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The Nikah Kitaba (Katb Al-Kitab) Survival Guide

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Nikāḥ kitāba, otherwise known as katb al-kitāb or “celibate marriage,” has become an increasingly common and preferred way of marriage for many young Muslim couples. A young man and woman may find themselves wanting to marry one another, but at the time are unable to live together. So instead of being engaged for long periods of time and making things difficult for the two, they choose to wed by nikāḥ kitāba.

This practice is actually a tradition of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who married ‘Ā’isha, may Allah be pleased with her, and delayed consummation until she was older.

After over 18 months of being married by nikāḥ kitāba, today marks the day my wife and I will be having our wedding party (known as ruksathī in Indian-Pakistani culture) after which will begin to live our lives together forever, insha’Allah. After a wonderful year and a half of a beautiful relationship Allah blessed us with, we came up with what we feel is an essential survival guide for couples undergoing the same journey we just completed. If you are married by nikāḥ kitāba or will be in the future, then this list is for you.

1. Know your intention

Unfortunately, having the correct intention is often overlooked as the typically cliché and skip-over introduction point to anything. However, here as much as always, you will find it to be critically important. You, your spouse, and your families have agreed to join together in marriage and delay living together until later. In addition to being a tradition of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, it may also serve as a means of worshiping Allah. You could have decided to practice other less sound relationship methods, but instead chose to perform nikāḥ right away. Always remember this goal of pleasing Allah, as remembering Him in times of good as well as bad will make it much easier to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

2. Don’t play games

With long distance relationships, communication via the phone or internet may become your relationship’s only lifeline. With such limitation, you’re going to run into some roadblocks in getting important cues and messages through to your significant other. Since you have no avenue to use physical gestures to express your feelings, don’t play guessing games with your spouse. If you’re upset, just say it! Both of you don’t want things to drag and the sooner you speak up, the sooner you’ll find yourselves laughing together again.

3. Understand that your spouse has another life

You may find yourself at times frustrated that your spouse is busy and can’t speak on the phone, or they don’t pick up the phone whenever you find the chance to call. Don’t stress it. This is simply a natural result of having a long-distance relationship. Whether the distance is across the globe or across the street, understand if the other is busy or cannot visit. Always believe they wish they could talk to you or see you more, and never accuse them of the opposite. There may be things on the other end you just cannot see to understand why they are so busy (i.e. actual fatigue, stress with school or career, family responsibilities, etc). Understanding that your spouse can be busy will help during times when communication and visits are hard to get going.

4. Increase your relationship with your in-laws

Use your time wisely to get to know not only one another but each others family while you’re at it. Of course it may be difficult to remember your in-laws when all you can think about is the wonderful new person in your life, but don’t forget the people that helped culture them in the first place. Make time to speak to in-laws on the phone, and remind your spouse to do likewise. When you visit one another don’t only try to run off alone. Instead, spend time with your parents and siblings-in-law and build a relationship while everything is still sort of “casual”. Making way for in-laws may require more effort than is needed for one’s spouse, but it will only strengthen the bond between you two for the long-run.

5. Make effort to schedule physical meetings

Not every couple in nikāḥ kitāba can easily visit one another, but if the means are there for you, take them. Physical interaction with one’s spouse is very important, and must be a part of your relationship if the possibility exists. Sure you’re limited to not being able to live with one another, but based on your agreed conditions in your marriage, make ways with your family and schedule to visit your spouse as much as you can. Being able to see one another can be one of the best ways to get through the time period which you have to endure before you eventually get to see each other every single day.

6. Strengthen your Iman with your spouse

You are undoubtedly going to find ways to visit one another, and even if you don’t you will find yourself talking to each other every day. Remember that you’re not just some random couple “dating” or in a relationship, you’re married and you’re Muslim. Therefore it’s important to build your Islamic relationship with one another. Find local events, seminars, classes, halaqahs, or conferences and make plans to go attend them together. Buy each other Islamic audio CDs and books to read and discuss. Or, just take it back to the basics: maintain a consistent daily reciting of Qur’an and reading of the meaning to one another over the phone. Do something, anything; but just make you’re sure doing it and doing it consistently. You can have the best emotional, mental, physical and family relationship ever, but without a solid spiritual foundation, everything else will collapse.

7. Be yourself

Marriage can be a bit scary in the fear of wondering what the other person will think about your habits, tendencies, and weaknesses. However, one of its beautiful aspects comes when you are able to be yourself in front of your spouse just the way you are, and your understanding and acceptance of one another further strengthens your love.

Don’t try to hide behind formalities of what you think a spouse should or shouldn’t do. This is the time to be who you are and let your spouse get to know the real you without the added pressure of living together. If your spouse becomes familiar with your actual self before your wedding party, the transition should be a lot easier when that cherished time eventually comes, bi’idhniAllah.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve benefited from this list for your current or future marriage. This advice is in no way exhaustive, and there are many other tips for couples in nikāḥ kitāba, so if you have anything else, please feel free to share it here.

