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Fiqh of Love: O You Who Are About to Marry, Any Last Words? Any First Words?

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It was my pleasure to write this article at the request of Shaykh Waleed Basyouni for distribution to students in his upcoming course, Fiqh of Love, which will be taught in mid-May in Toronto, ON (sold out online, but there may be availability onsite).  In addition to reviewing the article before publication, he graciously suggested that it be shared here with all of you, too.  May Allah increase in ‘ilm and hiqmah Shaykh Waleed and others of His slaves who contributed, and may He overlook the faults of this piece and its author, and may He be pleased with all of us who seek His Pleasure in our marriages and married lives.

Bismillah walhamdolillah.

Allah Created. And among His unique qualities is that He Creates without precedent.

Before Allah Decreed it, there had never been a “pair” of anything.  What He made could never have been imagined by any of His Creations, and what He Created was something wonderful, walhamdolillah.

He has described the husband and wife as garments for each other.  Think about that — if you are unmarried something about you is fundamentally incomplete.

Allah has decreed that man and woman each has free choice.  So how will you choose to complete the pair?

When you ‘shop’ for your spouse, what will you look for, who will you ask, and what questions or discussions will follow?  Length?  Width?  Color?  Perhaps.

The sunnah in Islam is to find out the information that will cause you to know whether to propose to someone or accept that person’s proposal.  And when you have what you need to know, then you should proceed with the proposal or else stop.

This differentiates Islamic practice from other courtship rules in as much as other rules would permit courting as entertainment, ie, dating.

If you want to take your spouse on a date, bismillah.  If you want to go on a date with someone to whom you are not married, beware the evil into which shaytan would lead you.

The same discretion should enter your questions and conversations before marriage.  It is perfectly reasonable to have conversations whose only purpose is to establish that you two can have an easygoing and light conversation.

Yet too many open-ended conversations might lead to affections developing, and at that point many commentators have pointed out that people’s brains switch off: at that point they see only good in the other person.  One writer even said that the person in love is as unreasonable as a drunk person.

Indeed Allah does not hold us accountable for our feelings: just as the pen is lifted for the intoxicated person — but the person who is intoxicated now may find tremendous punishment for his actions while he was sober: when he had the aql to avoid drink.  And in the same way, Allah may hold us to account for indiscretions committed before we fell (intoxicated) in love — blameworthy actions that led us to a state of love, actions committed when we still had the aql to avoid them.

At the same time, how the other person makes you feel is important.  Indeed when the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam found out from Jaabir that Jaabir had selected a woman to marry, the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam did not first ask Jaabir if she were a pious woman.  He asked if Jaabir had seen her, looked upon her.  And he advised doing so until Jaabir saw what would cause him to marry.  Implying that it would have been possible he might not see it, and thus might not marry.  And Allah’s Decree was that he saw, and they did marry, alhamdolillah.

So we know looking is allowed and that implies that other investigation is, too, because when you observe a person you do not see them posed or on a runway, naudhobillah, like clothes in the store.  You see them in life, and you observe their interactions so inquiries into those are like what you would see, permissible at least as to what could be seen.

With so many warnings in mind, you may imagine that the only conversations and questions should be about deen: “How many verses have you memorized and of how many of them have you studied the tafseer?”  “What are your favorite adhkaar — in salaat — before the basmallah?”  “Do you read Muslim more often, or Bukhari?”

Those questions are… odd.  Let’s face it — if you are starting out with conversations like those…  Who are you marrying?  Your shaykh?  Shaykh Waleed is already married, folks. :)

So which questions then should come first?  Indeed, Imam Ahmed, RahimAllah, advised that questions about deen should be the very last ones a person asks.  Why?  For a beautiful reason: good deen beautifies a person and it is better to reject a physically beautiful woman for her ugly deen, than to reject a woman whose deen is beautiful to you for any other reason.

This principle is so strong that it may help explain why the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam re-married the daughter of Omar, Umm al Mumineen Hafsa, radi Allaho anhumaa.  Jibreel alayhis salam conversed with the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam about her taqwa and ibadat after their initial divorce, and it was some time after that conversation that they remarried, alhamdolillah.

Interestingly, from the sunnah, there is also the case of Umm Salamah, also Umm al Mumineen, walhamdolillah.  She was widowed and had children from her marriage.  And after her iddah the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam came to her to propose marriage.  And clearly no one had more beautiful deen than him, sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam.

And yet, knowing that, she was prepared to reject him — not for his qualities, subhanAllah, but for her own issues that needed reconciliation.  Her children — that they should have a father who loves them.   Her age — that she avoid a situation whereby her husband find her at all lacking.  And her jealousy of other women — including the other wives of the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam.

And mashaAllah, this case shows us one of the keys to a successful courtship — indeed a successful courtship by the way, is one that ends in a marriage that pleases Allah.  The nikah is just one moment, the exchange of a few words.  And what follows the nikah is much more than just one night.

Keep that in mind: the success was more likely to come in marriage because the qualities the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam showed in his responses to her were qualities of a successful husband.  Her children he promised would be just like his own to him.  As for age he compared theirs as reassurance to her.  And he prayed to Allah for an easing of her jealousy, walhamdolillah.

