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How to Keep a Successful Islamic Marriage

There is no guarantee for any marriage to be successful or fulfill an ultimate happiness for the bride or groom.

However, Islamically, there is a guarantee that if you fulfill the conditions and guidelines of obeying God and His messenger, in your marriage, you will have a real potential of reaching that marital happiness that everyone seeks.

Before we even discuss these Islamic guidelines, we need to understand the importance of a successful marriage to the quality of one’s life. God said:

 And amongst His miracles and proofs is that He created from amongst yourselves spouses to reach peace and calm with, and made mercy and love between yourselves (Ar-Rum 30: 21)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that: “A righteous wife is one of the treasures of dunya (worldly life).” (Muslim)

How to Choose the Right Spouse

The number one secret of a successful marriage is (correctly) choosing the right spouse.  You cannot choose the wrong husband/wife and then spend the rest of your life looking for solutions, mediators, and family members to try to fix the never-ending problems with your spouse. Prophet Muhammad said:

“Whoever proposes to your daughters of what you accept of his religion and his manners, then accept his proposal, otherwise it would be a major ordeal.” (Al-Bukhari)

So, yes, one of the conditions of Islam is that there is equitability between the husband and wife in the same cultural, social, and financial environment; yet the ultimate parameter to choose the husband from within these same levels is his religion and as the Prophet had specified, his manners, Islamic manners that is.

Similarly, the Prophet advised Muslim men with the ingenious advice of making Islamic mannerism the ultimate filter of choosing a wife. In his well-known quotation, Prophet Muhammad said:

“A woman is pursued for marriage for four reasons: for her money, for her social status, for her beauty, and for her religion (Islamic manners), so marry the one with the religion, otherwise you will win dust (gain nothing).” (Al-Bukhari)

In my humble opinion, this quotation speaks about women, but actually its meaning is also valid for men. For the young lady and the young man can choose the handsome, wealthy, funny, hip spouse, and blind themselves to their spouse’s religion and real Islamic manners. After three weeks to a month after the marriage, all the flashy, funny, pretentious facades fall down to a boring normal, what’s left will always be the true metal of the character that in many cases is a troubling time bomb that eventually ends the marriage or at least undermines its quality. So the ultimate rule is yes a handsome, witty, wealthy husband or wife is great but only as an addition to their good religion, and their true Islamic characters, for that true religion/character is what lasts.

Advice for the Wives

Prophet Muhammad said:”If the woman prayed her five, and fasted her thirty, protected her chastity, and obeyed her husband, it would be said to her: ‘enter from whichever door of paradise you want’.” (At Tirmidhi)

So what does it mean to obey the husband especially to the pride of the bride?

If we look at marriage through modern and pragmatic lens, we cannot ignore that it is a cooperation or some sort of human corporation, where ultimately, like it is with any successful entity made of multiple individuals, there has to be a leader who’s ultimately responsible for the well-being of the whole entity. God had burdened men with such leadership and responsibility for the entire family, based on their natural task of providing, protecting, and most importantly, attending to all the family needs:

Men attend to women with what Allah had preferred some over the other, and with what they provided from their monies. (An-Nisa’ 4: 34)

A wife’s obedience to her husband in that case is exactly like a director or a vice president of a corporation engages with the president, with input, requests, and demands, yet while knowing that the ultimate decision would lie on the shoulders of the president for he also bears the ultimate responsibility. People understand this business concept very easily, yet sometimes couples never digest it with the influence of Western habits, where the relationship between a man and a woman is competitive, not integrative.

Having said that, the ultimate guidelines of a wife’s mandated obedience to her husband falls underneath the cardinal rule in Islam; “there’s no obedience to a created by disobeying that creator” i.e. what both husband and wife obey is God and when the wife obeys the husband, she only obeys what satisfies God. So if the husband asks the wife to cheat, lie, steal, or kill, then it is a big NO to the husband, no matter what the justification is.

The couple understanding the concept of obedience is half the way of having a really peaceful, successful marriage.

One time I was interviewed by an American TV station, and I was asked, isn’t dating and having a relationship before marriage the ultimate test to find out if the couple fit together for marriage?

On its face, the question seems somewhat logical, yet in reality, it is absolutely the opposite. For what makes a marriage or any relationship for that matter successful is that all parties use the same guidelines as a reference, and they both tune to the same wavelength, and that is the only guarantee of their potential harmony. Evidenced by the fact that the result of all these dating and illegitimate haram (unlawful) relationships in the West not only result in less than 50 percent actual marriage ratio, but even these marriages fall apart over 40 percent of the time, within four to five years.