We ask Allah ‘azza wa jal to bless all couples everywhere and give us all the ability to preserve our communities’ relationships into the future, and that He makes marriage easy for those whom it is difficult and serve as a means to Jannah and His pleasure.

SaqibSaab is an average Desi Muslim guy living in Chicago. He enjoys videography and design as side hobbies, and helps out with AlMaghrib Institute in Chicago, Wasat Studios, and other projects here and there. His go-around vehicle is a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta 5-speed Wolfburg Edition. Originally born in Michigan, he and his wife reside in Chicagoland with his parents who come from Bangalore, India. He blogs personally at SaqibSaab.com.

46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Avatar

    MR

    June 21, 2008 at 9:17 AM

    Mabrook Akhi! MashaAllah!

  2. Avatar

    iMuslim

    June 21, 2008 at 7:35 PM

    Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah dearest bro!

    First off, huge congratulations, alhamdulillah. I add my “ameen” to the dua above!

    Secondly, what a beautiful and very thoughtful gesture you made to write this entry, masha’Allah. Subhanallah, aren’t we the ones meant to be giving you gifts? :)

    Thirdly, I know I am being all girly, but I found your advice and tips quite romantic. I can just imagine you guys making excuses to meet one another, even for a moment… {awws to herself}

    Okay, enough of the gooeyness!

    Just remember to emerge from the rabbit hole that most newly weds seem to disappear down into – we need you back on MM asap. ;)

    Salaams to the missus.

    Wa’salam

    Your sis

  3. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    June 21, 2008 at 9:35 PM

    Mabrook to both of you and congratulations!

  4. Avatar

    Mahin F. Islam

    June 22, 2008 at 12:54 AM

    Mabrook, Ameen to the du’as…I guess if there’s any consolation to missing Sh. Yasir’s class….this is it! We’ll see you back in the Chi next Friday night insha’Allaah.

  5. Avatar

    jawwadsti

    June 22, 2008 at 1:02 AM

    Jazaks for the very well-written entry. You touched upon alot of issues that are vital for a successul marriage and are often regretfully overlooked in many relationships.. Mabrook and I will see u on friday inshAllah!!!

    salam

  6. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    June 22, 2008 at 1:47 AM

    First of all: Mabrook! BarakAllahu lak, wa barakAllah ‘alayk, wa jam’a baynakumaa fee khair :)

    Secondly: JazakAllahu khairan!!!!! This was definitely needed for myself… I particularly love point #6, since it can sometimes be tempting to just keep the focus on discovering more about each other rather than remembering the main thing you have in common: the Deen!

  7. Avatar

    abu_abdulla82

    June 23, 2008 at 12:38 AM

    May Allah bless you for sharing this beautiful article

  8. Avatar

    Faiez

    June 23, 2008 at 2:38 PM

    Are you also going to have a Nikah Kitaba Janaazah Guide?

  9. Avatar

    Sharif

    June 23, 2008 at 11:35 PM

    I thought that this article would have a lot more comments…

    Anyways, Mabrook! May Allah bless your marriage.

  10. Avatar

    Aminah Muhammad

    June 24, 2008 at 5:29 PM

    Masha’Allah may Allah (swt) make it easy for you and your wife. I wish you all the happiness in the world! May Allah put barakah in your marriage.

  11. Avatar

    Angie

    July 1, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    Amin! Amin! Amin!

    barak Allahu lakuma wa baraka `alaykuma wa jama`ah baynakuma fi khayr!

  12. Avatar

    a muslim

    July 27, 2008 at 10:34 PM

    congrats!!

    one Q, but you cant have physical relations with your spouse as it’s a celibate marriage right? so how can you meet each other, that will consummate the marriage. man, I’m confused or what!

  13. Avatar

    anon

    July 28, 2008 at 12:25 AM

    “So how can you meet each other, that will consummate the marriage. man, I’m confused or what!”

    Just because you’re sitting together with someone of the opposite gender doesn’t mean you’re forced to rip each others clothes off and have sex, which is what consumamation of a marriage refers to. Consumation does not refer to two individuals “meeting each other” as you put it. It refers to sexual intercourse

  14. Avatar

    a muslim

    July 28, 2008 at 6:55 AM

    anon, dude, if twp people are alone together, it consummates the marriage regardless of whether you have sex or not. am i right? perhaps someone more knowledgeable can answer.

  15. Avatar

    anon

    July 28, 2008 at 10:31 PM

    “Anon, dude, if twp people are alone together, it consummates the marriage regardless of whether you have sex or not. am i right? perhaps someone more knowledgeable can answer”

    My apologies to everyone for my sheer analness right now, but if two people are alone that is not consumation. When people are referring to the consumation of a marriage it refers to sex.
    Taken from WikiIslam… “Further, a fluent English speaker will never take “consummate the marriage” to mean complete the marriage or enter the marriage, but will always understand it to mean sexual intercourse. It is the only possible understanding of the euphemism”

    “http://www.wikiislam.org/wiki/Consummate” (It spoke about consummation between Muhammed/Aicha but I figured it seemed relevant in this case)

    You could of course choose to use a different choice of words other than “consummate the marriage” and maybe your point would seem a tad more valid (although not really).