Three beautiful qualities (at least) are easy to see in the responses: accommodation, empathy, dua/taqwa/tawakkol.  Okay i squeezed three qualities in there for the last example, but alhamdolillah alaa kulli haal, it is difficult to pick only a few traits from his example.

We know that Umm Salamah was a perceptive and intelligent woman — witness her advice to the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam at Hudaybiyyah.  Thus she must have seen in his answers what she needed to know to accept his proposal, alhamdolillah.  And indeed it was a successful marriage.

Before embarking on advice about specific questions or conversations you could have when looking for your wife or husband, reflect again on the example of Umm Salamah’s proposal and what followed: how could she have asked such good questions?  She was aware of her own needs.  And she knew the difference between her needs, and her wishes.

A Messenger of Allah for a husband?  A wish.  Her questions reflect that she knew, too, her needs.  And you should, too, before you propose or respond to a proposal, wAllaho’Alim.

Otherwise, if you merely read to each other from a list of questions or conversation-topics — at best you are throwing darts in the dark wondering if you will hit something that yells out in surprise.  And at worst you are ignoring the concerns that should be addressed.

Specific topics and questions to consider — an outline to build on:

Air and Water

–What are the roles of a husband?
–What are the roles of a wife?

This is a separate category because no other topic was so identified in research by Muslims and non-Muslims as a cause of divorce.  Huh?  Divorce?  Yes, couples that have completely different ideas about these roles, and lacked the ability to concede or compromise — they often end their marriages.

“Air and Water” are essential for life, but we hardly ever have to talk about them.  You might have additional topics that are “air and water” for you, but these two are different: they will affect everything else.  If you are honest with each other now about your expectations, and if you can both breathe easily (accommodate each other), then later on, bi’idhnillah, you will only talk about these roles when you need to clear the air or get through murky waters.  You can start the conversation in the abstract, what is the role of “a” husband and “a” wife, but you’re talking about each other.

Bread and Butter

–Finances including expectations of income and spending, who will work, what kind of work/income you would seek or refuse.
–Kids including how many and when, and how to raise them.
–Parents (ie., your kids’ grandparents, bi’idhnillah), other family, friends, socializing.
–Living arrangements including with or without parents and city/neighborhood and expectations of how big and how much.

Unlike “air and water” you can have as many bread and butter topics as you want.  All of these things are important, and they may become the subject of arguments in a marriage if you do not discuss your expectations before marriage.  But one thing that makes this category different from the others is that all the items are material or external in some fashion.  Numbers, sizes, other people, stuff: how much of it do you want, by when, where, and does it even matter to you — assuming the other person has the same answers as you would be a mistake.

Veiled Gems

If you pay close attention to the discussions you and your potential spouse have during bread and butter topics, you will not only address each other’s expectations, bi ‘idhnillah, but also learn a lot about each other’s character.

For the same reason have conversations about goals and accomplishments, past and future — find out how each of you defines an accomplishment.  See how much your goals, expectations, and priorities match with each other.

Have conversations about people in need — to find out whether the person cares about others or is more self-interested.  Also to find out whether the person really listens to you, or is just waiting for his/her turn to speak.  Finally, remember that marriage will have challenges, too, and these conversations will help you figure out whether you are talking to someone that you can rely on if times are tough.  Or naudhobillah, someone who would run at the first sign of trouble.

Note: see “poison pills.” When it comes to any conversation, but especially for a veiled gem, you are not digging for faults, but searching for genuine understanding.  Allah is ar Rahman nir Raheem — you can be forgiving and merciful to each other without being judgmental, while thinking seriously about your compatibility.

Poison Pills

Anything at all about which you yourself do not care while you speak.  Even a noble subject, if you talk about it when you do not care what you or the other person are saying could become ghafla.  There is also the disastrous possibility that the other person will see you do not care about the conversation and believe you do not care about them — (perhaps) mistaking your attitude.

Immodest conversations in general.  Imagine the two of you were sitting in a room with the woman’s father, and the man’s mother.  if you think the topic would cause the mother to look away or the father to pull out a sword, then you’re probably thinking of a topic that should not be discussed.  Maybe the problem is only that immodest words are being used to discuss a topic that is permissible for you — so exercise good judgment.

What Happened to Deen?


Fasabrun jameelun.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) praised the quality of deen in a future spouse above wealth, beauty, family, and nobility.

Yet, you should realize that finding a religious person is not enough.  You should have other things in common before marriage.  Do look for a religious spouse, and choose one who is more compatible with you.

And a word of wisdom from past TDCs spoken by multiple shuyukh and advocates: when you search for a religious spouse, ask yourself if she would be happy with your religiosity, too!  As Shaykh Yaser puts it, “Would you marry you?” — in this context would you be satisfied with a spouse who was only as religious as you?

Specific sources used in developing this handout: Fiqh of Love and Practimate.com (with Shaykh Yaser Birjas), 10 Conversations You Must Have Before Marriage by Dr. Guy Grenier, 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married by Monica Mendez Leahy, Article posted in the Al Maghrib forums by Rabbi Mordecai Rottman, MA, “Four things to look for in a spouse.”

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Bismillah walhamdolillah. May Allah accept my repentance and yours. I am an attorney, a stepfather, a husband, a son, and a Muslim. Studying Islam is a means, reflecting what I have learned is a must, and to Allah is the inevitable return.If you would like my help, know that Allah is the source of all aid. If you would like to contact me, try tariqnisarahmed at Gmail, LinkedIn, Twitter, or add me as a friend on Facebook.