If there is initial acceptance and attraction that is verified by both of them adhering to the same reference of Islamic manners and obedience to God, then that is a marriage that not only will most likely last, but will provide happiness for both parties.

In the next article, I will talk about how to enhance a husband’s responsibility and a couple’s personal behavior to achieve happiness for the entire family.

The major factor in determining the longevity of a good Islamic marriage can be summarized by the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): “No one likes seeking excuses (for people) more than Allah, and for that He had sent the givers of glad tidings and the warners.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The magic word is tolerance. As we mentioned in earlier, the bedrock of a successful marriage lies in selecting the correct partner. It’s the partner with good Islamic manners, along with suitability and attractiveness factors.

If a spouse was successful in finding such good Islamic husband/wife, then the continued success and fruits of that marriage is simply the matter of following that hadith. It is basically the art of tolerance.

If we understand that everyone makes mistakes, then it will be logical to forgive your spouse because you also – and I guarantee it – will make mistakes that beg for forgiveness.

It’s conceptually like a mother who’s facing her own crying, annoying, and ill child. The weird thing would be to cry back at the child that she loves, while very well understanding that he/she is ill or has a high fever.

In the same way the spouse, either husband or wife, could be angered or irritated, whether rightfully or for an unacceptable reason, he/she will still be the same beloved husband/wife in the end. Risking the entire marriage and relationship just for that moment of anger is as ridiculous as that mother crying back at her own beloved child.

Another factor that endangers good marriages is discovering a bad manner in the spouse that was not known prior to the marriage. The secret here is still tolerance, but it should be tolerance that relies on the rest of the good manners that the spouse has – that’s why he/she was chosen to begin with. But after tolerance come persuasion, courteous gestures, and polite communication at the right moment. Such gentle reminders like “don’t you think that it’s better to do this that way”. Or, “what is your opinion about this?”

Positive Communication

Communicating in an indirect way that is wrapped in a proposition or a question is always effective, especially if it is the man that we are trying to convince to drop a bad habit or do something that he is supposed to be doing, but is not.

One point I need to clarify is that tolerance and forgiveness are not opposites to good communication. A spouse can tolerate and forgive, but it is a must almost every now and then that the couple communicates what is bothering them, or better, how things can improve between them, their way of life, and their living conditions. The accumulated residuals of lack of communication can backfire in an irreparable way, destroying marriages between good Muslim husbands and wives.

Always communicate, always thank “the one who does not thank people, is not thankful to Allah” as Prophet Muhammad said for any good deed done by the spouse and most importantly, choose the right moment to politely communicate about something that bothered you or that could be changed.

One story that symbolizes this fact, which actually happened in my family, is when my aunt, one of the best Muslim women I’ve seen in my life, had finished preparing dinner for her husband and repeatedly called him to dinner. However, he was busy reading an interesting article in a newspaper, and kept telling her that he’ll be right over.

At that moment, his wife made the mistake of allowing the Satan to get her angry and walked straight to him, snatched the newspaper, tore it to pieces, and threw it on the ground. What would you do if you were that Muslim man?

Here is what he did: Very quietly, he kneeled on the floor, gathered the pieces of the newspaper, brought scotch tape, sat again, and patiently taped together his newspaper without blaming his wife with one look or one single word!

My aunt told me that her husband’s politeness in response to her anger was worse than somebody whipping her mercilessly. She felt so ashamed and respected him for forgiving and tolerating her in that Islamic way. What the husband did was not only something that saved the couple and their marriage from a potential disaster, but it also opened a guaranteed credit of forgiveness with his wife the next time Satan may deceive him into anger!

Finally, there are times where it has absolutely nothing to do with the husband or the wife, but simply with the hectic burdens of responsibilities, children, and work of the day-to-day life. Sometimes the couple is the only target of releasing that built-up pressure after a while.

The solution, regardless of how pressing the demands and burdens are, is that either each spouse should take a couple of days away from the family completely by visiting their parents or relatives out of the house, or, for lesser chronic situations, take a mini vacation for one day to indulge themselves and break that inflaming daily routine of work, then children.

The responsibility, at the end of the day, lies upon the shoulders of the husband, who is the president of that human business called marriage, for the Prophet himself said:

“The best among you is your best to his family, and I am your best to my family.” (At-Tirmidhi, 1977)

This is even more significant when you realize that the last three pieces of advice the Prophet had said while he was dying were to never lose prayers, never be distracted by the materialism of this world, and that he is leaving all Muslim men a trust to treat women well.

