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Husband Asking About My Past.

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I have recently gotten married to a wonderful man. The only thing that has been bothering me is that he asks me questions of my past. A few years ago I used to smoke marijuana to help with my depression. I have since quit and it’s not something I’m proud of… My husband keeps asking me of whether or not I have smoked before.

What should I do?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Married couples should not pry into each others’ past. This is particularly the case about previous relationships, be they halal or haram.

Just answer in an all-but direct why, like, ‘No way, I never touch the stuff,’ meaning that you never actually touch the plant, or never touched the marijuana itself.

Please see this answer.

When he is not asking about that, just make a clear point to him that if he shouldn’t actually anyone about haram things, and he should give someone space when they give some resistance.

I pray this helps.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.

Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.

In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed.

I Want to Marry Someone but He Wants Me to Wait Three Years.

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

In my first marriage, my husband treated me like a slave and so I got khula. I live with my parents now. I know someone very pious. A nice guy who prays 5 times a day and is also involved in Islamic activities. I always wondered and prayed to have a life partner like him.

But the problem is he is not ready for marriage now. He wants me to wait for 3 years. He has an elder brother who needs to get married first, and also he has some responsibilities so that he can’t marry me now.

But my parents have started searching for prospective husbands for me. They want me to get married as soon as possible.

What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Waiting for marriage

Dear sister, I am sorry about the pain you have gone through with your first marriage. May Allah ease your sorrow, and replace what you have lost with something better. Alhamdulilah, you are free to now make better choices.

Even though you are already emotionally attached to this young man, it is unwise for you to wait three years for him.

You describe him as being a practising Muslim who performs his prayers and does Islamic activities. This is praiseworthy, but not a guarantee that he will be a good husband for you. In fact, the way he is behaving right now is not a good sign of his character. The responsible thing for him to do was to not get in a relationship with you to begin with, because he knew his elder brother wasn’t married yet.

It is unfair for you to keep you a secret from his parents. You are an honourable Muslim woman deserving of the protection of marriage.

Moving forward

Your mother has every right to be concerned about you. She wants to protect your heart, especially because you have been hurt before.

The solution is not to hang around for three years until he is ready. What if his elder brother is not married by then? What if his responsibilities still remain?

I suggest that you end your relationship with this young man, and consign the matter to Allah. This will hurt, but know that you will overcome it, through Allah’s help.

Second marriage

Please know that it is not difficult for Allah to bless you with a loving marriage, the second time around. Please do your due diligence beforehand – this does not mean getting emotionally attached before nikah, but it does mean doing certain things like making dua and doing character checks.

If you are interested in marrying someone, what are his expectations? What was his parents’ marriage like? Men who are used to seeng their mothers being treated like slaves often expect the same from their wives. Does he treat the women of his family well? How does his father treat his own wife and daughters? These are all clues.

Also, please prepare yourself through this course: Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

Power of Dua

“Whoever fully submits themselves to Allah and is a good-doer, they have certainly grasped the firmest hand-hold. And with Allah rests the outcome of all affairs.” [Qur’an, 31:22]

Ultimately, do not underestimate the power of dua. Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, as often as you need to, and beg Allah for the gift of a loving and righteous husband.

Let go of this young man, and hold onto Allah.

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law. 

Can a Husband Prevent His Wife From Working?

Shaykh Farid Dingle responds to the question if husbands can prevent their wives from working.

 

Question:

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

Does a husband having the final say over the rights of the home mean that he has the right to refuse his wife to work at any time during the marriage? Is it okay for him to know and consent to her working part time before they get married and change his mind later and is she accountable before Allah swt in obeying him? What about if he doesn’t wish her to but she’s consulting and doing istikhara and feels that Allah swt is guiding her towards it (and her teachers advise it as well)? Do the rights of her husband trump it, or does it depend on the situation?

JazakumAllahu khayran

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Marital hierarchy

In Islam, there is a hierarchy in the family. Men are in charge of women.

Allah Most High has said, ‘Men are in charge because Allah has give more to some than others, and because  they of what they spend  from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard.’ [4: 34]

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of a people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]

So in Islam, the husband is the head of the house, and his wife and children following and support him.

 

The rights of the Husband

The husband has the right to prevent his wife from work that involves leaving the house, or that takes time away from fulfilling his rights as a husband or the children’s rights as dependents upon her.

He may change his mind at any point regarding her permission to do such work, just as she may change her mind regarding any right that she deserves but has chosen not to avail herself of.

 

Women as financially independent

A man’s wife is financially independent of him: her wealth is hers, and her financial transactions have nothing to do with him. He does not have the right to be privy to her accounts or make decisions with her wealth or property. Similarly, he does not have to pay for her debts or support her dependents, such as her children from a previous marriage or her elderly parents.

Besides work that does affect her ability to fulfill his rights, he does not have the right to meddle in any financial transaction she may get involved in including employment.

For example, if she wants to buy and sell, or work online in a way that does not impede her fulfilling her role as wife and mother, and does not involve him interacting with men (or women) that he does not approve of, it is not his prerogative to say whether or not she engages in such work.