44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Acquisti

    May 11, 2009 at 7:46 AM

    Assalamu Alykum, The article is great, especially liked this part “ask yourself if she would be happy with your religiosity, too! “

  2. Avatar

    emirzad

    May 11, 2009 at 8:03 AM

    would you marry you? lol…. never.

    great article jazak Alllahu kheiran.

    salam alaikum

  3. Avatar

    Hajera

    May 11, 2009 at 9:15 AM

    Mashaallah .Great article.Jazakumallahu khairaa brother.

    During a tafseer class my teacher explained the verse of libas very nicely.She said that libas [garment] always hides the faults of our skin, protects the skin from heat, cold etc, beautifies us, very intimate to us.That`s how a couple should be.

    assalamualykum.

    • Avatar

      MM Associates

      May 14, 2009 at 2:47 AM

      Wa eeyakum wa alaykumus salam to everyone. (reply by abu abdAllah)

      Allah’s examples are the best in their beauty and appropriateness. Jazak Allah khayr: I wanted to recount what I remembered from similar tafseer of the ayat, but could not nail down where I had heard it.

  4. Avatar

    Hassan

    May 11, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    From the title it suggests the marriage is a suicide mission..

    • Avatar

      MM Associates

      May 14, 2009 at 2:48 AM

      Bismillah. (reply by abu abdAllah)
      LOL. I remember when my parents first asked me to talk to a woman they wanted me to consider marrying. Gallows humor seemed appropriate for the title.

    • Avatar

      zubair

      October 15, 2009 at 5:00 AM

      beautiful Article .. Alhamdullila ..

      I am nervous just .. thinking about it .. :(

  5. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    May 11, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    That was, ma sha Allah, a refreshingly novel article! Wouldn’t expect anything less from you Tariq. :)

    And now that you’ve written the article … ;)

    • Avatar

      MM Associates

      May 14, 2009 at 2:50 AM

      Bismillah. (reply by abu abdAllah)

      Am working on it, Shaykh Yasir. :)

  6. Avatar

    SaqibSaab

    May 11, 2009 at 10:07 AM

    And now that you’ve written the article … ;)

    Hehe, my thoughts exactly. Glad to see this will be included at FoL in Toronto, JAK Tariq.

  7. Avatar

    TenaciousRei

    May 11, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    Very nice article!

  8. Avatar

    MR

    May 11, 2009 at 11:15 AM

    JazakAllah khair.

    Side note: you should follow the professional college level way of citing sources. :-D

    • Avatar

      MM Associates

      May 14, 2009 at 2:51 AM

      Wa eeyakum. (reply by abu abdAllah)
      There were a few places in the article where citations would have been particularly appropriate — these were specific ideas that I got from specific sources. All of the article was a synthesis of ideas I saw in most if not all of the sources, so I just punted when it came to blue-booking the article. InshaAllah, several years from now, MM may be absorbed by the Fiqh and Society Review of the Jamia AlMaghrib, Houston, Texas. Then eager fiqh and aqeedah students will be able bi ‘idhnillah to extract more rigorous citations from authors. Till then, though, keep up the reminders. ;)

  9. Avatar

    Nahyan

    May 11, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    jazakallahukhair for that excellent article bro.

  10. Avatar

    Umm Fulaanah

    May 11, 2009 at 11:22 AM

    maasha-Allaah… i loved the article from the very start…. and i agree with Hassan… when i saw the a tittle, i had suicide in my mind…!
    Insha-allaah we’ll expect more articles of these kinds….

  11. Avatar

    Ibn Masood

    May 11, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    Interesting article mashAllah

  12. Avatar

    Algebra

    May 11, 2009 at 5:02 PM

    Aslamu-alaikum:
    A question…….
    why are they having so many speakers and what is the set up. How is it going to be different from the others.
    anyone from here going?
    P.S. Nice Post mashAllah.
    salam

  13. Avatar

    Rasheedah

    May 11, 2009 at 6:33 PM

    Asalam alaykum

    Mashallah nice post… very informative and very different from the ‘usual’ marriage articles. Definately something i’ll be keeping for future reference.

    one of the most difficult topics to discuss with a prospective spouse (in my opinion) is finances… it’s such a delicate area. It’s no wonder its one of three main reasons for divorce in muslims in the west.

  14. Avatar

    marry halal

    May 11, 2009 at 8:44 PM

    Well written, but why does it all have to be SO difficult?
    May Allah make it easy on all the unmarried couples feeling around in the dark (especially me).

    • Avatar

      MM Associates

      May 14, 2009 at 2:19 AM

      Bismillah was salamu alaykum. (reply by abu abdAllah)

      I actually found from my research that Islam makes every aspect of finding someone and getting married easy. Trust me, every difficulty you find has its source with people.

      If I may rephrase your question, “Why do people make things SO difficult?” For the same reasons that man needs Guidance to worship Allah properly.

      We could re-write the question again, “Why do people make things SO difficult (for people seeking to marry) even after receiving Guidance from Allah in the Qur’an and Sunnah?” For the same reason that mankind and the jinn will deserve to be Judged by Allah — to varying degrees: we forget and are easily distracted, we prefer our own whim and reason to Guidance, and we simply disobey Allah.

