Marriage & Male/Female Relationships according to Islam

First, a quick introduction. The original post below (starting after the central margin) is written by my dear sister, Allison Church.

Many Christians and Muslims know that divorce is the only approved decision/happening that shakes God’s throne in disappointment. Yet, if you look at it from the light of truth, wouldn’t it be something supported if your marriage is the reason for your misery, thus leading you to stray into other sins outside of home and justify them by your unhappiness? Wouldn’t it be better than mistreating another person and stripping him from his/her dignity? Doesn’t it seem like a fair option to not stay in a home that is unhealthy and will affect your children’s life and relationships to the worse forever?

This piece is just to prove that even in Islam the purpose of marriage is not solely about having homes and bringing up children.

Marriage is about TWO. It is a union of two built on a foundation of pure LOVE that serves in favor of the individual and a lifetime companionship of mutual feelings, freedom, and respect.

Islam greatly emphasizes the expression of love in intimacy, showing care and affection. Not just to your spouse but to your loved ones. In a Hadeeth (narration), the Prophet (SAW), said: “When a man loves his brother, he should tell him that he loves him.” [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]
The mere uttering of “I love you” in Islam in itself denotes a decision and promise. Those words should be kept in your heart until you’re ready to commit, to fight for that feeling and to stand by those words forever. Prophet (SAW) Said: “We do not think that there is anything better for those who love one another than marriage.”
Love is what guides you to paradise. Of course, if it is true love, you’d want to act rightfully towards the other person. Another narration, the Prophet (SAW) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, you will not enter Paradise unless you believe, and you will not believe unless you love each other. Should I direct you to something that if you constantly did it, you would love each other? Spread the greetings of peace among you.”

It also involves a male and female that complement each other, there is no domination in marriage, and marriage does not complete a void in oneself, but merely complements.

It involves two that genuinely consider, care for, and respect each others dignity.

It takes a spirit of cooperation, continual communication and sometime sacrifice on both ends. You give without expecting to take, the other spouse should treat you equally, and without force, you are balanced in energies.

A true relationship is when you can tell each other everything and anything. Intimacy is the core to a revived successful marriage. There should be no secrets and no lies. I believe in order to be whole in your marital relationship you have to be whole as a person, meaning you must know clearly who you are and what you what in life and not be scared of sharing your truth, thoughts, and struggles to your partner. Yes, you may choose not to share details of something in your past, but choosing not to out of wisdom is different than hiding something out of insecurity. Your past is not something your partner should use against you, in Islam, you repent sincerely for your past it becomes a history shared only between you and God Almighty. It does not define your future relationships if you learned the lessons and stop committing the same mistakes and sincerely repented.

In Islam, you also chose the person who won’t just make your life a simple heaven but also one that will help guide you to paradise in the afterlife. The spouse you choose can help you reach or destroy you path to paradise. You pick a man/woman of qualities that know the Love of God in their hearts and act accordingly.
“You look for that person that wants to grow in the Deen. And if the priority is the Deen, if priority is Akhirah then you’ll see incredible things happen. You’ll see that, that the relationship will be able to overcome the trials and other issues. This is how the Deen works on marriage.” {Sheikh Omar Suleiman}
“Love of Allah, loving something for the sake of Allah and loving that which assists you to obey Allah and stay away from His disobedience.”

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“According to the book “The Islamic View of Women and the Family,” published by Al-Azhar and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and written by Muhammed Abdul-Raouf, the following information is being supplied for the consumption of those of you who find yourselves lost in your relationships and unaware as to what is owed to you in terms of treatment and what you own in terms of treatment to your Muslim spouse.

“Marriage is like a mission, the fulfillment of which fulfills the individual, and which brings delightful experiences that cannot be attained outside of wedlock. These joyful experiences bring the couple closer to each other and steadily heighten their mutual love and infatuation. In the Islamic scheme of marriage, neither the man nor the woman loses his or her identity. Neither assumes the name of the other but both are expected to perform duties towards one another.”

