Marriage ceremonies

The marriage ceremony is a means to share the happiness of a marriage with friends and relatives. It also serves as a way to carry out the requirement of publicizing a marriage. In addition, it is also a fine thing to turn such an important institution into an opportunity for joy and entertainment, which are part of our nature.

However, we should remember that ceremonies that are too extravagant, which reach the point of financially devastating the families involved, are never approved by Islam. Islam is a religion that urges moderation even in taking water from a river when performing ablution. It encourages its followers to be frugal. Therefore even if the parties are rich, they should act in consideration of the poor and needy of their community. Turning marriage ceremonies into theatres of ostentation, like many of today’s rich families do, is a manifestation of madness and a proof that Islam is not properly internalized.

Marriage ceremonies should properly be performed with Islamic grace and refinement. They should stay away from every kind of lavishness. People should have modest ceremonies appropriate to their financial situations. But using the event as an opportunity to show off one’s financial status contradicts the object and the spirit of a marriage ceremony.

In particular, to launch such a blessed institution with unlawful acts and customs, such as drinking alcohol, leads people to error and ignorance. Only those marriage gatherings which observe the laws of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) are blessed places where prayers are accepted. Some types of entertainment are harmless, so long as the men and the women are not mixed. Women can entertain each other and men can do the same among themselves without committing any forbidden act.

Another significant issue is the importance of inviting poor, needy and homeless people to the walima, the marriage feast. This is expressed in the following hadith:

“The worst food is that of a wedding banquet to which only the rich are invited while the poor are not invited. And he who refuses an invitation (to a banquet) disobeys Allah and His Apostle.” (Bukhari, Nikah, 72; Muslim, Nikah, 107. See also Ibn Maja, Nikah, 25)

It should be remembered that the Muslim community receives divine assistance because of the prayers of the weak. Therefore destitute and needy people particularly need to be invited to the walima. On one occasion Moses (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed to Allah the Almighty and asked, “Dear Lord! Where should I look for You?”

Allah the Almighty responded, “Look for Me by the broken hearts.” (Abu Nu`aym, Hilya, II, 364)

The prayers of those who are destitute and have broken hearts are acceptable in the presence of Allah. This is why all Muslims should take care to merit their prayers, especially during those times when we begin an important undertaking like marriage.

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How should families take care of disciplining children?

First of all, we should be very clear that children are divine trusts to us and sprout from our own essence. For sensitive souls, the melodies of happiness at home begin with the soothing music of happy children.

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As it is expressed in the traditions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), children are “flowers of Paradise,” “fruit of hearts,” and “divine blessings.” Children are the best blessings of our Lord. How can anyone forget the joy at the birth of a first child? Children’s smiles are like gifts from Paradise. For a mother to discipline, raise and contribute fine children to society is therefore the most honorable of occupations. A mother’s heart is the first school of a child: here the child receives its basic training. In addition, righteous generations raised with great care will be protective shields between their parents and Hellfire. One of the most important duties of parents is to equip their children with Islamic virtues and good character. Yet it is not merely the central duty of parents to raise faithful and upright children: it also is a guarantee of receiving continuous rewards until the end of time.

Children are exceptional fruits of family happiness and a strong connection between the mother and the father. They are the most valuable trusts of Allah to the parents. People’s responsibilities are expressed in the following saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):

All of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges: … a man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for his charge; and a woman is guardian of the household of her husband and is responsible for her charge … (Bukhari, Wasaya, 9; Muslim, Imara, 20)

The Qur’an says:

O you who believe! Save yourselves and your fam- ilies from a fire whose fuel is men and stones … (66:6)

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) explains this verse, saying:

Keep them away from committing the things prohibited by Allah the Almighty and encourage them to perform good deeds. That is the way to save them from Hellfire. (Alusi, XXVIII, 156)

Discipline of children should begin with the training of parents; such an important job can only be successfully performed with the benefit of proper training. How can inadequate parents discipline their children? As the poet says,

He, himself, is a dodderer in need of help

How is he supposed to help others?

Thus if child discipline begins starts parent discipline, it will yield more effective results. Again, as it is expressed by the poet Seyri:

Father, pillar of the family, must be upright and strong

Mother, heart of the family, must be a rose, sweet and warm

What kinds of good news have been given by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) about righteous women?

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) says:

After mindfulness of Allah, a believer gains nothing better for himself than a pious wife who obeys him when he commands her and pleases him when he looks at her. When he asks her to carry out a task, she is true to him and when he is away she protects her chastity as well as her husband’s property.” (Ibn Maja, Nikah, 5/1857)

A good wife is the one who obeys her husband and is compassionate to her children.