      May Allah Forgive me, you, and all the Muslims, and have Mercy on us, and may He Guide each of us and everyone we care for to that understanding of Him which brings us to submit to Him fully and without reservation.

      • Avatar

        ameera

        May 22, 2009 at 1:44 AM

        Beautiful article and this was a beautiful reply!

    • Avatar

      Sirnucy ibn Bakr bn Salih

      October 20, 2014 at 2:58 AM

      It’s such an enlighten and fascinating piece. May Allah make it easy for us for nothing is easy except that which Allah makes easy. Marriage is really kinda tough. Jazakhallah!

  15. Avatar

    Fatima

    May 12, 2009 at 11:49 PM

    Asalamu Alaykum,

    MashaAllah this was a great aritcle. I’m glad I came across this article, because I’m thinking about getting married soon, and i’m currently talking to someone. But I have one main concern, I’m older than him five years even though mashaAllah he is I think mature for his age. Should I be worried?

  16. Avatar

    Algebra

    May 13, 2009 at 12:43 AM

    @Fatima
    Aslamu=alai8kum:
    AGE is a matter of perspective. IF it doesn’t bother you and you are compatible with each other than it really doens’t matter.
    Many of my relatives are married to men that are younger than them and they are MashAllah very happy and have been married for many many years.
    Its all a mind set :)
    THERE is NO MAGIC FORMULA!!!!!!
    salam

    • Avatar

      Fatima

      May 13, 2009 at 12:17 PM

      Walaykum Salam, sister Algebra

      Thanks for replying, may Allah make the marriage process easy for myself and all other Muslims out there.

      Salamz

  17. Avatar

    Imtiaz

    May 15, 2009 at 10:20 AM

    Make lots of dua …. tell everyone you know to make dua for you..

    go out do dawah and ask those ppl once they embrace this deen – to also make dua for you.

    lessons learned from a recently married.

  18. Avatar

    mystrugglewithin

    July 4, 2009 at 8:18 PM

    Although I am too late to follow up, but I must thank you for this nicest set of advices, jazkallah khair, and may Allah SWT bless you for your efforts, inshAllah. Asalamalaikum.

  19. Avatar

    abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

    August 29, 2009 at 7:11 AM

    For some people, love comes one day in February. For Muslims in Houston, love comes this Fall. http://tr.im/hosna

  20. Avatar

    zubair

    October 15, 2009 at 5:07 AM

    Bismilla-

    Please All duva for me – I am in the same situation like loads of brothers and sisters who are on the verge to take Next Step ..

    ALLAH hafiz.

  21. Avatar

    Umm Saara

    April 14, 2010 at 5:59 AM

    Assalamoalaikum,
    beautiful article mash’Allah.

    One thing that i want to emphasise on is DUA, DUA and more DUA. Allah, the most High, knows what is in your hearts and hears your duas and will accept them. when? we don’t know. Allah, Glory be to Him, is the best of planners. He alone knows whats best for you and when. Put your trust in Allah and know that as long as you continue to be a good muslim – one who is gaining knowledge and trying to correct yourself at all times, KNOW that your prayers will be answered.
    I got past the age of 28 and was constantly bombarded with my AGE…getting past it and all that. It got to the point that a relative suggested an asylum seeker – he needed stay and i needed to get married. Subhan’Allah. My father soon put a stop to that! Allhamdullilah. dua in sujood is one of the best times – open up your heart. say what you want. I refused alot of people based on religion and as i got older, i gained more knowledge mash’Allah, i became more practising, Allhamdullilah and for someone who was at one time in my life ‘disgusted’ with beards…got to the point that i had to marry someone who had a beard. Allhamdullilah. why? because i knew the ‘beauty’ of it, i knew the reasons behind it and above all i wanted someone who was aspiring to be like our beloved prophet (peace and blessing be upon him).
    So whatever your situation, think about yourself – as it states in the article mash’Allah – WOULD YOU MARRY YOU? strive to make yourself a better muslim. if you are getting hassle from others – because perhaps they think you are being too fussy, choosy etc… then SEEK REFUGE FROM SHAYTAN do not fall in the trap of feeling depressed and know that Allah, the most gracious the most powerful is on your side
    May Allah ease the path to marriage and bless all of our marriages. ameen.
    May Allah swt reward the sheikhs and their families for their time, effort and knowledge that they share with us. ameen.
    wasalaam.

  22. Avatar

    A Muslim in search for an answer!!!

    May 24, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    Just recently my mom introduced me to a few prospective girls that she wanted me to consider for marriage.

    I did istikhara and my thoughts kept going on one of these and I conveyed my decision to my parents. Then they asked a shaikh to do the istikhara. He said that his answer to the istikhara was a no.

    I can’t understand why after doing istikhara my heart would tend to go towards a specific person and this shaikh says that he does istikhara and its a no. So much so, that my parents say that since the shaikh says no they will not consider the girl even……

    Can you guide me on what to do in this situation??????

    • Avatar

      Rifai

      May 24, 2010 at 4:22 PM

      You may want to consult with a proper scholar of Islam rather than some possibly unqualified “Shaikh”. The reason I say this is because I was told by a knowledgeable person that you cant do Istikhara for someone else…can someone please correct me if I am mistaken here?

