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Question/Thought of the Week 9.27.09

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This week’s “Q” on our favorite “marriage” issue:

My friend, a happily married man, tells me that the secret to wedding bliss is to think of your wife like your girlfriend. Kind of makes sense, or does it?

Remember to vote for your favorite “A” and future “Q”. Voting continues until the next time’s question thread.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. MentalMuslim

    September 27, 2009 at 8:34 PM

    A. To figure out if this makes sense, the best place to start is to define the term “girlfriend” – or at least how the word is used in modern times. If you want to think of your wife as a “non-permanent, no strings attached partner”, doesn’t this label spoil what it means to be a spouse? It just doesn’t seem like “girlfriend” can be used as a substitute for the more substantial and meaningful concept of spousehood.

    • abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed

      September 29, 2009 at 2:02 PM

      I agree with you that the definition of a girlfriend is significant here. No less so is the definition of a wife. And for a practicing Muslim man, what definition of girlfriend is halal? What definition of a girlfriend is distinct from the definitions of the non-Muslims? Here’s the definition my Mac’s dictionary gives:

      girlfriend |ˈgərlˌfrend|
      noun
      a regular female companion with whom a person has a romantic or sexual relationship : his girlfriend is Australian.

      It’s interesting that the definition does not mention marriage.

      But, tellingly, the same dictionary offers a nearly meaningless definition of the word wife:

      wife |wīf|
      noun ( pl. wives |wīvz|)
      a married woman considered in relation to her husband.

      In the west, the term girlfriend is not applied to wives. Here, girlfriend=zaniah. Think of your wife as a zaniah? SubhanAllah, wa naudhobillah. The Muslim man who wants to think of his wife as though she were his girlfriend either misunderstands the term, or he misunderstands the Qur’an: do not even approach sexual impropriety.

      A Muslim man would be good to study what it means to be a Muslim wife, so that he can appreciate how Allah has blessed him. (I advise coming to Fiqh of Love to learn more.)

      Your relationship with your wife is more than just halal; you earn Allah’s reward by enjoying with your wife what would be haram for you with any other woman. When the reward of actions is by their intentions, only a fool would throw away the reward of being with his wife by having the wrong niyat.

      • Amad

        September 30, 2009 at 1:04 AM

        I am sorry Tariq, but to pick up a dictionary and remain strict to one meaning, is the wrong and almost silly way of looking at the advice. Of course, the advice’s intention is clearly not to compare a zaniah to a wife. After all, it is saying “treat your WIFE like your girlfiend”, so the zina issue is immediately killed as you can’t commit zina with ur wife!

        Rather, the intent of the advice seems to be more in line with how guys seem to treat their girlfriends. Once married, they almost feel its done and over, they got the prize, so why work for it anymore? On the other other hand, with girlfriends, they are still in the motion of trying to convince and impress, as well as continuing to have a spark (I mean with no commitments, no spark would mean an end to the relationship, so it is required). From that perspective, I think this girlfriend analogy helps. Don’t think of your wife as owned and that the need to impress and convince is over. Don’t think that the spark of intimacy is no longer a merited requirement.

        You have to be married to get this ;)

  2. Aurora

    September 27, 2009 at 8:51 PM

    What ever makes a husband’s behavior towards his wife change for the better. If this sort of thinking gives a ‘fresher’ perspective to the man, despite the point of reference being the same (his wife), then that’s all right.

    It’s a wonder how the minds of men work.

  3. MUSLIMAH84

    September 28, 2009 at 6:30 AM

    The whole point of marriage is to be able to be each others companions each and every way, thinking of your wife as a girlfriend is like saying you dont like the idea of marriage (why did to get married then!?) and it can be casual/not serious/just a bit of fun.

    I would hate it if my hisband decided he would rather think of me as a girlfriend and not a wife. It would make me feel less valued as a wife.

  4. Muhammad Sheikh

    September 28, 2009 at 11:23 AM

    Salaam

    This is the distinction I make between a wife and a girlfriend.

    When a man is dating in the Western world, it’s human nature to try to gain acceptance from the person you are dating, (i.e. your girlfriend). You will try extra hard to impress, not offend, and come off as appealing.

    Through this appeal, one could argue that you are almost acting out of character. You are not being completely honest as far as to describe who you are and you’re personality. You’re interests might change to suite hers, you will do different things just to be appealing.

    I could see how this would temporarily work, but I think overtime the man would get tired of constantly putting on a show and acting out of character. Going out of ones way to be more appealing with someone he will constantly be around is a daunting task. When and if he finally decides to be more honest, it could cause problems.

    So I don’t think it’s a good idea to think of your wife as a girlfriend. This is strictly my opinion though. I guess you could argue either way.

  5. unhinged

    September 28, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    Like a girlfriend? You mean disposable with an expiration date? “Wedding bliss?” I hope you mean marital. Bliss? No such thing short of Jannah.

