[ And one of His [Allah's] signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find tranquility in them, and He put between you love and mercy; most surely there are signs in this for people who reflect.] (Ar-Rum 30:21)
According to the Hijri Calendar I have been married for 10 years this month of Shawwal- masha’Allah. January will make 10 years on the Milady/Gregorian Calendar- Insha'Allah. Subhan'Allah - Time has flown! I can’t believe it has been 10 years. Everyone says marriage is hard work, I disagree. I think it is work and much effort has to be put in it. it’s not something you can neglect or get somebody else to do for you - but I don’t think it’s hard work. 10 YEARS! Masha’Allah - la hawla wala qawatta illah billah! I pray Allah give us many more GOOD years together and reunite us and our children and parents and siblings (after guiding them to Islam) in the highest level of Jannah (Paradise)…Ameen.
I know 10 years isn’t a lot to many of you, but from where I come from- marriage in my generation alone is an accomplishment. Even those who do eventually marry - have usually shacked up first. It has only been the Grace of God that I have a good solid marriage, and all the praise belongs to Him. Neither my husband nor myself are perfect and I am the last person to give tips on how to be a good wife or have a successful marriage. However, I will let you in on my little secret. It’s really no secret and should be the key to all Muslim marriages - we basically both set out from the beginning to do everything in accordance to the Quran and Sunnah and after that what is in the best interest of our family.
Like I said, I have no secret but here are a few points I would like to share:
1. I had a Wali. The wali is the representer/mediator/guardian for women seeking marriage. By definition it is a Protector, Guardian, Supporter, Helper, Friend etc. The wali is an absolute requirement for a marriage, and any marriage done without him is null and void according to the majority of scholars based on the following Hadiths:
“No marriage is valid without a wali.” [related by Ahmed and others and deemed sound by Ahmed, Ibn Hajar and others]
The Prophet SAAWS said: “There is no marriage without the permission of a guardian.” [Sunan of Abu Dawood 2080, Narrated Abu Musa]
“When a woman marries without the permission of her wali, then her marriage is not valid, not valid, not valid.” [Related by Ahmad, Tirmidhi and others. Tirmidhi said, this is a Hasan Hadith]
I asked a brother whose religion and character I trusted to be my Wali, because my father is not in the right condition to be my wali. I believe that since he was not a relative he is called a wakeel, instead of wali wa Allahu Alim (and Allah Knows Best). I knew the caliber of brothers that my wakeel associated with and I knew that as an African American Educated Muslim who adhered to the Quran and Sunnah - then he would not introduce me to any old Hakeem, Bilal, and Akbar! I actually had not even contacted him about marriage. I had moved from Chicago to Virginia and a friend gave me his number, because he was the head of an Islamic Organization and she told me that I should let him know I was in town - you know just to have a contact person. He later called me to tell me about a brother looking for marriage. i asked him his opinion of the brother and many other questions and I was pleased with what he had to say of him. He said that he was a new convert who seemed sincere, that he had a good job, knew Arabic, and was WHITE! I was not looking for a white husband. I remember asking if he was like ‘white white’ or Italian or something. I was interested in somebody with a lil swagger. Which brings me to my next point.
2. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: 'When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so, there will be temptation on Earth and extensive corruption.’ [Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and Ibn Majah transmitted it.]
My wakeel was not the only person who referred my husband and I to each other. Several other people did and they all spoke highly of him. With the above hadith in mind, I accepted his proposal. This was the determining factor, but not as easy as it sounds. At the time I would have preferred a ‘Student of Knowledge’ as a husband. That was the path I was on at the time. Also, I told my wakeel that I was not interested in anyone with children, because I did not have any. He had a 9 month old daughter. I’m glad I was able to look past some of those issues and marry him for his character, because it is his character after Allah that I believe has saved our marriage. My husband and I do not always see eye to eye on matters and there are times when I am ‘asking for it’ but he has never ever threatened me with divorce and in fact would remind me when I would say dumb stuff (”just divorce me then”), that divorce is not an option. So people, you need to prioritise what is important. For me having that tall, chocolate, hunk a chunk of burning love, who preceded everything he said to me with khutbah tul hajjaat - was not as important as marrying someone with firm deen (Religion) and good character.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was reported to have said: ‘The most perfect Muslim in the matter of faith is one who has excellent behavior; and the best among you are those who behave best towards their wives” (From Mishkat al-Masabih, No. 0278(R) Transmitted by Tirmidhi).