      Also, what are the qualifications of this Shaikh? Is he a scholar? Has he studied abroad or in the country under qualified shuyookh? Or is he a so called peer/murshad/sajjada etc. – its best to stay away from the likes of these…

      In any case, the parents have to be respected and one should not strain relations with them.

    • Amad

      Amad

      May 25, 2010 at 12:32 AM

      I am no sheikh, but I can tell you that istikhara is personal, and the sheikh is not in a position to do the istikhara for you as nothing like this is proven from the Sunnah. You should find some literature online for istikhara and share with your parents, showing them that we do not go to the sheikh to ask him to check out “signs” for us.

    • Avatar

      Umm Saara

      May 25, 2010 at 6:58 AM

      Assalamoalaikum
      All praise and thanks is to Allah, peace and blessings be upon our beloved final prophet.

      I agree with the posts about ‘checking out the shaikh, as well as the post of doing the istikhara yourself.

      Please read the following:
      The correct view is that when Allaah makes something easy for you – after having decreed it and accepted your du’aa’ – this is a sign that it is good to go ahead and do it. The existence of obstacles and difficulties is an indication that Allaah is pushing His slave away from doing it. This meaning will be very clear when one ponders the meaning of the hadeeth of Jaabir concerning al-istikhaarah, where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
      “… O Allaah, if You know this affair – [and here he should mention it] – is good for me in relation to my religion, my life, and end, then decree and facilitate it for me, and bless me with it, and if You know this affair to be ill for me towards my religion, my life, and end, then remove it from me and remove me from it, and decree for me what is good wherever it be and make me satisfied with such.”
      There is a difference between making feeling happy the only sign and making it one of several signs. There is no set time period for salaat al-istikhaarah; it is permissible to repeat it more than once, but there is no limit to how many times. The person may offer the du’aa’ before or after saying the salaam. And Allaah knows best.

      Ref: Islam Q&A
      Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

      ——————————————————————————————————————————————
      I pray Allah makes things easy for you and your family. our families always mean well and think that they are doing the right thing. we have to respect that to a point – but if it is going against the qur’an and sunnah then we have to gently guide them to what is right. Allah make this easy for us. ameen

      Things will be difficult – this is your test. I know certainly when i was intended to marry someone – i did my istikhara regularly. i felt okay about the situation but i put my whole heart in that dua – which made me cry at times – as it is amazing mash’Allah. i went through 3 whole months of hanging on to this proposal – and one day i just made the decision to put a stop to it all – what a weight lifted off of my shoulders! Alhamdullilah. the best decision of my life.

      wasalaam

      • Avatar

        A Muslim in search for an answer!!!

        May 26, 2010 at 2:44 AM

        Jazakallah for your answer!!

  23. Avatar

    Firdous

    July 14, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Salaam wa laykum!

    my name is firdous and im 15 years old. all my life i always new islam treated muslim women fairly and justly but i reasently discoverde some hadith which stated the following:

    I were to order anyone to prostrate to other than Allah, I would have ordered the woman to prostrate to her husband. even if he were to request her for herself (i.e. to have intercourse with her) whilst she was sitting upon a camel’s saddle, she should not refuse him.”
    (Sahih, reported by Ibn Maajah and Ahmad from Abdullah ibn Awfaa)

    The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said,
    By Him in whose Hand is my soul, if from his foot the crown of his head there was a wound pouring forth with pus, and she (his wife) came and licked that,
    then she would (still) not have fulfilled his right.” (Good, reported by Ahmad and others)

    The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said,

    “If the woman knew the right of the husband, she would not sit when his morning and evening meals were presented until he finished.” (Reported by al-Bazzar and others)

    reading this i felt like i am nothing! i felt as though im not really free and i have no right or place ..its just REALLY CONFUSING AND IM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS THAT WAY! SOME ONE PLS HELP ME UNDERSTAND THESE HADITH AND MY STATUS AS A WOMAN. for example in another hadith it says somthing like women are broken or bent and if men try and straited them they will break! WHAT DOUES THIS MEAN ABOUT ME..THAT IM BENT THAT IM BROKEN.SOME ONE PPPPPLLLLEAAASSSSEEE HELP ME MAKE SENCE OF ALL THIS WITH A REALLY REALLY GOOD ANSWER

    JEZAKALLAH

    SALAAAM

    please email me a responce

    • Avatar

      Sayf

      August 5, 2010 at 6:53 PM

      Walaikum salaam,

      You have to understand the big picture whilst looking at the details. In Islam we are told of numerous stories where people are given some sort of authority, i.e. Pharoah, ‘Ad and Thamud, certain leaders of Quraish, Banu Israel at the time of Isa (alayhi salam) etc, and these are the people who did not fulfill the responsibilities they had in relation to their power, resulting in them suffering horrible and unimaginable punishment in this life and the Hereafter.

      To put it simply, authority = responsibility = accountability = more things to worry about on the Day of Judgement (which is the last thing you want on that day). The Sahabah understood this, and they feared taking positions of authority.

      Coming back to the husband and the wife:


      …And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. (2:228)

      Ideally, when a man realizes he has been given a degree of authority in the relationship, it would send a shiver down his spine. All of the stories of the past and fear of standing before Allah on the Day of Judgement would come to him – and he would have a degree of authority,responsibility, and fear that women do not have to worry about at the same level.