“The whole world is providence and the best provision of the world is a pious woman.” (Muslim, Kitab al- Rada, 64; See also: Nasa`i, Nikah, 15; Ibn Maja, Nikah, 5)

Thawban (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates:

When the verse “…and (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful chastisement” (9:34) was revealed, we were with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on an expedition. Some of the Companions said that now that we knew the ruling about gold and silver [we would no longer hoard them, but give them in charity]. We wished we knew what is good for us, so that we could accumulate that instead. Upon hearing this, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The most valuable possessions are a tongue that mentions the names of Allah, a thankful heart and a wife who strengthens the faith of her husband.” (Tirmi- dhi, Tafsir, 9/9)

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Things That Men Need to Pay Attention to in the Family

Supporting the religious and moral growth of women and children, assisting their education in the ways that will bring them eternal happiness, are among the most significant duties of men.

The happiness of a family depends on a righteous father’s strength of will. To be a righteous father means to be a father who provides his family with sustenance, discipline and protection. All these require a man to be intelligent, experienced, skilled and especially to have strong faith and good morals.

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To support the religious and moral growth of women and children, assisting their education in the ways that will bring them eternal happiness, are among the most significant duties of men. The Qur’an states:

O you who believe! Save yourselves and your fam- ilies from a fire whose fuel is men and stones … (66:6)

The full scope of this task encompasses the members of our families, our relatives, our neighbors and ultimately everybody in the country according to their positions and potentials; because just as families shape their greater environment, so also does the greater environment shape our families.

A father should pay attention to his family’s Qur’anic education and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) and inspire them with a love for Allah and the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). At the same time, it is necessary for him to teach his family the manners and customs of society.

A man has to protect his family from all kinds of negative influences. A father should keep children away from friends and places that may spoil their religion and morality, from the immoral shows on television, from vicious and worthless books and magazines. In short, protecting the family from attacks arriving both inside and outside the home is the responsibility of men.

A husband should speak pleasantly and gently with his wife; he should not alienate her by approaching her rudely and harshly. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) says:

The best of you is the one who is best in his treatment of women. (Tirmidhi, Rada, 11. See also Abu Dawud, Sunna, 15; Ibn Maja, Nikah, 50).

A wise man leaves his business life out of his home. He does not bring his problems home.

An intelligent and insightful man forgives his family members’ worldly mistakes and approaches them with mercy and compassion. He keeps his wife’s secrets and deficiencies from everybody.

However, he does not ignore his family’s faults in religious matters. He seriously confronts errors when they occur and heads off in advance mistakes that might be committed because of laziness or ig- norance. He meticulously does everything possible to support the religious education of his family. He teaches his children himself as much as he can and when necessary, he also gets professional help from effective scholars. These things, too, are among the responsibilities of the father.

A man should consult with his wife in family matters and should not give her responsibilities heavier than she can handle. He should help his wife with child care and discipline, because both child care and housework may exhaust her. Helping women in their work will increase mutual love and strengthen family ties.

A husband should pray for the welfare of his wife. He should not go on long trips without telling her in advance. He should also not bring guests home without getting her consent first. He should never insist that his wife go out in front of strangers to serve them. He should keep his family away from mixed environments as much as possible.

A father is like the sun in the sky of a family; a mother is like the moon, covered with veils of chastity; and the children are like the stars.

-An Excerpt from the book, “Peaceful Home: Paradise on Earth”

Q – What things do women need to pay attention to in order to protect their families’ peace and happiness?

First of all, women need to be careful about their service to Allah and to be devout. In this respect they need to pay attention to their prayers and worship in addition to being sensitive about what is lawful and what is prohibited in Islam.

A woman’s piety should manifest in her family through encouraging her husband, her children, her relatives and even her neighbors to give charity and perform good deeds. A pious woman is like a sweet-smelling flower of Paradise!

The most important task of a woman, after service to Allah, is to make her husband and her other family members happy. Making her husband happy and not shadowing the happiness of the family will grant a wife the contentment of Allah the Almighty. In fact the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) says in this regard:

Pious Woman

A pious woman makes her husband happy when he looks at her face; she fulfills her husband’s licit requests and when he is away from her, she protects his property and honor. (Ibn Maja, Nikah, 5/1857)

Therefore a pious woman looks for ways to make her family happy and she finds them.


