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Originally published in ijtima.org, issue 102, art. 2 (4 Muharram 1433)
This was originally a letter addressed to a groom (07/1431). Some parts of it has been edited to make it more suitable for general readership. The responsibilty for wives can be read in the article entitled To the bride... - Ed
All praise is to Allah, the most merciful and kind. Peace be upon our prophet who is a mercy for all creation and the kindest person. Blessings be upon his family and companion who where bonded to him through their devotion to Allah and his messenger. May Allah almighty bless your marriage, may he create love amongst you and may he keep both of you steadfast on Islam.
It is likely that all that I am about to say you have already read, been told or know. Knowing something is easier compared to acting upon it; explains why Ayats relating to reverence (Khashiyat) are emphasised in the marriage sermon. May Allah make it easy upon us to act upon what we have learned.
I pray you chose your spouse using piety as the criteria1 and I pray they did likewise; I am confident that this is the case. As such you have started on a very strong foundation and have avoided the major cause of problems in most marriages.
There will be disputes amongst you. When in dispute use the shariah as a judge between you. If it is a question of Halal and Haram do not budge and stand firm2, however, if it is a question of preferences or differences in approaches be lenient and kind. We should adopt the high road (azimat) for ourselves but not enforce it on others; this is the way of our pious predecessors. If you are wrong admit it and if she is wrong correct her at the appropriate moment. Do not correct her in front of others or if she is upset, first listen to her attentively and when she is calm explain to her in a nice and kind manner. Do not use the same approach that you may use with your subordinates or other men. Remember she is a women and your wife; amend your approach. The goal is to help her, never to quench our anger.
There will still be disputes which may seem irresolvable. Try not to bottle it up, it may build resentment and will remove your sincerity towards her. Talk to her, tell her the problem in a nice manner and advise her likewise, a solution is not necessary3. Remember she is your partner and 'committed helper’4 and insha-Allah she would want to make it easy for you.
Problems will still persist but that is with everything in life and unavoidable. The trick is to be content with these problems5. If you can manage that then these problems will become a mercy of Allah; they will melt your heart and increase your Iman, we often turn to Allah in our times of need. In marriage, you will know happiness that you have never felt and sadness that have never bore. Thank Allah when you are happy and be patient at difficult times.6
Know that like you have rights over her she has certain rights over you. Set her a reasonable monthly or weakly stipend [nafqah]; irrespective of if she has money in the bank or working. Do not leave her penniless that she needs to constantly ask you for even minor necessities; we are often very generous straight after the wedding but negligent thereafter. Allocate some time everyday just for her even if it is by phone and take her out once a week or month; do not deny her visitation to her parents and relatives unnecessarily. Show her appreciation, complement her, and at times give her gifts.
Remember, that she is a woman who has left her family and moved in with a stranger. Allah almighty has placed her under your trust, you are her only supports, never neglect her. If disputes arises between her and your family or you and her family be mindful of how you resolve it. Moulana Yusuf Ludhyanwi Shahid (may Allah have mercy upon him) showed that marriage is not merely confined to the husband and wife but affects both families7 and as such we need to show them some consideration as has been done by shariah8. Make an effort to keep your in-laws happy and excuse their shortcomings. I am sure your wife would have got the same advice. This will reduce stress for both of you and strengthen family bonds.
The reality is every couple and their circumstances are somewhat different. If both you and your wife prioritise each other; sacrifice your comfort for hers and vice versa then all will be well insha-Allah. This comes from developing trust and sincerity. Remember, our actions are for Allah and with him is our reward. Keep your matters private 9 and consult pious, wise and sincere people for advice.
I pray this is helpful to those yet to get married and a good reminder for those of us that are. I pray Allah almighty keep us firm on Islam. May we fulfil the rights of those under our care and all those we owe a duty to. May Allah forgive us for our shortcomings and grant us paradise through his grace alone.