      There are a ton of things in the family that a man could potentially receive sin for which a woman would not. Essentially what’s being asked of the woman is to love, help and support her husband as her wife so that he could fulfill this sacred trust of epic magnitude, and so that he could do a good job of loving, helping and supporting her as her husband.

      From the last sermon of the Prophet (sual Allahu alayhi wasalam):

      O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission.

      • Avatar

        Firdous

        August 5, 2010 at 7:02 PM

        Right right…. i totally get you:) besides its a wisdom frm Allah and we shouldnt always question it..makes alot more sence bro

        jezakkallah!

        slaam

        • Avatar

          Sayf

          August 5, 2010 at 7:27 PM

          It’s super important to ask critical questions to get a clear picture of things – just stay away from the CAPS button lol

  24. Avatar

    noor4

    August 5, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    salamu alaikum my dearest sister Firdaus. I am a male. I nearly cried when i read your article.may Allah grant us understanding & guard us agaist shaitan.
    Let us cast our minds back to where Rasul(SAW) says ‘the best of you are those who are best to their wives.’By bearing in mind all that you have mention above with respect to the relation between you & your husband, it will be the key to letting you have all the love, respect, protection etc from him.
    How many times do we hear people say to a couple that the kady haq bewitched the man? Thats just it. I hope ive helpedyou al

    • Avatar

      Firdous

      August 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM

      Jezzakllah bro, i’m not actually married i just came across the hadith and didnt know what to make of it… i can imagine non- muslims grilling us with these types of hadiths if we dont know how to respond and i want to be able to explain it to others in a way that they can understand it as well as my self….

      to be honest im kinda feel scared to get married in the future, im just wondering how much of a responsiblilty as a wife i would be carrying….and making sure my husband isnt angry or i get curesd by the angels….i dunno….. thank you anyway for replying i’ve been waiting for someone to help me out with this for a while and all the shiekhs and scholers seem to be dodging these kind of questions……

      to be honest, by Allah i woun’t lie to you…, i still don’t really get it ..but thank you very much bro…

      pls forward my Q to anyone else u no that can help me make sense of these…i’m quite desperate

      salaam walaykum!

      jezzakallah!!!!!

  25. Avatar

    Firdous

    August 5, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    :)

  26. Avatar

    Tahira

    November 29, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    I take offence to this statement:

    “He has described the husband and wife as garments for each other. Think about that — if you are unmarried something about you is fundamentally incomplete.”

    I never had the chance to get married. I am 40 years old and I never received any proposals, nor did my parents try to help because they didn’t know how. So I lived my life. I wasn’t allowed to “date”, and, I had no one to help me find a muslim spouse. So that’s that.

    Am I fundamentally incomplete? I would like to think that I am not fundamentally incomplete, that Allah has made me complete. If I am unmarried, it is because God decided that a husband was not to be; so God has made me incomplete?

    As idealistic as this article is, the reality is that in North America, muslim women have a very difficult time getting married, and as my parents always tell me, many of us women do not get married and are not destined to. The men, apparently, have no problem.

    • Avatar

      Tariq Nisar Ahmed

      April 11, 2011 at 3:39 AM

      I apologize twice, sister. Once because I did not see your comment until just now, and second because my words caused you some bad feeling.

      Reflecting on what I wrote I feel I should put my words in perspective. I stand behind what I wrote in as much as marriage is as Allah and His Messenger sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam described it, and I believe the conclusion I reached was reasonable.

      However, I should have made it more clear that pleasing Allah by a good marriage is only one means of pleasing Him, and that Allah may be well pleased with people who delayed marriage or who never married. And we can all think of examples of such people, alhamdolillah.

      And the measure that most matters in this dunya is how close we will have come on the day of our death by our deeds and actions to pleasing Allah. So I apologize sincerely for the defects of my article. And I pray for your success in pleasing Allah in this dunya and akhirah, and likewise for myself and the Muslims.

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#Society

The Islamic Perspectives And Rulings on Rape and Sexual Assault

Code of Conduct for Islamic Leadership, Institutions
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#Society

Black Youth Matter: Stopping the Cycle of Racial Inequality in Our Ranks

In Malcolm X’s Letter from Mecca, he said, “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.” Yet, as Muslims living in America, we are not fulfilling our role in eradicating racism from our own ranks. We are making race our problem. With so much injustice plaguing the world, the time is now to embrace the youth, celebrate their diversity, and let them know there is a place for them in Islam.

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As we joined the rest of America in celebrating Black History Month and commemorating the legacy of the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., with tweets, infographics, and sharing famous quotes, racism and colorism continue to plague the Muslim community. 

When we hear of a weekend course about the illustrious muadhin of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, Bilal Ibn Raba’ah, may Allah be pleased with him, or a whitewashed cartoon movie based loosely on his life, we flock to the location. When the imam retells his story during a Friday sermon, we listen intently and feel inspired, we smile in awe upon hearing about his fortitude in the face of incessant torture. We cry while reliving the part where he enters the city of Makkah alongside the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) victorious, and calls the adhan atop the Ka’aba. 

Then, we leave. 

