Home Sweet Home part 4

Another area that was taught at the course was how to decipher the language barrier between genders. When we get married we think that our spouse will be able to understand us the same as our family and friends did. But we forget that they do not know us like our family and friends, that men and women think differently so what is obvious to us may not be obvious to them. For example, when a woman has a problem to deal with she wants to talk about how she feels whereas a man prefers to think about his problem on his own. We were taught 6 language barriers between genders and how to deal with these to have a better relationship.
You need to understand the language of the person you are speaking to. Then you can speak in that language.
Developing good communication skills and understanding how to communicate with the opposite gender is so important. The inability to communicate effectively leads many couples to divorce or unhappy marriages.
The first language barrier is that a man loves to prove himself by what he produces. This is one of the most important things about spouses which the couple should be aware of. A man shows his love to his wife by providing for her whereas a woman shows it through emotions. So the husband may not necessarily tell his wife that he loves her because he thinks that by working and providing for her that is him showing his love. Problems arise when the wife doesn’t understand that this is how he expresses his love and the husband doesn’t understand that women are not the same as men when it comes to feeling loved.
The second language barrier is that men are physically based and women are emotionally based. Research shows that 80-90% of men view intimacy as the most important aspect of their marriage. Understanding the different needs that men and women have will allow better communication between spouses. It will also allow each of them to address their spouses needs so they won’t feel as though they are being neglected or their feelings ignored. To have your own needs addressed you must address the needs of your spouse. It is especially important once you have children as they can take up most of your time.
The third language barrier is learning about each other’s interest and hobbies. By doing so you get closer to your spouse by knowing more about each other’s interests. It helps you to connect to your spouse and understand each other on a deeper level. There are many things you can do together for example; take up a course/movie/sport together or read together or travel locally and explore your local area, or cook a romantic meal together.
The fourth barrier is women love men who listen. Women feel fulfilled and satisfied when her husband supports her emotionally. It is important for men to understand that she doesn’t necessarily want a solution but just someone who will listen and try to understand what she is saying. When a husband interrupts and gives her a “solution” he thinks he is helping but she feels that the husband doesn’t have time for her and so is giving a solution to get away. There are many techniques we can learn to improve our listening skills, such as, facing the speaker, giving eye contact, not interrupting, being attentive and giving feedback.
The fifth barrier is that men and women use different sides of the brain to process information which affects their communication skills. Women are better at bigger picture and situational thinking whereas men are better at specific spatial thinking. Women can multi-task whereas men are better at doing one task at a time. Women tend to perceive pain more intensely than men and have better memories than men. Men are better at performing mathematical tasks than women and tend to have a better sense of direction. Understanding these differences can help us to understand each other.
The last barrier is that women look at specifics while men look at the general picture. So for example a man might be looking for a simple yes or no answer while a woman will want to know specific details.
So with this information inshaAllah we can work on understanding each other better. Remember that men and women are different and have different roles in life so we should try to complete each other not compete with each other.
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Home Sweet Home part 3

The art of choosing a spouse – Finding a Wife

So what should we look for when choosing a wife? Is it all about how she looks? Or what she cooks? Or is there something more important?

The prophet (saw) said: A woman is married for four reasons; her wealth, her lineage, her beauty and her deen. So choose the one with (good practice of) deen, may your hands be rubbed in dust. (Bukhari)

From this Hadith we learn many things. We can see what is most important when looking for a wife but the other things mentioned should not be ignored completely. It was recommended by the prophet (saw) to first see her before marrying her. This is discouraged in some cultures however we need to distinguish between culture and Islam. Islam accepts cultures as long as they don’t contradict with its principles and teachings.

Men learn to love who they are attracted to, whereas women learn to be attracted to who they love.

Imam Ahmad recommend that a man should first enquirer about her beauty, if he is pleased with this then ask about her deen, if he is happy with her deen he should marry her. This is because if you say no, in this way you will be saying no based on her deen rather than her beauty.

It is important to ensure she a strong deen as deen is an obligation, the rest is a choice. It is based on our preferences of beauty, lineage, and wealth. On the day of judgement only your deen will help you not the other three aspects.

The prophet (saw) said: Have I not told you about the best treasure that a man possesses? The righteous woman; if he looks at her, she pleases him, if he asks her, she answers, and if he travels, she protects her chastity. (Abu Dawud)

There are other factors you can consider when looking for a wife, similar to what I already discussed in part 2.

Compatibility

The last thing that needs to done with prospective spouses is to see if they are compatible with you. Are they compatible intellectually, physically, financially, spiritually, morally, environmentally and psychologically? Compatibility is so important ass this will determine how well you can actually maintain your marriage after the honeymoon period.

4 point method

Once we find someone who we think we could marry what should we do? Just say yes straight away or take some time to think on our own?

The first thing we should do is Istisharah (consulting others). It is important to consult others as it is the most important decision of your life. However you should consult people of knowledge and wisdom and ask more than one person. You should ask people about the person you’re thinking of marrying and if you get recommendations then go onto istikharah.

Istikharah (seeking the knowledge of Allah) is important as nothing can be achieved without asking Allah for guidance. Praying 2 nafl and then reading the dua is the best way. Once it has been made clear act accordingly.

Determination in what has been made clear and do not go against istikharah. You should act according to a clear sign you get once you do istikharah. It is important however not to have a preconceived idea and also ensure that you have clearly gotten a sign. This sing could be one path being made easy for you and the other difficult. For example if you should marry this person then everything for the wedding will be made easy for you to do.

