By: Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Amidst busy schedules and tasks on the parts of both women and men, Muslim husbands and wives tend to forget the real reasons behind marriage and likewise the rights of each other. Subsequently, they deprive themselves, their mates and their children of the happiness and tranquility that is the bedrock of a successful family. This unbalanced vision towards a couple’s ideal relationship is bad enough to plunge the family into a situation laden with troubles and worries.
1 Negative Relationship Results from Lack of Understanding
Some Muslim spouses relate to each other like adversaries rather than life time partners. The husband assumes the position of dictator, and whatever he says is not law. The wife on the other hand feels that she must squeeze everything she can out of her husband. Some wives do not express their gratitude to their husbands irrespective of how much the man may do for her. Instead they adopt an attitude of ‘never enough’ and make the husband feel like a failure if he does not provide every want and desire their extravagant lifestyles dictate. Some husbands speak very harshly to their wives, humiliate them, and even physically abuse them. Their wives have no voice or opinion in family matters. Moreover certain husbands become so cold and miserly that even the basic expenditure for the house is difficult to come by. These situations betray a lack of understanding regarding the institution of nikah or marriage in Islam. What follows are some tips to restore/maintain balance and understanding in the home.
2 Nikah – A divine institution
It should be understood that the nikah bond has been divinely established for the welfare and upkeep of a healthy and progressive community. It shouldn’t be unjustly utilised as a vehicle to perpetrate oppression, deception, humiliation, and abuse.
Allah Ta’ala describes marriage very differently in the Noble Quran: “And from his signs are, He created for you wives from among yourselves, so that you may live in tranquility with them, and instilled love and mercy between your (hearts) . . . ” (30:21)
3 Head of the Home
It should also be appreciated that the position Islam has accorded to the man as the head of the home is a responsibility which will be accounted for, rather than a privilege which should be abused. We are taught to treat our wives well. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has reported to have said: “The person possessing the most perfect faith is one who has excellent behaviour, and the best among you are those who are best towards their wives” (Mishkat)
4 Be Partners in Decision Making
It is important to follow the principle of “Shura,” (consultation) and make decisions as a family. Implementing this Sunnah within the home increases harmony and love between family members. It will also assist in enhancing trust and loyalty between spouses and the children.
Abstain totally from every form of emotional, mental, or physical abuse to your spouse. The Hadith questions the manhood of a person who beats his wife up during the day and derives pleasure from her during the night.
6 Watch Your Words
Be very careful what you say when you are upset. The wounds afflicted to the heart of a person by words will never heal and remain a lifelong memory. Sometimes you will say things that you would never say when you were not angry. Apply the directives found in the Hadith for suppression of anger.
7 Work Together in the House
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) consistently assisted his wives with household chores. When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not consider the housework trivial, how can we today obligate our wives to all the house work and much more.
8 Communication is Important
Talk to each other, communicate, have a dialogue, but do it respectfully. Husbands and wives need to talk to each other. It is better to deal with problems early and honestly than to let them pile up until they explode.
9 Live Simply
Do not envy or cast your gaze towards those spouses who seem to be living a more luxurious life than your family. Be pleased with what you have. The grass will always look greener on the other side.
The wealthiest person is the one who has attained contentment of heart. To develop the quality of contentment, look at those people who have less than you, not those who have more. Repeatedly thank Allah Ta’ala for the many blessings in your life.
10 Admit Your Mistakes
When you make a mistake, admit it. When your mate makes a mistake, excuse him or her easily. If possible, never sleep angry with each other.
11 Past Problems
Everything that has happened is history. Repent for the past and live for the future. Do not focus discussion on the past unless it is something that will make both of you laugh.
Good marriages require patience, kindness, humility, sacrifice, empathy, love, understanding, forgiveness, and hard work. Following these basic principles should help any marriage to improve. The essence of them all can be summed up in one sentence: Always treat your spouse the way you would like to be treated.
12 Duaa for a blissful marriage
“Allahumma rabana hab lana min azwaajinaa wa zurriyyatina qurrata a-ayun waj-alna lil muttaqeena imaama.”
(O Allah! grant us such wives and offspring who will be a source of coolness for our eyes, and make us leaders of the Allah-Fearing).
And success is with Allah alone.