    On a side note, I really don’t understand this celibate nikah business. There is absolutely no difference between this and just regular dating that nonmuslims do. If under Islamic rules and what not you are not allowed to date than this shouldn’t be allowed either. It seems completely moronic. No offense to the author btw. I hope you have a wonderful marriage :)

  16. Avatar

    a muslim

    July 29, 2008 at 6:55 AM

    anon, I’m sorry but you’re wrong from the Islamic perspective. I rest my case.

  17. Avatar

    mabrook

    July 31, 2008 at 3:00 AM

    Salam,
    Anon: isn’t the reason dating is haram because the marriage contract has not been done? Well, once it’s done, the 2 are technically married and can be alone. Why is that moronic?

  18. Avatar

    anon

    July 31, 2008 at 10:32 AM

    “Well, once it’s done, the 2 are technically married and can be alone. Why is that moronic?”

    I find the idea of celibate marriages to be moronic. I think I read from AnonyMouse how her father marries people for the purposes of “halal dating” and so they can get to know one another. So what happens when people have done their “halal dating” and realize they can’t stand each other. They just run off and get their divorces? How many divorces are they allowed to have? Technically, with this principle they can go on many “dates” and many divorces till they find one they are happy with. The entire thing seems like a trivilalization of the institute of marriage. Ridiculous. Either date or get married. Or get married, agree to stay married, and go on some dates like normal people in normal marriages.

    • Avatar

      Coastam

      May 5, 2012 at 4:12 AM

      I tend to agree with you.  Not living together after marriage,Katb al Ketab pre wedding, seems like a way to circumvent the rule against dating.  It seems like a slippery slope.  If university students were to institute this during their entire four years it would in essence be dating with the stamp of marriage. Marriage is providing a home for your wife and living with her, not just dating her.

    • Avatar

      Noor

      January 20, 2016 at 3:08 AM

      I believe this option is meant for couples who have maybe already broken some Islamic rules like have been on dates, gotten to know each other, have fallen in love without sexual intercourse, and then decide to do nikkah because they already know they want to be together. Allah (swt) knows the niyyah or intention of the couple, and Allah is most mericful and forgiving. But in these times, and in this age you must know who you are dealing with…especially in a life full of laws and rights and also a life full of temptations and everything is available at the touch of an electronic device. Nikkah should only be used if the family has allowed the couple to get to know one another in a family setting or what not BEFOREHAND and the couple is sure they want to be together… Otherwise u would jump from one marriage to the next and that is not halal either. Just my input. Personal experience makes one wise…

  19. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    July 31, 2008 at 1:37 PM

    I think I read from AnonyMouse how her father marries people for the purposes of “halal dating” and so they can get to know one another.

    I should have been more clear: it’s emphasized from the beginning that the two parties have to do their proper research into each other, and that they go into the marriage with the firm intention that they are COMMITTED. It’s not ‘halaal dating’ in that “oh hey, let’s try it out and see how it works, if we don’t like each other we can just divorce.” Rather, it’s a way for the two to get to know each other even if their circumstances/ situations don’t permit them to live together immediately (as in the case of high school students).

  20. Avatar

    AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 10, 2008 at 5:09 PM

    bismillah. khulwa, being alone with each — that is consummation of marriage in Islam. those of you in doubt can find many lectures by learned Muslims on-line, and at Emanrush (Sh. Birjas’ Fiqh of Love), and at Ilmquest, etc.

    shaykh birjas put it very well in “Fiqh of Love” (recorded from the al Maghrib Course he taught): Muslims do not inquire about what goes on between a husband and wife when they are alone. and that is one reason the default position is that khulwa equals consummation.

  21. Avatar

    AbdelRahman

    October 14, 2008 at 7:56 PM

    bismillah. khulwa, being alone with each — that is consummation of marriage in Islam. those of you in doubt can find many lectures by learned Muslims on-line, and at Emanrush (Sh. Birjas’ Fiqh of Love), and at Ilmquest, etc.

    shaykh birjas put it very well in “Fiqh of Love” (recorded from the al Maghrib Course he taught): Muslims do not inquire about what goes on between a husband and wife when they are alone. and that is one reason the default position is that khulwa equals consummation.

    Allah knows best, but this is the Hanafi opinion on the matter. I remember Shaykh Yaser Birjas distinctively saying (and I took the class twice ;-)) that being alone with the spouse = consummation isan opinion, and not the majority opinion. He made clear (if my memory is correct) that it is perfectly allowable under the circumstances of katb ul-kitaab to be alone with your spouse and to not have it considered consummation, wAllahu alam.

