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The Lies That Men Tell

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About 4 – 5 years ago, my wife and I would go to visit a Saudi family once a week who would teach both of us tajweed. They had been married for a number of years and had 4 children. My teacher, AbdurRahman, would take me into his office and we’d review juz ‘amma at first, but eventually we’d find ourselves talking about current events, different Muslim cultures, and so on.

Being the excellent host she was, his wife would send up lots of food through her children, and by the time I would leave their home, my stomach would be so full I’d have to waddle out the doorway into the car and make a mad dash for the restroom when I arrived home (even the 4/3rds rule was breached, let alone 1/3rd). That was Arab hospitality for you.

During one of those visits, some sweets were sent upstairs, and AbdurRahman sent a message down that he didn’t like them. I was only one year married, and I said to him, “You don’t have to tell your wife the truth about the cooking, right? Why don’t you just lie about it to make her happy?”

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He smiled at me knowingly and said, “That’s true, but if I keep telling her it’s good, she’ll keep making it, and I will have to keep suffering with it. Better to tell her once and be done with it.”

Now that’s food for thought. ;)

What do all of you think: is it better to tell one’s spouse about the flaw, and try to correct it, or is it better to let it slide and even be complimentary?  This is for both men and women, and it can be about anything at that level, be it food, physical appearance, cleanliness, etc (not referring to serious issues like physical or emotional abuse, neglect of obligatory religious duties, etc).

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Siraaj is the Operations Director of MuslimMatters as well as its new lead web developer. He's spent nearly two decades working in dawah organizations, starting with his chapter MSA in Purdue University, and leading efforts with AlMaghrib Institute, MuslimMatters, and AlJumuah magazine. Somewhere in there, he finds time for his full-time profession as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. He holds a bachelor's in Computer Science from Purdue University and a Master's certificate from UC Berkeley. He's very married and has 5 wonderful children

74 Comments

74 Comments

  1. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    January 27, 2009 at 12:40 AM

    bismillah. sounds like it could be a future training module at Practimate.com… :)

  2. Sister in Islam

    January 27, 2009 at 1:32 AM

    Salam alaikum! Yes, i would want my husband to tell me directly what he does not like-be it in food, physical appearance, etc. As the Saudi brother beautifully explained, it is better to get away with something he does not like than to grumble about it later. However, I will not like him saying that in front of others. :D

  3. mofw

    January 27, 2009 at 1:52 AM

    Lie about the things that can’t be helped. Tell the truth about what can be improved. But beware when your wife trades one truth for another.

    • Umm Hussain

      December 4, 2016 at 11:39 AM

      Do not lie. However, you can be diplomatic, polite and considerate when letting your spouse know something important that might make them uncomfortable. Some things that we don’t like may be important to our spouses. Purposely lying can create even more problems. “I like the [fill in the blank] more than the [other fill in the blank] works. Lying about things that can not be helped sets up lying for other things. Eventually, your spouse will realize you are lying — or worse consider you a liar. They will start wondering when the truth was told and when you were “trying to be polite”.

      If both parties are very, very clear in the beginning of their relationship about the fact that they are two different people with two totally different lives before marriage, and to some extent after marriage, that helps set the pace for healthy married life. In this story, the Saudi husband was a bit of a jerk. Maybe his guest liked the treats. All he had to say was something like “ask your mother if there is pie/cookies/fruit instead of cake.” My first impression was that the Saudi husband was showing off or trying to make a point about having his way and/or ordering his wife around.

  4. Obi Asad

    January 27, 2009 at 1:54 AM

    Asalaamu Alaykum,

    Honesty is the best policy, but a little tact and diplomacy goes a long way. Be honest, but be nice about it.

  5. iMuslim

    January 27, 2009 at 2:05 AM

    I can’t speak from direct experience, but generally speaking, I hate my cooking to be criticised openly and bluntly. That’s more because I so rarely cook, that when I actually bother to make the effort, I’d like for it not to be immediately shot down!

    Constructive criticism is much preferred. E.g., that was nice, but maybe less sugar next time, etc? In addition, such feedback isn’t to be offered immediately after taking one bite, but rather, after a significant period of time, so as to show appreciation for the effort made by the cook.

    Actually, I do this with my mum on a regular basis. She’s a great cook, masha’Allah, but like all humans, she sometimes makes a small mistake, or more likely, one of her culinary ‘experiments’ goes slightly awry. In this case, when she asks for my opinion, I pause for a few milliseconds with the constructive criticism ready in my mind… Only to catch her expectant eyes staring at me, filled with such high hopes. I invariably feel sympathy, and say: “Alhamdulillah, it was nice, mum!”.

    Then later in the evening, she’ll say: “About the xyz… Did you think it was too 123?”. That’s when I actually feel comfortable enough to make more truthful comments, though still in a very soft way. haha

    I think I only do this to offset the absolute bluntness of my father. It drives her nuts, and I can’t bear to add salt to her wounds.