  6. Ahmad AlFarsi

    September 28, 2009 at 6:13 PM

    Perhaps a more appropriate way to word this, in order to capture the, inshaAllah, true intent of the original statement would be: “Think of your wife like a new bride, who you are still trying to impress.”

    • amad

      September 29, 2009 at 1:06 AM

      good one

  7. A brother

    September 29, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    I’m a convert. I’ve had multiple girlfriends before shahadah. This is a bad idea.

  8. Olivia

    September 29, 2009 at 3:21 PM

    I think a person should just think of whatever floats their boat, although they may want to be careful of telling their spouse perchance they get offended.

    I think it’s bad advice generally though. Some people are repulsed by the idea of having a girlfriend or have come from a bf/gf culture so they find it more pleasing to think of this person as their husband/wife. And yet others may think of their husband/wife as some other fantasy-thing altogether which they should probably keep to themselves or tell only their wife/husband.

  9. Ryan

    October 1, 2009 at 9:45 AM

    As a convert who had dated quite a bit I feel the same as most of the posts above. Girlfriend/boyfriend are two completely different ideas than what a spouse is, the commitment is very different. But I would like to purpose a very radical idea. I feel that especially in the West, Muslims should date.

    Please hear me out. In my almost four short years as a Muslim I have learned about the customs that seem to be the “norm” in the Muslim community when it comes to marriage. A large number of marriages are arranged often leaving the decision of who the guy/girl will marry up to the family. In Islam we are supposed to have the choice in who we marry but how many people can tell of stories where the ulimate decision was up to the parents, i.e. they must be desi, Punjabi, Arab, etc. These ideas are culutural nonsense that have NO place in Islam.

    This is kind of going in two different directions but I feel as if both topics are important. In my Muslim community it is often the case that guys have no problem talking with non-Muslim women but when it comes to Muslim women it’s as if we’re back on the school playground where they have “germs.” What ends up happening is that there seems to be a lack of understanding of our own women in our culture. Here comes my radical idea.

    When a person reaches the age of marriage they should find someone of interest and then have a meeting with both parents. At this age both the man and the women should know better of what is allowed and what is not. The parents should then acknowledge them as a couple seeking to learn more about each other and there duties to remain true to Allah. So, instead of treating men and women as inherently bad in thier actions we should treat them as “responsable” adults, because if they aren’t treated as such then they are not matture enough to be married.

    To sum up points: 1. Parents and their cultural nonsense have NO place in Islam and 2. If you are mature enough to be married then you should be matture enough to date outside of the families view.

  10. Abu Rumaisa

    October 1, 2009 at 12:08 PM

    Ryan,

    I feel that especially in the West, Muslims should date.

    In Islam we are supposed to have the choice in who we marry but how many people can tell of stories where the ulimate decision was up to the parents, i.e. they must be desi, Punjabi, Arab, etc.

    Does it happen in the East, yes but I have not witnessed this in the west. There mite be a few cases here & there but it’s far away from being the norm.

    Regarding your point

    2. If you are mature enough to be married then you should be matture enough to date outside of the families view.

    if any kind of dating is allowed in Islam, it would be with a chaperone present.

  11. naveed

    October 1, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    First of all, even from a western point of view, you would be degrading your wife by thinking of her as a “girlfriend”.

    I can understand a point of view where someone said he would like a girl who’s “wife in the street and girl friend in bed”. In this regard, you may want to think of your wife as a girlfriend to spice up your “personal” life.

    HOWEVER, a person wouldn’t know what a girlfriend is until they had one. And now that you have left the life of Jahiliya and have a pious wife, why would you want to even think about your sinful past?

    Allah SWT said “Enter into the fold of Islam completely, and follow not the footsteps of the Shaytan.” [Qur’an Al-Baqarah:208].

    Having a girlfriend is Haraam, before or after marriage. Even the thought is totally unislamic.

  12. aisha

    October 6, 2009 at 4:03 AM

    salaam, this may be off topic, but can someone write a blog about Halloween since it is approaching and many of our youth like to participate in it. Many Muslims dress up and go to Halloween parties with other youth, and others go trick or treating around their neighborhoods, or go to haunted houses. All in all, these are not good things and should not happen. How can these things be prevented? how can we answer our youth when they ask why these things are forbidden? they say its all for fun, and has no religious connotations behind it, so then why can they not attend it? please respond. jazakallah khair

  13. mystrugglewithin

    October 14, 2009 at 11:17 AM

    My 2 cents – the temptation to have a girlfriend is very much injected into many Muslims by the *ollywood. Commonly, such brothers think of a wife as absolute opposite to that girlfriend concept. They get frustrated, depressed, and reluctant when it comes to the matter of marriage. So for them, perhaps in a sense, this is the best encouragement!

    @aisha something related – http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=152469305980

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