May Allah guide us all and reward our forgiveness and tolerance in the highest places of His Paradise.

Those who spend in good times and bad times, swallow their anger, pardon and forgive people, and Allah likes those who excel in their deen. (Al Imran 3: 159)

The major factor in determining the longevity of a good Islamic marriage can be summarized by the correct hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): No one likes seeking excuses (for people) more than Allah, and for that he had sent the givers of glad tidings and the warners (Al Bukhari and Muslim)

The magic word is tolerance. As we mentioned in the last article, the bedrock of a successful marriage lies in selecting the correct partner. It’s the partner with good Islamic manners, along with suitability and attractiveness factors. If a spouse was successful in finding such good Islamic husband/wife, then the continued success and fruits of that marriage is simply the matter of following that hadith. It is basically the art of tolerance.

If we understand that everyone makes mistakes, then it will be logical to forgive your spouse because you also – and I guarantee it – will make mistakes that beg for forgiveness.

It’s conceptually like a mother who’s facing her own crying, annoying, and ill child. The weird thing is that if she cried back at the child that she loves, while very well understanding that he/she is ill or has a high fever. In the same way the spouse, either husband or wife, could be angered or irritated, whether rightfully or for an unacceptable reason, he/she will still be the same beloved husband/wife in the end. Risking the entire marriage and relationship just for that moment of anger is as ridiculous as that mother crying back at her own beloved child.

Another factor that endangers good marriages is discovering a bad manner in the spouse that was not known prior to the marriage. The secret here is still tolerance, but it should be tolerance that relies on the rest of the good manners that the spouse has – that’s why he/she was chosen to begin with. But after tolerance come persuasion, courteous gestures, and polite communication at the right moment. Such gentle reminders like “don’t you think that it’s better to do this that way”. Or, “what is your opinion about this?”

Communicating in an indirect way that is wrapped in a proposition or a question is always effective, especially if it is the man that we are trying to convince to drop a bad habit or do something that he is supposed to be doing, but is not.

One point I need to clarify is that tolerance and forgiveness are not opposites to good communication. A spouse can tolerate and forgive, but it is a must almost every now and then that the couple communicates what is bothering them, or better, how things can improve between them, their way of life, and their living conditions. The accumulated residuals of lack of communication can backfire in an irreparable way, destroying marriages between good Muslim husbands and wives. Always communicate, always thank (“the one who does not thank people, is not thankful to Allah” as  Prophet Muhammad said) for any good deed done by the spouse and most importantly, choose the right moment to politely communicate about something that bothered you or that could be changed.

One story that symbolizes this fact, which actually happened in my family, is when my aunt, one of the best Muslim women I’ve seen in my life, had finished preparing dinner for her husband and repeatedly called him to dinner. However, he was busy reading an interesting article in a newspaper, and kept telling her that he’ll be right over. At that moment, his wife made the mistake of allowing the Satan to get her angry and walked straight to him, snatched the newspaper, tore it to pieces, and threw it on the ground. What would you do if you were that Muslim man?

Here is what he did: Very quietly, he kneeled on the floor, gathered the pieces of the newspaper, brought scotch tape, sat again, and patiently taped together his newspaper without blaming his wife with one look or one single word!

My aunt told me that her husband’s politeness in response to her anger was worse than somebody whipping her mercilessly. She felt so ashamed and respected him for forgiving and tolerating her in that Islamic way. What the husband did was not only something that saved the couple and their marriage from a potential disaster, but it also opened a guaranteed credit of forgiveness with his wife the next time Satan may deceive him into anger!

Finally, there are times where it has absolutely nothing to do with the husband or the wife, but simply with the hectic burdens of responsibilities, children, and work of the day-to-day life. Sometimes the couple is the only target of releasing that built-up pressure after awhile. The solution, regardless of how pressing the demands and burdens are, is that either each spouse should take a couple days of the family completely by visiting their parents or relatives out of the house, or, for lesser chronic situations, take a mini vacation for one day to indulge themselves and break that inflaming daily routine of work children, then children, work.

The responsibility, at the end of the day, lies upon the shoulders of the husband, who is the president of that huma

The major factor in determining the longevity of a good Islamic marriage can be summarized by the correct hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): No one likes seeking excuses (for people) more than Allah, and for that he had sent the givers of glad tidings and the warners (Al Bukhari and Muslim)

The magic word is tolerance. As we mentioned in the last article, the bedrock of a successful marriage lies in selecting the correct partner. It’s the partner with good Islamic manners, along with suitability and attractiveness factors. If a spouse was successful in finding such good Islamic husband/wife, then the continued success and fruits of that marriage is simply the matter of following that hadith. It is basically the art of tolerance.