    Was that a pun?

    I feel like I’ve just written a passage for a book titled: “A Manual For Your New Wife”. A best seller, no doubt! :D

    I can’t imagine it would be much different for husbands though. Men are meant to have larger egos than women, so wouldn’t open criticism be even harder to swallow?

  6. AbuZakariyya

    January 27, 2009 at 3:20 AM

    iMuslim, I don’t like your cooking :P

  7. mummyjaan

    January 27, 2009 at 6:24 AM

    What iMuslim said holds true.

    It all depends on how you say it and when you say it. I will only add one more point to iMuslim’s advice: try not to compare it with your mother’s cooking – to the detriment of my cooking, that is. Please. Of course, if my dish has turned out superior to Mom’s, heap on the generous praise!

  8. Abu Asma

    January 27, 2009 at 7:45 AM

    Ha-ha. Subhanallah – something like this happened to me just last week, but it went slightly differently (unfortunately).

    I walk in the door after a 12 hour day at the office and notice there is something unidentifiable being cooked

    Me: Salaam darling. What is that? (It looks like that yuck ginger and chilli stuff mum used to make for dad – if she thinks i’m eating that, she’s got another thing coming).
    Wife: (big smile on her face)Its an egg and i cooked it specially for you just how you like it.
    Me: An egg?! (i do a double-take and then a triple-take). Oh yeah it is. (Take a deep breath) Why is it cooked like that? And it looks wa too greasy. You know, you’ve made it wrong.

    Three days later

    Me: So you ready to start talking to me again?

    :)

  9. Amad

    January 27, 2009 at 9:07 AM

    I will say that if there is one practical thing I have learned from Shaykh Waleed is that talk is cheap (i.e. it doesn’t cost to talk), use it whenever and as much as you can :)

    P.S. of course referring only to “halal” type of half-truths :)

  10. me

    January 27, 2009 at 9:10 AM

    The truth. But NOT in front of others. He could have sent the same message to her after the guests (you) left – in a nice way.

  11. Ayesha Fatima

    January 27, 2009 at 9:39 AM

    Alhamdulillah after 9 yrs of marriage I can tell for sure if my hubby is just faking or telling me the truth..So be honest ..The difficulty of marital love does not lie in those small disagreements that are a normal part of everyday life and that all couples haves to work out..
    Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying: A believing man [husband] should not hate a believing woman [his wife]; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another. (Sahih Muslim. Book 8, Number 3469)

  12. Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    January 27, 2009 at 10:04 AM

    Tell the truth about foods that she makes for the first time and lie about foods that she generally makes good but only once in a while messes up. Personally, instead of criticizing food, I say: “I’m not used to this.”

    • Umm Hussain

      December 4, 2016 at 11:49 AM

      Maybe say nothing. I am always confused about men who discuss how to politely criticize their wife’s cooking, wondering if their husbandly duties have ever been criticized or evaluated, including love-making, earning potential or looks. “Saturday night was so much better than Thursday night. And Sunday morning — meh.”

  13. Ihssan

    January 27, 2009 at 10:08 AM

    I think it depends on what it is. For instance, let’s say your wife is slaving around in the kitchen all day and it’s not one of the best meals. I think it would be kind for the husband to acknowledge her work and comment nicely on her food. If it is something more serious that I certainly think it should be addressed.

    I am in agreement with Ayesha. Granted I have not been married for that long but I can certainly tell if my husband likes my food based on how he eats it!

    -Ihssan

  14. Hassan

    January 27, 2009 at 10:41 AM

    Speaking of Haytham, I was registering for upcoming Al Maghrib Seerah class in Houston, and I was going through the class description. And I came across few lines, and I turned towards my friend and said, this is got to be Haytham who has written this. http://www.almaghrib.org/seminar_seerah.php

    Let me quote the specific part

    6) Be able to recall the entire Seerah start to end …

    … every parent has to be able to teach the Seerah to their children or siblings; even if you are not married and do not have children, you know this will look good on your matrimonial application.

  15. Amatullah

    January 27, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    My mom knows everything that my dad doesn’t like. She can even predict beforehand that he won’t like something. And if she makes something that he doesn’t like, he’ll do one of two things:
    1- make a really weird face and my mom will get the point, whip up something else.
    2- tell her, I don’t really like this…is there anything else? and we’ll whip up something else.

    MashaAllah after being married for like 30 yrs, there’s no need to lie lol my parents know each other inside and out, tabarakAllah. Rabbirhamhuma kama rabbayaani sagheera.

    One way to know if the food was not good…no one will touch it! I think that sends the message loud and clear. I made fudge one time, and my mistake I put a bit tooo much sugar and it sat on the kitchen table for like 2.5 weeks. hehe.