The decision as to whether the work impedes her fulfilling her role as wife and mother returns to the husband’s discretion, as he is in charge. If he seems unreasonable, they should resort to a court decision or arbitration with a qualified scholar.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

25 Years’ Worth of Marriage Advice: Hina Khan-Mukhtar

In celebration of her jubilee anniversary, Hina Khan-Mukhtar shares some marriage advice gathered over the years.marriage advice

Have you ever set foot inside a couple’s home and immediately felt a sense of sakinah, or peace, wash over you? Whether it was a modestly-furnished apartment in a neighborhood where people struggle to make ends meet or a magnificent mansion in the most coveted district, these spaces radiated warmth and love and tranquility. What was their secret? How did the husband and wife together achieve this calm and quietude in a world that is too often overwhelmed with cacophony and chaos?

Over the past quarter of a century, many of my elders, teachers, relatives, friends, and community members have shared a whole range of marital advice with me. Being fortunate enough to have witnessed tawfiq, or Divine success, in a number of harmonious unions — in which many of the tips outlined here were implemented — I feel it is advantageous for us to learn from the success stories in our circles. Therefore, I am sharing the most helpful gems of wisdom in the hopes that you will find suggestions that are of benefit to you. I am not a perfect wife nor would I say I have a perfect marriage, but I do know that these suggestions have worked for me whenever I have been able to act on any of them, alhamdulillah.

Please keep in mind that this advice is for those women who are in substantially healthy marriages. The assumption is that their husbands are God-fearing, are not emotionally or physically abusive, know how to give their wives their rights, and do not have any debilitating addictions, vices, personality disorders, or mental health struggles. Although most of the following counsels are primarily for the wife in the marriage, some do apply to both partners — however, you will have to go to a male writer if you want advice solely for the husband.

Therefore, dear sisters, while reading, please resist protesting, “But what about him?” This isn’t about him — this is about you and me.

Make Allah Your #1 Love

A scholar once encouraged us to look at our order of priorities in life as a pyramid with Allah, great and glorified is He, at the top. It is from the understanding of having a hierarchy — of Allah first; then husband; then children and parents and teachers; then closest friends and extended family; then greater community — that the barakah, or blessing, comes into the home and flows out to every family member. Many people mix up the order and then don’t understand why there isn’t peace in the home and why the children are rebellious. Look at your circles of concern, and then make sure that an awareness of Allah, great and glorified is He, is at the top of the pyramid which then runs as a core through all of the other layers.

Pray together and pray for one another. Supplicate every step of the way. Rely on salaat-ul-istikhara, or the prayer of guidance, for all major family decisions. Pray for your union to bring healthy and righteous children into the world who will grow up to be beloved to Allah, great and glorified is He. One scholar lightheartedly but sincerely advised us to “pray that your partner is someone who drags you to Jannah (Paradise).”

Make your marriage a means of drawing closer to Allah, of pleasing Him. Look at it as an act of worship. Have big intentions. Don’t keep score of how much you’re doing for your husband versus how much he’s doing for you; instead, make your intention solely for Allah, great and glorified is He. Seek His approval and pleasure — and His alone.

Work on Increasing Your Love and Affection

Follow the example of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace; there was a reason he encouraged spouses to hold hands and to feed one another from the same plate. Just like any other blessing, marriage can eventually start to feel “old” and “stale” and “taken-for-granted,” but these types of intimate gestures help to re-invigorate the marriage.

Take note of the five “languages of love” — providing service; giving time; giving verbal praise/affirmation; giving physical affection; giving gifts — and see which one your spouse utilizes on you the most. If you have a different language of love, he may not notice it unless you reciprocate from time to time with the same language that he is using. Learn his love language and then use it in order to be “heard.”

Flirt.

But please don’t be overly demonstrative in public. That just makes everyone else extremely uncomfortable. As a couple, preserve your dignity and self-respect.

Establish a routine or a tradition that no one else is allowed to get in the way of — not work, not parents, not children. For some couples, it will be Sunday morning brunch together; for others, it will be after-dinner tea; yet others may choose to go for an evening walk or to read aloud to one another in bed. There are many who have established a designated “Date Night” in their weekly schedule. Have something special just for you two and then jealously guard it; it should be something that you both will miss if it ever got taken away.

Hold onto your passions and interests. You may not be into each other’s “pet projects,” but be each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Ask sincere questions about whatever hobby the other is into.

Khidma, or service, wins hearts. Filling his gas tank that you realize is almost on empty, helping him complete the dreaded tax forms, sewing on his button that you noticed came loose are all signs that you care about him and are looking out for him. For some spouses, actions speak much louder than words. There should be a difference between you being present in his life and you being absent.

Go to bed at the same time.

Among the most important duties of husbands and wives in the Islamic context is the fulfillment of one another’s sexual needs. This is not something to take lightly. Spouses who insist on rejecting their partner’s advances cannot be surprised to witness their relationship disintegrate. There are situations when a husband is forbidden to approach his wife for intercourse (i.e. during her menstrual cycle, during her postpartum bleeding, and during fasts in Ramadan), but outside of these cases, it is imperative for both spouses to do their utmost to make sure they are partners in every way — not least of which, physically.

Always pray that Allah, great and glorified is He, maintains the love in your heart for your spouse and that He preserves the love in your partner’s heart for you. Allah is the One Who puts love in our hearts for one another, and He is the One Who can take that same love out in any split second. If you stop to think about it, it is a sheer wonder that out of the billions of people in the world, there is one person who has that special love in his heart for you — that is nothing short of a miracle in and of itself. Thank Him for that blessing.

Your Grandmothers Were Right — All Men Want Respect

The wife might be the one to instigate most major changes in life; she might be the one who brings home the thicker paycheck; however, the husband should be given the respect of having the clear role of being the Emir, or leader, of the family. He should be honored by the wife and the children as the guardian of the household, and he in turn should recognize that Allah is the Guardian of his and his wife’s household. Of course, acknowledging your husband as the Emir doesn’t mean that you aren’t very vocal in sharing your own opinions. As one grandmother joked, “The husband is the head of the family, but the wife is the neck that turns the head!”

Don’t contradict or correct him in public. Give him the dignity he deserves. (As my own husband had to once firmly remind me, “I’m not the one being homeschooled.” Eek! Duly noted.)

Don’t ever demean your husband to your children. If you don’t honor their father, they won’t either. And, remember, it’s still gheeba, or backbiting, to talk about your spouse in a way that he wouldn’t like, even if it’s only with the people who will always love him. Don’t let your guard down when it comes to his rights.

If he ever buys you a gift that you don’t love, love it anyway. See the heart of the gift-giver behind the gift. There are always gentle and cheerful ways of honestly communicating your preferences at a later time.

Regardless of whether you had a social media presence before marriage or not, once you’re his wife, be aware of his views on how much you post about yourself and your life with him. Respect his limits.

Put your cell phone, your book, and — yes — even your prayer beads away when he’s trying to talk to you about his day. Give him your undivided attention, and teach your children (who are old enough to understand) that they are not to interrupt their parents’ time together.

A sense of humor — that isn’t cruel or mocking — is one of the most attractive qualities in a man. I still shake my head and chuckle at hubby’s corny joke that he’s been lovingly teasing me with for the past 25 years: “On August 14, Pakistan gained its independence…and I lost mine!”

Laugh with him but never at him.

Make Your Home a Haven, Make Yourself His Houri

I realize that many women today are uncomfortable with the word “houri,” but houris are real creations of Allah, great and glorified is He, who are described in The Holy Qur’an as “companions in Paradise.” I believe it’s time that we reclaim this word and own it for what it is. There is no reason why our homes can’t be little pieces of Paradise, insha’Allah, and no reason why we can’t be heavenly companions for our husbands within our own homes!

When you see your beloved for the first time after he returns home, make sure to greet him and kiss him and hug him. Practicing Muslim men who have taqwa, or God-consciousness, will avoid all physical contact with women who are not their blood relatives, and many of them are surrounded at work by women who make an effort to look attractive. You are the reward your husband gets at the end of a long, dry day. Be soft and affectionate and fragrant.

When you know life has been stressful and busy, wait until he’s he’s had a chance to relax before asking him to do anything or before breaking any bad news to him.

Everything about you — from your clothes, to your hair, to your skin, to your breath — should smell clean and fresh…for yourself, yes, but especially so for your husband!

Be kind and welcoming to one another’s friends. (But don’t ever be in solitude with the opposite gender — and that includes not being alone with another man on social media either.)

Cook together. And even if you don’t consider yourself to be a talented cook, at least make a sincere effort to learn how to make some of his favorite dishes.

Take care of yourself physically — exercise, eat well, and have a self-care regimen. So many of us make such an effort for strangers, but it is our spouses who deserve our best selves. Think of marriage as one long dating experience where both partners are still intent on presenting their best selves — becoming their best selves — for each other. I still have childhood memories of my mom brushing her hair and putting on lipstick and perfume before my dad came home from work.

Make your home an oasis of calm in this stormy world, a place of refuge to which he can escape — a world that smells nice, is clean and organized, has a well-stocked fridge, and where the members of the household speak in respectful and loving tones with one another.

Conflict is Inevitable — Learn How to Manage It in a Healthy Manner

The first two years of marriage often end up being the most exciting as well as being the most challenging. Even if you were to go on a fun all-girls’ adventure trip, you would find yourself getting rubbed the wrong way by your closest friends at some point or another. In the first couple of years of marriage, you’re learning how to live with another nafs, or ego, while he’s having to do the same. But what it comes down to is that marriage isn’t so much about struggling with another’s nafs as it is about struggling with your own. Expect to be challenged. Intend to grow.

It’s perfectly okay to have different personalities and different interests. After all, variety is the spice of life! What you want to make sure, however, is that you both have the same goals for your marriage and for your future family and that you’re both on the same page about how to achieve those goals, insha’Allah.

One cousin of mine caused quite a bit of consternation amongst our elders. “I don’t believe in the word ‘compromise’ when it comes to marriage,” he proclaimed. “What are you saying?! Marriage is compromise!” my mother scolded him. But then he explained: “If you think of everything as a ‘compromise,’ you will keep score and you will eventually become bitter. Once you decide to do something, try to embrace it fully and believe in it. Don’t think of it as a ‘compromise’ any more.”

Self-reflect, and don’t be too proud to apologize. The relief on his face and the peace in the home that comes after suffering the sting of stepping on your own ego in order to say “I’m sorry; I was wrong” is so so so worth it.

