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Making Allah the Heart of Our Marriage

Making Allah the Heart of Our Marriage
Islam you see teaches us the beauty of marriage it teaches us that a happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers prepared to make the best of the worst.

The institution of marriage is one of the greatest tests of our time – both getting married and staying married.

As if these hardships alone were not enough, add to that the challenge of making the marriage truly Islamic and successful – since of course, simply getting and staying married in themselves are not key indicators of success.

That marriage is ‘half our deen’ is no light statement; because, it requires a weighty amount of hard work and faith to make our marriages the vision of tranquility that Allah intends for us.

So what does it take to ‘dwell in tranquility’ with our spouses?

There is no exhaustive to-do (or be) list for a successful spouse just as there is no one-size fits all solution to marital challenges. However, the steps below outline the need to start with a strong spiritual foundation- a key prerequisite to becoming a successful Muslim spouse.

Ultimately, making Allah the heart of one’s marriage can help lead to making the spouses’ hearts strong for each other.

Live & Love for the Sake of Allah

The first and most important step to becoming a successful Muslim spouse is to strive for a strong, healthy relationship with your Creator. This means learning to direct your thoughts, intentions, words and actions all toward pleasing Allah. More importantly, this means learning to live and love for the sake of Allah.

While this is a basic prerequisite for any healthy relationship in this world, it is also perhaps one of the most difficult concepts to get our heads around because as a society, we have not learned enough about this concept even in theory, let alone in practice.

Learning how to love for the sake of Allah is the most essential step simply because both you and your spouse are human, hence fallible. Neither of you will always be lovable nor will your marriage always be desirable.

There will be ups and downs, moments of hardship and ease. This is a fact of life. Allah however, is the only constant, the only eternal and the only one who is constantly loving, forgiving, helping, healing and truly guiding.

Know that Allah is the only constant.

Therefore, putting all your primary love, dedication and action in this direction will reap you consistent benefits for your marriage and all aspects of this world and the hereafter.

What does loving for the sake of Allah mean in a marriage?

It means placing all your hopes, desires and expectations on Allah. It means depending ultimately only on Allah to fulfill all your needs – emotional, physical and beyond.

This by no means implies that your spouse has no responsibilities towards you. It does mean, however, that even if he or she fails or is inevitably limited in certain aspects, your ultimate reliance is upon Allah only. This complete dependence and attachment only to Allah can save much heartbreak, disappointment and even disillusionment down the road.

Learn & Apply the Quranic Approach to Marriage

In the few verses the Quran contains on marriage, there is much wisdom on how we are to approach the most intimate of our worldly bonds.

Have we truly embedded these verses into the heart of our marriage or are they left as simply glossy calligraphy we embed on our wedding invitations?

Allah tells us in Surah Al Rum:

{And among His Signs is that He created for you spouses from amongst yourselves so that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts; truly in that are Signs for those who reflect.} (30:21)

Tranquility. Peace. Serenity. These are meant to be the objectives of marriage. The complete set up of our marriage life – everything from our thoughts and words, to our homes, intimacy, finances, social activities and more, should all be redirected at bringing peace into one another’s lives.

We must sincerely question whether our efforts are in pursuit of fulfilling Allah’s purpose of marital tranquility or in pursuit of our limited worldly understanding of marriage.

Are our efforts for the sake of living together in tranquility or are they for the sake of feeding our lower selves and only fulfilling our worldly desires and demands?

Our desires have their place and importance; after all, Allah himself created them and provided us with marriage in order to fulfill them. Moreover, one of the oft-repeated prayers of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was to ask Allah to give him the best in this world and the hereafter.

However, when our worldly desires take precedence over the Quranic objective of tranquility for marriage, we digress from Allah’s primary purpose for this sacred union.

Learn & Apply the Prophetic Approach to Marriage

Often times, the primary set of reference points we have for marriage include that of our parents, relatives, friends or what is depicted in movies, television and celebrity culture.

Unfortunately though, these reference points may not always demonstrate what a healthy Muslim marriage should look like.