  16. Omar

    January 27, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    Narrated Abu Huraira:
    The Prophet never criticized any food (presented him), but he would eat it if he liked it; otherwise, he would leave it (without expressing his dislike).
    (Bukhari)

    • Umm Hussain

      December 4, 2016 at 11:51 AM

      If only we all could be knowledgeable and consistent in patterning our behavior like our beloved Prophet Muhammad.

  17. Imtiaz

    January 27, 2009 at 12:58 PM

    Leave the Haqq for calling to Islam….

    i learned my lessons the hard way.

  18. Imtiaz

    January 27, 2009 at 1:07 PM

    compare abu Asma’s comment to haythams… sigh… Haytham in jannah inshaAllah

  19. Amatullah

    January 27, 2009 at 1:22 PM

    Jazaakum Allahu khayran br Omar for that hadeeth. I also like the story of when the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam was presented with the lizard, and after finding out it was lizard he didn’t eat it. Khalid ibn Waleed radi Allahu anhu asked him why and he replied: “it’s not the food of my people”, alayhi salaatu wa salaam. SubhanAllah even in his manners with food he was the best!

  20. iMuslim

    January 27, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    @AbuZakariyya: Well, you’ve just saved yourself some food poisoning… ‘cuz I ain’t eva cooking for you! hehe

    Btw, there is a problem with some families of excessive fussiness. Like, husbands (and then children, taking after them) who won’t touch leftovers, even if it means perfectly good food goes in the bin. I think that shows a lack of respect for your rizq, as much as for the one who prepared it. Fair enough if the spare food goes to family and the neighbours, but it should never go in the bin! Throw it to the birds, or a compost heap, if it is no longer fit for human consumption. The bin should be an absolute last resort.

    I know that was a little off topic, but I thought I’d mention it, as it’s connected to cooking.

    Back to the topic… No-one has really talked about how to deal with comments on your spouse’s physical appearance. If you think cooking critique is tricky… Criticism of looks is a mine field, in comparison! Unless it is related to their physical health (e.g., morbid obesity, anorexia, anaemia, etc) where commentary would be mandatory, I just don’t see how you could be negative about your spouse’s physical appearance in a blunt manner, if you cared for their feelings at all.

  21. Amna

    January 27, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    Whenever my husband does’nt like what I cooked he tells me “its nice but plz dont make it again”

  22. Miako

    January 27, 2009 at 2:25 PM

    iMuslim,
    To comment on your spouse’s appearance, it is simple! Be prepared to take your own criticism. To say “What is the worst thing about me, in terms of looks?” Is something that you may ask, and it will be natural for the other person to respond with “how about me?” For people are naturally curious.

    Also, folks, you should be kinda temperate in your remarks. if it’s “I never want to eat this again, Allah save me!” well, then that’s that. But if it’s “I liked this other thing better”, well, make sure that everyone’s clear. That way, if your spouse likes A and you like B, you can eat harmoniously.

    Also, why not just ask your spouse what way they like their criticism? Better that than sleeping on the couch a whole week! It is always a very good idea to praise along with criticism, as everyone who bothers to cook has taken time and given love with the cooking.

  23. usman

    January 27, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    salaam, in all honesty we dont eat the same food 2 days in a row even if it is good. So if ur wife cooks something bad just let her kno POLITLELY, and that is that.

  24. VM

    January 27, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    Ok, honestly? I would be offended. I’m not married so I don’t speak from experience but I know I’m emotional when it comes to my cooking and I think a lot of Women are like that too. [I burned my chocolate chip cookies once slightly and I went and cried about it in the bathroom … okay, whatever]

    I’d be deeply hurt if my husband or anyone else from my family criticized my cooking immediately AND especially in front of guests.

    I think the best approach is to be indirect or at least not say it immediately but much later on during the day.

  25. AbuZakariyya

    January 27, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    @Haytham

    Husband: Bismillah (as he places the first bite in his mouth he says… o Allah.. please make this food taste better than yesterday’s)
    Wife: So…. tell me… how do you like?
    Husband: chewing … mmmm … mashaAllah..
    Wife: Say the truth.. you really like it?
    Husband: baby… I love it (o god please forgive me for lying.. the shaykh said its okay)
    Wife: Ooo.. that is awesome.. i am soo happy…. I ll cook it again for your mom tomorrow
    Husband: (Worried face… thinking… O god no.. please not my mom..I am screwed) O… yea .. umm.. baby… my mom… she doesn’t like this type of food.
    Wife: She doesn’t like it…!!!!! okay…. how about what I cooked yesterday?
    Husband: Yea.. she doesn’t like that either.. lets order from olive garden.. she loves olive garden..
    Wife: (with an angry face).. your mom is hard to please ..
    Husband: You look pretty today.. did you do your hair?
    Wife: I love you
    Husband: I love you too

    bro, I’d not do that. There’s enough stuff going on b/w your mother and your wife that you would not like to add more complexities to it. I’d rather get the silent treatment for a few days than to go down that route :D

