Translated by the http://www.daralislamlive.com team.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Let’s start this lecture by asking a question; does marital happiness have an expiration date? Do you have to love each other passionately before marriage in order to attain true happiness once you are married? Is marital happiness something that cannot be achieved, or is it something fictitious that we read about in books? Marital happiness does exist and it is something that can be achieved. A couple can live happily until they die. Love is like a plant, if you water it, it will grow and if you leave it, it will die. There is actually a simple recipe that can be used to achieve marital happiness. This recipe is composed of five steps or recommendations; one is for the man, the second for the woman and the rest are for both to follow:
1. Provide a Great Deal of Forgiveness, Mercy and Pardon (for the husbands):
Being forgiving and merciful also means rarely losing your temper and it also means that you let a lot of things pass. No matter what happens, a woman will be grateful that her husband did everything he could to not upset her and that he always treats her as though she was the apple of his eye. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said that the best people are not those who pray a lot, cry in their prayers or have memorised the Qur’an, but the best of men are those who treat their wives well. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) then said that in this regard, his is the best. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) never said that he was better in doing anything than anyone, except when it came to treating his wives. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) also said referred to women as glass, because glass is delicate. No matter how many mistakes she makes, you must be ready to forgive and pardon her.
The Prophet’s wife (P.B.U.H.) ‘A’isha once made food for him and told him that it was for him and the companions. She saved up money and then spent it on a meal for the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and his companions. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was very happy and he put the food in a clay bowl and he started calling the companions to come and eat with him. ‘A’isha looked out from her room and saw the happiness and she got jealous. She then came out of her room and kicked the bowl which shattered to pieces. What would you do if your wife did this to you? The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) kneeled on the floor and started picking up the food off of the floor and tried putting it back into the bowl. He then looked at the companions and said, “Your mother got jealous,” in other words he was telling them to just let it go. He then went to speak calmly with ‘A’isha and told her that since she broke a dish she should replace it by making another one. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said all of this without getting angry or raising his voice. Aisha apologised to him and asked him to forgive her. Some homes actually break up because of scenarios similar to this one. In another incident, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and ‘A’isha got into an argument and he asked her whom she chose to be a judge between them. Eventually, she settled on her father, Abu Bakr. When Abu Bakr came, ‘A’isha told the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) to tell her father only the truth. Abu Bakr got angry; how could the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) say anything but the truth? The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) told Abu Bakr that they did not come here for him to be angry. After the situation ended and Abu Bakr left, he could hear the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and ‘A’isha laugh. Abu Bakr then asked them to share their laughter as they have shared their fight.
A man from the companions had a wife who used to always yell and so he went to talk ‘Omar Ibn Al Khattab for some advice. When he arrived to ‘Omar’s house and was about to knock, he heard ‘Omar’s wife yell at him. When the man heard this he decided to turn around and leave. As he was turning around, ‘Omar opened the door and asked the man why he came. The man told him he was coming to complain about his wife but then he heard ‘Omar’s wife yell as well. ‘Omar then replied and said that his wife tolerated him, washed his clothes, cleaned his home, made him comfortable, and took care of his children. If she did all of this for him, how could he not tolerate her when she raised her voice?
You want the love in your home to increase? Then be ready to be extremely forgiving. The man who doesn’t allow his wife to visit her family will have to answer to Allah (S.W.T.). How can she love him if he won’t let her see her family? Where is the mercy when a man intentionally makes his wife jealous by telling her he will marry another? To a woman this is not a joking matter. Some men keep threatening their wives with divorce. How is then there supposed to be marital happiness? Men who do this are weak. If they were strong they would be able to do what the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and ‘Omar did, they would be able to take control of their homes without using divorce as a threat. All of these things reduce marital happiness of the potential of it. The home is lost when a man and woman treat each other with disrespect. Some men say that they did not insult their wives because they do not consider the word stupid an insult. How can two people who have made a solemn promise to Allah (S.W.T.) swear at each other and push one another around? How can a man beat his wife? The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) never hit a woman. Being merciful does not mean that the man will have a weak personality. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was forgiving and he had a strong personality. A woman cherishes and values a man who is forgiving and she knows who has the weak personality and who has the strong personality. Men who don’t spend time with their wives because they are too busy at work, or who keep to themselves and don’t tell their wives what they are thinking or feeling are not showing mercy. When the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) wanted to go and open Makkah, the only person he told was ‘A’isha because he knew she could be trusted. Men need to be forgiving with their wives when they are pregnant or menstruating; these are times when women most need the support of their husbands.