  22. Avatar

    AbuAbdAllah, the Houstonian

    October 14, 2008 at 11:24 PM

    innalhamdolillah. jazak Allah khayr for your post, AbdelRahman. if i misconstrued what Shaykh Birjas taught or made any other mistake or omission, the error was mine and not anyone else’s. Rabbana laa tu’akhidnaa in-nasee’na aw akhta’naa. رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا

    that said, i wrote what i understood and recalled, so you’ve also given a good incentive for more study and review. :)

  23. Avatar

    skhan

    November 22, 2008 at 7:46 PM

    Hi
    i have been in nikah for three years. my nikah was arranged but i am still living with my parents as my rukhsati has not happened. my partner also lives with his family. the problem is that he doesnt talk to me i have tried my best to talk to him but he is not interested. if i ring him and say hi he immediantly hangs up. he wont reply to my text messages just simple ones like hi how are you? its been three years hes been doing this to me and i dont feel that anyone can be that busy to write 3 words on a text.

    My family dont mind that he doesnt talk to me becasue they feel thats how it should be. But i am so scared of getting married to him, because i have no idea about how he is like. what he likes/dislikes etc.

    i recently found out that he has a girlfriend who he has been seeing before and after our nikah. she knows that he has gothis nikah with me but i cant seem to do anything about it. His girlfriend gives me a hardtime she shows me pictures and text messages they have been sending to each other. My family know that he has a girlfriend but tell me that hewill change once he gets married but what if he doesnt?

    i cant talk to him about it because like i said he doesnt talk to me. i told his family but they refuse to believe me. Now i dont know what to do i just worry since my parents are planning to do my rukhsati in a couple of months.

    is there nothing that i can do? what rights do i have under a nikah?

  24. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    November 22, 2008 at 9:31 PM

    Sister, you can contact a qualified Islamic counsellor who can help your situation by calling the Muslim Helpline:
    1-800-550-MYHL

    May Allah make things easy for you, ameen.

  25. Avatar

    mulsimah

    November 22, 2008 at 9:38 PM

    Sister I recommend you delay the ruksati until you are sure. say Alhumdulilah you dont have ruksati. you dont want a child in this type of situation if its bad. do istikhara. get your parents to talk to his. confront him and say ‘WAIT BEFORE YOU HANG UP I HAVE A QUESTION . and say do you want to go on with this marriage? ask him if he will continue to see his girlfriend. if he isnt giving you str8 answers its a good idea to get the elders involved. make a big deal. its your whole life. again you do not want a child involved. you should never expect that one will get better but always expect that it will get worse and be prepared fo rthat.

  26. Avatar

    SP

    November 24, 2008 at 4:12 PM

    We ask Allah ‘azza wa jal to bless all couples everywhere and give us all the ability to preserve our communities’ relationships into the future, and that He makes marriage easy for those whom it is difficult and serve as a means to Jannah and His pleasure.


    AMeen!

    So this post is about to hit its 6 month mark… can we see a part two? the after-rukhsati advice…or even an extended list of advice for nikkah-prerukhsatied couples to benefit from? This was indeed really beneficial. may Allah reward you

    • Avatar

      Bint Afzal

      February 27, 2011 at 8:28 PM

      Just wanted to second this! JazakAllah khair brother.

  27. Avatar

    MR

    May 15, 2009 at 10:35 PM

    Hey Saqib can you put up some resources on nikkah kitaba (because your post is the number 1 result on google).

    Thanks!

  28. Avatar

    Adam

    September 10, 2009 at 9:43 PM

    great advice!

  29. Avatar

    Abdul At-Tawwaab

    September 19, 2009 at 5:48 PM

    AsSalaamu Alaikum,

    JazakAllahu Khairun for this Alhamdulillah. May Allah reward you greatly. Can anyone direct me to the conditions of nikah kitab? What do the conditions of the man need to be in order to be married. Where can I find this information in Qur’an and Hadith? InshaAllah, this is even more fuel and inspiration to take the Fiqh of Love class coming up soon inshaAllah. I’m engaged, in fact today is my anniversary of engagement, and am ever seeking if marriage is better than engagement at this time but I’m so concerned that my conditions may not be correct for marriage. If anyone could direct me to proper information May Allah reward you for your efforts. Alhamdulillah

    AsSalaamu Alaikum

  30. Pingback: Celibate Marriage Survival Guide « The Journey to Marriage

  31. Avatar

    umm hurairah

    February 7, 2010 at 12:21 AM

    salam. Apparently, it is v common in todays world.

    With parents and culture demands and at times, material demands… no wonder such things exist. Allahu Akhbar!

  32. Avatar

    Coastam

    May 5, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    As Salamm alaykum

    The prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, delayed consummation with Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they lived separately.  I don’t know their exact situation, but I do know it is possible to live with someone and delay consummation of the marriage.   Even if they did live separately, doesn’t automatically mean that all Muslim couples with  Katb al Kitab are allowed to live separately before the wedding. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, might have just been waiting for her tor grow up a little more, that’s different than two college students living separately after Katb al Kitab.  Muslims should ask scholars before getting into these kind of thing, it has the potential to be a slippery slope.