  26. AbuZakariyya

    January 27, 2009 at 2:54 PM

    btw, Zaid Shakir has a really nice article on “What we should be teaching our children” and he says this:

    Another bit of beneficial advice, culled from the prophetic teachings, is avoiding feeding our children the very best of food all the time. This teaching is a reflection of the fact that the way of the Prophets, peace upon them, is moderation. For example, we should avoid constantly giving them ice cream, pizzas, and other types of food they find particularly enjoyable. We should try to give them ordinary food as much as possible. Then, when we do periodically give them something they really like, it is so much more enjoyable for them. This is one way to get them to appreciate the blessings of God. If we constantly give them the best of food and constantly give them the food they like, they’ll take the blessings of God for granted. That is something that can make their hearts become hard or cold.

    if you have kids or are planning to have ’em, I’d highly recommend reading this article.

    wassalam

    • Umm Hussain

      December 4, 2016 at 12:04 PM

      Feed everyone always healthy food like fresh veggies and fruit. If you don’t know how, learn how to prepare healthy food so that it is appetizing. I never liked okra. I had it once at a restaurant and absolutely loved it. I told my mom this and she laughed, saying “My okra is horrible. When you were young, I was always practicing on making it properly and then I gave up.”

      If you feed your family good healthy food, that is wonderful and delightful. When offered indulgencies, many people will take only a little or none. My oldest daughter was raised eating very healthy meals. When she was little we visited a friend one afternoon who offered her a tray full of pastries. My little girl looked at my friend with sadness and my friend asked her what was wrong. My daughter said to her. “I am sorry you don’t have regular food. Next time we will bring you some good food.”

  27. ..

    January 27, 2009 at 2:54 PM

    I hope all the unmarried sisters are noticing the efforts of our Brother Haytham, who is truly a hidden gem But also notice that your mother-in-law will be living in the same house

    PASS……..=)

    • Amad

      January 27, 2009 at 3:27 PM

      I hope all the unmarried sisters are noticing the efforts of our Brother Haytham, who is truly a hidden gem But also notice that your mother-in-law will be living in the same house

      PASS……..=)

      Haytham, now you know why you are not married yet….

      okay, before you kill me, I was just joking… no resident MIL :) Although I think Haytham’s future wife (it will happen, don’t worry bro) would BEG Haytham’s mom to live with them… mashallah… because she is a student of knowledge herself and sisters who know her rave about her personality, may Allah preserve her.

  28. MM Associates

    January 27, 2009 at 2:58 PM

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s a bit much to not talk to your husband because he didn’t like the food? It’s just food! Allahu a’lam.

    (amatullah)

    • Amad

      January 27, 2009 at 3:32 PM

      On a serious note, it does depend on personality types. So, a good start would be do Myers-Briggs survey for both spouses. If your wife turns out to be the “feeler” type, then forget cooking, even complaining about the way the dishes were laid on the table will lead to emotional distress! And btw, this goes both ways… though not normally advertised, if the husband has a “feeler” personality, he too can take things emotionally and be sensitive to criticism, esp. if he has taken all day to landscape the backyard, and you tell him it looked better before he touched it!

  29. AnonyMouse

    January 27, 2009 at 3:01 PM

    Hmmmmm, although I haven’t cooked for my husband yet (or many people at all, really), I don’t consider myself to be sensitive about it. I get annoyed at myself if it doesn’t turn out the greatest, but even if someone else criticizes my food I don’t particularly care – it’s the truth, after all. It just means that I need to pay better attention next time (that’s the hard part; I find cooking so boring that I constantly space out… which probably accounts for the toaster blowing up, the stove going on fire, etc.).

    Regardless of who’s cooking (even if it’s me), if I don’t like the food I won’t eat it. End of story. What’s to get mad about, after all? It’s just another task that needs to be mastered… and if they don’t like the food, they can fast and/or cook for themselves.

  30. Hidaya

    January 27, 2009 at 3:03 PM

    So I made Biryani twice in last one month (mom is out of country so trying to look after my bro & dad)…First time, it came out realllly bad (as in not really edible) but my father (who is very very picky when it comes to my mom’ cooking) was kind enough to say only the good things it..IT really encouraged me to try again …of course 2nd time came out much better..

    On another note, I have been working full time since past two years (around 50+ hours a week)…however had to take care of the house only for last 3 weeks and BOY ITS HARD! SubhanAllah, cleaning, dusting, cooking, washing dishes (which just never end), laundry which just keeps piling up, nephew who just never listens to me, ….It is sooooooooooo exhausting, much more then work..Even ”what to cook” is such a difficult issue….