When ‘A’isha was menstruating, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) would take the cup and drink from the same spot ‘A’isha drank from. He wanted to drink from the spot that touched her lips to show her that he understands the sensitivity of her situation. Men should also not ask their wives for too many things. Don’t ask her to get up at 2:00 A.M. and cut you some watermelon. Or if both of you are sitting down, go make yourself a cup of tea instead of making her do it. Keep in mind that according to Islam, both the husband and wife are supposed to share the responsibilities in the home since you are partners.
The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was the one who use to milk the goat, fix his shoes, used to go the market and he used to help with the house chores. Allah (S.W.T.) says: “Live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good.” [Qur’an: 4:19]
There was once a man who complained about his wife to a sheikh in my presence. The man told the sheikh that he could not stand his wife, he could stand looking at her and that he hated her. He didn’t want her but he also didn’t want to treat her with injustice and so he wanted to know if he should divorce her or not. The sheikh replied with one verse from the Qur’an: “Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full without reckoning (or measure).” [Qur’an 39:10]. If you are patient with her, you will not be judged on Judgment Day. A month later, I met the man again and asked him how things were going. The man and his wife were still together and he said that he loved her so much. Earlier, the man thought to himself and decided that he would rather be patient and not be reckoned than divorce his wife. Within a month of his decision he felt as though he loved her in a way he never knew before. He couldn’t believe that he actually thought of leaving her.
2. Listen to Your Husband and Raise His Spirits (for the wives):
Some wives have a habit of constantly nagging their husbands and picking fights. In turn, the husband gets tired and starts neglecting his wife which only fuels more nagging and whining. A man needs someone to talk to about his problems. But he cannot do this if his wife won’t listen because she is too busy nagging and complaining, and this is when he will start looking for someone else to talk to.
When there is a problem, a woman should try to raise her husband’s spirits by telling him not to worry, that Allah (S.W.T.) will be by their side and that she will stand by him. No matter how strong or macho a man is, he will always need a woman’s care and support. It is the wife’s words of support that keep the husband strong and solid.
One of the best ways of keeping a man is to always be there to listen, someone with open arms who can encourage him and raise his spirits. If you do this, your man will not be able to leave you. Try to keep your temper under control and try not to yell often as well, in order to increase your marital happiness. Once a couple swears at each other, or pushes one another, the relationship will forever be scarred. Do whatever you can to not say something that you don’t mean, not to swear and no matter what, do not push one another or hit one another, otherwise you will both start losing everything you had.
Women should look at Khadeejah as an example. What did Khadeejah do that made her one of the few people who was given the good tiding of heaven? Simply, she stood by the Prophet (P.B.U.H.). The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) used to leave Khadeejah and go to the cave for long periods of time. What did she do when he first came running to her after seeing the angel Gabriel for the first time? Any woman who was bitter because her husband would leave her for long periods at a time would have said that he deserved it for spending too much time in some cave. When the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) told Khadeejah that he was afraid for himself, she firmly said that no way would Allah (S.W.T.) leave him or let him down.
If you listen to your husband and try to make this easier for him, he will love you always; who else would he find who would treat him this way? He will also never look at another woman no matter what she looked like or what she did.