Q – Can we elaborate this matter a little more? To what things does a wife need to pay most attention in her daily life and in her house?

At home she must take great care of herself. She needs to be clean and well-groomed. Being untended and dirty will make her husband lose his respect for her. A wife should stay away from all appearances that her husband does not like, because if a man cannot find what he looks for in a woman in his wife, his heart may turn toward what is inappropriate and prohibited, which will destroy the happiness and peace in the family. So a wise woman offers herself like a bouquet of flowers to her grateful husband. It is in her best interests that he look forward to being at home in the evening.

A pious woman should meet her husband at the door with a smiling face and in the morning should send him off to work with kind words and prayers. Even if her own day’s work has exhausted her, she should conceal her fatigue and not make a wry face in front of him. She should share her husband’s worries and help him to relax.

She should keep the counsel of her own emotions rather than disturb the tranquility of the house. Umm Sulaym (may Allah be pleased with her), a Companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), gave an extraordinary example of such behavior. Even the death of her child did not overcome her compassion toward her husband. According to the narrative, Abu Talha’s son, who had been gravely ill, died when his father was not home. Umm Sulaym (may Allah be pleased with her) washed and enshrouded the body. She commanded the other members of the household, “Do not tell Abu Talha of his son’s death before I tell do.” When Abu Talha came home, he asked, “How is my son?”

Umm Sulaym (may Allah be pleased with her) replied, “His pains are relieved and I think he is resting right now.” Then she brought her husband dinner and after that they went to bed. In the morning, when Abu Talha wanted to go out, Umm Sulaym said, “Abu Talha! What do you think of what our neighbors did? I left something in their trust and they did not give it back when I asked for it.”

Abu Talha (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “They did wrong.”

Then Umm Sulaym said, “O Abu Talha! Your son was entrusted to you by Allah the Almighty. He has reclaimed His trust.”

For a while Abu Talha was baffled and quiet. Then he said, “We belong to Allah and to Allah we are continuously returning.”

When Abu Talha (may Allah be pleased with him) went to the mosque for prayer, he told everything to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). The Prophet prayed for them, “O Allah! Bestow your blessing upon them with regard to that night of theirs.”

Less than a year later, Allah granted the couple another son. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) took a date, chewed it, took some of it out of his mouth, put it into the child’s mouth and named him Abdullah – “Servant of Allah.” It is narrated that seven out of Abdullah’s nine children memorized the whole Qur’an as a result of the blessings of the aforementioned prayer. (Bukhari, Jana’iz, 42: Aqiqa, 1; Muslim, Adab, 23: Fada’il al-Sahaba, 107).


Q – What other things does a wife need to be careful about in her relations with her husband?

She should never neglect her husband and never put him in second place among the members of the family. A normal man cannot accept to be in second place, for that is against his nature. Continue reading

Q – To what issues should young Muslim men and women pay particular attention in order to safeguard the soundness of their family?

We should know that a society rises on the shoulders of its male members, but that its female members also produce its ascension. Without the help of men and women alike, no development or ascent can be achieved. A man who is unhappy at home cannot be successful at work. Consequently we can say that a nation develops through the maturity and experience of its women. The opposite of this is also correct: a nation loses its power and value through the degradation of its female members. History teems with examples. That is why every community needs healthy families.

Although human beings are created with the most perfect of natures, the manifestation of our perfection in a developed personality can be achieved only in a healthy family environment. The family is the primary place where the human personality is educated. Only with a proper education can souls reach lofty spiritual states and stations. We can take lessons from the lives of the prophets and from the lives of the saints.

Felicity and joy in a family depend on mutual respect and understanding between the parties and on the observation of each other’s rights. It is also very important to comprehend the meaning of the verse ittaqu Allah – “be mindful of Allah!” (Qur’an 2: 194) – if happiness in the family is to be achieved.

Our world can become a paradise if the rights of women are observed; and it can also turn into a hell as a result of the violation of their rights. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) expressed the significance of women’s rights in his farewell sermon:

“O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.” (Bukhari, Mukhtasar, X, 398)

Preventing women from raising righteous generations by forcing them into unsuitable occupations is a great mistake. Happiness in a family can be achieved only by employing and protecting both men’s and women’s abilities in the occupations that best fulfill their natures.

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Islam affirms the importance of marriages undertaken for the sake of lofty ideals. Marriage has two dimensions, worldly and spiritual. We must be serious and careful in order to make our families functional in both dimensions. It is all too easy for marriage to become one-dimensional. Unfortunately, this kind of marriage often ends up in an unhappy divorce, or continues as a chain of agony until the end of life. Naturally these are not the results we desire when getting married!