We return to our homes and all but forget about it until the next time he is brought up— unless we are Black Muslims. Like King, his impact comes in waves, maybe once a year like MLK Day or like Black History Month, for many of us. Yet, there were more Black companions and renowned Black Muslims in our history, just as there were countless civil rights leaders who fought for racial equality in America. For many of us who are not American of African descent, we live our lives unperturbed by the implications of ignoring the racial disparities that exist within our own places of worship.

However, it is our youth that bear the brunt of this injustice. 

A few weeks ago, I witnessed an incident that made me reflect deeply on the effects of racism and fear on our youth and the Muslim community. After picking up my son from middle school in Baltimore County, I drove to a nearby 7-Eleven for some snacks. While I was standing in line to pay for my groceries, I noticed that the man behind the counter was Muslim. From his outward appearance, accent, and name tag, I guessed he was South Asian. We greeted each other with salaam, a smile, and a head nod of camaraderie.

As he was ringing up my items, a group of chattery students still in school uniforms, approached the entrance of the convenience store. The cashier looked up horrified, and in mid transaction swung his arm back and forth as if swatting a fly. I turned to look at who he was gesturing to and saw the children were swinging the door open to enter. They were about 6 African American children from the same public middle school as my son. In his school, each grade level wears a different color polo with khaki pants as part of their uniform, so I could tell that most of them were in his same grade level.

“No! No! No!” the cashier cried harshly, “Out!”

I turned to him grimacing in disbelief, surprised at his reaction to the kids and then I noticed his expression. He had a look on his face of fear coupled with disgust.

One child cheerfully told him, “I got money, man!” My head turned back and forth from the students to the cashier. He reluctantly said, “Fine,” but as more students followed, he added sternly, “Three at a time!” I wondered if this was a rule when one of the girls in the group said, “Yeah, three at a time y’all,” and the majority stayed back, as if they were familiar with the routine. Some of them rolled their eyes, others laughed, but they remained outside the door. The cashier followed the ones who entered with his eyes intently as he finished bagging my items. He looked genuinely concerned. I tried to make light of the situation and get his attention away from the children, asking, “The kids give you a hard time, huh?” He smiled and nodded nervously, but I was not satisfied with his answer. 

As I swiped my debit card to pay, I felt troubled. My maternal instincts were telling me that I should defend these children. I felt anger and helplessness at the same time. These kids were tweens or barely 13 years old, yet they were being judged because of the color of their skin. There was no other logical explanation. They were not rowdy or reckless, not any more than any other child their age. They did not look menacing; in fact, they were all smiling and joking with one another.

Yet, this cashier, my Muslim brother, was looking at them as if they were a threat. The same way some white American may look at a Muslim sporting a beard and thobe boarding a plane.  

I tried to find excuses for his behavior. Perhaps he had a bad experience, or he was having a bad day. Could some of the kids from the middle school have stolen something before and this prompted his apprehension? There is some crime in this neighborhood located in the southwestern part of Baltimore County, on the outskirts of the City. Could he have suffered from some type of trauma that led to his anxiety? Maybe there was a fight in his store one day? Yet, even if any of these assumptions were true, I still felt like he was overreacting.

After all, these were just kids.

In Dr. Joy Degruy’s book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, she mentions that policing continues to represent one of the most pervasive and obvious examples of racial inequality; one that even the youth are unable to avoid. She cites an article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, highlighting a study by UCLA, the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Boston, Massachusetts, Penn State, and University of Pennsylvania that investigated how black boys were perceived as it related to childhood innocence. They found, “converging evidence that black boys are seen as older and less innocent and that they prompt a less essential conception of childhood than do their white same-age peers.” Consequently, African American youth are often unfairly singled out as troublemakers. 

They found, “converging evidence that black boys are seen as older and less innocent and that they prompt a less essential conception of childhood than do their white same-age peers.” Consequently, African American youth are often unfairly singled out as troublemakers. Click To Tweet

On November 22, 2014, a 12-year-old African American child, like my son and his middle school peers, was fatally shot by police while he played with a toy gun in a playground. The child, Tamir Rice, was just a young boy playing cheerfully outdoors, but police officers regarded him a threat, demonstrating the ghastly reality of the above-mentioned study. After hearing about this atrocity, I remember telling my own children that they can never play outside with nerf guns or water pistols, out of fear of this happening to them. This is the type of world our children are living in. As Muslims, why do we choose to be part of the problem and not its solution?

Black youth

Junior football team huddling together

As I walked through the door and past the group in front of the 7-Eleven, all I could think about is that the kids were no different than my son who was sitting in the car, hungry, waiting for me to bring him some food. The only difference was that I was there to defend him, if need be. The children did not have an adult to stand up for them against the discrimination to which they were being subjected. I felt guilty for not saying more. I also remembered an incident where a group of African American youth were turned away from the tarawih prayers at a local mosque, not too far from the 7-Eleven, during the month of Ramadan, because they were perceived to be “too rowdy.” This prompted me to write about this incident; to speak up for them now, and to remind myself and other Muslims that the Prophet, peace be upon him, taught us compassion. 

