• marriage-in-islam-beyond-the-words-i-do-part-ii

    MARRIAGE IN ISLAM: BEYOND THE WORDS “I DO” (PART II)

    In the preceding article (Marriage in Islam: Beyond the words “I do” Part I), we had touched on one of the two essential elements to build a happy Muslim family i.e. iman, and the two subdivisions under it, namely; ‘aqeedah and ‘ilm based on a “Muslim happy family model” as elucidated in an article entitled “Model Keluarga Bahagia Menurut Islam”, written by Nur Zahidah Hj Jaapar and Associate Professor Raihanah Hj Azahari. For this second part of the article, we will further explore the second element which is ‘amal and the subdivisions under it, as listed by the writers of the article.

     

    ‘Amal

    This second element is as per stated by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, in his book called “al-‘Ibadah fi al-Islam”. The duo (writers of the article) began elaborating the second element by stating that the precondition to build a happy Muslim family is to associate iman with ‘amal. Or in other words, these two must co-exist. The writers continued that as Muslims, we must put into practice the commandments that Allah prescribed for us, as vicegerents (khalifah) of the Almighty. The branches of ‘amal as spelled out by the writers include niyyah, akhlaq, social, amanah, and physical safety, of which all of these branches will be dealt with, one by one, in the following paragraphs.

     

    There is a quote as shown on the Brainy Quote website by Harold S. Geneen which goes “leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actionsand Marshall Goldsmith; an American leadership guru also once said “one of the most important actions, things a leader can do, is to lead by example. If you want everyone else to be passionate, committed, dedicated, and motivated, you go first!” Based on these two quotes, we can see how important it is to actualise what we believe in and to practise what we have learnt. As human beings, we are not only leaders to our subjects but we are foremost the leaders of our own selves. It is our personal responsibility to lead our lives positively, by doing the acts that Allah orders us to do and to refrain from His prohibitions.

     

    A verse from the Qur’an which mentions both iman and ‘amal in one verse is verse 97 of Surah An-Nahl, whereby Allah says:

    Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)

    (Translation by Muhsin Khan)

    *All qur’anic translations are taken from https://quran.com/

     

    Niyyah

    As Muslims, niyyah or intention forms an integral part of our lives, as the acts of worship that we perform on a daily basis such as in our five daily prayers, in our ablutions, among others, revolves around niyyah; lillahi ta’ala. In fact, in the famous forty hadeeth of Imam Nawawi, the first hadeeth in its compilation is pertaining to niyyah. Whereby it is stated that “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended…” (See: 40hadithnawawi.com).

     

    According to Sayyid Sabiq, in his book; Fiqh al-Sunnah, as cited by the writers of the article, the underlying objectives of building a successful Muslim family are, inter alia, to satisfy the innate fitrah of mankind in having a family of their own, to attain serenity and tranquillity of the soul, to ensure happiness in one’s household, and to produce soleh and solehah offspring.

     

    By having a clear intention in mind, a husband and wife will strive and direct their actions towards realising the goals that a Muslim family should achieve. By contemplating on Surah Luqman, parents will get valuable guidance, on how to educate their children, and concomitantly their own selves. The lessons can be found from verses 13-19, whereby Luqman said to his son:

    • Not to commit syirk (associating Allah with partners)
    • To be dutiful and good to your parents and to give thanks to Allah and to our parents
    • To perform salah, enjoin for al-ma’ruf (goodness) and to forbid from al-munkar and to be patient with the adversities that befall us
    • Not to be arrogant to others
    • Portray humbleness/ moderateness (in walking and in tone of voice)

    (The above are the excerpts of the verses based on the translation by Muhsin Khan)

     

    Akhlaq

    Next, according to Akram Radamursi, in his book al-‘Usrah al-Muslimah fi al-‘Alim al Mu’asir, akhlaq is one of the essential ingredients to build a happy Muslim family, as per stated by the writers in their article. We should inculcate good moral conducts in the lives of our children since small so that they will grow up to become sensible and good-natured individuals. How children behave outdoors very much reflect on the ways they are raised by their parents at home. As Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. is the best of mankind, parents should live their lives by making the Holy Prophet as an example and should shape their children with the same mould as well. Allah s.w.t. says in Surah Al-Qalam, verse 4:

    And verily, you (O Muhammad SAW) are on an exalted standard of character.”

    (Translation by Muhsin Khan)

     

    Books such as Syama’il al-Muhammadiyyah which, inter alia, talks about the manners and moral conducts of the Holy Prophet in his everyday life and Ar-Raheeq al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) which biographs about the Holy Prophet would be a good read for parents and children alike.