  33. Avatar

    saima

    September 30, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    salaam. just had a quick question… in the period of nikkah and ruksati eg 6 months gapAre the couple allowed to have sex?? without feeling guilty? if the husband wants to have sex is this permissible for the wife to do so? please get back . jazakAllah khaor

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      October 1, 2012 at 1:28 AM

      Dear Saima
      While I would still ask you to consult a local scholar, from what I have heard from various lectures, it is not considered appropriate to engage in sexual activity during this time and some schools of thought may even consider it disallowed for the couple to be alone behind a closed door.

      • Avatar

        Jennifer

        December 29, 2013 at 4:07 AM

        Assalamu Alaikum.

        I thought the purpose of nikaah was for marriage, and the married couple can live together and have sexual relations in Halaal as natural married couples do. This article tells me that there is a celibate marriage before proper marriage. Has formal engagement been phased out? Can the couple choose not to live together and not have sex after nikaah? I thought nikaah was marriage…couple is married under the eyes of Allah…husband and wife have rights to one another. Why so confusing?

  34. Avatar

    saima

    September 30, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    salaam. just had a quick question… in the period of nikkah and ruksati eg 6 months gapAre the couple allowed to have sex?? without feeling guilty? if the husband wants to have sex is this permissible for the wife to do so? please get back . jazakAllah khair

  35. Avatar

    Maria

    September 2, 2013 at 2:07 AM

    Awesome Article !

  36. Avatar

    Rosemary

    December 9, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    Assalamu’alaikum

    Once you have done a nikah, you are married. At that point, everything that goes with marriage is halal. Like someone said, what happens if you do the nikah and ‘date’ and then decide I really don’t like this person. What’s the incentive to make the sacrifice to work towards maintaining this marriage. For the sister who’s had her nikah for 3 years now to a person who has a girlfriend, I would say, kick, scream and yell to get out of that marriage. Obviously the guy does not want to be married to you. Living together is NOT GOING TO CHANGE anything.

  37. Pingback: A Computer and a Webcam: Finding Muslim Love and Long-Distance Relationships in a Globalized World

  38. Avatar

    NikahExplorer.com

    June 2, 2014 at 2:56 AM

    This is very nice, we should consider this all when we are ready for marriage.

  39. Avatar

    Samia

    May 15, 2015 at 4:32 AM

    AOA, I am 26 and my rukhsati is In Shaa Allah this year by the end. I was engaged in 2014 and few months later We had nikah. Everything was fine we still shared beautiful moments even though living in diff cities. but as the time passed my husband has started to ignore me we hardly talk on phone. He said to me that he really needs to get in to the physical relation now. we have developed lots of distance in between since then. I am so depressed.

  40. Avatar

    Daniela

    February 26, 2017 at 11:27 PM

    Salam,
    Okay so i just kind of googled what Katb Kitab meant and this came up.. I was wondering well, to be honest I’m not Muslim. I’m Colombian and i was baptised a catholic yet i do not follow a religion. The thing is that my boyfriend is Muslim and his mother wants me to do this Katb Kitab thing. Now i talked it over with my mother and well although i said i was completely cool with, Im freaking out. I just need some insight on what to expect. I don’t even speak Arabic i only speak spanish and english. I want to do this because i want his kother to know i respect their religion.. But I’m scared out of my wights. Can you tell me what to expect?

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#Life

So You Are The Wali, Now What?

Dr Shadee Elmasry

Published

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The way most Muslims (as well as conservative Christians and Jews) live, a man asks for a woman’s hand in marriage from the father.

The father is not just a turnstile who has to say yes. He is a “wali” or protector and guardian of his daughter’s rights. So he will be asking some serious questions that would be awkward if the woman had to ask them.

Furthermore, in the Muslim community today esp. in the West, there are many converts that seek out a wali because they have no male relative who is Muslim. In this post, I share some guidelines aimed at the wali in his new role and stories that are useful.

Being a wali is not an honorary role. You’re not just throwing out the first pitch. You’re actually trying to throw curveballs to see whether the proposal checks out or has issues.

Here are some questions and demands a wali should make:

Background check: Call and meet at least four people that were close to the man who has proposed and interview them. There’s no husn al-zann (good opinion) in marriage. As a potential suitor, you are rejected until you prove yourself, much like an application for employment. These days, most people’s background can be found on their social media, so the wali has to spend time scrolling down. Keep scrolling, read the comments, look at the pictures, click on who’s tagged in those pictures. Get a good idea. You are a private investigator *before* the problem happens, not after. 

Check financials:  You need to see the financials to make sure they are not in some ridiculous debt or have bad credit such that they can’t even rent an apartment or cover basic needs. You want some evidence that he can fulfill the obligation of maintenance.

Check the educational background or skill set: This is a given. If it’s solid, then it can outweigh lack of funds at this moment.

Check medical records: If this is a stranger, the wali needs medical records. There was once a wealthy, handsome young man that was suave and a seemingly amazing prospect who proposed for a girl who was comparatively of average looks and from a family of very modest means. The mother and daughter were head over heels, but the dad had enough common sense to know something was up.

