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I Can’t Afford the Wedding Reception My Wife Wants

Answered by Ustadha Rukayat Yakub

Question: I am currently in my last year of University.  I have done my nikah however not the reception as me and my wife live in different countries, so we’re waiting for our degrees to finish insh’Allah. I love my wife and I want to provide for her, but she expects to have a nice reception of around $15,000- $20,000. I’m still in school and I only make about $800 a month on my job.  I am really stressing out and am very concerned my wife just doesn’t understand that its unreasonable to spend this much money on a reception! I don’t think i can save up that much money in time and on top of that i have to relocate to another country and hence have to worry about our future finances and have some savings for that as well. I just don’t know what to do. When i talk to her about it she tells me to get another job a “government job” however the last year of university is really time consuming along with my night-shift job. Please any advice on how to deal with my wife and her wants? I have even tried to tell her about our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and how he got married but it has no effect on her, I’m just lost as to what to do…

Answer: Bismillah

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatulah,

Different Positions on Finances

It is important that you both understand each other’s approach to spending and finances before you get married.

It could be that like she just has a ‘dream’ wedding/ reception and she just wants this and this extravagance will not roll into the marriage. However it could be an indicator of what is to come in the future. Finances can be a big problem in marriages and a leading cause for divorce that many people do not even discuss this prior to marriage.

You state that when you try to speak with her it has no effect, perhaps you can find out the source of her insistence on such a reception, from her family perhaps, or if she will speak with you about it, from her herself,

Lifestyle Compatibility

Ask her to explain her reasons and let her know that you will hear her out, she might be concerned that you will not understand or she just might believe this is non-negotiable, the only way you will find out is by calmly discussing it.  If she opens up be sure to listen attentively and once she is done, explain your perspective and ask her what compromise can be reached,  It could be that you agree that certain aspects of the reception you pay for, like the food for instance and some of the other non-essential items she pays for,  You need to discuss this.

My advice is if this is just a one-off request bore out of societal pressure or a childhood dream etc then try to work with her, but if she believes that you should live beyond your means the you really need to reevaluate your relationship.  Two adults can live off the salary of a newly qualified teacher if they budget and live within their means, but if she is used to a certain standard of living or just has expensive tastes then you might have to change your dream of becoming a teacher and find a job that will give her the income bracket she wants, Is this something you are willing to do?  You seriously need to think out this, as resentment can build up overtime when people are unable to find purpose in their jobs and lives.

Istikhara

In summary think about this, make the guidance prayer (istikhara) and try to have an open non judgmental conversation with your intended to get to the root of this.  Many couples start their married lives with debt, all for one beautiful day.  You need to figure out what you both want and what your positions are on finances so that this does not become a problem in your marriage.

May Allah ta’ala bless you and give you ease

Rukayat

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Related Answers:

The Reality of Istikhara

Bringing Barakah Into Your Wealth and Life

Bringing Barakah Into Your Wealth and Life

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: Assalamu alaikum.  For the past couple of years I’ve been noticing that AL I make enough money but its tough to make both ends meet – Its like it vanishes away, it is taking a toll on my wife and I and we stay tense most of the time about it … Is there an obligatory duty being missed ? We do regular charity at a masjid and zakat, maybe its not getting accepted ?

Answer
: Wa alaikum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thank you for your question.

You have noted that your income is not insufficient or little in terms of its amount and how much one would expect would cover their expenses, but for some unexplainable reason, it never seems to be enough for the needs of the home.  This is a sign – not of a lack of wealth, but rather of a lack of divine blessings (barakah) in that wealth.

There are things that one can do to increase the barakah of one’s wealth.  First, we need to understand the meaning of barakah, then look at ways to increase it, and end with some advice on the role of wealth in one’s life.

What is Barakah?

Barakah is a term that means an “increase” and “growth”- and also, happiness.  It is the establishment of divine goodness in something; from whence it exudes cannot be sensed by people, nor can it be outwardly quantified, nor is it limited by anything, but rather, something with barakah in it is called mubaarak, and has an unexplainable increase and benefit in it from Allah. [al-Isfahani, Mufradaat al-Qur’an]

Having more barakah in one’s wealth does not mean the dollar amount increases- rather, that the benefits seen from that limited amount increase, reach further and last longer.

Barakah in anything, especially wealth, which is a part of one’s destined sustenance from Allah Most High, can increase and decrease depending on the good and bad actions one does.

The Means of Brining Barakah Into One’s Wealth- and Life

There are many, many different means we can take to bring barakah into our wealth, and indeed, into every aspect of our lives.  The most important thing to remember is that these are only means – worldly causes that we put forth with our human efforts- but the One who gives wealth and bestows blessings in the first place is Allah Most High.

Hence, these actions are not mathematical formulae for automatic increase.  One must keep Allah at the forefront of one’s seeking in this world, and make pleasing and reaching Him the ultimate goal, rather than the increase of wealth.  Amongst the things that one can do are:

1.    Earn a lawful (Halal) and wholesome income:  Ensure that your line of work does not contravene the Sacred Law and that your wealth is lawful.  This not only includes what work you do, but who you work for and their source of income as well.  Ensure that your work is ethical and moral.