It is a given that all of us will get angry at some point or another, but it is when tempers are flared that people’s true natures are revealed. Be mindful of whom you always want to be. Try — even if it’s a struggle — to maintain your adab, or manners/etiquettes, when you’re upset. Being angry is never an excuse to break or throw things, scream, curse, use foul language, slam doors, pull hair, scratch, spit, raise an arm, or throw punches. Don’t casually toss around the D-word (divorce!) every time you feel overwhelmed. In regards to our interpersonal conduct when we feel frustrated, it is important to always remember: Allah, great and glorified is He, is watching.

When your spouse is angry or visibly agitated, stay quiet in the heat of the moment. You can always make your point at a later time.

When addressing your disagreements, avoid using absolutes like “always” and “never.” It’s not fair to forget the positives in your husband by saying: “You always do this bad thing” or “You never do that good thing.” It is rare that issues are black and white; most of the time, there will always be shades of gray. We shouldn’t be so quick to condemn one another.

Don’t expect him to be a mind-reader. If something is bothering you, discuss it with him. Set yourself up for success by beginning your conversation with an “I” statement instead of a “You” statement. For example, avoid saying, “You left your clothes all over the bedroom again! That was so thoughtless of you!” Instead, try saying, “I feel frustrated when I find clothes all over the bedroom at the end of a long day.” Try to avoid getting personal, and don’t assume that he knows exactly how his actions are affecting you. Give him the benefit of the doubt.

Don’t go to sleep angry (stay up and fight instead — just kidding!). Contrary to the age-old advice to resolve all conflicts before going to bed, sometimes it actually helps to sleep on a problem. But first you have to calm yourself down by reminding yourself to have tawakkul, or trust, in Allah. Once you’ve had a full night’s rest, you can tackle your problems with a fresh attitude the next day. Make sure to avoid sleeping in separate beds; you’ll be surprised how many problems can eventually get solved just by snuggling together under the covers. It is Shaytan who wants to separate you two.

Avoid arguing in front of your children, but if they ever do witness a loud disagreement between you and your spouse, make sure to make up in front of them as well. Show them that marital conflict is not the end of the world and that there are healthy ways to resolve issues. Let them witness you apologizing and hugging it out.

Holding grudges breeds toxicity and dysfunction. Once issues are resolved, don’t keep bringing up past mistakes. Learn to forgive. And then forgive every day.

Have a sense of humor about each other’s annoying flaws and foibles. Case in point: I am frequently misplacing my eyeglasses and losing my wallet. It is such a bad habit of mine that even I have gotten to the point that I have difficulty forgiving myself. Alhamdulillah for a patient husband who manages to laugh it off, no matter how many times he ends up being inconvenienced (which is unfortunately a little too often). As long as they’re not extremely serious issues, try to act like you don’t even see each other’s faults.

Go with the flow.

Four other words: JUST LET IT GO.

Be a Uniter and Not a Divider

When you get to know your in-laws, you will see that not every family does everything the way your family does. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Take the good you see in your new family and adopt it. Ignore the “bad.” Do resolve with your husband, however, not to allow either of your families’ poor habits and poor choices to continue in the next generation that you two are raising together.

Don’t complain about or criticize your spouse to your own family. You’ll eventually get over whatever issue was bothering you, but it will be difficult for them to forgive and forget so easily. You want them to respect your husband. Be a veil for him. (Physical abuse, however, is a non-negotiable deal-breaker — God forbid, if that line is ever crossed, sound the alarm and get help immediately!)

If you want him to respect your family, you will have to show respect for them first. He will follow your lead. If he sees that your family is always causing you to feel annoyed, he will eventually start to resent them for bringing stress into his own household. Protect and nurture that special yet fragile relationship between him and his in-laws.

Even if it doesn’t seem to be a priority for him, take the time to buy his parents and siblings thoughtful presents — just because. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Give gifts to each other and you will love one another.” So go ahead and “buy” their love — it’s sunnah after all!

If your husband is ever upset with his own parents or siblings or extended family, don’t jump in and encourage him in his negative opinions. Defend them and make excuses for them and encourage him to see the good in them. Be their advocate. If you have nothing nice to say, stay silent. He may not admit it then, but he will be grateful for your attitude and thank you — even if only in his heart — later. The truth is: no one wants to hear anyone else bad-mouthing his family. Remember when we talked about service being one of the “five languages of love?” Well, here is an opportunity for one of the highest forms of service. Be someone who helps mend hearts and helps bring relations together; don’t be a cause for discord in the family.

Don’t Try to Keep Up with the Junaids

Avoid debt like the plague. A large, fancy, expensive house may do nothing toward making you happy. However, a small, clean, cozy, simple, peaceful home in a safe neighborhood filled with people who are hopefully trying to please Allah can very well feel like a palace in Heaven, insha’Allah.

Responsibly managing the family budget will avoid a lot of stress in your marriage. Paying riba, or usury, brings about all kinds of problems in one’s life and destroys the barakah, or blessing, in the home. Don’t ever pay interest, even if it means you never get to own your own home or car in this life. Keep your “akhirah (hereafter) glasses” on.

Make do with what you have, and only complain to Allah for your wants and needs. Make your husband feel like a hero. Having said that, don’t hesitate to schedule time to have honest conversations with your husband about anything that needs to be improved — the key is not to become an irritating nag who is constantly whining and complaining and issuing orders. Talk to your spouse when he is in the headspace to listen.

Be grateful. Be grateful. Be grateful. Allah, great and glorified is He, says in The Holy Qur’an: “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you.” And Allah always keeps His promises.

Remember: you will never have it all (not in this life at least).

Don’t compare your life to others’.

At the same time, you might not want to brag to the world about how happy you are. ’Ayn (the evil eye) and hasad (malicious jealousy) are two realities that Allah in His Wisdom has allowed to exist in the world. Protect your marriage from them. Besides, who would ever want to be the cause of any pain or sadness for those who are struggling with their own love lives?

There will be “little things” that will irritate you about him, and sometimes those causes for irritation might start to feel like “big things” (even when they are not). At those times, remind yourself that perfection is only for Allah, try to think about what life would be like without him, and be grateful for a spouse who is choosing to somehow still accept you despite your shortcomings. (And if someone else’s husband seems perfect to you, remember that everyone has flaws, and good wives hide their husbands’ shortcomings, so you are probably not getting the full picture — nor should you expect to.)

Instead of chasing “happiness,” try aiming for “contentment” instead.

Don’t take one another for granted. Your spouse is a duniyawi, or worldly, blessing that can be taken away at any moment. And, believe it or not, somewhere out there is someone who would be more than happy to trade places with you. Appreciate what Allah has given you.

Have a Mentor in Marriage

Avoid getting marital advice from people whom you know are having their own relationship problems. Similarly, stay away from getting advice from newbies who are still learning the ropes themselves. Look to someone who has a long-term, successful marriage of his or her own to find out how to make it work. Try to find one wise, discreet person to consult; don’t tell everyone your “problems.”

If someone you respect says you need therapy, you probably do. Don’t be ashamed to do whatever it takes to save your marriage. Give it your all.

If you do pay for marital therapy, only seek out trained professionals who understand and respect the parameters and priorities of your religion. You’ll be surprised at how often well-meaning (but spiritually clueless) therapists will prescribe the haram, or Divinely prohibited, as medicine for a troubled marriage.

Set Yourself Up to Soar Spiritually


He may be your best friend, or maybe he’s not. Either way, don’t neglect your girlfriends. Take time to nurture those bonds that help you be a better person. There will come a day when you will need the support of your sisters. Don’t let falling in love make you fall out of friendship with your “tribe.” Consider connection with your soul sisters as part of your self-care, but remember that your husband and his needs always take precedence. If, after being married, people routinely mistake you for being “single,” you’re definitely doing something wrong.

Attend religious classes together, either in person or online. The point is to keep growing together spiritually. You may not grow at the same pace (and that’s okay — you’re two separate souls after all!), but at least you’ll respect the same teachers and will understand each other’s motivations and end goals.

Instead of listening to those who advise “Don’t let marriage change you,” amend their words to “Marriage should only change you for the better.”

Take an occasional break and travel — even if you can only afford to do so locally.

But make Allah, great and glorified is He, be your ultimate destination.


Hina Khan-Mukhtar is a mother of three young men and one of the founders of the homeschooling co-operative known as ILM Tree in the San Francisco Bay Area which now serves over 35 homeschooling families. In addition to having taught Language Arts to elementary, middle school, and high school students, she is also involved in interfaith dialogue. Hina was a monthly contributor to The Muslim Observer’s “Raising Our Ummah” column and also writes for Seeker’s Guidance where she shares parenting advice and ideas for nurturing spiritual traditions in childhood.


Being a Daughter, a Woman, and Living This Life

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil counsels on the role and duty of daughter toward parents, being a woman, feeling isolated overwhelmed by expectations.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am tired. I don’t feel like I understand my purpose anymore. Especially when I see so many of my sisters in Islam living a life of independence. I am confused about exactly what Islam says on the matter – it has been my long held belief that a girl or woman doesn’t leave her parents home except by marriage.

Am I wrong? I was under the impression that this is based upon a hadith. What happens if she doesn’t get married? Is she forced to leave and find her independence?

I am one of three sisters. One who has gotten married, one who lives independently of us, and me. I do not wish for marriage. But I see myself as being responsible for my parents as they get older. I have no mahram other than my elderly father. No other family here. I do work, part-time alhamduliLlah.

Should I leave the home and leave my parents alone? (I don’t want to, because I am afraid to lose them in any sense, even by their own natural end).

I sometimes feel like nothing I do is right before my father. I feel like I studied and obeyed them in this regard. But now, I am so tired with how pointless everything is. I studied two degrees, trained for a long time, and all for what?

I remained confused about my faith, I have lost friends, and become more isolated. I genuinely believe women need a mahram to travel randomly around the globe if for pleasure and not for purpose.

I’ve become disheartened, disillusioned, for clinging onto things that others maybe don’t consider important. Please advise me.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Living Alone

Dear sister, please know that Allah knows the deepest contents of your heart. If you do not want to move out from your parents’ home, then please, by all means, remain there.

Please do not compare yourself to your sisters, as tempting as that may be. Three of you are completely different individuals, with unique strengths and challenges. Your responsibility is to measure yourself against the yardstick of what is pleasing to Allah, in this present moment.

Please refer to these links to clarify your confusion about the permissibility of an unmarried Muslim woman, living alone: Can I, as a Woman, Live on My Own? [Shafi’i] and Can an Unmarried Young Woman Live Alone?