     

    Social

    The writers of the article further stated that a construction of a Muslim family must be founded on the concept of husn al mu’asyarah or al-mu’asyarah bil ma’ruf i.e. good social interaction between the members of the family. The definition of “good” must be in accordance with the teachings contained in the Qur’an and Sunnah. As stated by Mahmud Saedon bin Osman in his working paper entitled “Asas Pembentukan Keluarga Bahagia”, as cited in the article, something is not declared as “good” (ma’ruf), unless it is good and blessed by Allah and it is not included in the categories of munkar, ma’siyah and abuse/corruption.

     

    Interactive communications in one’s household are needed to connect each member of the family and for the family members to understand each other better. Dr. Amal Ibrahim Abd El-Fattah Khalil from King Saud bin Abdul-Aziz University for Health Sciences, wrote in his article entitled “The Islamic Perspective of Interpersonal Communication” that family members should make communication among them as a routine and they should improve on how they interact with one another. As communication itself is a process, each family member needs to be patient in understanding one another and in building stronger ties between them.

     

    Bear in mind that in developing good communications between family members, it is not only about expressing one’s thoughts and feelings to another or the others, but it requires a good pair of listening ears, and a pure heart that sympathises and concerns about the matter(s) or feelings shared/expressed. Plus, each member of the family should be proactive in finding and providing solutions for any problem faced by any member of the family.

     

    Amanah

    Amanah is one of the ingredients for a happy Muslim family as stated by Hidayah Allah Ahmad, in his book “Al Shash Mausu’ah al-Tarbiyyah al-‘Amaliyyah li al-Tifl. In an article entitled “Value of Al-Amanah in Human Life” written by Sofiah bt. Samsudin and Md. Sirajul Islam from International Islamic University Malaysia, the writers began their article by providing the definition of amanah based on what was stated by Al-Ragib al-Asfahani, whereby “amanah” is originated from the word “amn”, which means “tranquillity of the heart”. And as cited by the writers, according to Al-Ragib, “amanah” literally means “honesty, straightness and integrity”.

     

    A verse from the Holy Qur’an which talks about amanah can be found in Surah An-Nisaa’ verse 58, whereby Allah says to the effect:

    Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts (al-amanaat) to those, to whom they are due…

    (Translation by Muhsin Khan)

     

    Reflecting on the word amanah in the above verse, the concept of amanah in Islam is very much related with the concept of “takleef” or accountability. In a family, everyone has his/her very own responsibilities be he/she a husband or a wife or a parent or even a child. And in discharging their duties and responsibilities, they are accountable in what they are doing. The duties of parents to their children and vice versa would need a topic on its own. Hence, we will not be listing one by one in this article. But the general idea pertaining to the concept of amanah in one’s family is that, by knowing that each and every member of the family has religious and familial responsibilities and duties to undertake, a family voyage would experience a smooth sailing, in sha Allah.

     

    Physical Safety and Economic Stability

    Islam, being a holistic religion (syumuliyyah) also concerns about the taking care of men’s physical and mental health. I have watched Malay dramas which depicted the characters of a husband having Othello Syndrome (delusional jealousy), which triggered him to abuse his wife uncontrollably whenever he saw his wife with other men (though for office matters), and sometimes a husband or a wife having an anger disorder which negatively affects the rest of the family members. These scenes were not merely fictional, nor were the dramas being exaggeratingly dramatic, but they are occurring in real life. Therefore, we should never take mental health issues lightly as they can lead to an irretrievably broken down marriage or even family, if not taken care of properly.

     

    Islam acknowledges mental health issues, and according to Associate Professor Dr. Ramli Musa, from Kulliyyah of Medicine, International Islamic University Malaysia, the Islamic model that is designed to cure mental illness is known as “bio-psycho-social and spiritual model”, whereby the psycho-social aspect requires the support of the family members. This shows that, family members should not be in denial of nor neglect the mental illness but need to address the matter by providing all the attention, love, help and support that they can give towards the affected member, and to seek professional advice and treatment to cure such mental illness.

     

    On the other hand, when it comes to financial management in a family, both parents especially the husband/father who has the responsibility to provide sustenance for the family, need(s) to ensure the economic stability of the family, avoid extravagant expenditures and inculcate saving habits in their children at an early age. Though wealth can never guarantee happiness, economic stability can help to provide a better living standard for the betterment of the family.

     

    Allah s.w.t. says in the Qur’an, in Surah Al-Israa’, verse 17:

    “Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan (Devil – Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord”

    (Translation by Muhsin Khan)

     

    CONCLUSION

    Building a happy Muslim family is a golden dream for many. Yet, many choose not to live in accordance to the Islamic tenets. When in fact, the Qur’an and the Sunnah have provided comprehensive guidelines for husband and wife, as well as parents and children to adhere to, in ensuring happiness and harmony in one’s family. Allah s.w.t. says in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 256:

    “Whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break

    (Translation by Muhsin Khan)

    The time has come for each member of the family to make a self-reflection and determine the aspects in life that we can improve, in line with the Islamic teachings to build a family that is filled with mawaddah, sakeenah, wa rahmah, in sha Allah. Wallahu a’lam.

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