    I think having an outside job is much easier, as it only tires you mentally..once you leave the office, then you are all fresh (for the most part)- However, being a house wife, there is no break! You have mental, physical & emotional stress (cuz no one appreciates u)

    Hats off to all the mommies, married sisters…(I cant imagine being a full time house wife..Dear God..)

  31. sister

    January 27, 2009 at 4:12 PM

    Sisters should start learning how to cook while they are still single. When you have free time like after graduating or something thats your time to learn and practice cooking for your family. Thats how im learning, alhamdulillah im not that bad… Plus why should the wife get upset? Our mothers went through the same thing. Its just a matter of learning.

    Brothers have to say the truth otherwise the wife won’t learn. The way you say it is key! :)

    • Umm Hussain

      December 4, 2016 at 12:19 PM

      Thanks for the unnecessary advice. Sisters should pursue whatever interests they have when they are single — and married. Does the ‘learn how to cook and clean’ advice to women ever end?

      Everyone, male and female, should know how to prepare a few healthy meas, make their beds, do their OWN laundry, balance bills and banking and maintain their personal space and car if they drive. Because our mothers went through many things does not mean that we should too. I would never tell any young woman, I suffered/tolerated unhappiness/abuse/criticism/ with this or that and you should too. That is such a poor example to use, considering that many women were not educated, well-read or even literate generations ago. Until recently, women had very limited opportunities other than to be homemakers.

      Spouses should always be polite to one another and always take into consideration that what they say to one another can be hurtful.

      No one tells a man to tolerate not having A/C when he has A/C in his car. Good advices should always take into consideration who is being given the advice and the timing of the advice given.

  32. Siraaj Muhammad

    January 27, 2009 at 4:33 PM

    LOL, why does it seem like Haytham is always lurking around the marriage posts ;)

    But most of you are sticking to cooking, what about physical appearance, do you guys broach that topic, or do you just let ’em get fat.

    At Ilm Summit, one of the brothers got quite the beatdown by Shaykh Yaser Birjas when he tried to yell across the room, “Hey Shaykh, wot (he’s british) dew yew dew if tha sista let’s herself go? How do you tell haa?”

    But then, that is a valid question, but for both genders – how do you tell the spouse it’s time to shape up?

    Siraaj

  33. Raniah

    January 27, 2009 at 4:33 PM

    Personally I would rather be told by my husband how he likes (or doesn’t like) the food that I make. We actually had this as a rule when we first got married. I told him that I would not get offended but that I would request that he says it in a polite manner, which masha’alalh he’s good at!

    At the beginning of our marriage we also started a 1-10 scale when it comes to food. After he finishes his meal, I ask him for a score. Then he has to follow up with why he gave it the number he did. The next time I make the particular dish again, I try to remember his score and what he said could be improved upon for next time. I feel this has really helped my culinary skills! He also thinks this has made my cooking better.

    Honesty really is key, but politeness counts!

    Even when it comes to other matters such as dress, appearance, etc, I do appreciate when he is honest in a nice way.

    This has to be established at the beginning of a couple’s marriage and as someone said earlier, you have to take your wife’s feelings/personality into account. I like bluntness :)

    This is what worked for us but every couple is different!

  34. Raniah

    January 27, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    Siraaj, I’m curious to know how did Sh. Yaser respond to the man’s question at Ilm Summit?

  35. Umm Reem

    January 27, 2009 at 4:38 PM

    now this is what i call a “male chauvinist” post :)
    you think we, women, cannot take criticisms?!!

    Oh, and no matter how much one learns to “talk” :) a smart wife always looks at the facial expressions and the amount of food her husband ate…

  36. Umm Reem

    January 27, 2009 at 4:49 PM

    on a serious note…
    i think a wife will take the critcism as a constructive criticism IF appreciation is also shown when the food is good…so if she knows that her husband praises her food whenever she cooks good she won’t/shouldn’t mind her husband being honest whenever it is not cooked good…
    she should appreciate honesty…

    as for shaping up…i honestly think that whenever a husband tells his wife to shape up (as long as he praises her when she is in good shape) it shows that he cares and takes interest in her appearance, and how she looks actually matters to him…this in itself should be a motivation for the wife to “shape up”!

    • Umm Hussain

      December 4, 2016 at 12:26 PM

      I am no longer a youthful beauty, but if my husband told me to shape up, along with many, many husbands and they got an honest response, the wife would say “perhaps you should look in the mirror, brother”. Telling someone to “shape up” does not show someone that they care. It does, however, opens the door to someone telling you what your faults are. Be prepared.

  37. mcpagal

    January 27, 2009 at 6:58 PM

    When my husband cooks for me (inshaAllah), I won’t criticise if I can help it :P

    Anyway why is the truth vs lying the only option, when you can just stay silent if it’s really, really bad? I mean, there’s always something nice you can say, like if it tastes awful say it looks nice or vice versa.