Exception

The only scenario in which I would encourage you to move out from your parents’ home is this – if staying with your parents were harming you, in some way.

It does not have to be outward abuse, but if you feel that staying with your parents is contributing to feelings of stagnation, then perhaps it is time for you to make a change.

Caring for Parents

It is praiseworthy for you to take on the main responsibility of caring for your parents in their old age. However, please know that goodness to your parents remains a personally obligatory act for all of your sisters. Your commitment to caring for your parents does not lift the responsibility from their shoulders.

I suspect that because you live with your parents, then your sisters take you for granted. They know that you are there every day to be of service to your parents, so perhaps they do not try harder to be there for them, too.

I encourage you to complete this transformative course: Excellence With Parents: Muhammad Mawlud’s Birr al-Walidayn Explained: Your Parents’ Rights and How to Fulfil Them.

Father

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Sura al-Dhariyat 51:56)

You describe that nothing you do is right by your father. I am sorry – this is deeply painful, for any daughter. Please know that when a father is chronically displeased with his children, it actually reflects his own chronic displeasure with himself.

I encourage you not to live your life for your parents, especially not your father. This can be very hard to do at first, because it has become an ingrained habit. Live for Allah, and within the realms of permissibility, please do things that bring you joy. Find ways to nourish your heart, body, mind and soul.

Please know that perhaps creating some physical distance between you and your father may help you realign with your values, instead of always being drawn to what is pleasing to him.

You were created to worship Allah, and your journey to that includes working on your weaknesses and harnessing your strengths.

Life Coaching

I suggest that you look up one of the many Muslimah life coaches online. Find someone who resonates with you, and commit to exploring ways to improve your life. What are you passionate about? What are you good at? What do you want to get better at?

Marriage and Possible Depression

You describe that you do not want to be married. Is this because you have been hurt before, or because you genuinely are not interested in marriage?

You have also described yourself as losing friends, feeling lonely, and being exhausted. Could your low moods and lack of interest in marriage be something you could explore, within the safety of a culturally-sensitive counsellor’s office?

Travel

Please refer to this link for clarification: Can I Travel by Plane Without a Mahram?

Spiritual Nourishment

Dear sister, your soul is yearning for relief. Please feed your soul with the the cool, sweet waters of dua, the Prayer of Need, reciting and listening to Qur’an, and other acts of nearness to Allah.

Clarify your confusion about your faith through seeking out healing knowledge. SeekersHub courses are in abundance, alhamdulilah, so decide which ones resonate with you most, and strive to complete them.

I pray that this has been helpful. Please keep in touch.

Please see: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long.

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Marriage and Severed Ties of Kinship

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil advises on mending relations with estranged parents and marrying with their blessing.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

My parents got divorced when I was 3 and I ended up with my father who raised me. I didn’t see my mother for almost 19 years, until I finally decided I wanted to see her. AlhamduliLlah I saw her and we got very close, but it created a lot of problems for me as well, as my mother and father were at times competing for my loyalty. It felt like I was being dragged from both sides.

My mother has a lot of emotional problems and gets angry very easily, and because I haven’t grown up with her she sometimes expects me to act in certain ways or do certain things that I’m not accustomed to and she gets angry at me for not doing them. This has caused me a lot of psychological problems and at times I would dread talking to my mom because I would be scared of witnessing a bad reaction from her despite trying my best not to say or do anything that might upset her.

My mother right now doesn’t talk to me. She severed ties with me about a year ago and is forbidding my sisters from talking to me as well. This happened because I was getting to know a girl for marriage and my mom insisted that I bring this girl to the country where my mother is living before we do anything, and I explained to my mother in the gentlest manner that I couldn’t do that because neither the girl nor her family would agree to that if we weren’t married. I informed my mother that I was planning on doing a recitation of Fatiha with my father’s side of the family and the girl’s family and my mother was furious that she wouldn’t be present for this, particularly after I explained that neither me or nor my mother would have the means to fly my mother out to the country where we were going to do this.

After this, my mother stopped talking to me, and my sisters too, not because my sisters want to but because my mother is not letting them. I’ve been texting my mother since then and I tried calling her as well but she stopped answering me. I message her frequently to ask about her, make dua for her, and apologize for upsetting her but she doesn’t answer me.

My mother lives in a different country and I don’t have the means to go there at the moment. Things didn’t work out between the girl and I for marriage, and now I’m looking for another suitable marriage partner. So my question is, would it be permissible for me to get married while my mother is not talking to me given my circumstances? I’m nearing 30 years old and it’s very difficult for me to please everyone in my family. Obviously because I grew up with my father, I’m closer to him than my mother and he’s more involved in my life than she was. I’m just thinking that I’m reaching a point in my life where I don’t want to keep delaying marriage, especially for reasons that are beyond my control and capacity to deal with.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Mother’s Anger

It sounds like beneath your mother’s anger are deep feelings of shame, guilt, sadness and so on. When you told her that you would read the Fatiha without her, she probably felt completely cast aside, disrespected, and unloved. Her decision to cut off ties with you remains sinful, but is understandable, given her emotional imbalanced nature.

Even though she did not raise you from the age of three, she is still your mother, and it is still obligatory for you to treat her with kindness and respect.

Because of this, I strongly discourage you from getting married without her knowledge and her blessing. She will be even angrier, and you will be giving your future wife the wrath of a deeply unhappy mother-in-law.