Just as with all aspects of a Muslim’s life, for marriage too, we must look to the Prophetic approach for guidance in every aspect from how to choose a spouse, to the process of the marriage, the intimate relations, day to day life and most importantly on how to deal with the rewards and tribulations that come with married life.

There is much wisdom and practical tips one can gain from delving into the relationship Prophet Muhammad shared with each of his wives. This education must be a prerequisite for anyone entering a Muslim marriage, primarily for understanding how to approach one’s role as a husband or wife.

Two key challenges in any relationship, particularly marriage, are in dealing with each other’s flaws and differences and as a result, spending much of married life trying to ‘fix’ each other.

This approach neglects the fact that ultimately, life and all the roles one may play in it, including that of a spouse, is all meant to be a journey in self improvement, so that one can slowly but surely become the individual that Allah wants them to be.

The main focus then must first be on self-improvement, rather than on ‘spouse improvement.’ Research also shows that all people, married or not, learn and follow better through example rather than only advice.

No one understood and practiced this better than Prophet Muhammad, who was referred to by his wife, Aisha, as a living example of the Quran. In fact, scholars have gone on record to state that much of the Prophet’s Sunnah comes from his actions rather than words. He was a man of action – a spouse of action.

This is not to say that one should not seek to improve the self and the spouse – only to suggest a sensible and wise approach in doing so. The lesson from Prophet Muhammad in marriage and all relationship matters is clear: Lead by example.

Do not Expect Perfection

Thanks to romantic comedies, stories that some rosy-eyed newly-weds share or even the trend of intentionally or unintentionally showing off ideal marital relations on social media, many of us have fallen into expecting perfection from ourselves and from our spouses in marriage.

To get out of this trap, first we must internalize the truth that perfection belongs only to Allah. This truth, by default, makes us imperfect.

To test whether or not you’ve fully realized this truth, ask yourself: How do I react to my flaws? How do I respond to the flaws of my spouse?

If you find that you happen to beat yourself up when you make a mistake or are rather harsh with your spouse’s limitations, you must question how well you accept the fact that perfection belongs only to Allah.

Adjust your expectations from yourself and your spouse, accept that with marriage comes hardship and ease and learn to strive for excellence, rather than perfection.

Understand Allah’s Big Picture for Marriage

One of the best prayers in the Quran for a successful marriage is:

{O our Lord! Gift us spouses and children that will be the coolness of our eyes and make us the leaders of the righteous.} (25:74)

In referring to this prayer, much of the focus has always been on the ‘coolness of the eyes’. While this point is essential, it is equally necessary to focus on the finishing of this prayer, which asks for help in becoming the leaders of the righteous.

This point truly puts into perspective the big picture for marriage – ultimately – a successful marriage – not just one that remains intact but one that does so with tranquility and coolness between the spouses – such an achievement helps not just the two individuals or children involved but can go onto positively impact society as a whole.

A truly successful marriage, in the Islamic sense, can help to create positive leaders and role models out of the spouses and children – for the ultimate benefit of communities across the board and this in turn, can help humanity to flourish and progress.

The order of this prayer – asking for coolness from the spouse and marriage and then help in becoming leaders among the righteous allows for this shift in the big picture focus we must have for our marriages.

Moreover, a focus on this big picture can help one to persevere during the inevitable tough times in marriage and life.

Conclusion:

Marriage, just like every other aspect of this world, is simply a path to reaching our ultimate destination: Allah and our home in paradise.

While starting with a strong spiritual foundation is only the beginning to becoming a successful Muslim spouse, it is an essential prerequisite to succeeding in marriage because it helps keep one’s eyes on the ball.

Making Allah the heart of a marriage helps to not only strengthen the hearts of both spouses to each other but will also lead to an accurate compass with which the couple can navigate through all the further practical habits, characteristics and challenges that come with trying to become a successful Muslim spouse.

Finally, even with the right focus and efforts – the end results may not always be what we desire. There might be continuous hardship and there is also the reality of marriages that don’t work out.

However, when the heart of marriage begins and ends with Allah, no matter what the end result, as a believer, it can be a win-win situation regardless – as long as the entire journey is leading to one’s ultimate purpose: Pleasing Allah.


About Majeeda Khan


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