Islamic Association, the Darul Iftaa is not in a position to comment as we have no correspondence with the organisation in reference.
Mawlana Faraz Ibn Adam
19th century Ottoman scholar Bediuzzaman writes:
Happy the husband who sees the wife’s firm religion and follows her, and himself becomes pious in order not to lose his companion of eternal life.
Happy the wife who sees her husband’s firmness in religion and becomes pious so as not to lose her eternal friend.
Alas for the man who becomes dissolute, which will lose him for ever that righteous woman.
Alas for the woman who does not follow her pious husband and loses her eternal blessed friend.
And a thousand woes on the unhappy husband and wife who imitate each other in sin and vice, helping one another to enter Hell-fire!
Jazakallah to ‘Seeker’ for leaving this quote as a comment on the post Characteristics of a Pious Husband.