  38. mehreen

    January 27, 2009 at 10:41 PM

    use wisdom- there’s a time and way to “criticize” :-) it’s the best policy

    • Amad

      January 27, 2009 at 11:09 PM

      Talking about how best to criticize, can we have also have a post on how to criticize authors of posts and other commentators, esp. people love me so much?? ;)

      I was hoping Abu Noor would write that but he seems to have gone into online hibernation :)

  39. AsimG

    January 27, 2009 at 11:16 PM

    Everyone should read Umm Reem’s post.

    How you act when everything is good affects how your wife will act to your criticisms when something is not good.

  40. Ummhasan

    January 27, 2009 at 11:31 PM

    A cook is their own worse critic. And a wife can DEFINITELY tell when her husband does not like what’s been cooked. The Prophet (SAW) set the the best examples. Don’t criticize.

  41. AsimG

    January 27, 2009 at 11:42 PM

    Amad,
    I’ll write a pro-Obama article to make you feel better if you want

  42. Siraaj Muhammad

    January 28, 2009 at 12:31 AM

    LOL, you know what’s funny? today, if we remain silent, our wives will say, “What’s the matter?” And if they know we’re implementing the hadeeth, then they know the food is bad =)

    Very complicated situation. Now, for the sisters who said, “Tell the truth, I don’t care,” believe me, you won’t, but your husband will. Why? Because you’ll be annoyed and it’ll show, and that will bring the whole mood of the evening down.

    So, it’s not so easy as you might think ;)

    But this isn’t just for brothers criticizing sisters cooking – this post was meant more for general critiques of minor flaws – do you do it, or not, and how?

    Siraaj

  43. Skeptical

    January 28, 2009 at 12:43 AM

    I think it is very important to “communicate” well in in any relationship especially marriage. Having said that, I know that I do NOT like it when my husband tells me that he did not like my cooking or physical appearance, etc.. directly. But I do appreciate it when he takes the time out to “communicate” his feeling with me and incorporates what we should try less of. The reality is that living in America in our busy lives, that’s not always possible, but we should really take into account our spouse’s feelings. Look at it this way: I know for a fact when I tell my 5 year old I do not like the picture she made in school, it really hurts her feeling, but when i sit down with her and suggest (by illustrating) trying making the picture in a different way (by coloring inside the lines:), she completely not only gets it but works hard to make amends. We grown ups are not that much different. Are We? :/

  44. bintwadee3

    January 28, 2009 at 1:25 AM

    (Not from direct experience but) I agree 100% with iMuslim. We’re in the same boat sister!!! Mainly about the “slaving away all day not to be appreciated”.

    When you know your wife spent 3 hours in the kitchen, let her down gently. Like a brother said, “it would be like your wife telling you the yard looked better before you spent those 5 hours landscaping it”. Show appreciation somehow, but don’t lie about it because she WILL make it again. Ex: When my brother was first learning how to make eggs, he would cook it COMPLETELY, to where it would literally be like rubber. But the good sister I am, I thanked him for it and the next time he was making it, “showed him a few tricks”. Simple as that. Now when it comes to complete destruction, I can’t help you there.

    Physical appearance… Also, let her down gently but get your point across. Be like “man we need to eat healthier. We’ve been completely ignoring the 1/3rd rule, astaghfirullaah.” or something, you know? Or ask her to buy more fruits, make more salads, and of course smaller portions of food. Please please please don’t say anything like “I can see I’m not the only one enjoying your cooking here” (while patting your belly LOL).

    Last but not least, about Zaid Shaker’s post, we have a rule in our house called the “You don’t have to like it, you have to eat it” rule. But alhamdulillaah my moms a pretty awesome cook :)

  45. Abd- Allah

    January 28, 2009 at 2:51 AM

    The prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said:

    “Woman was created from a rib, and if you try to straighten the rib you will break it, so be gentle with her and you will be able to live with her.”

    “The believing man does not dislike the believing woman (his wife), if he is displeased with something in her, he is pleased with something else.”

    I have an appeal for the brothers and sisters who do not speak Arabic yet. Please try your best to learn Arabic, and give it the time and effort that it deserves, because this language is worth it! Every time I read a verse or hadeeth in Arabic and think ‘WOW, this is AMAZING! I have to share this with my brothers and sisters’, but then the disappointment comes when I go look up its translation or try translate it myself, I realize that a big part of the beauty and meaning of it is lost, and it does’t have the same taste as it does in Arabic. Please brothers and sisters, if you don’t know Arabic, make it a priority to learn, because you are missing out on A LOT! Just think about how you will be able to understand the Quran, especially when you praying behind the Imam and listening to him recite, it makes things much more enjoyable! You will also be able to understand what the Arabs are saying when they backbite you in your presence (joke!)
    But seriously, knowing Arabic is one of the biggest blessings that anyone can have, and I praise and thank Allah for that blessing, and I wish there was an easy way to spread this blessing and share it with ALL my brothers and sisters, so please do make an effort to learn Arabic, for your own sake and benefit.
    May Allah make it easy for all those who are sincere about learning Arabic for the sake of Allah and those who put in the time and effort into it, and may Allah reward them abundantly, ameen.