Give yourself a reasonable time limit. I am not saying to wait ten years, but you do need to try harder, and give your mother time to come around.

Please perform the Prayer of Guidance about getting married. Please perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to soften your mother’s heart.

Exhaust Every Option

Please try harder to reconnect with your mother. Send her gifts, write her letters, and so on. Give in charity daily, even if it is little, with the intention of earning your mother’s forgiveness.

Ideally, please save up to fly in person to kiss her hand. When she sees you, it is only natural for her heart to soften, and for her to weep healing tears. It sounds like she has 19 years of regret and shame, manifesting in her anger towards you.

Please complete this course so you can better understand the rank of your mother, even though she is challenging: Excellence With Parents: Muhammad Mawlud’s Birr al-Walidayn Explained: Your Parents’ Rights and How to Fulfill Them.

Financial Priorities and Marriage

If you cannot afford to visit your mother, can you afford to support a wife?

Even though you are not close to your mother, she remains your mother, and must be treated with compassion and respect. She has already missed out on so much of your life, and it sounds like she is desperate to connect with you. She is trying to be part of your marital selection process, because she wants to be part of your life.

Gender Interaction

Please know that you need to still observe appropriate gender interaction while looking for a wife.

Do not get too emotionally attached. The woman you marry must be sensitive to your mother’s situation, too. Being kind and patient with your mother is this a pathway to Jannah for you and your future wife, when handled well.

Mother’s Rank

“We commanded man (to be good) in respect of his parents. His mother carried him (in her womb) despite weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. (We said to man,) “Be grateful to Me, and to your parents. To Me is the ultimate return.” (Sura Luqman 31:14)

I pray that when you become a father some day, you will better understand the rank of your own mother.

Even your father raised you when your mother left at the age of three, consider this: your mother kept you safe in her womb, gave birth to you, nursed you, and looked after you for the first three years of your life. Nothing you can do can repay that debt to her.

Please see How Can I Deal With My Difficult Mother in a Respectful Way?

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Unfaithful Husband Working Overseas

Ustadh Farid Dingle untangles the difficulties a wife faces when her husband who works overseas decides to marry a second wife but wishes to divorce his first on no grounds.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am married for six years. I have two kids. My son is five years old and my daughter is three. My husband has been working in Dubai for four years. In the past four months he stopped talking to me properly and he asked divorce from me, because he met his first girlfriend on Facebook and he wants to marry her.

I agreed on his second marriage and told him that as we have kids he needs to take care of both the wives equally and should give equal rights. He says that his girlfriend can’t tolerate me. Now I made a deal that I will never interfere in his life but he should not divorce me as I don’t want to be called as divorcee. He agreed to this.

My questions are: Is it right to divorce the first wife just to marry another woman, when there is no reason for divorcing the first wife? And is it right to stay as a wife without interfering in husband’s matters and without getting any rights whether physically or emotionally?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Dear questioner,

May Allah bring light, baraka, and change into your situation.

Being a man

The first thing your husband needs to understand is that being a man comes with responsibilities and rights. His duty before his wife and children is to provide material, emotional, and religious support and protection. This means that he cannot be ‘out of the picture’ and not communicate. “It is sufficiently wicked for a man to squander those he must support.” (Muslim and others)

The right of man to take a second wife is only on the proviso that he not squander the rights of the first. Allah says, “So do not incline completely [the other wife] such that you should leave her (the first wife) hanging.” (Sura al-Nisa 4: 129)

This is exactly what is proposed, and it is un-Islamic. Your husband should make this very clear to the second wife, and to you and the children.

Being a co-wife

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “It is not permissible for a woman to ask [her husband] to divorce her ‘sister’ so that she might take her place: that is what has been apportioned for her.” (Bukhari)

This is exactly what the other wife to-be is asking: that she be the wife, and you get out of the picture. This is not Islam.

If she wants to marry your husband, she has a right to, but she has no right to ruin someone else’s marriage.

He too should be man enough to be very clear and set the boundaries as laid down by the Sacred Law.

Divorce

It is very, very difficult for women from cultures that stigmatize divorce to become a divorcee. I pray that the matter doesn’t end up like that.

That said, if you husband stubbornly refuses to come to his wits and come back to you as a proper husband, divorce might be the only option.

I would advise you both to talk this matter out in a lot of depth. You should both be fully aware of the legal and emotional repercussions of divorce, and how it will affect the children, and their mother.

You should be willing to admit any faults from your part and express a strong will to change so that he feels that their might be a future between the two of you after all. Problems don’t solve themselves, and being away from your for such a long time is not a good way to solve the issues.

Repentance

You should encourage him, and yourself, to repent to Allah. Allah only sends us strive and difficulties to draw us closer to him. Allah Most High says on the tongue of Noah, upon whom be peace, “Seek your [cherishing] Lord’s forgiveness – indeed He ever is forgiving – and He will send down pouring rain, and [really] help you with money and children, and He will make [permanently] yours gardens and rivers.” (Sura Nuh 71: 12)

Allah the Omnipotent

Allah can do anything, and can make anything come out of anything. He can make you happy with your husband, and without your husband, and can open doors that you could never dream of. Keep up hope and always thank Allah.

I pray this helps.

