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Originally published in ijtima.org, issue 102, art. 24 (4 Muharram 1433)
This article addresses females. The responsibilty for husbands can be read in the article entitled To the groom.... This piece is adapted from that article - Ed
All praise is to Allah, the most compassionate and appreciative. Peace be upon his final prophet who is a great favour from Allah to all of creation. Blessings be upon his family and companions who were satisfied with the commandments of 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. Fear Allah! Fear Allah! Keep the hereafter in mind and remember that true reward is with Allah.
I pray you chose your spouse using piety as the main criteria1, if so you have started on a strong foundation and have avoided the major cause of problems in most marriages. Remember beauty, status and wealth are temporary; do not expect perfection for that is only found in Allah almighty. Announce your marriage2 and do not bring your family into disrepute; this will give greater security and added support.
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 firm3. Cover yourself, protects your virtue, and never transgresses the rights of Allah for he is our lord, our protector and with him is our reward. However, if it is a question of preference or differences in approach obey the husband’s command. Control your tongue and do not curse4; never ask for divorce unjustly for that is a heinous crime and a great transgression5. Respect your husband; focus on his positives however minute and be thankful. Do not deny his goodness for that is a grave error and a cause for damnation6. Verily Allah loves the thankful and dislike the ungrateful. Show him appreciation and do not hold a grudge; be quick to make up and never end a day unhappy. Remember he is a man and your husband; amend your approach and allow him space. Do not accuse him of insensitivity or incompetence. The goal is to help him, never to quench our annoyance.
There will still be disputes that may seem irresolvable. Mention it to him in a respectful and sincere manner. This will reduce resentment. However, do not be incessant for that will have undesired effects. Maintain a balance and be patient. Indeed Allah is with the patient 7. Do not discuss your private matters or talk of your husband’s faults to others for that is a breach of trust. Conversely, do not boast of his good for that will flame the ire of others. Thank Allah for the good he has given, be patient on the negatives and be mindful of the advice of others. Never compare your husband or situation to others. Focus on those who are less fortunate8 - pray for them, ask forgiveness and thank Allah almighty. Do not bring up the past or recount your favours rather show each other your appreciation; this is the way to gain respect and find a place in his heart. Remember he is your partner and protector, insha-Allah he will 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 problems. Allah almighty is enough for us and with him is our reward. 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.
Know that like you have rights over him he has certain rights over you. Greet him when he arrives home, fulfil your chores9 and be a source of comfort; this is the custom of pious women10. Remember Allah has placed you under his care and he in turn has placed his trust upon you. Protect his wealth and your chastity for that is his right. Do not meet or make friends with people whom he disapproves; make your husband your confidant and turn to Allah if all else fails. Do not leave or let others enter the house without his permission, and never be unchaste. These are all decrees of the prophet 11 (صلي الله عليه و سلم) who is guided by the all knowing and wise. Conceal yourself from those who the shariah has forbidden but make an effort towards him. Beautify yourself for him and do not deny him his martial rights without just cause for that is his fundamental right which Allah has granted. Never divulge your intimate details or martial secrets to others for that is a gross violation of trust and is abhorrent to Allah12. Be mindful of how you spend his wealth; do not exhaust it or give it away without permission13. Give charity from your own wealth for that is better in the sight of Allah; it is not his duty. Consider every amount a blessing and do not go beyond your remit.
Remember, he is a man and has responsibilities to others as well as yourself. Do not place him in a test rather support him and insha-Allah he will support you in return; remember Allah is the greatest support. If disputes arises between him and your family or you and his family be mindful of how you resolve it. Make an effort to keep your in-laws happy and excuse their shortcomings. 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 husband 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 and if in trouble and matters are out of hand seek advice together from pious and wise people who are sincere towards you both. Beware of biased advice and the advice of the nonpracticing for it is poisonous. Beware of those you consider your friends for shaytan comes in many guises14. All praise is to Allah who has given us intellect; be wise, be patient and thank Allah.
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.