3. Not only did we use a Wali, but we were never alone with each other until we got married.
Umar related that Rasulullah said: “Whenever a man is alone with a woman the Shaytan makes a third” (Tirmidhi).
Also, Ibn Abbas related that Rasulullah said: “Not one of you should meet a woman alone unless she is accompanied by a relative within the prohibited degrees” (Bukhari, Muslim).
We had our first and only face to face meeting in the presence of my wakeel. My wakeel only briefly stepped outside of the meeting room, so that I could lift my face veil and show my now husband my face.
4. After he proposed to me, I prayed salatul istikarah, seeking Allah’s guidance in my decision, so that I would have no regret later - no matter the outcome.
Oh Allah! I seek Your guidance by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power; I have none. And You know; I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. Oh Allah! If in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is good for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then ordain it for me, make it easy for me, and bless it for me. And if in Your knowledge, (this matter*) is bad for my religion, my livelihood and my affairs, immediate and in the future, then turn it away from me, and turn me away from it. And ordain for me the good wherever it may be, and make me content with it.
*You should substitute (this matter) with the issue you are praying for.
5. Neither one of us can hold a grudge. We both are very loving and forgiving people. We have many different personality traits that are at odds with each other and often times cause conflicts, but because we are both basically good natured people - we NEVER go to bed upset with each other (I just asked him, “do you remember EVER going to bed mad at me - even those times we we were screaming and hollering at each other” He looked at me and didn’t even have to ponder it and said while vigorously shaking his head, “I don’t remember (ever going to bed mad at you)”). The more I hear and learn about the fights of other couples the more I can appreciate this about us. There are people who break up over petty issues or who stay together but hate each other because they never forgave the other. My husband and I probably argue too much and about extremely trivial issues, however, we both end up saying that we are sorry to each other and move on.
“Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.” [Qur'an: 4:19]
6. I’m realistic about marriage. As much as I love a good love story, I know that there is more to marriage than that ‘in love’ stage. I also woke up and smelled the coffee a long time ago and stopped thinking that everybody else were perfect couples. They don’t exist. Furthermore, I wouldn’t trade my husband in for any other man on this earth - because nobody is perfect and I would just end up with a different man with different issues that I may not be pleased with. I’m pleased with my grass, it’s low maintenance.
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]
7. I accept our roles.
“`Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, through that in which Allah has given one more than the other, and because they support them from their means…’ (4:34)
8. I try to be a grateful wife. Honestly, this is not difficult to do because my husband has not disappointed me at all in his role as provider. Recently, I have received several very good job offers. My husband said that if it is money that tempts me to work then he will work overtime. I do not make heavy demands on my husband. I teach the children not to ask for everything they see and it is I who tells them ‘no’ - when my husband cannot refuse.
I have just returned from my walk (I stopped and went walking after writing the last paragraph). I saw a woman coming home from work. She works in a hospital, maybe a doctor…maybe a nurse - she still had on her white coat. About 20 minutes later I came full circle again and I saw her coming out of her house playing with her baby. The baby was about 1 1/2 years old. I immediately thought of my family. I thanked Allah for granting me a husband who puts his family first and reminds me to do so. I thought of that child - without his mother for over 8 hours! I thought of the loving mother, who took care of other people for 8 hours and came home tired and immediately took her baby outside to play. I thought of all the women who HAVE to do this and I thought of all the women who opt to do this. I thought of the women who can afford the luxury of staying home and I thought of the women who sacrificed much to stay home.
“Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted - let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.” (At Talaq:7)
`Whatever you spend for the pleasure of Allah, you will be rewarded for it. You will be rewarded even for that morsel which you put in the mouth of your wife.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)
`The dinar you have spent in the way of Allah (is the one used) to liberate a slave, to help the poor, or on your wife and children; while the one that fetches the highest reward is the one you spend on your wife and children.’ (Muslim)
There is so much more I can say about marriage. Basically, it all boils down to the same thing. Be conscious of God in all that you do. Make your intentions to please your Lord, because you will never ever be able to please man. Be fair, just, and always treat your spouse how you would want to be treated. It is true, marriage is work. It is also about sacrifice, humility, love, understanding, empathy, and forgiveness.
And those who say: “Our Lord! Bestow on us
from our wives and our offspring
who will be the comfort of our eyes,
and make us leaders for the Muttaqûn”
Those will be rewarded with the highest place
(in Paradise) because of their patience.
Therein they shall be met with greetings
and the word of peace and respect.