As adults, we focus mostly upon two realms: our livelihoods and relationships. These are a blessing as well as a trial for Muslims. The conscientious believer is constantly on guard about managing his or her relationships according to the pleasure of Allah.
Marriage forms the basis of every biological relationship. It is the foundation that goes on to create entire families. It is a relationship that involves give-and-take of rights & responsibilities, and it begins with Allah’s name.
All human interactions need goodwill and trust to succeed. Be they friendships, acquaintanceship, business collaborations, or professional bonds — success in all of these depends upon sincerity.
When Allah blesses these two kinds of relationships with purity and growth, also known as barakah, they become a means of peace, happiness, and fulfillment.
When deprived of it, on the other hand, they can cause little else but misery for an individual.
Barakah in Marriage
Human beings are social by nature. Their interactions are mostly based upon give-and-take of value and benefit.
Thankfully, Islam has highlighted the rights and dues of all important relationships, in order to enable Muslims to earn rewards by maintaining them. Giving of dues and fulfillment of responsibilities in relationships also ensures that society runs smoothly.
Marriage in Islam involves an exchange of value and benefit between husband and wife. It also fulfills the purpose of providing tranquility to the soul, and raising the next generation.
Husband and wife, both, are entitled to certain rights. An essential requirement of an Islamic marriage is the mahr or “dower”, which is money, an asset, or anything else of value that a Muslim husband must gift to his wife. A husband’s superiority over his wife in Islam is due, in part, to this and other routine spending that he does upon her.
Despite her entitlement to the mahr at the time of marriage, a to-be wife or her family should not demand a high dower that is too difficult for an aspiring husband to pay.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
The best of mahrs is the simplest (or most affordable). (Al-Hakim & Al-Baihaqi, Sahih)
The words used to describe the ideal mahr in the hadith are from the Arabic term “yusr”, which means “ease”.
He also said:
The woman who brings the greatest blessing is the one whose wedding arrangements are the most moderate. (Musnad Ahmad, 24595)
In short: how easy it is for a husband to give the specified dower to his wife, will determine how much barakah (blessings) there will be in their marriage. The mahr that is easy for one husband to pay, might be difficult for another, so it may vary according to each husband’s circumstances.
We must remember that avoiding extravagance in wedding celebrations also ensures the retention of barakah.
Ask any single Muslim guy today, how ‘easy’ he thinks it is to get married, and you will see just how much barakah our marriages today really have.
Is it a surprise, then, that they are wrought with problems from the start?
Barakah in Business
Truth be told, most marriages today are akin to business proposals. Granted, marriage itself is an exchange of value and benefit. Nevertheless, Allah has provided guidelines even for conducting business transactions in Islam, big or small.
What kind of intention we have when we enter into any relationship, whether marriage or business, is what determines its long-term good, or barakah, for us:
Hakim ibn Hizam (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Both parties in a business transaction have a right to annul it so long as they have not separated.
And if they tell the truth and make everything clear to each other, they will be blessed in their transaction.
But if they conceal anything and lie, the blessing on their transaction will be eliminated.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
Muslims should make everything crystal clear when entering a business deal. Nothing should be hidden or misreported.
Something as trivial as buying a set of 6 eggs from a grocery store, therefore, also comes with preconditions of integrity attached. Fulfillment of these conditions will determine how much good this exchange of eggs will bring to both parties involved.
If a known defect in the eggs is deliberately hidden by the seller, or covered up, the money from the sale will not be blessed for them.
Similarly, if the buyer deliberately defaults in paying the price demanded, their consumption of the eggs will not be blessed either. When the seller spends this money, or the buyer eats those eggs, they will not receive benefit, since the barakah was lifted from the fraudulent transaction.
It stands to reason that we need to ponder upon our relationships and dealings with people. How honest and sincere we are when we enter into a relationship, will determine how much Allah will bless it for us.
Be it someone’s daughter’s hand in marriage or the jewelry we give to her as mahr, exchanges of value in human relationships can only lead to long-term happiness if we strive, from the start, to retain the barakah in them!