Marriage is the nucleus of the ummah. Islam would not have flourished and developed had Allah not sent a handful of devoted, responsible and committed Muslims to spread the message of Islam. Before the migration from Mekah to Madinah, some of the residents of Madinah secretly met with Rasulullah SAW to grant him their pledge and allegiance. They made an oath with their lives, money and possessions, through thick and thin, for the propagation of the message. Among this secret group were a couple of women, who planted the seeds of Islam in Madinah, preparing the ground for the arrival of Rasulullah SAW. These people were later known as the Ansari or the helpers.
The early Muslims were staunch and when they went to the masjid, they illuminated it with their good behaviour. They educated their children, the second generation of Muslims, with correct instructions of the Islamic creed. The number of second generation Muslim companions and their upright behaviour speaks for itself.
Why do we have problems after marriage today? Mainly, because we get married for the wrong reasons and therefore to the wrong people. No matter how handsome or good looking, once you are married, there is nowhere for you to hide your habits. These mannerisms, whether offensive or pleasing, will outlive the good looks and the money. If a person is shallow, that shallowness will reveal itself in a short time. What about the weight of the inherited cultures and ways of doing things? What about the influence of the parents who have applied the wrong values during upbringing, if there is no emphasis on neatness, independence and reliability? How much education has been given on how to be a good person, husband or wife? The worst of these are those who were spoilt in childhood and end up being abusive and tyrannical spouses. How can any marriage with them build a happy family institution?
If the couple never had the correct Islamic upbringing, then what values are they going to pass it to the children? We believe that our university degrees will give us success and money, but this is only true of the material status. Even the most basic job requires soft skills – common sense, emotional intelligence and other attributes which cannot be learnt from books. What more a marriage where we will be sharing our lives with another person? Do parents teach their children from young how to share, cooperate, solve disputes and be sensitive to the needs of others? Do parents teach their children how to be resilient then things don’t go well, and not to give up at the first sign of trouble? We don’t even think about it because the priority is not there. When a crisis occurs, the couple does not know how to deal with it correctly. This is one of the reasons for the alarming collapse of marriages today, with Muslim divorce statistics topping the list in many countries.
If you are not sincere and honest, none of what you have read will benefit you. The written details of marriage are easy to understand, but those in long term and happy marriages will unanimously advise that it takes common goals, hard work and effort on both sides. The union must be in accordance with what Allah advises for the marriage to gain success in dunia and akhirah. How many, in the times of dispute, seek proper consultation from learned sources, bearing in mind the commands and injunctions of Allah SWT and His messenger? We prefer to listen to our parents, uncles, aunties and friends, but not to the rules of Allah. This hard headedness contributes to the utter chaos we are in today.
Today, Islam is misapplied or applied selectively. The men, thinking that they are the rulers of the house, dictate to their wives, but on the wrong principles. Many Muslim husbands use Islam as a means of controlling their wives and impose ridiculous rules unrelated to Islam. For example, cooking is universally accepted to be the wife's duty and it is common in the cities that the wife has a full time job and then comes home to cook, clean and take care of the children. Muslim principles however, allocates the duty of breadwinner and cook to the husband, not the wife. Many wives are unaware of their rights and accept such treatment. There are also wives who are adequately provided for and do not work, but instead of using that time to raise their children (which is their Islamic duty), they pass that responsibility to the maids, and the children grow up barely interacting with either parent.
Youth is not an excuse for ignorance. Ibn Abass (RA) was only 16 when Rasulullah SAW passed away, and by then he was the most learned men in the ummah on the Qur'an. Aishah RA was approximately 19 when Rasulullah SAW passed away, and she was armed with enough knowledge on Islam to be one of its top scholars ever. She lived for another 50 odd years or so, and her wise counsel was sought even by the great Khalifahs of the time. What about us, with outstanding degrees in medicine and engineering, but with no knowledge on Islam?
So before entering into the institution of marriage, educate yourself first on your rights and responsibilities, by obtaining information from the right sources. Trim your bad habits, because doing this at a later stage is difficult.
To summarize, before getting married, ask yourself the following:
Who am I?
What is my goal in life?
What am I trying to achieve?
When I die, what I we want to leave behind?
May Allah grant us successful and happy marriages in the life and the next, ameen.