“Why would he come knocking on our door?,” he asked.

So the father demanded medical records. The guy never produced them. When the dad pressed him, the man admitted, he had a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and that’s why he couldn’t find anyone else to marry him.

Now note, there are legitimate cases where people have a past when they have made mistakes. This happens to the best of us, and the door for tawbah (repentance) is open. In those cases, there are organizations that match-make for Muslims with STDs. People should act in a responsible manner and not damage the lives of other humans beings.

Lifestyle: It is your job to check if the two parties have agreed on life essentials such as religious beliefs, where to live, how to school kids, etc?

In-laws: Have you at least met the family of the suitor and spent some time with them to make sure there’s nothing alarming?

Engagement: Contrary to popular understanding, there is such a thing as engagement in Islam. It’s an announcement of a future commitment to marriage. Nothing changes between the fiancees, but nobody is allowed to propose anymore. The purpose of engagement is to give time for both parties to get ready. For example, the groom may want to save up some money, or the girl may be finishing up college. Also, it’s easy to put on a face during the get-to-know process, but it’s hard to fake it over an eight or nine-month period. I remember a story where a young woman was engaged, and four months into the engagement they discovered the young man was still getting to know other women. He basically reserved the girl and then went to check for better options. Needless to say, he was dumped on the spot. Engagements are commonly a few months. I think more than a year is too much.

Legal/Civil:  The marriage should be legal/civil in the country where you will settle. If you accept a Shariah marriage but not a civil one, know that you’re asking for legal complications, especially if a child enters the picture. (Ed. Note- we realize that some countries do not allow legal registration of more than one marriage- if that is a consideration please look at all options to protect your ward. There are ways to get insurance that can be set up.)

Mahr: Get 50% of the dowry upfront (or some decent amount) and whatever is scheduled to be paid later should be written and signed. I’ve seen too many cases where a really nice dowry is “promised” but never produced.

The dowry should be commensurate to current standards depending on the man’s job. For example in our area in America 5, 7, or 10k is a common range.

In sum, there are very few things in life that are as bad as misery in marriage. The wali’s job is to eliminate the bad things that could have been avoided. If that means he has to be demanding and hated for a few months, it’s worth the cost.

It’s preventative medicine.

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#Current Affairs

The Duplicity of American Muslim Influencers And The ‘So-called Muslim Ban’

Dr Joseph Kaminski

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As we approach the beginning of another painful year of the full enforcement of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (a.k.a. ‘the Muslim ban’) that effectively bars citizens of several Muslim majority countries from entering into the United States, the silence remains deafening. As I expected, most of the world has conveniently forgotten about this policy, which thus far has separated over 3,000 American families from their spouses and other immediate relatives. In June 2019, the Brennan Center of Justice notes that: The ban has also kept at least 1,545 children from their American parents and 3,460 parents from their American sons and daughters. While silence and apathy from the general public on this matter is to be expected— after all, it is not their families who are impacted— what is particularly troubling is the response that is beginning to emerge from some corners of the American Muslim social landscape.

While most Muslims and Muslim groups have been vocal in their condemnation of Presidential Proclamation 9645, other prominent voices have not. Shadi Hamid sought to rationalize the executive order on technical grounds arguing that it was a legally plausible interpretation. Perhaps this is true, but some of the other points made by Hamid are quite questionable. For example, he curiously contends that:

The decision does not turn American Muslims like myself into “second-class citizens,” and to insist that it does will make it impossible for us to claim that we have actually become second-class citizens, if such a thing ever happens.

I don’t know— being forced to choose exile in order to remain with one’s family certainly does sound like being turned into a ‘second-class citizen’ to me. Perhaps the executive order does not turn Muslims like himself, as he notes, into second-class citizens, but it definitely does others, unless it is possible in Hamid’s mind to remain a first-class citizen barred from living with his own spouse and children for completely arbitrary reasons, like me. To be fair to Hamid, in the same article he does comment that the executive order is a morally questionable decision, noting that he is “still deeply uncomfortable with the Supreme Court’s ruling” and that “It contributes to the legitimization and mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry.”

On the other hand, more recently others have shown open disdain for those who are angered about the ‘so-called Muslim ban.’ On June 6th, 2019, Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, a Senior Faculty Member at Zaytuna College, Islamic scholar and the founder of the Lamppost Education Initiative, rationalized the ban on spurious security grounds. He commented that,

The so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his potential. But, to be fair, a real Muslim ban would mean that no Muslim from any country should be allowed in the US. There are about 50 Muslim majority countries. Trump singled out only 7 of them, most of which are war torn and problem countries. So, it is unfair to claim that he was only motivated by a hatred for Islam and Muslims.

First, despite how redundant and unnecessary this point is to make again, one ought to be reminded that between 1975 and 2015, zero foreigners from the seven nations initially placed on the banned list (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) killed any Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and zero Libyans or Syrians have ever even been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that same time period. I do not think these numbers have changed over the last 4 years either. If policy decisions are supposed to be made on sound empirical evidence and data, then there is even less justification for the ban.