Divorce is depicted in one of the sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as an incident which shakes Allah’s throne:

“Marry and do not divorce, for verily divorce causes the throne of Allah to shake…” (`Ali al-Muttaqi, IX, 1161/27874)

For a man to divorce a woman merely for his own convenience and pleasure is oppression and great sin, which is certainly prohibited in Islam. It is violating another servant’s right, which will lead to eternal disappointment and destruction.

Divorce often follows from arbitrarily and carelessly performed marriages and it has countless pitiful results. The worst and the severest of these results befall the children. Children who see no warmth in their families and are exposed to frequent abuses from their parents, who are supposed to be their role models, live at the mercy of the streets. Sometimes they run away from their homes and start living in the streets; they shortly fall into the web of alcohol, narcotics, prostitution and crime. This prepares the ground for social destruction.

Of course, there are times when divorce is the only reasonable option. Catholic marriages can never be annulled and must be continued no matter how miserable the parties are. Islamic marriages, by contrast, are contracts and there are legal provisions for terminating contracts when necessary. Every agreement can be superseded by another agreement. If there were no way out of a failed marriage, the couple’s life would be torture. Family unity would be no better than slavery.

Spouses who cannot find solutions to their problems become desperate and may not see situations clearly. This is why Islam allows divorce, but in principle assigns the right of divorce to men, on the theory that they are likely to act more resolutely than women. However, if it has been previously stipulated in the marriage contract, there is no obstacle to giving the right of divorce to women as well. This is known in Islamic law as tafwid al-talaq. Even if the right of divorce has not been given to the wife in the marriage contract, under some circumstances she can still appeal to a court for divorce.

In order to avoid unnecessary divorce, men and women should appreciate each other’s significance and respect each other. Memories, happy moments, welfare, tranquility and all the pleasurable things in life can be achieved under the shadow of divine wisdom. Success will manifest itself through mutual fidelity and sincerity. It is stated in the sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):

“When a man wakes up at night, wakens his wife and they pray two cycles of formal prayer together, they are recorded among the men and women who make much mention of Allah.” (Abu Dawud, Tatawwu`, 18; Witr, 13)

“May Allah show mercy to a man who gets up during the night and prays, who wakens his wife and she prays; if she refuses, he sprinkles water on her face. May Allah show mercy to a woman who gets up during the night and prays, who wakens her husband and he prays; if he refuses she sprinkles water on his face.” (Abu Dawud, Tatawwu`, 17; Witr, 12)

According to the aforementioned Prophetic sayings we can conclude that happiness in a family depends on two great principles:
1. Sincerity of the both parties
2. Mutual encouragement to piety.

Dear Lord! Bestow upon us and upon our families a pious life with which You are content. Make our homes a Paradise of felicity and blessings. Protect our homes from being a scene from Hell. Amin!

 

-An Excerpt from “A Peaceful Home-Paradise on Earth”

Q – In our society, young people who plan to get married first spend time being engaged.. They face several problems during this period. What do the parties need to be careful about during their engagement?

The central issue, as we have been trying to explain, is the necessity of building a family upon a strong and healthy foundation. This principle must be kept in mind not just during the engagement period, but in every phase of the establishment of the family. Divine rules and measure must be observed at every stage. Unfortunately, in our time some couples see the engagement as permission to act as if they were already married. This leads to a number of irreparable mistakes and to broken hearts.

We do need to remember that the engagement stage is just the period of agreement to marriage. It is not marriage itself and during the engagement period parties are still unlawful to each other. Therefore they must be careful about the divine limits. In short, engaged couples should not meet privately in secluded places and talk more than they are supposed to before the marriage! Today we witness the devastation caused by this type of carrying on.

In this regard I would like to remind you of the following narration of Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him):

Allah the Almighty created Eve from a rib from the left side of Adam. During her creation Adam (peace and blessings be upon him) was asleep. When he woke up and saw Eve next to him, he fell in love with her and wanted to hold her. Angels said, “O Adam! Do not touch her. You have not been married yet.” Then they got married and for her marriage portion they agreed upon uttering three praises for the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

This was the beginning of the marriage agreement before Allah. Thus with the praise of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), the marriage agreement gains a sublime meaning and teems with blessings and manifestations of mercy.

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– An Excerpt from “A Peaceful Home-Paradise on Earth”