The husband-wife relationship is a reciprocal complementary relationship in which the spouses are equal in dignity and in due respect, the spirit of cooperation and SACRIFICE BY EACH FOR THE SAKE OF THE OTHER should always prevail. Our current individualistic spirit which rates personal interests and pleasure over other considerations leads to conflict and misunderstandings, as personal interest and motivations promote an environment of unevenness wherein one spouse is continually giving for the other while the other does not give of themselves equally, this promotes resentment and instability.

As the role of women begins to merge in the external fields the internal and external statuses overlap, success of this depends on the ability of EACH spouse to harmonize and coordinate between the external and the internal roles of each. This may require drastic modification of their external roles. The woman will always remain an independent responsible agent like her husband, although both are committed to each other in terms of mutual loyalty and intimate mutual concerns. Marriage enhances their maturity, confirms their responsibility, gives them a greater sense of security and provides both with committed, faithful and enduring companionship.

Marriage affords a committed companionship which provides, when successful, infinite sensations of shared happiness that cannot be experiences in a non-responsible, spiritless short-lived relationship. The Qur’an states that the purpose of obliging man to marry is to let each mate provide comfort, companionship and a feeling of true care and concern for the other. (XXX, 21) Such comfort, companionship and feeling of mutual care and concern can not be afforded in the absence of communication. Between two communicating members of humanity, there can be reactions and interactions and cooperation and mutual understanding. And when they are committed believers, they realize that their love and treatment of each other is derived from their commitment and loyalty to Allah. Each spouse sees serving the other as a service to Allah and obedience in Him. Their mutual love is therefore more durable and heavenly.

Some people may erroneously think that Allah is served merely by observing religious ritual duties, such as performance of prayers, fasting, and similar rituals. But these activities only constitute one area of service to Allah. He is to be served also in all other types of human activities, simple or complex, pleasurable or painful, individual or social, physical or intellectual. That is what we mean when we say that Islam encompasses all aspects of human life. Therefore be cautious in your mannerisms towards one another even the way you speak, because Islam urges its adherents to do anything and everything that would promote peace and mutual love. (The Qur’an LXII, 37-43; IX, 6-13; IV, 86 and XXIV, 27-29) Even though roles may differ in terms of each gender’s responsibility towards the home, they are to always remain equal in entitlement to human dignity, to respectful treatment, to free choice and freedom of action; they should both be considerate and understanding, should never cause the other pain, and neither should treat the other with a sense of inferiority. Without this intimate personal type of relationship based on these elements productive and respectful offspring will not be raised correctly. Devotion to each other as spouses and to the others happiness and needs is pivotal in the rearing of children. If your wife preserves her beauty for you and treats you with respect, if she heeds your advice and leadership and is considerate of your needs than you must in turn provide equal treatment.

And thus the status of women under the law of Islam is a just one and under this just status women are:

As a mother, a woman is to be treated with filial love and venation. As a daughter she is to be treated with parental love and compassion. As a sister, she is to be treated with devoted love, respect and consideration. As a wife she is to be treated with constant concern, unbounded care, deep sympathy, and loving passion. And outside these family ties, just simply as a woman she is: An individual worthy of dignity and respect, and independent human being, a social person, a legal person, a responsible agent, a free citizen, a servant of Allah, and a talented person, endowed, like a male with heart soul and intellect; and who has a fundamental equal right to exercise her abilities in all areas of human activities.

“The best of you is he who treats his woman in the best way (Hadith Muslim Ibn Hajjaj, Sahih, Halabi Press Cairo pg. 636).”

“I urge you to treat women kindly. They are a trust in your hands. Fear Allah in His trust.” (Hadith Ibn Majah, Sunan, vol. 1 pg. 594)”

“An one of His signs is that He has created for you, from your own type, spouses so that you may enjoy comfort in their company; and He has made between you mutual love and sympathy.” Qur’an XXX, 21

“It is He Who has created you (all) from one single soul: and of like nature He created man’s spouse so that he may enjoy comfort in her company.” Qur’an VII, 189″

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