Second, Bin Hamid Ali comments that ‘the so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his [Trump’s] potential.’ Whoa… hold on; on edge about his potential? For the millions of people banned from entering the United States and the thousands of Muslim families connected to these millions of people, this ‘potential’ has been more than realized. To reduce the ‘so-called Muslim ban’ to just targeting ‘war torn and problem countries’ is to reduce our family members—our husbands, wives, and children—to (inaccurate) statistics and gross stereotypes. Are spouses from Syria or Yemen seeking to reunite with their legally recognized spouses or children any less deserving to be with their immediate family members because they hail from ‘problem countries’? How can one be concerned with stereotypes while saying something like this? Is this not the exact thing that Abdullah bin Hamid Ali seeks to avoid? Surely the Professor would not invoke such stereotypes to justify the racial profiling of black American citizens. What makes black non-Americans, Arabs, and Iranians any different when it comes to draconian immigration profiling? From a purely Islamic perspective, the answer is absolutely nothing.

More recently, Sherman Jackson, a leading Islamic intellectual figure at the University of Southern California, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, also waded into this discussion. In his essay, he reframed the Muslim ban as a question of identity politics rather than basic human right, pitting Muslim immigrants against what he calls ‘blackamericans’ drawing some incredibly questionable, nativist, and bigoted conclusions. Jackson in a recent blog responding to critiques by Ali al-Arian about his own questionable affiliations with authoritarian Arab regimes comments:

Al-Arian mentions that,

“the Muslim American community seemed united at least in its opposition to the Trump administration.”  He and those who make up this alleged consensus are apparently offended by Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.  But a Blackamerican sister in Chicago once asked me rhetorically why she should support having Muslims come to this country who are only going to treat her like crap.

These are baffling comments to make about ‘Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.’ Jackson creates a strawman by bringing up an anecdotal story that offers a gross generalization that clearly has prejudiced undertones of certain Muslim immigrants. Most interesting, however is how self-defeating Jackson’s invocation of identity politics is considering the fact that a large number of the ‘blackamerican’ Muslims that he is concerned about themselves have relatives from Somalia and other countries impacted by the travel ban. As of 2017, there were just over 52,000 Americans with Somali ancestry in the state of Minnesota alone. Are Somali-Americans only worth our sympathy so long as they do not have Somali spouses? What Jackson and Bin Hamid Ali do not seem to understand is that these Muslim immigrants they speak disparagingly of, by in large, are coming on family unification related visas.

Other people with large online followings have praised the comments offered by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali and Sherman Jackson. The controversial administrator of the popular The Muslim Skeptic website, Daniel Haqiqatjou, in defense of Jackson’s comments, stated:

This is the first time I have seen a prominent figure downplay the issue. And I think Jackson’s assessment is exactly right: The average American Muslim doesn’t really care about this. There is no evidence to indicate that this policy has had a significant impact on the community as a whole. Travel to the US from those four countries affected by the ban was already extremely difficult in the Obama era.

What Haqiqatjou seems to not realize is that while travel from these countries was difficult, it was not as ‘extremely difficult’ as he erroneously claims it was. The US issued 7,727 visas to Iranian passport holders in 2016 prior to the ban. After the ban in 2018, that number dropped to 1,449. My own wife was issued a B1/B2 Tourist visa to meet my family in 2016 after approximately 40 days of administrative processing which is standard for US visa seekers who hold Iranian passports. On the other hand, she was rejected for the same B1/B2 Tourist visa in 2018 after a grueling 60+ day wait due to Presidential Proclamation 9645. At the behest of the Counselor Officer where we currently live, she was told to just finish the immigration process since this would put her in a better position to receive one of these nearly impossible to get waivers. She had her interview on November 19, 2018, and we are still awaiting the results of whatever these epic, non-transparent ‘extreme vetting’ procedures yield. Somehow despite my wife being perfectly fine to enter in 2016, three years later, we are entering the 10th month of waiting for one of these elusive waivers with no end time in sight, nor any guarantee that things will work out. Tell me how this is pretty much the same as things have always been?

What these commentators seem to not realize is that the United States immigration system is incredibly rigid. One cannot hop on a plane and say they want to immigrate with an empty wallet to start of Kebab shop in Queens. It seems as if many of these people that take umbrage at the prospects of legal immigration believe that the immigration rules of 2019 are the same as they were in 1819. In the end, it is important to once again reiterate that the Muslim immigrants Jackson, Bin Hamid Ali and others are disparaging are those who most likely are the family members of American Muslim citizens; by belittling the spouses and children of American Muslims, these people are belittling American Muslims themselves.