3. Develop a Common Goal in the Home (for the husband and the wife):
When a couple live separate lives, so that all he does is work and all she does is raise the children, eventually the love will cool off and disappear. Having a common goal is the water that nourishes the love in marriages. The husband and wife should sit down and find a common goal to work towards together. A 60 year old man had an amazing and loving relationship with his wife, simply because they agreed to help the people in their neighbourhood become closer to Allah (S.W.T.). In another home, the husband and wife were cold towards one another until one day they decided to start a charity for orphans together. As the charity started growing, so did their love for one another because they were doing something good together. A set of parents decided that they wanted to raise their child a certain way so they would both drop him off at computer class and swimming practice and they did everything they could together to achieve their goal.
Your relationship will never cool off or get cold as long as you do things together, because you have a common goal. Relationships fall apart when the couple do not have common interests and when they do not do things together. If you come up with a goal that is associated with doing something for Allah (S.W.T.), then know that you will be happy because it is not an ending goal. Goals like getting an apartment can come to an end, but a goal associated with Allah (S.W.T.) will always be ongoing. Create goals that will benefit those around you and your community and country.
4. Close the Door to the Wickedness and Sins of the World
It is important for the couple to do what they can to protect themselves from the sins and wickedness of the world. Men who ignore their wives for weeks in bed are exposing them to the potential of doing something wrong. ‘Omar Ibn Al Khattab changed the army’s timetable because of this matter. He asked his daughter Hafsa what the longest time a woman could withstand without her husband and she said four months. He then changed the army rules so that no man left for Jihad for longer than four months. ‘Omar did all of this because he over heard a woman saying a poem one night about how much she missed her husband who was away. Many men do not realise how critical this issue is. If you are going to travel, try to take your wife with you or try not to be gone for long. And if you are in the same country and are ignoring your wife for weeks or months at a time, then know that you are sinning. Also know that you are giving your wife the chance to do something wrong.
Men who get satellite or cable into their homes, along with explicit channels, need to know that they are sinning and that they are ruining their homes. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) forbade the husband’s male family members to visit the wife while the husband was away because of all the problems that could occur. For example, the brother in law cannot come and visit the wife on his own and enter her home on his own. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) did this to keep our homes pure and clean.
The first and most dangerous things that ruin the happiness between married couples are the sins that men and women commit with one another. Some men become close with their female co-workers and the relationship keeps developing until it goes too far. When the wife tells her husband not to talk so much with his female workers, he tells her that she is just jealous, when in reality she is right. The devil plays a very smart game that we need to be aware of. What the devil will do is make what you don’t have seem so much more beautiful in your eyes than what you do have. While the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was on his trip from al Isra’a and Miraj, he saw people being offered meat that was good and they left it to eat meat that was bad and rotten. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) asked Gabriel who those people were. Gabriel said they were those who left their wives for what was sinful.
5. Worship Allah (S.W.T.) Together
This is the most important of all. Doing this will guarantee that you and your spouse will be happy together. Allah is the one who created happiness and He is the one who gives it and takes away. Worship Allah (S.W.T.) together and he will fill your hearts with happiness. Once a week, pray two prostrations with your spouse or read the Qur’an together. Allah (S.W.T.) will look and find a husband and wife worshipping Him together. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If a man wakes his wife and prays during the night or they pray two rak`ahs together, they will be recorded among those (men and women) who (constantly) make remembrance of Allah.” This is related by Abu Dawud and others through an authentic chain of narrators.
You can do this anywhere together. While you are in the car on your way somewhere, you can remember Allah together, even if it is just for the first five minutes of your ride. If the last thing you do together before going to bed is worship Allah, do you think you will wake up and fight over a ripped button? If you worship Allah together you will feel as though love is being thrown into your hearts. And it will be a different kind of love, an unusual kind of love.
God willing we want all our homes to be filled with joy and love. We want men who will always call and check on their wives while they are at work. We want women who will be able to sense if something is wrong with their husbands. We want husbands and wives to love each other the way ‘Omar loved Om Kalthoom, so that when ‘Omar died on Monday, Om Kalthoom was so sad that she was dying on Tuesday. She loved him so much that she could not live without him. We want to see married couples that would do everything to please one another and keep the smiles on each other’s faces.