  46. talibilm

    January 28, 2009 at 9:30 AM

    salaam,

    how do you tell your wife to get in shape???????????????

    someone please tel me!!!!!!!!

    what did sh. yasir birjas say????????

  47. mofw

    January 28, 2009 at 10:18 AM

    how do you tell your wife to get in shape???????????????

    Very, carefully.

  48. Skeptical

    January 28, 2009 at 10:33 AM

    With EXTREME CAUTION and lot of LOVE! Women love pleasing husbands, it’s just a matter of how they ask. Use Love, love and lots of Love.

    By the way, how do tell your husband to get in shape??????????????

  49. Hidaya

    January 28, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    If you want her to get in to shape then get her an annual gym membership…give it to her as a gift! Simple as that!

  50. Hidaya

    January 28, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    or buy her elyptical/tread mill…

  51. mofw

    January 28, 2009 at 10:36 AM

    By the way, how do tell your husband to get in shape??????????????

    “You need to get in shape.”

  52. Skeptical

    January 28, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    “You need to get in shape.”

    It hasn’t worked so far…any other suggestions?

  53. Miako

    January 28, 2009 at 11:53 AM

    Seriously, folks, who of us is in excellent shape?
    You do it together, yes? “We should take more walks, it will help us feel better. Am I putting on weight?” Don’t make it an evaluation or anything, be positive! (you can bet your wife already knows she’s put on pounds, for goodness sakes!)

    Also, with cooking in particular, there are easy criticisms “another half teaspoon of salt next time” and hard criticisms “the bread isn’t puffy enough, and tastes wet. i don’t know why that is…” (erm. that takes a lot of fixing and experimentation, for those who don’t make homemade bread).

    Also, to look positively, say “I’m looking forward to your next attempt!” This implies your faith in the other person’s ability to do better. Obviously don’t say this if there’s no way you would ever want anything like that again! ;-)

  54. mbslrm

    January 28, 2009 at 12:03 PM

    Tagged as: lies, men, Society

    What does that mean?

  55. mofw

    January 28, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    Skeptical, well that’s how you TELL him not how you get him to lose weight.

  56. Skeptical

    January 28, 2009 at 1:23 PM

    mofw, Thanks for the advice, will give it a shot :)

    Going back to the topic, it is very important to be considerate of your spouse’s feelings and mood. I think we can all agree there is a time and a place for everything. And waiting for the right moment is absolutely critical when dealing with our spouses. Moreover, it is very important to compliment one another from time to time. We all so often take our spouses for granted (this works both ways), but the fact of the matter is that we get so used to each other that after a point, we can’t function without one another…so it is essential to take a moment out in between here and there and tell our spouses’ that we appreciate them.

    For all the brothers, you can almost get your wives to do anything, yes even loose weight, by complimenting them here and there. Send a short, but sweet e-mail, buy a rose, or any small gesture that shows you appreciate her. Then you can ease in the cooking or the weight issue :)

    I can’t seem to get the smilie faces in. How do I do that?

    -Editor’s note: you should add a space before the smilie in order for it to come up.

  57. abu abdAllah (MM Associate)

    January 28, 2009 at 5:23 PM

    bismillah.

    first — the article has a smartly-designed graphic, but perhaps it both reveals and belies. i believe many spouses come to assume that the compliments they receive from their spouses are only facades built upon lies, many small “insignificant” lies, but so many that no compliment need be taken as true. notice that in the magnifying glass, the person sees nothing but lies. the result is an erosion of a level of support. at some point the spouse making compliments may make perfunctory what had been genuine as a response to their reception.

    how much better is the example of the Prophet, sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam — we know that his habit was not to complain. but also not to lie.

    so perhaps the upshot should be do not complain in a way that you would be embarrassed for later, when you are shown your deeds. and may Allah give each of us (and our spouses) our respective book of deeds in our right hand. ameen.

    second — the article made me think of the situation of the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam as a man with multiple wives. alhamdolillah, look at how he handled the duty of a husband to treat his wives equally. the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam would make dua to Allah asking for relief and forgiveness over what he could not control, the responses and inclinations of his heart. but he did not eschew the duty of what he could control: his actions including how he divided his time and rizq.

    so if your wife knows that you did not like much less love a particular meal, still she may know that your heart inclines to her. and perhaps she may offer you relief for what you cannot control of your heart (and stomach) if she sees how you act in what is in your control: your choice of words, your tone, your deeds. for the man may be rabb of the house, but his wife (at least one of them!) should be mistress of his heart.