Neo-nationalism, tribalism, and identity politics of this sort are wholly antithetical to the Islamic enterprise. We have now reached the point where people who are considered authority figures within the American Islamic community are promoting nativism and identity politics at the expense of American Muslim families. Instead of trying to rationalize the ‘so-called Muslim Ban’ via appeals to nativist and nationalist rhetoric, influential Muslim leaders and internet influencers need to demonstrate empathy and compassion for the thousands of US Muslim families being torn apart by this indefinite Muslim ban that we all know will never end so long as Donald Trump remains president. In reality, they should be willing to fight tooth-and-nail for American Muslim families. These are the same people who regularly critique the decline of the family unit and the rise of single-parent households. Do they not see the hypocrisy in their positions of not defending those Muslim families that seek to stay together?

If these people are not willing to advocate on behalf of those of us suffering— some of us living in self-imposed exile in third party countries to remain with our spouses and children— the least they can do is to not downplay our suffering or even worse, turn it into a political football (Social Justice Warrior politics vs. traditional ‘real’ Islam). It seems clear that if liberal Muslim activists were not as outspoken on this matter, these more conservative voices would take a different perspective. With the exception of Shadi Hamid, the other aforementioned names have made efforts to constrain themselves firmly to the ‘traditional’ Muslim camp. There is no reason that this issue, which obviously transcends petty partisan Muslim politics, ought to symbolize one’s allegiance to any particular social movement or camp within contemporary Islamic civil society.

If these people want a ‘traditional’ justification for why Muslim families should not be separated, they ought to be reminded that one of al-Ghazali’s 5 essential principles of the Shari’a was related to the protection of lineage/family and honor (ḥifẓ al-nasl). Our spouses are not cannon fodder for such childish partisan politics. We will continue to protect our families and their honor regardless of how hostile the environment may become for us and regardless of who we have to name and shame in the process.

When I got married over a year prior to Donald Trump being elected President, I vowed that only Allah would separate me from my spouse. I intend on keeping that vow regardless of what consequences that decision may have.

Photo courtesy: Adam Cairns / The Columbus Dispatch

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#Life

5 Tips for Surviving Ramadan. In The Summer. When You Have Small Children.

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By Afaaf Rajbee

This time a few years ago, I anticipated Ramadan with anxiety. I had 3 children, all under the age of 5, and was part of a large, busy household of working men and women.  When Ramadan finally arrived I was petrified inside at whether I would be able to cope with running after my youngest daughter, managing the school and nursery run with the older two, as well as keeping the house in order and preparing iftar for the family in the evening.

A year later, that anxiety has been replaced with something more positive; Ramadan is challenging there is no doubt about it. But I wanted to share some practical tips, as a mum, that made last Ramadan that much more manageable and a time of spiritual benefit.

1. Prepare the evening meal first thing in the morning. Decide on your menu and write it down into checklist form. This is the time to marinade, whizz up chutneys and even get out serving dishes. All the effort you invest early on will give you more time before Maghrib. It’s amazing how hectic it can get in the kitchen just before Maghrib – and when you’re dehydrated and tired it’s difficult to cook quickly. Instead, try to make your mornings your most productive time in preparing iftar.

2. Use salah times as the markers that divide your activities. I always set myself a target to get everything done in the kitchen before dhuhr. This way I avoided that feeling that I’m taking time away from work to pray salah. Dhuhr salah was a great way to end a productive housework-focussed morning in the kitchen and helped me refocus on the next tasks – whether that was having to go out or completing more housework or listening to a lecture or reading Qur’an.

3. Make sure you pray Asr before you start getting iftar on the table! So many times I’ve nearly missed Asr because of getting carried away in the kitchen – and this is true for so many mothers I’ve spoken to. I’ve found after the kids get home from school and I’d fed them and helped them with homework or reading, ‘Asr was a good marker to tie up that stage of the day.

4. Put the kids to bed as early as you can. Your evening ibadat, Qur’an reading and taraweeh depends on this. Leave bedtime any later and I guarantee you’ll most likely fall asleep with your kids and you’ll wake up 6 hours later feeling awful just having missed sehri, still wearing your day clothes and still having your contact lenses in… That was not a great evening.

5. Ramadan is not the time to deviate radically from your normal routine and responsibilities – else we would simply not receive its benefit. Yes, we should increase in certain types of ibadah – read more Qur’an, pray more nafl salah – but running a household, going out on errands, engaging with our children and keeping them safe is also part of life and hence part of our ibadah. Fasting was not prescribed for a week, or just a few days, but a whole month. The beauty of this duration is that it’s not so long to be a physical or mental burden but also it’s not so short that you can suspend your daily activities like a holiday. By normal activities, I’m referring to that ironing pile, the paperwork, hoovering. I found that even during the 20-hour fasts I could still pursue my normal routine but at a slower pace. If you do this, you’ll have no build up of housework that you’ll have to spend ages compensating at Eid time.

As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of routine. But routine becomes monotonous and depressing if there is no time invested in personal growth, pursuing your passions or helping others. But generally, mothers of small children are tired; remember that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows your situation and that every aspect of our daily life can become an act of worship if our intentions are to please Him.

Afaaf Rajbee is a graduate in International Relations from the LSE, which surprisingly didn’t prepare her for life as a mother to 3 children. She is part of the Charity Week team and volunteers her skills for a variety of different organisations.

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