Farid

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Husband in Conflict with In-Laws

Ustadh Farid Dingle gives advice on how to heal relations between a husband and his in-laws, improve communication, and how the Fatiha is an excellent dua.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have been married for 7 yrs. Masha Allah everything has been fine but suddenly my husband’s behavior towards my family changed. He thinks all my family members are selfish. An incident occurred a year ago, but the fault lies on both sides. Now he has broken all the relationship with my family. Please help me and suggest some dua for mending our relationship.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Dear questioner,

Communication is the key. Have your husband explain very clearly and openly why he is cutting ties. Try to have him sit down with one of your family members and explain what he disapproves of. Maybe there is some valid reason?

At the end of the day, if you can still see your family, as long as he doesn’t say anything bad about them and is not disrespectful to them, he doesn’t have to visit them or be close to them.

Also try to see if this has anything to do with your own relationship. Is he saying this to get back at something you did? Try to get him to open up.

The Fatiha is an excellent dua. We say it at least 17 times a day, but we don’t really mean it. Focus on meaning what you say.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Marrying a Practicing Non-Hijabi

Ustada Raidah Shah Idil is asked if marrying a practicing sister who does not wear hijab is permissible.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Where I come from, there are many Muslims that practice Islam without their parents’ consent. I belong to such a family, but alhamduliLlah things have changed a lot for me. I can join prayers in the mosque, and have permission from my family to do that.

But I have lots of friends who can not, for example, join prayers with jama‘a, or join Khalaqas given in Mosques, generally because of the fear of falling into the extremism of the religion. For these families, praying, reading Qur’an, joining Jumu‘as are things that put their kids in extremism, as well as the fear that their kids will leave the dunya altogether, and will leave science to seek knowledge for the deen. Anything along the lines of Islam is fearful for them.

There are sisters in my hometown who are religious. They pray, read the Qur’an, listen to khutbas through the web, and fast every Ramadan. Headscarf is another point that is risky to put on unless they’re praying. Families don’t give permission to wear the hijab outside, because it is a way of backwardness.

My question is, is it allowed for me to marry a non-hijabi sister who is religious, a good person, and a practicing Muslima? Do I get any share in the sin she does because of not wearing the hijab (if married to such person)?

Answer:

Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Permissibility

“And each soul is paid in full for what it did. And He is Best Aware of what they do.” (Sura al-Zumar 39:70)

In short, yes, it is permissible for you to marry a non-hijabi sister. Her sins are on her, just like your sins are on you. As spouses, it is better for both of you to encourage one another to whatever pleases Allah, even if it may displease everyone else.

Marriage as Growth

Spouses, especially in the first year of marriage, often trigger old wounds from childhood e.g. fearing practising the din openly, feeling chronically unworthy etc. Use these uncomfortable feelings as opportunities to work on dismantling these patterns, together. For example, once she is married to you, then your future wife can rest easy knowing that you are supportive of her decision to wear hijab. Her family will still be unhappy, but when a married daughter leaves her family home, it is understood that her husband will have the greater influence, moving forward.

I pray that marriage will be beneficial for both of you, and increase you both in inward and outward observance of the din.

Please complete this course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

Please also see Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

 


Muslim Woman to Marry Christian Man

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil makes it clear that a Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian man.

If a Muslim woman wants to marry a Christian man on the condition that he will allow their children to be practicing Muslims, and their life and all matters will be handled as per Islamic teaching, then is there an issue in getting married?

The Qur’an doesn’t mention clearly that Muslim women are prohibited from marrying Christian men. It seems to be just a matter of scholars thoughts or considerations.

Best regards

Marriage Validity

“Do not marry polytheistic women until they believe; for a believing slave-woman is better than a free polytheist, even though she may look pleasant to you. And do not marry your women to polytheistic men until they believe, for a believing slave-man is better than a free polytheist, even though he may look pleasant to you. They invite you to the Fire while Allah invites you to Paradise and forgiveness by His grace. He makes His revelations clear to the people so perhaps they will be mindful.” (Sura al-Baqara 2:221)

Dear sister, it is not permissible for you to marry a Christian man.

There is no scholarly difference on this very clear matter. Please refer to these previous answers for further clarification: Can a Muslim Woman Marry a Non-Muslim Man if Their Children Are Raised as Muslims? and Why Is a Muslim Woman Not Allowed to Marry a Non-Muslim Man?

The only way for your relationship to be made halal is this – he must embrace Islam, and you must do a valid nikah with him.

Future Children

Your marriage contract to a non-Muslim man is invalid, causing your children to be born out of wedlock. Your unborn children will be innocent of your sin of zina, but they deserve a better start to life. Please read: Can I Claim a Child from an Illicit Relationship?

Reality of Your Situation

You are both already in love, want to marry, live by Islam and raise your children as Muslims. As a courtesy to you, your Muslim family, his own soul, and most of all, to Allah Most High, please encourage your partner to embrace Islam.

Even if he does not fast a single day in his life or complete a single prayer, it is better for him to die on belief, so the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, can intercede for him on the Day of Judgement. Death, Hellfire and Heaven are real. Would you not want the man you love to be with you and your children in Paradise?

I encourage you to share this with your partner: Advice to a Christian Man Who Wants to Marry a Muslim Woman.

I pray that Allah opens his heart to Islam, and blesses you with a loving marriage and pious children.

Please also see Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered.