Thursday, 28 June 2007

Dispelling Marital Fears...

Cruising through cyber space I'm always left with a feeling of sadness, especially at the situation of sisters.

And right now I don't even mean the speaking without knowledge, or the self tafseer of the words of Allah that are just an insult to Allah and this beautiful deen, nor am I talking about the pictures or avatars of what's probably your favorite photograph or picture (being a woman I know that you wouldn't display anything other than your favorite picture publicly).

Nor am I talking about the effect that older more experienced sisters are having on the younger ones - influencing them in their views, recklessly opening up a can of worms in discussion with no conclusion, leaving them confused, their questions unanswered.

Nor am I talking about the visible influence of western thought on the minds and thoughts of our sisters, mainly feminism, which has led to unjustified attacks against brothers - unlimited man bashing. Maybe they forget that by insulting men they are insulting our fathers, brothers, husbands, the scholars not to mention the Mujahideen. Maybe they forget or maybe they don't care.

So what's upsetting me at this moment?

Its the fear of marriage that so many sisters have. I don't mean the natural fear of having a man in your life. Or the butterflies in your stomach and natural blush on your cheeks at a meeting with your husband to be, wondering if you look okay and say the right things. Or the apprehension of wondering if the wedding day will go smoothly.

It seems to be another type of fear that is leading sisters to delay marriage as far as possible, to prefer a single life alone rather than get married. A fear of marrying a dictator, into a patriarchal relationship - where they fear they will not have a say in anything. A fear of no longer having any freedom. A fear of being burdened with too many responsibilities.

Maybe in some ways this fear is justified with the increasing divorce rates, horror stories of marriage that people shouldn't be spreading anyway, and western discussion on the mainly misperceived oppression of Muslim women.

You don't hear of many positive stories or beautiful stories about modern day marriages or family life. (Everyone assumes that good marriages only existed at the time of the Prophet peace be upon him.) What about the small things that happen in your marriage that make your heart melt? Funny things that happen that make the extended family laugh and affirm that indeed your family are absolutely crazy!

That in many ways in many instances you feel like a child again when the family play tig or hide and seek or compete in games and then the big kid (the husband) makes 99 excuses - for himself when you beat him at something!

That the beauty of any argument or bickering is that it leads you to know your spouse better and you learn together and grow together as a result.

That marriage is like the greatest challenge (for those of us who buzz off challenges!). And in fact the psychology in it is actually fun. Using womanly intelligence and power (what Muhammad Alshareef calls halal magic) trying to get your own way with something, and when you finally do get you own way (most of the time if you're clever about it) feeling that sense of 'Alhamdulillah indeed Allah has made the woman different from the man!'

I personally and many sisters I know will tell you that the good in marriage and family life far outweighs any bad in it (Note I may change my mind during pregnancy!)

Not long ago at an AlKauthar course we were discussing some adverse affects of delaying marriage, some of the things mentioned were also things that I had heard from sisters from their own personal experiences.

The following are just a few.

Marrying at a late age can adversely affect a marital relationship in that both parties are already developed in their personality and thoughts and may be less willing to give and take.

They may find it hard to adjust to married life after such a long time of being single and 'independent.'

Women need to remember that our biological clock will not tick forever and the longer we wait to have children the more difficulties we may come across in conception, childbirth etc.

Research shows that women who marry at a later age tend to be less confident in their beauty and physical disposition than younger women.

Also regarding the effect of western thought and feminism on our expectations, again here are a few examples mentioned by some sisters.

Sisters may get into marriage having a bad opinion of men, being paranoid, criticizing etc and thus negatively affect their relationship

Nobody finds attraction in a person who is defiant, argumentative and moaning all the time. If we are unhappy about something there are wiser ways of getting that across.

Going into a marriage with cynicism is unfair to the relationship to begin with.

An overly negative view of marriage may subdue anything slightly positive in the marriage

In saying all this we also need to look at the flip side of the coin - we cannot go into anything with an over zealous attitude either. If we expect the perfect, romantic, faultless husband we are going to be very VERY disappointed. Like my husband once mentioned we can't expect marital life to be liKe a romance novel. We need to be realistic. It rains in every relationship. The key is the way we deal with the rain, who we turn to, whether we let it drench us or provide for us the water to help us grow.

We need to put our trust in Allah, make sincere du'aa to Him at all times, be grateful in ease and patient in trials. Its the over negativity and over zealousness that is destroying ourselves, those around us and our societies - where is the balanced Ummah?

My advise to sisters would be not to expect too much in marriage nor sell yourself short on things that really matter to you as that may also adversely affect your relationship. And ask questions in meetings. Don't be too shy to ask questions about things that really matter to you. Clarify ALL doubts before marriage.

Make sure you do things in the right way and never have 'private' conversations or meetings with a prospective spouse. Our fathers and brothers or other people can usually see through things that may 'woo' us.

Always meet his family too and make sure family are involved in the process. Many sisters who marry without the support of family are often left with no support network. And like my parents always taught me - a guy who has no interest in your family is not someone whom you can trust.

We need to prevent ourselves from being affected too much by the horror stories we hear and remember that every person, every situation is different. There are many decent just brothers out there and I can honestly say that I know of many.

Most importantly we need to remember that we need to trust in our Lord and have confidence that He is the one who we can truly depend on, He is the one who provides, and He is the only one that can answers our prayers.

Your sister Umm Maymoonah,
Contributions by Saabirah and Umm Zaidah Nusaybah.


Farzana said...

Masahllah thank you for the reminder sis. You right I do have the some of the fears as you put down but thats due to number of things that have happened but I know that if im and my friends like you are decent and practising im sure their are men who are as decent as us. I'm sure even brothers have thier own fears.

Faz XxX

hema said...

gosh, you guys have been busy.

first and foremost:

It rains in every relationship. The key is the way we deal with the rain, who we turn to, whether we let it drench us or provide for us the water to help us grow

that's a really beautiful way of putting it. you have a way with words:)

i can tell that you and your husband have a very speical relationship mashAllah, and that's eveidently because of the attitude you have. so, jazakAllah for trying to spread some of your positive vibes and energy.

obviously i know what has inspired this post and why you are frustrated at the situation.
i just wanted to clarify/ add to a couple of points that have been mentioned on saabirah's blog as well as here.

saabirah said I get tense when I read sisters - i.e. female MUSLIMS- dangerously discussing whether in Islam women get a raw deal, whether Allah has a'oothubillah been unjust in His perfect Shari'ah

firstly, most of the sisters were not criticising Islam. accusing someone of doing that is dangerous teritorry. they were opposed to the way some men are abusing their rights. that is a difference that needs to be noted, in my opinion.

i'd agree that just because some men are abusing their rights, it is grossly unfair to say all men are bad. but i think most of the time the sisters that are writing stuff like that don't mean it literally. they know in their hearts that the statement is not true and are exaggerating to get the point accross or express their anger. because a lot of sisters don't see their blog as a way of influencing the general public, they see it as a sort of online dairy where they can just write things down and get it out of their system.
i know it does influence people soemtimes, which is why i personally wouldn't make a statement like that on a public blog anyway (i might have even done it on the private one, i can't really remember because i don't check it to think is this going to influence people negatively- i just want to get it out of my system)

finally- the advice from the course about the adverse effects of delaying marriage is very sound. jazakAllah for sharing. obviosuly it makes sense to get married as soon as you can.
but i don't know of many (if any) sisters that delay marriage on purpose.i know i'm not... sometimes, it's outside of our control. but some people have the attitude that we should be miserable and think about getting married every second of the day. personally, i don't see what's wrong with making the most of a situation and taking advantage of doing things i wouldn't be able to do if i was married, and had other people to think about. that doesn't necessarily mean i have a negative attitude to marriage, i'm sure the extra responsibilites are far more rewarding than anything you can get from having a career or whatever. but i'm not unhappy because i'm not married, and i don't understand why people think i should be. i'll just be happier when i am married, that's all. i'm using myself as an example, because i know many others feel the same way when other people are critical of sisters that leave marriage until the late twenties/early thirties and assume it is their choice because they are career driven or whatever.

i have chosen to comment on here rather than saabirah's blog to give you the option of whether to publish it. there are a lot of positive messages in this post, and i don't want to deter attention away from it- so it's really up to you. i won't be offended.

Most importantly we need to remember that we need to trust in our Lord ..
a nice way to end, so i will opt for it to.

Umm Maymoonah said...

Hema love obviously you need to look at what I said within context. I'm talking about sisters who purposely delay marriage because of these fears.

Saabirah said...

Hema some of these sisters were criticising Islam. For example, they're denying the husband's right to be obeyed which equates to them criticising Islam because Allah has given the husband this right.

Umm Yusuf said...

Assalaamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Nice post! Mash'Allah. Sister's need to ask the hard questions before marriage. They need to try to think of every single thing even minor that may bother them once they are married and hash it out in the meetings with prospective husbands (wali present). Another thing, is these sisters on the internet....especially converts being sweet talked by men in chat rooms. First of all, it almost never ends well. It is usually about citizenship. Secondly, take some time to learn to respect and love yourself first. Insist on any meetings and chatting be with a wali present.

Islam is the perfect way of life. We may not understand why Allah made the rules He made.But we must know that Allah knows His creation better than we know ourselves! Therin lies the test. Do you want to follow your own thoughts and desires (hawaa) or are you going to say "I hear and I obey" as the companions did. The answer of the Believers, when summoned to Allah and His Messenger, in order that He may judge between them, is no other than this: they say, "We hear and we obey": it is such as these that will attain felicity.(Qur'an 24: 51-52)

hema said...

umm maymoonah, the difference is duly noticed. thanks for clarifying. my mistake.

saabirah- i'm still not convinced that criticising a husband's right to be obeyed equates to criticising Islam- i mean, i don't like the wording of that, if you see what i am getting at. to say someone is criticising Islam is a serious thing.
they were questioning how much the husband should be obeyed rather than questioning his right to be obeyed.
i just think we should be giving these sisters the benefit of the doubt and making excuses, rather than assuming the worst. we don't know these sisters personally so can't really comment on their intentions or what their words "equate to" if you see what i mean.

Anonymous said...

Because of the day and age we live in, i think we need to also give the other side of the story to avoid offending anyone. Not so men and women can be on equal footing (cos most men tend to be taller than women). But just as a reminder to men aswell and because in the style of the Qur'an, Allah addresses both men and women. 'For the believing men and for the believing women....'
Because lets face it within our group of friends sone of us have been on nthe receiving end, but thats not down to men as a population, lets not forget whatever harm we feel its what our own hands of earned.....not to do with XYZ. i wish people would realise that.
I think it would be nice if a bro can give some naseehah to men & women. masha'Allah that would be nice. Any volunteers Abu Maymoonah, Abu Zaidah? no pressure like............

HijabiApprentice said...

Umm Yusuf said, "Sister's need to ask the hard questions before marriage. They need to try to think of every single thing even minor that may bother them once they are married and hash it out in the meetings with prospective husbands (wali present)."

I totally agree! This is what I did and although it was kind of awkward it was the best thing i could have done. I am a convert marrying a born Muslim from a different culture so asking detailed questions was imperative as there are many difference to consider. But regardless of if you are coming from the same background or not we Muslimahs need to be very active in the potential mate selection process. We cannot afford to be passive in this very important aspect of our lives. Just my two cents.

ma'a salaamah,


Umm Zaidah Nusaybah said...

criticising a command of Allah is criticising islam i.e obeying one's husband. Allah has commanded that a husband should be obeyed, so we cannot start questioning wherther he should be obeyed. Allah tells us to do it so we should obey the command of Allah full stop.

i know of a sister who observed the niqaab before marriage but after she got married her husband told her to stop wearing the niqaab, she really wanted to continue wearing it but she said to me "i know wearing the niqaab is rewarding BUT i think by obeying my husband i am being rewarded more and if i disobey him i will be sinful". sisters need to remember that a woman who observes her five daily prayers, fasts in ramadhan and obeys her husband may enter jannah through any door.

hema said...

umm zn, i don't think i'm making my point clear, probably because of my fantastic lack of communication skills:) so i'm just going to leave it

i, on the hand (probably because you're better at communicating it!), know that you main point is about spreading positive marriage vibes.

so, may Allah reward you for your efforts and your sincere devotion to your husband for the sake of Allah. Ameen xx

Anonymous said...

Er hem just to kinda say. Yes you can ask away to the prospective partner and Alhamdulillah so we should. but people can easliy give answers your looking for, and they may very well mean it at the time, but when it actually comes to the marriage the case is not so.
you never know the person and what they stand for until you live with them and then you find out the hard way. this is qadr and at the point there is no benefit in saying 'if only i had....'
so yeh take your precautions as far as you can, but the rest.....If Allah in His wisdom wants to throw something your way He will do so, but our job is to simply seek the means to please Him.

Anonymous said...

Alhamdulillah the second issue of sisters magazine is now out. It covers alot of the stuff we are discussing and more! check it out inshaAllah

Those of you that haven't subscribed do it now inshaAllah!!

Umm Zaidah Nusaybah

Umm Zaidah Nusaybah said...

Alhamdulillah the new issue of Sisters magazine is now out. It covers alot of the stuff we are discussing and more! Check it out inshaAllah

Those of you that haven't subcribed yet, do it now. It's unmissible and cheap!

Umm Maymoonah said...

Anonymous you're right in what you say. We try and we put our trust in Allah. It is better to ask than to 'not' ask though, and NEVER assume anything.

Hema you said you can tell I have a special relationship with my husband. Every relationship is special in its own way and my main point is that good relationships are not far and few.

Alhamdulillah I know many sisters who have good relationships with their husbands my main point is that they are not so rare as we may think and mashAllah there are so many good brothers out there.

Caged Bird said...

Yes there are many good bros out there, but they're also very good at hiding!! joke. well half a joke....oh we can always trust to get some heated debate with the topic of women, interesting creatures aren't we?!?! Masha'Allah, TabarakAllah we have a surah named An Nisa! Hows that for feminist movement!!

Anonymous said...

as salamualaikum
it was very interesting reading ALL these comments. Marriage is one of the top topics of discussion isn't it!
i personally think sisters and brothers should get married as soon as possible, it is half of our religion after all. Im not yet married, but i'm hoping that insha'Allah once i am married it wil be easier for me and my husband to become more practicing muslims!!
There was a lot of v.good advice in this post and very inspiring!
A marriage has to be balanced and each partner has to play their role. The roles will be different as men and women are different, but its a bit of give and take. Im sure if the wife treats her husband right, then he has no reason to anything different to her. (of course this isnt always the case sadly)
This is all theory, i have no experience of my mine except of those around me!
I sincerly pray that we all find pious husbands as they will practice islam and therfore know how he should treat his wife!
Insha'Allah ten years down the line i'll still have this positive attitude!!
As salamu Alaikum