Trust, have tawakkul in Allah, once everything has fallen in place and you have committed yourself and do not hesitate.

Home Sweet Home part2

The art of choosing a spouse – Finding a Husband

So what should we look for when choosing a husband? Is it enough to just find someone who is religious? Or is there more to it than that? What does the quran and sunnah tell us to look for in a husband?

The quran and the sunnah gives us specific qualities to look for in a husband.

One of the women said: “O my father, hire him. Indeed, the best one you can hire is the strong and trustworthy.” Quran (28:26)

If a man comes (and asks for your daughters hand in marriage) who possesses ethical conduct and religious origin, then marry him (to her). If you do not, it will be a great trial and mischief on the face of the earth. (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

The four qualities mentioned within the quran and sunnah are: strength (qawwi), being trustworthy (amin), having good character (khuluk) and a sound religion (deen).

The majority of scholars say that this strength is not just physical strength but also strength of emaan and the ability to control himself and his emotions. It is the overall strength of the person. He also has to be trustworthy as a transfer of guardianship takes place when you marry her, you become an amanah in your husbands care. So you need to ensure that he is trustworthy so that will look after you properly as your father did for all these years.  It is important for him to have both qualities as the amanah will control his strength.

Having good character is so important in a husband as he needs to understand that women need to be treated with sensitivity and courtesy. Women tend to be more emotional and so a man who does not have good moral conduct may not treat her in the best way that she deserves at these times. Women also suffer from hormonal imbalance because of their menstrual cycle, even suffering from severe pains. So at this time she requires tenderness and kindness from her husband, if he does not have good character he will not understand and be sympathetic towards her. There are also many hadiths which state the importance of good character.

He must also be sstrong in his deen, you need to know that he is worshiping Allah. Someone who prays, fasts, give zakat etc. If he cannot fulfill the rights of Allah, how can you be sure that he will fulfill your rights? There is a hadith that states that the one who does not pray his salah is considered to have left Islam. This hadith shows how important it is to ensure that he is doing these acts of worship.

The best of you are those who are the best to their wives. (Tirmidhi)

There is a strong connection between ikhlaq and ibadah. The above hadith is so important as it is only your wife who will know your true self. You can act in a certain way in front of everyone else but your wife will know who you truly are behind closed doors. So you may be Abu Bakr in the masjid but Abu Jahl in the home. Only your wife will know this. So both are important when searching for a husband.

Also when you look at the acts of worship they are connected to good character. When you pray your salah it wards off evil. Giving zakat purifies you and makes you generous. Fasting makes you mindful of Allah. Hajj makes you patient and gives you self-control. Your acts of worship should improve your character.

There are other things to consider when choosing a husband; does he have the means to get married, his appearance, fertility. When you get married it is important to know that he does have the means to look after you, it will be different for each person but you must be content with how much he has. Being attracted to the person is something you need to consider as you will be spending the rest of your life with him. Fertility is something that needs to be discussed if it is known that you have a health problem that will affect it before the nikkah. There are other things which should also be considered depending on each persons situation however the four things mentioned should definitely be the what you look for.

Home Sweet Home part 1

Last weekend me and my husband attended a marriage course by Al Kauthar Institute called Home Sweet Home. This was one of the best marriage courses I’ve attended as we were not only taught the theory about marriage in Islam but how to implement what the Quran and sunnah say and also taking into account the way our lives are today in the west and what academic research is telling us about why marriages fail and how to avoid it.

Sheikh Alaa Elsayed was an amazing teacher mashaAllah teaching us everything from how to choose a spouse, the engagement and wedding, understanding your spouse in the beginning of your marriage, the responsibilities of the husband and wife, how to identify issues and strengths in your marriage so you can continue to improve it, why people get divorced and how to avoid it, and lastly the fundamentals of a happy marriage.

I wanted to share some of the things we learnt but I would recommend that everyone should attend this course whether you’re single, newlyweds or been married for years.

The Art of Choosing a Spouse

Before we can begin to start looking for a spouse we need to know why are we getting married? you need to think about why you want to get married so that we can start this search with the right intentions. As a class we came up with a list of reasons as to why we want to get married.

  • complete half your deen
  • complete half of your spouses deen
  • follow the Sunnah
  • halal intimacy
  • having a family
  • raise righteous children
  • have a righteous spouse
  • companionship
  • avoiding sin
  • lower your gaze
  • help each other get to jannah
If we start this with good intentions then our reward will also be greater, we can have multiple intentions so that we can get even more reward. So when we know what our intentions are then we can begin the search for a spouse that can help fulfill these intentions.
“Choose carefully for your children; marry the suitable and give in marriage to them.” (Ibn Majah)
From the Quran and sunnah we learn the importance of choosing a righteous spouse. But how do we know who is best for us?
The number one duty towards your children is to choose a righteous spouse.
When we look don’t be distracted by their worldly success that you neglect to look at their deen. But at the same time don’t focus only on deen as you do have to live in the dunya. You should be looking for both which is acceptable to you. Never fall into the trap of someone saying “they will change after marriage” studies have shown only 5% of people actually change after marriage. So you need to look at how this person is at the time to decide whether this person is right for you.
The best spouse is a best friend that is a lover.
As we learnt so much I will split it into several posts to make it easier to read and understand. I hope you found this beneficial. In my next post i will focus on what we learnt about what qualities are important to look for in a husband or a wife.