He said, “Whoever does not show mercy to our young ones, or acknowledge the rights of our elders, is not one of us.” (Musnad Ahmad)

Even when a bedouin came into the masjid, the House of Allah – a place much more sacred than any convenience store – and urinated, yes urinated there, he still treated him with dignity. (Muslim)

The students standing at the door of the 7-Eleven were just going in for a snack. Even if they had been misbehaving, the gentleman at the counter could have addressed them with kindness. Similarly, the youth at the local mosque just wanted to pray tarawih. Now imagine the impact it had on them to be turned away from praying with their brethren during the month of Ramadan. 

I sat in the car where my son was waiting and found him looking out the window, unaware of what was happening. We were parked far from the entrance.

“Do you know any of those kids?” I asked him. “Yeah, the girl on the right is in my gym class,” he said.

My heart sank more and as we sat in the car, I wondered, what would have been the cashier’s reaction if the kids had been white? More than likely, he would not have treated them the same way. This racial profiling leads to devastating consequences. A recent news report by WUSA9 revealed that the state of Maryland leads the nation in incarcerating young black men, according to experts at the Justice Policy Institute. Their November Policy Briefs for 2019 entitled, Rethinking Approaches to Over Incarceration of Black Young Adults in Maryland, revealed that disparity is most pronounced among emerging adults, or youth ages 18-24, where, “Nearly eight in 10 people who were sentenced as emerging adults and have served 10 or more years in a Maryland prison are black. This is the highest rate of any state in the country.”

“Nearly eight in 10 people who were sentenced as emerging adults and have served 10 or more years in a Maryland prison are black. This is the highest rate of any state in the country.” Click To Tweet

What was most troubling about the incident at the 7-Eleven was that the students had been conditioned; they were already used to being treated that way. It was routine for them and business as usual for the Muslim cashier. While he may believe that he is doing the right thing, by averting a potential “problem,” the harm that he is causing has greater ramifications. He is adding to the trauma these children are already experiencing being black in America. Black students in Baltimore County were not even allowed by law to earn an education past 5th grade in 1935, and 65 years after Brown vs. Board of Education, the county’s schools are still highly segregated. Local and federal leadership in America have continuously failed African Americans, and it is disheartening to think that the immigrant Muslim community is headed in the same direction. 

I was haunted by this incident and returned to the 7-Eleven a week later to ask the cashier or the owner of the store about their (mis)treatment of the middle schoolers. I parked directly in front of the glass doors of the entrance and it was there where I saw a sign typed in regular white computer paper that read, “AT A TIME NO MORE THAN THREE (3) SCHOOL KIDS ARE ALLOWED IN THE STORE & please do not bring bags inside the store. Thanks.” I had not seen the sign before, maybe I overlooked it the day of the occurrence. Nevertheless, I went inside and spoke with the owner of the franchise, a Muslim gentleman who greeted me with salaam. I asked him about the sign outside the door and the reason why the middle schoolers were treated like would-be criminals. He explained that students from local schools have stolen goods from the convenience store on many occasions. To prevent this, they established a rule that only three unaccompanied school children could enter at a time and they were not allowed to bring their backpacks. The owner further added that crime and vandalism were prevalent in the area. Unfortunately, because this side of town is predominately African American, the blame falls disproportionately on this group. 

Nevertheless, patrolling and intimidating the African American youth in the area is not the solution. As Dr. Degruy stated in her book, “The powerful oppress the less powerful, who in turn oppress those even less powerful than they. These cycles of oppression leave scars on the victims and victors alike, scars that embed themselves in our collective psyches and are passed down through generations, robbing us of our humanity.”

A thirty-four-year veteran police officer named Norm Stamper wrote a book about racism in the criminal justice system entitled, Breaking Rank, (2005) and he mentioned that, “It is not hard to understand why people of color, the poor, and younger Americans did not, and do not, look upon the police as ‘theirs’… Do the police protect ‘the weak against oppression or intimidation’ or do they oppress and intimidate the very people they’ve sworn to protect?” Likewise, this young generation will begin to see Muslims of all colors as no different, if we take the role of the oppressor. 

When Abu Dharr insulted Bilal ibn Rabah, may Allah be pleased with them, by calling him, “O son of a black woman!” and the Prophet, peace be upon him heard of this, he rebuked Abu Dharr and said to him, “By the One who revealed the Book to Muhammad, no one is better than another except by righteous deeds. You have nothing but an insignificant amount.” We may have read or heard this and other narrations before, however, we fall short in implementing these teachings.

In Malcolm X’s Letter from Mecca, he said, “America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.” Yet, as Muslims living in America, we are not fulfilling our role in eradicating racism from our own ranks. We are making race our problem. With so much injustice plaguing the world, the time is now to embrace the youth, celebrate their diversity, and let them know there is a place for them in Islam.

Sometimes it takes one person to stand up and point out the wrong to set the right tone. The sign at the 7-Eleven in my neighborhood has been taken down.

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Civil Rights

Podcast: Lessons from the Life of Malcolm X | Abdul-Malik Ryan

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One of the things that happens with historical figures who continue to remain well-known and influential years after they can continue to speak for themselves is that others seek to speak for them.  Attempts are made to co-opt their legacy, either in sincere efforts for good or in selfish efforts for ideological or even commercial gain.  This is especially true of Malcolm X, who is not only a historical and political icon but in many ways a “celebrity” remembered by many primarily for his style and attitude.

The only real and meaningful tribute we can pay to Malcolm X is to follow his example. Click To Tweet

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