If we understand that everyone makes mistakes, then it will be logical to forgive your spouse because you also – and I guarantee it – will make mistakes that beg for forgiveness.

It’s conceptually like a mother who’s facing her own crying, annoying, and ill child. The weird thing is that if she cried back at the child that she loves, while very well understanding that he/she is ill or has a high fever. In the same way the spouse, either husband or wife, could be angered or irritated, whether rightfully or for an unacceptable reason, he/she will still be the same beloved husband/wife in the end. Risking the entire marriage and relationship just for that moment of anger is as ridiculous as that mother crying back at her own beloved child.

Another factor that endangers good marriages is discovering a bad manner in the spouse that was not known prior to the marriage. The secret here is still tolerance, but it should be tolerance that relies on the rest of the good manners that the spouse has – that’s why he/she was chosen to begin with. But after tolerance come persuasion, courteous gestures, and polite communication at the right moment. Such gentle reminders like “don’t you think that it’s better to do this that way”. Or, “what is your opinion about this?”

Communicating in an indirect way that is wrapped in a proposition or a question is always effective, especially if it is the man that we are trying to convince to drop a bad habit or do something that he is supposed to be doing, but is not.

One point I need to clarify is that tolerance and forgiveness are not opposites to good communication. A spouse can tolerate and forgive, but it is a must almost every now and then that the couple communicates what is bothering them, or better, how things can improve between them, their way of life, and their living conditions. The accumulated residuals of lack of communication can backfire in an irreparable way, destroying marriages between good Muslim husbands and wives. Always communicate, always thank (“the one who does not thank people, is not thankful to Allah” as  Prophet Muhammad said) for any good deed done by the spouse and most importantly, choose the right moment to politely communicate about something that bothered you or that could be changed.

One story that symbolizes this fact, which actually happened in my family, is when my aunt, one of the best Muslim women I’ve seen in my life, had finished preparing dinner for her husband and repeatedly called him to dinner. However, he was busy reading an interesting article in a newspaper, and kept telling her that he’ll be right over. At that moment, his wife made the mistake of allowing the Satan to get her angry and walked straight to him, snatched the newspaper, tore it to pieces, and threw it on the ground. What would you do if you were that Muslim man?

Here is what he did: Very quietly, he kneeled on the floor, gathered the pieces of the newspaper, brought scotch tape, sat again, and patiently taped together his newspaper without blaming his wife with one look or one single word!

My aunt told me that her husband’s politeness in response to her anger was worse than somebody whipping her mercilessly. She felt so ashamed and respected him for forgiving and tolerating her in that Islamic way. What the husband did was not only something that saved the couple and their marriage from a potential disaster, but it also opened a guaranteed credit of forgiveness with his wife the next time Satan may deceive him into anger!

Finally, there are times where it has absolutely nothing to do with the husband or the wife, but simply with the hectic burdens of responsibilities, children, and work of the day-to-day life. Sometimes the couple is the only target of releasing that built-up pressure after awhile. The solution, regardless of how pressing the demands and burdens are, is that either each spouse should take a couple days of the family completely by visiting their parents or relatives out of the house, or, for lesser chronic situations, take a mini vacation for one day to indulge themselves and break that inflaming daily routine of work children, then children, work.

The responsibility, at the end of the day, lies upon the shoulders of the husband, who is the president of that human business called marriage, for the Prophet himself said: Your best is your best to his family, and I am your best to my family. (At Tirmidhi)

This is even more significant when you realize that the last three pieces of advice the prophet had said while he was dying were to never lose prayers, never be distracted by the materialism of this world, and that he is leaving all Muslim men a trust to treat women well.

May Allah guide us all and reward our forgiveness and tolerance in the highest places of His Paradise.

Those who spend in good times and bad times, swallow their anger, pardon and forgive people, and Allah likes those who excel in their deen. (Al Imran 3: 159)

n business called marriage, for the Prophet himself said: Your best is your best to his family, and I am your best to my family. (At Tirmidhi)

This is even more significant when you realize that the last three pieces of advice the prophet had said while he was dying were to never lose prayers, never be distracted by the materialism of this world, and that he is leaving all Muslim men a trust to treat women well.

May Allah guide us all and reward our forgiveness and tolerance in the highest places of His Paradise.

Those who spend in good times and bad times, swallow their anger, pardon and forgive people, and Allah likes those who excel in their deen. (Al Imran 3: 159)

 

Imam Moustafa Zayed

 

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