2.    Work with excellence, loyalty and honesty:  Do not take a single penny except that you duly deserve it.  Do not squander the time and resources that you employer is paying for.  Be loyal and honest at work.  Nothing reduces barakah like cheating or deception in a sale, or unethical practices like bribes. [al-Razi, Mafatih al-Ghaib]

3.    Make a good intention for Allah’s sake: purify your intention to earn for Allah’s sake, to provide for your family, to not have to borrow and ask from others, and to do works of good for others.

4.    Avoid interest in all its forms, as much as possible.  This includes taking it, or paying it out.  If you must pay it due to a debt, work as hard as possible to pay it off in a short time then resolve not to enter into it again.

5.    Give thanks for what you have been given: Allah Most High says in the Qur’an, “And if you all give thanks [to Me, for what I have bestowed on you], I shall surely increase you.” [al-Qur’an 14:7]  Thank Allah with your tongue, your heart, by using His blessings for good purposes, and by obeying and worshipping Him. [al-Alusi, Ruh al-Ma’ani]

6.    Give in charity, both yourself and your wife: this includes the obligatory charities (Zakat, Sadaqatul Fitr and the Qurbani for those with sufficient wealth), but also optional charity to good causes.   The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Charity does not reduce wealth.” [Muslim, Sahih]  The physical amount outwardly decreases, but the remaining amount attracts barakah so that the actual benefit from it is not less. [al-Nawawi, Sharh Muslim]

7.    Be God-conscious and increase in piety:  Allah Most High says, “Whosoever is conscious of Allah, He makes for them a way out [of any difficulty] and provides for them sustenance from whence they cannot not conceive.” [al-Qur’an, 65:2-3]

8.    Place your full trust in Allah Most High:  Know that Allah is providing for you and sustaining you at each moment.  Do not worry constantly and have fear- this is from the Shayton, who tries to instill fear of poverty, while Allah offers bounties [al-Quran 2:268].  Allah Most High says, “…and whosoever puts their full reliance on Allah, then He is sufficient for them.” [al-Quran, 65:3]

9.    Establish prayer (al-salah) in your home: work to establish the obligatory prayers amongst your family, and encourage extra optional (nafl) prayers as well.  [al-Biqa’i, Tafsir]

10.    Read Qur’an in the home: the reading of Surah al-Waqi’ah is known to prevent poverty in a house.  It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Indeed, the house in which the Qur’an is recited- the goodness [in it] increases…” and in another version, “things are made easier for its family.” [Ibn Kathir, Tafsir]

11.    Be generous and give gifts: this means giving people around you things that they love, from the things that you love.  Start with your immediate family, and relatives, and neighbors.  Become more generous and open-handed, and try to fight the urge to be stingy.

12.    Be obedient, dutiful and respectful to your parents: this is a means of increase in one’s lifespan and sustenance.  [al-Sha’rani, Lawaqih al-Anwar al-Qudsiyya]

13.    Keep up family ties and do good to relatives: it is mentioned that the barakah comes in the act of enjoining family relations only when it is combined with piety and God-fearingness [Ibn Hibban, Sahih]

14.    Do not lie or say false oaths [Ibn Hajr, Fath al-Bari]

15.    Give a little more than what you owe people when selling or paying someone [al-Munawi, Sharh Fayd al Qadeer]

16.    Try to work starting in the early part of the day:  Preferably, try do become productive after Fajr and do not sleep through the early part of the day.  Try to work in mornings, as the Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) prayed, “Oh Allah, give barakah to my Ummah in their early-morning work.” [Ibn Majah, Sunan]

17.    Eat together: the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “…Gather together to eat your food, and say Allah’s name over it (bismillah) and you will be blessed in it,” [Abu Dawud, Sunan] and “Eat together, all of you, and do not separate individually, because the barakah is in the group.” [Ibn Majah, Sunan]

18.    Invite the pious to eat from your food: the Prophet (peace be upon him) made dua’ for his host that pious people eat from his food, as it attracts barakah.  It also promotes good company that changes the atmosphere of the home.  [al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Kubra]

19.    Ask Allah’s forgiveness often in your home and elsewhere through saying “astaghferallah”. [al-Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al Imaan]

20.    Be easy-going, of kind nature, and forgiving to others: this includes from your spouse and family, to even those who do you wrong.  This should spur you to heal relations with anyone you or your family may have a rift with.  [al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadeer]

21.    Do not be wasteful and extravagant, nor overly-attached to worldly things: this includes finishing all of one’s food and living in moderation. [ibid]

22.    Finally, ask Allah Most High to bless you with wealth: when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked to pray for young Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), the first thing he prayed for was wealth, amongst others things [Bukhari].  Ask Allah to put the wealth in your hand, and not in your heart.

There are countless more ways to attract barakah into one’s life and earnings, mentioned in the vast Islamic primary sources as well as the wisdom of the scholars and righteous.  We will suffice with what has been mentioned above.

The Reality of Financial Difficulties

When a Muslim’s finances are tight, this is a test from Allah Most High.  It is a mercy in disguise because through something as worldly as wealth, Allah causes us to turn towards Him in earnestness.  It teaches us patience and contentment, and results in forgiveness of sins and reliance on Allah.

However, the general rule of thumb to attract blessings is always the same.  When we attach our hearts to Allah Most High and submit to Him completely, and make Him our sole goal and purpose and not the blessings, then the barakah will enter our lives from all sides without us having to worry about it.

Wasalam,

Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani