Marriage {the view of a muslim ex-wife}

Marriage {the view of a muslim ex-wife}.

Relationships are central to the existence of every human being. Allah Most High has enjoined some relationships as purely natural, such as those between parents, children, and other immediate and extended family members. Other relationships are based on solemn contracts, such as a marriage. Through a marriage contract, a man and a woman who are ordinarily impermissible to each other become permissible to each other. Some relationships are based on familiarity and social ties at the community level.

All relationships are based on the fulfillment of rights and responsibilities.

In His ultimate wisdom, Allah Most High has placed Himself at the heart of every relationship. To love Allah, to know Allah, and to want to please Allah in our daily lives, we must have functional and healthy relationships with our parents, siblings, spouse, friends, and community members. We do not have the option to remove either Allah or human beings from our lives. The love, mercy, and compassion that characterize our interactions with others are a blessing from Allah. He created us and endowed us with these sublime qualities. It is only sheer arrogance that would make us attempt to remove Allah from any of our relationships.

The main reason that Muslims place Allah at the heart of every relationship is because these rights and responsibilities emanate from Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). We learn of our rights and responsibilities through Islamic teachings as explicated in the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Fulfilling one’s responsibilities requires knowledge of what those responsibilities are. Similarly, one cannot expect to demand one’s rights without knowing first what those rights are.

Anytime a relationship goes sour, one must stop first to ask what the basis of the relationship is and if in fact the relationship existed for the sake of Allah. A businessman who cheats others is wantonly defying the teachings of Islam. At the moment when he cheats another person, he is also allowing his personal greed to override his fear of Allah Most High. A husband who raises his hands or his voice to hurt his wife or their children is defying the teachings of Islam. At the moment of his violent outburst, he is allowing his personal anger to override his fear of Allah Most High. There can be no moment in which Allah Most High is not at the heart of a relationship. It is an unfortunate existence, and indeed a miserable existence, for the one whose personal whims and desires end up placing him or her at the center of the relationship.


21 F’s for a Happy Marriage


1} FAITH: The most basic and essential attribute of a Muslim marriage is the common faith that binds the couple. Since Islam is a way of life and not just a religion confined to weekly worship it becomes an integral part of a Muslim’s life. The frame of reference shared by the couple eases communication and sharing of values which is not possible in an interfaith marriage. It is highly recommended that faith play an important role in the developing a loving relationship. For example, as Rasulullah (SAW- peace and blessings be upon him) said, that even if a husband places a morsel of food in his wife’s mouth, he gets a reward for this act and Allah increases the bond of love between them. So when we love each other for the sake of Allah WE ACTUALLY INCREASE OUR FAITH.


2} FORGIVING: When Rasulullah (SAW) asked his Companions ‘do you wish that Allah should forgive you’ they said, of course O Prophet of Allah. He responded, ‘then forgive each other’.One of the main components of a happy marriage is that the spouses are able to forgive, that they do not hold grudges or act judgmental towards each other. It is expected that when we live with someone, situations may arise when we end up saying or doing things that hurt our spouses. The challenge is not to dwell on it or lay blame but to move past it.  This can only happen if we are not too proud to ask for forgiveness and we are not stingy to forgive.
If we expect Allah to forgive us then we must learn to forgive.

3} FORGET: when we constantly remind our spouses of all the times they let us down or hurt us we have not truly forgiven. Things that happened in the past must be left there and not be used as fresh ammunition in new situations. Couples who use this technique usually fall in a rut and become victims of their own pettiness, unable to break free.


4} FORBEARANCE:Sabr (patience) is the most useful tool to have in managing a healthy lifestyle. Being patient and forbearing puts us in a pro-active frame of mind it brings us closer to Allah through Tawakul (trust) and reliance .We develop an inner mechanism that empowers us to handle life’s difficult moments. As Allah states in Surah (chapter)al-Asr:
“Surely by time humans are at loss, except those who believe and do righteous deeds and counsel each other to the truth and counsel each other to Sabr (patience)’ (Quran, chapter 103).

5} FLEXIBLE: Many couples un-necessarily make themselves miserable because they are unwilling to bend a little.
We should not expect our spouses to be our extensions. They are their own selves with personalities, likes and dislikes. We must respect their right to be them selves as long as it does not compromise their Deen (religion). Being inflexible and not accommodating for individual differences leads to a very stressful and tense home atmosphere.


6a} FRIENDSHIP: This aspect of marriage has three components.
First is to develop a friendship with our spouses. The relationship based on friendship is more able to withstand outside pressures.
We honor, trust, respect, accept and care for our friends, in spite of our differences. These are the aspects of friendship we should bring to our marriages
Unfortunately the only aspect that people think of bringing to their marriage which is highly inappropriate is the buddy scenario. Shariah (Islamic law) has placed the husband in a leadership role within a family. This requires a certain decorum, which cannot be maintained if the spouses consider each other as pals.
This should not be taken to mean that husband is a dictator but a shepherd who is responsible for and to his flock. This is a position of grave responsibility and places an enormous burden on the husband. Furthermore the children need to see their parents as friends but not as pals as this encourages disrespect.


6b} FRIENDLY: Second aspect of friendship is to have friendly relations with in-laws. When couples compete as to whose parents are more important it becomes a constant source of grief. Much valuable time is wasted trying to convince, one another of whose parents are most desirable.  It is better if we accept, that our spouses will not overnight fall in love with our parents just because we want them to. As long as they maintain friendly relations that are cordial and based on mutual respect we should not force the issue.
6c} FRIENDS: The third aspect of friendship is our circle of friends. It is okay to have individual friends of the same gender but couples must also make effort to have family friends so that they can socialize together. If there is friction being caused by a certain friendship it must not be pursued at the expense of the marriage. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) advised us to choose God fearing people as friends since we tend to follow their way. Friends should be a source of joy and not mischief.


7} FUN: Couples that do not laugh together have to work on sharing some fun times. Rasulullah (SAW) was known to play with his wives. A simple walk in the park can add much spark to the relationship.


8} FAITHFUL: It is commanded by Allah that we be faithful to our spouses. The most common form is maintaining friendships with the opposite sex over the boundaries set by Islam, and the misgivings of the spouse.


9} FAIR: Usually when we are angry or displeased the tendency is to not play fair. We try to convince ourselves that since we have been wronged it is okay to be unjust in our behavior and our statements. Allah states in the Quran do not be unjust under any circumstances, even if they be your enemy, and here we are talking about our life partners and the parent of our children. To use words such as “never” and “always” when describing the behavior of the partner is unfair and puts the other on the defensive.


10} FINANCE: One of the most common points of contention in marriages is money. Experts tell us that 80 percent of marital conflicts are about money.
It is therefore highly recommended that the couple put serious time and effort in developing a financial management plan that is mutually agreeable and is reviewed every six months or so. Preparing a budget together is also a helpful and wise way to handling household finances. It should be remembered that the wife’s money in Islam is hers to do with as she pleases and therefore should not be considered family income unless she chooses to contribute it to the family


11} FAMILY: Parenting can be a stressful experience if the parents are not well informed. This in turn can put extra pressure on the marriage.
Sometimes couples are naive about the changes that come in the lifestyle. This can cause in some cases depression and in some resentment and misunderstandings. One golden rule that must always be the guide is; that family comes first.
Whenever there is evidence that the family is not happy or not our first priority it is time to assemble at the kitchen table and discuss with open hearts and mind.


12} FEELINGSRasulullah (SAW) stated that Allah forgives all sins if we repent but not those we have committed against others i.e. hurt their feelings unless the person we have hurt forgives first. Couples are sometimes very careless when it comes to their spouse’s feelings, they take them for granted and assume that the other knows what they mean. It is surprising that people are more sensitive and courteous to strangers than they are to their loved ones. One must be ever vigilant and careful that they do not hurt the feelings of  their spouses and if they invariably do, they should apologize as soon as possible. Since one does not know when someone they love will leave this world, is it not better to make amends when we have the time?


13} FREEDOM: Marriage in Islam is a partnership and not bondage or slavery. To consider the wife one’s property is alien to Islamic concept of husband and wife role. The team spirit is enhanced and not curtailed when members of the team are free to be themselves. Freedom in the common western since is to be free to do as one pleases or to be selfish. On the contrary, to allow freedom to one’s spouse is to be considerate of their needs and to recognize their limitations.


14} FLIRTATION: A sure way to keep romance in marriage is to flirt (only) with your spouse. Many successful marriages have maintained a youthful demeanor in their marriages by adopting special names for each other and secret communication styles.


15} FRANK Misunderstandings happen when couples are not honest with each other. Marital relationship is where the partners must feel safe to speak their mind with due consideration to the other’s feeling, without compromising their own views. When the communication is not frank it hinders in the development of closeness and deep understanding of each other’s inner self.


16} FACILITATOR: When choosing our life partner, we must, as the Prophet (SAW) advised, look for a pious Muslim. The reason is that their first and foremost goal is the pleasure of Allah. This commitment  to Allah makes them an excellent facilitator (someone who makes things easy) for  enhancing their partner’s spiritual  development. In essence, the couple facilitates their family’s commitment to Allah and His Deen.


17} FLATTERING : Paying compliments and indulging in honest flattery is a very inexpensive way to win your spouse’s heart. Everyone likes to be appreciated and noticed. So being stingy about compliments is actually depriving oneself of being appreciated in return.


18} FULFILLING: To be all one can be to one’s spouse is a very fulfilling and rewarding experience. To be in love means to give one’s all. The heart  does not put conditions or make stipulations. It gives without expecting anything in return, but such selfless giving is always rewarded tenfold.


19} FALLIBLE: It often happens that our expectations sometimes are so high that we lose focus of the fact that we are fallible (not perfect/make mistakes) beings. When couples start to nitpick and demand the impossible they must remind themselves that only Allah is perfect.


20} FONDNESS. Fondness:  So many times couples fail to work on developing fondness for each other by [failing] to see their spouses as people through the eyes of their respective friends. Spending quality time alone doing and sharing activities are ways in which one can develop fondness.


21} FUTURE.: Smart couples plan for their future together. They work on their financial and retirement plans, make wills and discuss these plans with their children. This provides peace of mind and secures the relationship.


An apt reminder in closing is when Allah Most High addresses all of mankind, saying:


“O mankind, be conscious of your duty to Allah, Who created you from a single soul and from him He created his mate, and from them both, He created many men and women; and fear Allah through Whom you demand your {mutual rights} and {do not cut the relations of} the wombs; surely Allah is ever an All-watcher over you.” (An-Nisaa’ 4:1)


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