  58. Nazihah

    January 28, 2009 at 8:10 PM

    we have a compromise.

    my husband can’t tell me at the actual mealtime it’s not good. he has to wait until we’re done eating. that way, u don’t feel as bad. when u’ve been slaving away, makin food, and someone rejects it right after, it buuuuuuurns.

    we’re still working on that, b/c my husband forgets the rule, and STILL tells me right away,

  59. Islam is the Sunnah

    January 28, 2009 at 10:53 PM

    Remain patient, as the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) remained when his wives cooked food he didn’t like. He sat, and said nothing at all, nor did he eat from it.

    Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) never found fault with food. If he had inclination to eating it, he would eat; and if he disliked it, he would leave it. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

  60. a wife

    January 29, 2009 at 4:00 AM

    It is funny but everyone presumes that the wife enjoys cooking. It’s a task that usually falls on the wife, even though the husband is the much better cook. My response to my husband if he criticizes the food is that, “honey, you know how much I hate to cook. I didn’t even know where the kitchen was before I got married. So if you don’t like my cooking, you are more than welcome to take my place or we can eat out. otherwise keep mum and eat up!”

    really, where’s a hadith that says one of the duties of a wife is to cook? is this a husband’s right? I always thought it was the husband’s responsibility to feed the wife. Many scholars have indicated that this includes the cooking portion of it also! :)

    and to the previous commenter, what in the world does he mean Rabb of the house? Rabb is something that should be used for God only. A mistress is someone who is a sort of illegitimate woman. So what you are saying are that husbands are Gods, and wives are just the mistress? please….

  61. AbdelRahman

    January 29, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    While my wife and I were engaged, I told her the general food areas I didn’t like. Other than that, alhamdulilah, I’ve been blessed with some liberal taste buds, partially the reason for my need to workout 6 days a week (otherwise I turn into humpty dumpty).

    If she ever did make anything and I didn’t like it, it’d have to be because it had an ingredient, Parmesan cheese for example, that I didn’t like, so she’d be cooking it with full knowledge already that I didn’t like it (since we had our food disclosure before marriage). Is that a risk she’d be willing to take? Lol we’ll see, only been nikkah’d 7 months alhamdulilah ;-)

    P.S I cook a lot too, and we cook a lot together as well, so as far as the whole “cooking is the wife’s responsibility” argument, I think I lean towards the idea of the wife being the house cook due to her skill level being hire than mine, but I don’t mind bustin out the apron here and there.

  62. Umm Reem

    January 29, 2009 at 1:12 PM

    So what you are saying are that husbands are Gods, and wives are just the mistress?

    Rabb literally means master or caretaker…so rabb al bayt will be the master of the house i.e. husband (in some cases wife ;) )
    so in shar’eeh meanings it is used for Allah, but in literal meaning it can be used for master…

    and i don’t think he meant mistress as the illegitimate “mistress” rather the feminine form of Master…
    so he meant that husband maybe the ‘master’ of the house but the mistress (i.e. master) of his heart should be his wife…;)

  63. Miako

    January 29, 2009 at 2:46 PM

    In America, we have a saying:
    “guys will cook anything, so long as danger is involved”

    I feel sorry for people who do not know of the joy of perfecting a recipe — of tweaking it until it is JustSo. It is one of life’s little pleasures.

  64. whatnow

    January 30, 2009 at 1:07 AM

    Wow, I just love reading the comments on MM. Great stuff people.

    Most of the comments seem to be geared toward criticizing how the wife cooks. Someone mentioned how the father makes jokes and the family laughs. Be careful with this method though. What you think is funny may not be funny to your spouse.

  65. abu abdAllah [MM Associate]

    January 31, 2009 at 2:13 AM

    innalhamdolillah, wa bismillah.
    for a use of the word rabb by Allah, subhanahu wata ala, that is widely agreed to refer to a man (who in this case not coincidentally happened to be a husband):

    وَرَاوَدَتْهُ الَّتِي هُوَ فِي بَيْتِهَا عَن نَّفْسِهِ وَغَلَّقَتِ الأَبْوَابَ وَقَالَتْ هَيْتَ لَكَ قَالَ مَعَاذَ اللّهِ إِنَّهُ رَبِّي أَحْسَنَ مَثْوَايَ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُفْلِحُ الظَّالِمُونَ
    Surah Yusuf, ayat 23 [emphasis added for non-Arabic speakers]:
    Sahih International: And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him. She closed the doors and said, “Come, you.” He said, “[I seek] the refuge of Allah . Indeed, he is my master, who has made good my residence. Indeed, wrongdoers will not succeed.”

    and the word mistress is the female form of the word master, and the mistress of the house of Aziz, as Allah calls him, that woman was wicked — but she was his wife.

    wAllaho’Alim, if i had used a feminized form of the word rabb in my earlier comment, there would probably have been even less tolerance or comprehension.

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